FEEL LIKE A NUMBER

Two of my favorite hockey observers recently discussed a subject near and dear to my heart: A reasonable prospect rating system. All of the sites and or blogs do a top prospects list, but it is somewhat unsatisfactory and can be prone to bias (see Reinhart, Griffin on this blog and reaction to same).

Steve ‘Dangle’ Glynn did a thing about the prospect pyramid and Jeff Veillette wrote some words. Both are here and worth a look. The idea being that a top 20 (or 25) forces the author(s) to make choices that take away from the overall discussion. Instead of talking about the player, we are talking about why he is ranked at a certain number. Great idea Steve, and great retort Jeff.

Many moons ago (back in the HF era) I stole an idea from Bill James (his system was used to rank MVP-calibre seasons and to estimate trade value) for prospect evaluation. Here goes.

  1. Entry level junior/college player (Mark Pysyk) (Jayden Platz)
  2. Fringe level junior/college/2nd div Euro player (William Quist) (Jordan Dawson)
  3. Regular in junior/college/2nd div Euro player (Phillippe Cornett) (William Lagesson)
  4. Quality junior/college/2nd div Euro player (Alex Plante) (Haydn Fleury)
  5. Impact junior/college/2nd div Euro player (Jordan Eberle) (Christian Dvorak)
  6. Depth Minor League/Elite Euro league Player (Johan Motin) (Ben Betker)
  7. Regular Minor League/Elite Euro league Player (Rob Schremp) (Anton Slepyshev)
  8. Quality Minor/Elite Euro league Player (Linus Omark) (Frank Vatrano)
  9. NHL Fringe Player (Liam Reddox) (Anton Lander)
  10. NHL Role Player (Marc Pouliot) (Mark Letestu)
  11. NHL Regular (Ethan Moreau) (Teddy Purcell)
  12. Above Average NHL Player (Ales Hemsky) (Connor McDavid)*
  13. Impact NHL Player (Jarome Iginla) (Sidney Crosby)

*I know, I know. He should be 13.

CURRENT OILERS PROSPECTS

ranking system

The original post (or one of the originals) is here, I tweaked a little (took away player of unknown quality). There are certain things that help the viewer, like:

  • No. 1-5 means the player is either in junior, college or Euro second division. Pro starts at six.
  • No. 6-8 means pro but outside the NHL.
  • No. 9-13 is varying degrees of NHL.
  • I left the old timey names as a curio, fun to see how many climbed the mountain (and how far).

A few advantages:

  • This isn’t comparing prospect to prospect, but rather comparing a prospect against his own established past. If Jujhar Khaira has an uneven development but still ends up an 8 early in his pro career, well that is part of his record we can instantly recognize as meandering. Where he was ranked each Christmas (or summer) is immaterial. Its kind of like comparing your own previous golf score on a specific course to the round you played today.
  • Long development timelines (Brossoit, Oesterle) may look like a bad thing, but if a player arrives at No. 8 during the entry-level deal he has a chance. That is the goal for depth picks (remember, the stars of AHL development are guys like Jason Chimera, Kyle Brodziak, Brandon Davidson).

Some disadvantages:

  • Euro kids who make it to pro hockey over there look more prominent than maybe they are. Rasanen is coming over to the USHL, but if he stayed in Finland we might be hanging a 7 on him this winter. Kind of deceiving.
  • The system can make it appear that a player is stalling, like Caggiula or Reinhart, when in fact they are developing in a specific league.

I used to post this and say ‘thoughts?’ but have long given up on this becoming a thing. Too bad, because I do believe there is something here.

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48 Responses to "FEEL LIKE A NUMBER"

  1. Kiltymcbagpipes says:

    What’s a ‘Propsect’?

  2. Lowetide says:

    Kiltymcbagpipes:
    What’s a ‘Propsect’?

    Watch the games, nerd.

  3. Centre of attention says:

    Fascinating concept, took me a minute to figure out your chart but all in all it seems like an interesting idea.

