Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #60-57

Hello everyone and welcome to annual prospect countdown for the upcoming 2016 NHL Entry Draft. We combined the rankings of multiple authors between Canucks Army and Jets Nation to create our very own consensus list.

Included with our profiles is the new statistical modelling system, the Player Graduation Probabilities System (pGPS), which helps one see how often statistically similar players graduate into the NHL. Outside of pGPS’ creators, the voters in these rankings had no prior knowledge of each prospects pGPS.

Without further distraction, we start our ranking by profiling our consensus 60th, 49th, 58th, and 57th ranked prospects for this season.

#60 Mitchell Mattson

BIO:

  • Age: 18, Born: 1998-01-02
  • Birthplace: Grand Rapids, MN, USA
  • Frame: 6’4, 190 lbs
  • Position: C
  • Draft Year Team: Bloomington Thunder (USHL), Grand Rapids High (USHS) 
  • Accomplishments/Awards: No mentionable distinctions

STATS:

pGPS n pGPS s pGPS % pGPS P/GP pGPS R
45 3 6.67% 0.1579 0.0105

SCOUTS:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect McKeen’s Button
61 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 24

OUR TAKE:

An interesting thing happened this year; three prospects who were considered to be drafted in the top half of the draft left the USHL and returned to their High School Hockey program. They were Riley Tufte, Michael Graham, and Mitchell Mattson. The lack of a second half to their USHL season, where younger prospects tend to be given more opportunity as they develop and earn their statistical merits, does not exist for these individuals. They also went back to a “league” that really is not a true league, as the USHS system varies in quality by leaps and bounds.

For these reasons, our analytical model does not look too kindly on Mattson and why many of us ranked Mattson below Craig Button. He only scored twice in his 21 games in the USHL, despite scoring 7 points in 13 games the year prior. He dominated the USHS though with putting up 46 points in 25 games. 

In the end, scouting Mattson is limited to the eye-test. He is thought of highly predominant

ly for playing a very NHL-style game to go with his NHL-sized body. Mattson played centre although he may project better as a winger. He plays a very North/South game and protects the puck well although could learn to use his 6’4 frame even more efficiently.

#59 Cliff Pu

BIO:

  • Age: 17, Born 1998-06-03
  • Birthplace: North York, ON, Canada
  • Frame: 6’1, 187 lbs
  • Position: C/W
  • Draft Year Team: London Knights (OHL)
  • Accomplishments/Awards: International Silverstick Atom AAA All Star (2009), OHL Cup Champion (2014), OHL Gold Cup Silver Medal (2014)

STATS:

pGPS n pGPS s pGPS % pGPS P/GP pGPS R
334 54 16.17% 0.3697 0.0598

SCOUTS:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect McKeen’s Button
75 (NA) 30 N/A N/A N/A 81

Ryan Kennedy, THN

A fast player with nice vision and good size, Pu looks to Jeff Carter as an NHL role model and the youngster has been a high-rising prospect thanks to his second half, which saw him tally eight points in his final eight regular season games.

OUR TAKE:

After a strong showing as a bottom-six player on the London Knights in 2014-2015, many expected Pu to play a major role in the offensively stacked team’s top-six this past season. Instead, Pu found himself predominately playing on the Knights third line and with very little power play usage.

Despite this ice time disadvantage, our statistical model has Pu as the strongest candidate to make the NHL as a regular of these four prospects. We would also not be surprised if Pu were to increase his point production significantly next season as players like Aaron Berisha, Christian Dvorak, and Mitchell Marner all potentially depart.

We got a glimpse of this potential at the end of the season. The speedy forward found his role elevated when he earned a promotion to the second line centre and put up 11 points in 14 playoff games. 

As a random note: Pu had one of the more hilarious goal celebrations I have seen, where he shook the hands of his linemates.

