With the draft one month away it’s time to start ramping up our focus towards it even more.
Most of the talk so far has been surrounding the real top tier players of the draft like Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. But there are six more rounds past the first one, and there are plenty of future NHLers that’ll come out of this draft that up until now you’ve never heard of in your life.
Luckily, we have little tricks to help us try and identify who those players might be.
When Josh Weissbock and Cam Lawrence were hired by the Florida Panthers we lost access to the PCS tool aside from the articles we already wrote using those numbers. It’s not all bad though – some of their fantastic work requires no fancy projection tools whatsoever.
One thing that they uncovered was what I’m now calling the “51% rule”. But what is the 51% rule?
Basically, they found out that since the inception of the Swedish Hockey League back in the mid-70s, 51% of all players that played in that league under the age of 18 that also had a points per game of at least .09, ended up playing 200 NHL games or more*. That even included players that played as little as a handful of games in the league.
It’s a pretty crazy stat. I mean, any sort of prospect number that wields a 51% success rate is just super high.
So now that you know what the rule is, who in this year’s draft class applies to it?
Considering neither Rasmus Asplund, or especially Carl Grundstrom, are even locks to be drafted in the first round, it sure looks like there are some potential bargains to be had here.
Oskar Steen is someone I’m particularly a fan of, and I’ve had him much higher on my list than most people even before putting together this table.
Sebastian Aho, an offensively gifted but undersized defenseman, has incredibly been passed over twice in the draft already. I thought last year that he was worth a draft pick and even more-so this year: he had 16 points in 39 games in the SHL this season.
Sebastian Olsson is another player already passed over once before, and despite having 8 points in 43 games in the SHL this season, it looks like there’s a good chance he gets passed over again. Granted, I know nothing about Olsson’s actual game (which is pretty damn important to say the least), but the point of this exercise is to help us pinpoint, for the casual fan, some potential bargains. Olsson, at least on the surface, appears to be one of those.
THE 33% RULE
We should also point out that the 51% rule has a younger brother, the 33% rule. What is this?
Basically, it’s the same thing as the 51% rule, only applied to the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s second-tier league). Weissbock and Lawrence found that all U18 players that had played in the Allsvenskan with a points per game of at least .09 historically reached at least 200 NHL games played 33% of the time (31% of forwards and 37% of defensemen). It’s not as strong as the 51% rule, but that’s still a very good success rate.
So which 2016 draft-eligibles hit the mark here?
The list isn’t quite as sexy. It looks like Jesper Bratt is the only one that we can safely assume will get drafted this year.
Still, it helps point us in the right direction and narrow down our search for names that we might want to more closely consider.
I’m not familiar with the players on this list aside from Bratt, who looked pretty good for Sweden at the U18s this spring, but the numbers are at least good for these four unranked players: Alsing has 22 points in 51 games in the Allsvenskan this season, Schreiber had 23 points in 17 games in the J20 Elit, Mastomaki had 8 points in 47 games in the SHL this year, and Karlsson had 15 points in 47 SHL games.
Keep these names in the back of your head come draft weekend next month, and keep them in mind beyond that as well. If history is any indication, we’ll likely be seeing more than a couple of these guys in the NHL some day.
*: 51% of forwards and 50% of defensemen