    Maybe include this chart and a short blurb underneath discussing a players development during your “Training camp hopefuls” series? I think this kind of thing would be especially useful for the guys who are taking the scenic route to the NHL.

    PS: You didn’t give McDavid a 13?! Blasphemy I say! Haha.

  4. kinger_OIL says:

    – God bless you LT: you love this sh$t! So I therefore dig it!

  5. Lowetide says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – God bless you LT: you love this sh$t!So I therefore dig it!

    Lol. I do. Since I was a kid. There MUST be a way to figure out how to get an edge, from my sofa!!

  6. Mr DeBakey says:

    That chart reminds me of a curling scoreboard.
    I’m not saying that’s a bad thing,
    just don’t try to figure out who’s winning when you’re on the outside of a couple of brewskis.

  7. leadfarmer says:

    Kiltymcbagpipes:
    What’s a ‘Propsect’?

    It’s that thing we throw of the deep end year after year. This year he will take the form of Puljujarvi

  8. Water Fire says:

    I think your life long interest is coming down to the the point of the arrow with prospects.

    I ‘m someone who thinks that the combination of effort and experience leads to new things more than anything else, other than outliers.

    What I wonder is what would you like to see develop from that chart? It’s informational, showing where prospects are playing.

    Most of us don’t have the depth of knowledge to discuss prospects very much, NHL games take enough time.

    Which is why we read here first and other places we trust to find out who is doing well. If you put up a ranking people respond if they don’t agree, but it’s mostly saw him good which is great but not definitive.

    What do you hope develops from it?

  9. wheatnoil says:

    I like this system but what comes to my mind is a slightly modified display to get a snapshot of the organizational prospect system at a glance. All you’d have to do is use the “1-13” rating as the column heading instead of age. Then you could put down in each cell the he was at for that level (probably just the oldest age if multiple years at that level).

    The result is you could draw lines down, say, “5” and “8” and immediately see how many prospects are still in Junior, in pros below the NHL and in the NHL at some level. You’d also quickly see how many prospects were above average / impact at their level and might be ready to challenge the next level. Any glut or deficiency at a particular level would be immediately obvious and you could project that out, especially if you grouped the players by position. For instance, last year, one glance would show how few 1-5 forward prospects were in the system.

    Of course, that’s a slightly different purpose than what you’re getting at but it would be a useful way to present the whole organizational system.

  10. Kiltymcbagpipes says:

    Lowetide: Watch the games, nerd.

    LOL! Seriously. *tip of cap

  11. hunter1909 says:

    Start by taking the top 6 players from any playoff team in a league – arbitrary for sure but you have to start somewhere. How many players from any junior team have a shot at getting drafted?

    Maybe the top 3 from any team that is graduating that year…2 from the following years class, and 1 for a young wild card type player.

    Non playoff teams get less players, 3-4 maybe.

    Anyway I’m an Oilers fan – what do I know?

  12. G Money says:

    LT’s table in progress chart format:

    http://i.imgur.com/BPrZTRF.png

    (the chart looks a bit funny because many of the prospect timelines hide under other timelines, so I jittered them randomly to give visual separation)

  13. Lowetide says:

    G Money:
    LT’s table in progress chart format:

    http://i.imgur.com/BPrZTRF.png

    (the chart looks a bit funny because many of the prospect timelines hide under other timelines, so I jittered them randomly to give visual separation)

    THAT looks fabulous, and is an even better way of looking at the trajectory of players. Thanks, G!

  14. Lowetide says:

    McDavid stands out on that graph. 🙂

  15. wheatnoil says:

    G Money,

    I like the look of that a lot.

  16. rickithebear says:

    FRJOHNK says:
    September 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Yes.
    Because HDCSA is the only metric on how to evaluate Dmen.
    Fistric for Nurse.
    We probably need to add.

    Lets look at it:

    we Know we need .31 EVGF/60 more than EVGA/60.

    EVGF:
    Of the top 300 Goals scorers 27 are Dmen.
    they generate 6.2% of the even goals.