#58 Maxime Fortier

BIO:

  • Age: 18, Born 1997-12-15
  • Birthplace: Lachine, QC, Canada
  • Frame: 5’10, 176 lbs
  • Position: RW/C
  • Draft Year Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
  • Accomplishments/Rewards: QMAAA Best Hockey Student (2014), QMAAA First All-Star Team (2014), QMAAA Most Goals (40), QMAAA Most Points (68), QMAAA Most Valuable Player

STATS:

pGPS n pGPS s pGPS % pGPS P/GP pGPS R
71 10 14.08% 0.5205 0.0733

SCOUTS:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect McKeen’s Button
145 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 54

Bill Placzek, DraftSite

Improving Q player who displays excellent feet, leadership, and puck skills. Not very tall or thick at this point. Continues to grow his game and strength. 

Scott Wheeler, McKeen’s

A shooter, Fortier throws everything he can on net in order to create chances, and already has 31 shots (second most in the QMJHL this season). Halifax isn’t expect to be competitive, but Fortier will get his fair share of touches and a chance to become a go-to guy.

OUR TAKE:

Every year there are a few skilled players who dominate their league, but teams remain wary due to the prospect’s lack of stature. Fortier is one such player after putting up 77 points in 68 games in the QMJHL.

Our prospect model indicates that 14% of statistically similar players have made the NHL as regulars, which is pretty impressive as NHL teams tend to avoid smaller skaters. The one issue with statistical models that look at whether or not a similar player make the NHL is that they are agnostic on whether the player deservedly made or missed the show. NHL teams avoid smaller players, which may create a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy type situation.

Speed is Fortier’s game, and Fortier may be one of the fastest players in the QMJHL right now. The 5’10 winger uses his speed to keep the puck separated from defenders and to win board battles before they start in order to make up for his lack of size and strength.

In the old NHL, Fortier would represent a top-six or bust prospect, but as the NHL shifts towards youth and speed, players like Fortier may see their opportunities increase.

#57 Ryan Lindgren

BIO:

  • Age: 18, Born 1998-02-11
  • Birthplace: Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Frame: 6’0, 196 lbs
  • Position: D
  • Draft Year Team: US National U18 Team (USDP)
  • Accomplishments/Rewards: U17 WHC Silver Medal (2015), U18 WJC Bronze Medal (2016)

STATS:

pGPS n pGPS s pGPS % pGPS P/GP pGPS R
68 3 4.41% 0.2761 0.0122

SCOUTS:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect McKeen’s Button
49 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 89

Chris Dilks, SBNation College Hockey

Ryan Lindgren plays a quieter game in comparison to (Chad) Krys. I think the engine was revving a little too high for him early Saturday morning playing in back at home, and he started a little sloppy, but once he settled down, he had a strong weekend. He’s not huge, but he’s so strong on his skates that he rarely gives up ice. He’s a fiery competitor too. His ceiling might not be as high, but his skating and toughness will make him a valuable player for a long time.

Bill Placzek, DraftSite

American born defender with good feet and a solid two way game. Not tall, but solidly built, he displays poise in his own end and smarts with, or without the puck. His four direction skating ability gives him an advantage as both a defender (who can handle one on ones and retrieve the quick dump-ins rapidly) and as an attacker (who can smartly read his options, and make astute decisions as a passer or carrier). A solid six footer who has a bit of an edge to go along with the top flight acceleration, nice vision, and an active stick when defending. He is good with the puck in the attack zone and has a good point shot. Very calm and decisive when on the ice, and always seems to make the smart play in all zones.

OUR TAKE:

The US National Team Development Program has grown into a bona fide talent factory with recent graduates like Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, Clayton Keller, Matthew Tkachuk, and Jack Roslovic. However, the defensive end has taken a step back without prospects of Jacob Trouba or Seth Jones distinction.

The program continues to generate NHL prospects, such as Ryan Lindgren.

Lindgren has put up enough production that a few of his statistical comparables have made it to the NHL, although the percentage is much lower than many would like with a top prospect. Lindgren’s value, though, mostly extends from areas outside of production. The defensive defender is well known for his safe and smart plays while also carrying many of the “intangibles” scouts desire as seen by Lindgren captaining two teams to medals in international tournaments.

However, it should be pointed out that most of the NHL’s best defensive defenders developed some scoring at some point in their youth. Also, at only six feet, Lindgren’s ability to defend will depend greatly on his skating and hockey IQ. While some have noted he does have these assets, one would hope more scoring from a player who has enough to make it to the NHL.


You can read about the Prospects Graduation Probability System here