    After this point it is 1 to 1 for #2-6 Dmen and 10-14 forwards.
    Dmen do not drive EVGF.

    PPGF:
    Of the top 150 PP goal scorer 8% comes from the 14 Dmen.

    After this point it is 1 to 1 for forward and Dmen.
    Dmen do not drive PPGF.

    EVGA:
    HscA shots: By area foot print it is mostly physically occupied by Dmen. thou the fringes can/are covered by forwards. the shots nearer the league average.

    aprox. 75% of goals come from the HSCA.
    the difference in the best HSCA D and worst HSCA D
    is 44.4% HSCA shots.
    A potential 33.33% variance in total Even goals.

    LSCA shots:
    an area largely pressured by Forwards.
    Aprox. 25% of Even goals come from LSCA.
    the difference in the best LSCA Defending and worst LSCA defending is
    26.67% LSCA shots.
    A potential 6.67% variance in Total even shots.

    PPGA:
    breaking down the PPGF. most teams run systems that compress inside the HSCA .
    Basic box or Diamond.
    The PPGA rates are 1 to 1 all the way thru.
    You just want the best PKGA d you can get and are 50% partners in PK.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Water Fire:

    What do you hope develops from it?

    Nothing really, I (like Steve and Jeff) always wonder if ranking these players kind of does a disservice to the discussion of them. For whatever reason, the ranking can often become the story and then that ranking frames the issue. The idea (imo) is to spur discussion, not divide people into sides.

  18. rickithebear says:

    to simplify for the short attention spanned!

    John you say there is so much more to analysing the Dmen than HSCA Defence.

    1. EVGF top 300 the best HSCA penetrators.
    6.2% Dmen

    2. PPGF top 150 HSCA penetration.
    8% Dmen.

    3. EVGA Variance
    75% (33.3%) Dmen; HSCA area
    25% (6.67%) forwards; LSCA area

    4. PKGA
    Systems design almost completely dependent on effective collapse in HSCA area.
    50% Dmen
    50% Forwards

    Can you guess why I hate and I mean Hate Dmen abandoning the HSCA area for attacking the opposition HSCA area which is 3.6 times less successful?

  19. G Money says:

    Lowetide,

    No prob … though I notice that I appear to have dweebified and captured my cursor! If you need a clean version for any reason, let me know, I’ll capture one without.

  20. rickithebear says:

    Prospects!
    we talking Prospects!

    Small sample size tourney!
    17 year old MVP’s:
    1978 Gretzky
    1989 Bure
    2016 Puljujarvi

  21. Lowetide says:

    G Money:
    Lowetide,

    No prob … though I notice that I appear to have dweebified and captured my cursor!If you need a clean version for any reason, let me know, I’ll capture one without.

    Appreciate it, G. I may tinker with the idea in the next while.

  22. rickithebear says:

    Speaking of small sample sizes.
    why do we even look at players Playoff performance.

    It is a limited game tournament of the best peers for a cup!

    Just like the WJC!

  23. Gordies Elbow says:

    Lowetide:
    McDavid stands out on that graph.

    He should be a 14.

    Seriously.

  24. godot10 says:

    IMHO, Reinhart should be greater than or equal to Osterle, because he is closer to an NHL defensemen defensively than Osterle.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Sigh. 🙂

  26. stevezie says:

    rickithebear,

    Are you sarcastically defending playoff samples or genuinely attacking the wjc?

  27. Yak Efron says:

    This Ann Coulter roast isn’t half bad.

  28. Water Fire says:

    Lowetide: Nothing really, I (like Steve and Jeff) always wonder if ranking these players kind of does a disservice to the discussion of them. For whatever reason, the ranking can often become the story and then that ranking frames the issue. The idea (imo) is to spur discussion, not divide people into sides.

    I agree, the most important thing is the player developing each season along their own timeline. There is no one model other than too slow that they pass their NHL window if that’s what matters.

  29. rickithebear says:

    stevezie:
    rickithebear,

    Are you sarcastically defending playoff samples or genuinely attacking the wjc?

    Neither!

    Rickithebear!

    Pokes alot!

  30. Mr DeBakey says:

    Yak Efron: This Ann Coulter roast isn’t half bad.

    I hope you’re eating it with about half a gallon of ketchup.

  31. Oilspill says:

    rickithebear:
    to simplify for the short attention spanned!

    John you say there is so much more to analysing the Dmen than HSCA Defence.

    1. EVGF top 300 the best HSCA penetrators.
    6.2% Dmen

    2. PPGF top 150 HSCA penetration.8% Dmen.

    3. EVGA Variance
    75% (33.3%) Dmen; HSCA area
    25% (6.67%) forwards; LSCA area

    4. PKGA
    Systems design almost completely dependent on effective collapse in HSCA area.
    50% Dmen
    50% Forwards

    Can you guess why I hate and I mean Hate Dmen abandoning the HSCA area for attacking the opposition HSCA area which is 3.6 times less successful?

    Can you imagine how bad every team would be if their D were stagnant in the “scoring area?”
    D men need to do a lot more defensively than stand around in the stats nerds area.
    Forcing turnovers and puck separation is done in the corners.

  32. rickithebear says:

    finally read about GVS:

    interesting:
    I had been looking at Horcoffs performance relative to Comp/Team/ZS.
    He was -22 in 06-07 first year of his 3.6M contract.
    Had determined he was +7 GD versus expected performance for his given situation.

    Had looked at other players in given situation including M. Richards.

    Discussed Horcoffs performance versus cap.

    Started his G Dif affect was greater than Crosby per million.

    Most of the morons on HF took it for me saying horcoff was better than crosby.
    Some of the HF clowns still have not figured it out!

    Wonder if Tom Awar was on the site at the time.

    Lt: I ame sure you would know.

    Cause the ah/er Goal versus Salary was a great concept.

    Rob really love the Home plate goalie save Percentage including the Low; Med; High scoring chance data compliments of War on ice.

    Home plate!
    Scoring Area.

    HPSA.

    That is a good idea as well!

  33. Lowetide says:

    Oilspill
    Forcing turnovers and puck separation is done in the corners.

    The net and the space around out is pretty damned important, too.

  34. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Lowetide: The net and the space around out is pretty damned important, too.

    I’m partial to the refs circle near the penalty boxes.
    But we all don’t have to agree.
    That’s the beauty of this space you created LT.

  35. Little Poteet says:

    Klima’s_Bucket: I’m partial to the refs circle near the penalty boxes.
    But we all don’t have to agree.
    That’s the beauty of this space you created LT.

    You mean Town Square?

  36. wheatnoil says:

    Friedman on Hall, Subban and Weber. This is a must read.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/23-minutes-shook-hockey-world/

  37. Gerta Rauss says:

    wheatnoil,

    thanks for that

    This confirms my take on the Subban rumours-when Montreal realized that Dubois was not going to be available to them via the Oilers 4th pick, whatever talks that may have been out there cooled considerably.

  38. theDjdj says:

    I don’t know where Babcock sits on analytics but here’s his explanation on why lefty/righty d balance is so important https://youtu.be/uaeh11uw0gg

  39. PunjabiOil says:

    My take from the article:

    1. Would we have been better off if moved Puljujarvi to Calgary and got Hamilton? Or would they still have made that trade?

    2. How do you trust management after reading this horrible defense/justification/reasoning?

    In Hall’s case, a couple of Oilers believe the organization wanted to make it easier for McDavid’s influence to grow in the room. “Taylor’s a dominant personality,” one said. “That’s not a criticism. That’s who he is.”

    3. Hall probably didn’t subscribe to the way Todd McLellan is building the team – the dump and chase methoverd sus clean zone entry.

    “Hall and Subban are very similar. Great players…great players. Determined. Driven. They want to win,” he said. “But from junior, they’ve always done it their way. The toughest thing to learn is how you can’t go your own way — especially when you are losing. I had to learn that. That’s the final lesson.”

    There is no reason to feel optimistic. Poor management within an organization can mitigate the effects of good luck or internal growth.

    We’re porridge.

  40. theDjdj says:

    PunjabiOil:

    2.How do you trust management after reading this horrible defense/justification/reasoning?

    In Hall’s case, a couple of Oilers believe the organization wanted to make it easier for McDavid’s influence to grow in the room. “Taylor’s a dominant personality,” one said. “That’s not a criticism. That’s who he is.”


    3. Hall probably didn’t subscribe to the way Todd McLellan is building the team – the dump and chase method versus clean zone entry.

    “Hall and Subban are very similar. Great players…great players. Determined. Driven. They want to win,” he said. “But from junior, they’ve always done it their way. The toughest thing to learn is how you can’t go your own way — especially when you are losing. I had to learn that. That’s the final lesson.”

    There is no reason to feel optimistic.Poor management within an organization can mitigate the effects of good luck or internal growth.

    We’re porridge.

    I don’t think they traded Hall like Montreal traded Subban. Hall was the ticket price on balance. Maybe some of the personality and play style differences helped weigh the decision. Or provide some reassurance on buyers remorse. The Oilers did not trade Hall because they disliked him as a team member or a player. This narrative is bogus and tiresome to read.

  41. stevezie says:

    PunjabiOil,

    For what it’s worth, neither of those quotes came from management. Both came from players.

    Bergevin does not come off well, imo. Chia comes off mediocre- as much as I love Subban I am aware that I don’t know the ask and that salary is not an easy one to deal with. I probably would have made it work, but I can accept walking from a nine million Subban (even as I cannot accept the Larsson deal).

    Shero comes off great. A guy who know he won a trade trying to be magnanimous in victory (probably for practical reasons).

    Taylor Hall comes off great. I have no problem believing that as youth he did not handle his fame well, but ” “It’s not easy. Once the regular season starts and you start seeing Edmonton piling up the wins, or whatever they might do, it’s going to be a bit weird” makes him seem- well in the very least he sounds like someone who knows what a class act sounds like.

    To me the most telling quote came from an anonymous Oiler explaining why he wasn’t bothered why Matt Hendricks turned down a fight with Brandon Bollig. ““We understood why Matt wouldn’t do it,” a teammate said. “There was no point in spilling blood for that anymore.””

    I know a lot of you despise fighting- and you’re not wrong about most of your arguments- but this quote says a lot, and none of it good.

    A few years ago I harshly criticised Shultz for not joining a scrum, and this is why. I’m not saying it matters to “hockey”, but psychologically you want a team willing to spill blood for “that”. I think that variable is hard to isolate, but it’s there (this is not a defence of fighting, I’m just saying fighting is often an extension of giving a fuck. Hope that’s clear).

    Great article, but despite the quotes I remain convinced that while Mtl and Edmonton got excellent players, they lost their trades by a lot for silly reasons.

  42. rickithebear says:

    Oilspill:
    turnovers occur every were!
    Blocks and pocession change.
    Missed shots and pocession change
    Failed Zone entry and pocession change.
    Missed passes and pocession change.
    Forwards fighting for the puck in the corners and along the boards.Pocession change.

    Dmen in the corners. who is covering for them and is there an easy free pass to the HSCA.
    cause the puck is faster than the skater.

    Common sense says you do not have to chase the puck if it is in the perimeter.
    It will come to you.

    In the classic sedan shifts. Forwards and D chase the puck.. providing access to the HSCA.

    Pittsburgh showed it all thru the cup run.
    SJS had lots of pocession on the perimeter.
    who gives a rat,
    They did not shoot inside the HSCA.

    There will be blocks; misses; failed passes; save……

    the hsca is aprox, 19% of the OZ.
    why would you chase the puck in 80% of area. 2/3 the shots get 25% of goals.

    think about that 75% of goals come 19% of the OZ.

  43. stevezie says:

    rickithebear,

    San Jose is a success story, not a failure.

  44. rickithebear says:

    stevezie:
    rickithebear,

    San Jose is a success story, not a failure.

    OH I agree!
    but still does not have th typical Cup winning depth.

    SJS:
    Under Tmac
    1. HSCA D sys coach – YES
    2. top 10 HSCA save % goalie. – NO
    3. 3+ top 60 HSCA D. – NO – 2 Vlasic; Braun
    4. 2 #1 lines or 3 lines of Even production – YES
    5. +ve Goal dif PK/PP – YES

    SJS:
    Under Deboer
    1. HSCA D sys coach – YES
    2. top 10 HSCA save % goalie. – YES
    3. 3+ top 60 HSCA D. – NO – 2 Vlasic; Braun
    4. 2 #1 lines or 3 lines of Even production – Yes
    5. +ve Goal dif PK/PP – YES

    EDM:
    Under Tmac
    1. HSCA D sys coach – YES
    2. top 10 HSCA save % goalie. – YES
    3. 3+ top 60 HSCA D. – YES
    4. 2 #1 lines or 3 lines of Even production – YES ?????
    5. +ve Goal dif PK/PP – NO

  45. Revolved says:

    I really like the idea of tracking progress instead of ranking. It is difficult enough to assess a single player’s net impact on team success without bringing in different ages and positions.

    To remove the subjectivity of assigning impact at each level, perhaps one could track NHLE or Est.TOI over age, with demarcations for league changes? To see if a prospect is on track, it’s important to see that they improve within a league year over year. Stagnation is death.

  46. rickithebear says:

    PunjabiOil: 2. How do you trust management after reading this horrible defense/justification/reasoning?

    Cause there is a whole community of MSM that thinks 6% of top 300 goals scoring and 8% of the PP goal scoring is a huge reason for Offensive dmen abandoning HSCA and causeing a D pair to require 3 #1 or 3 #1-2 Forwards to break even in the WC playoff standard.

    It is crazy!

    we know Forwards 10-14 and Dmen 2-6 break even in Goal production 1 to 1.
    so the variance comes from 273 Forwards and 27D

    we know Forwards 1-2 drive top end of PP Goal production at 15 to 1 rate
    Forwards 3; 4 and 50% of Fwd 5 drive the next tear of PP goal production at a 8:1 rate.
    That the PP goal differential is driven by the #1-5 forwards.

    I want My Dmen to get the puck to the Players that create the even and PP goal differential variance.
    the forwards.
    Larsson top 40 EVA/60
    Larsson #1 EVGA D; top 10 HSCA D; Top 12 PKGA D

  47. stevezie says:

    rickithebear,

    Oh i see! Okay, thanks for explaining it to me.

  48. frjohnk says:

    rickithebear,

    The HDSCA stat is not always repeatable for a player year to year, with coaching changes and when players switch teams.

    Systems play and the other 9 skaters ( quality of teammate/competition) influence that HDSCA number more than the player. Each player influences their on ice shot metric that is HDSCA but its only marginally.

    And the HDSCA number does not tell me that a Dman is a good box protector or a Dman that “abandons the high danger zone to chase offense”

    We need better numbers to identify those Dmen but they are not public.

    If a Dman has 9 HDSCA per 60 but plays on a low event team, is he a good “box protector”?

    If a Dman has 11 HDSCA per 60 but plays on a high event team, is he an “abandon the box” Dman?

    There just is not enough info to correctly know this, but if we knew the amount of times that Dman was challenged to enter the box, then that gives us more info.

    If Dman from the low event team was challenged 15 times while Dman from high event team was challenged 22 times, then the Dman from the high event team is the better ‘box protector”

    We also need numbers that show
    -major fuckups by Joe Blow Dman that lead to a high danger scoring chance against
    -minor fuckups by Joe Blow Dman that lead to a high danger scoring chance against

    Having those numbers would help us identify Dmen who are actually good at protecting the box. But we don’t have them so we are just scratching the surface.

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