#8 Prospect 2008: Chris Vande Velde

Current Rank: #8
Summer Rank: #11

In selecting Chris Vande Velde ahead of more promising offensive forwards (Viacheslav Trukhno, Linus Omark, Bryan Lerg, Phillippe Cornet), we’d need some pretty solid evidence this player brings a lot useful things in other areas.

I think he covers the bet and will call it right now: should he make it to the show, Chris Vande Velde is going to be a MacT favorite. You can see it a mile away. Vande Velde combines size, skill, hard work and secondary skills and leads his team in some important categories: PIMs and FO%.

Vande Velde’s FO percentage (58.1 this season, 55.0 one year ago) comes in over 350 attempts so cannot be viewed as a fluke. His PIMs come from 24 minors, one fight (UND has had 2) and something called “other” which must have involved some kind of diabolical behaviour (or at least I’m hoping it did).

Vande Velde is still on the 1line at UND with Ryan Duncan but it’s not the Vande vaunt it was a year ago. Here’s how VVV is doing this season (08-09):

  • EV: 16gp, 1-3-4 .25 with 20 shots (involved in 17.4% of 23EV goals)
  • PP: 16gp, 1-3-4 .25 with 16 shots (involved in 16.7% of 24PP goals)
  • PK: 16gp, 1-1-2 .125 with 1 shot (involved in 66.7% of 3PK goals)

Let’s compare those numbers to 07-08:

  • EV: 43gp, 9-14-23 .534 with 60 shots (involved in 25.8% of 89EV goals)
  • PP: 43gp, 6-3-9 .209 with 27 shots (involved in 25% of 36PP goals)
  • PK: 43gp, 0-0-0 (no involvement in 4SH goals)

The difference is probably his shooting percentage year over year (17.2% in 07-08 and 8.1% this season) and the fact that one year ago his linemates were Ryan Duncan and TJ Oshie. That trio scored a total of 51 goals in 43 games (1.19 per-game), compared to this season’s top line (VVV and Duncan joined by Andrew Kozek) popping 12 goals in 16 games (.75 per-game). He’s also way off at EVs but the entire team is slumping in that area (down to 1.44EV goals per game from 2.07 a year ago). Losing Oshie (and others) has had an impact on everyone.

Last year (+/-) Vande Velde trailed his linemates by a healthy margin (Duncan was +22, Oshie was +17, VVV was +10) and two other forwards had superior plus minus numbers. UND was +37 in 07-08. In 08-09, he still trails Ryan Duncan (Duncan is +4 and VV is Even, with Kozek -5) and there are once again two other forwards ahead of him.UND is -4 in 08-09, so in this area Vande Velde appears to be having a superior season (relative to team).

Vande Velde (pronounced Van-duh Vel-dee) has good size (6-2, 206) and secondary skills and he appears to be progressing in some significant areas. The fact that he isn’t dominating offensively at a time when most players his age are having a field day means he’s probably somewhat limited in this area and he certainly doesn’t drive the bus but we knew that one year ago. He’s 21 years old and in his junior season, meaning he’s going to be eligible for one more season in college.

Offensively, Desjardins suggests that Vande Velde will be somewhat shy of Slava Trukhno and clear of Tyler Spurgeon when he turns pro. The other things he does well (based on math and scouting reports) makes him a more attractive prospect than others on the list because none of them have enough offense to make them strong possibilities for major league hockey.

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12 Responses to "#8 Prospect 2008: Chris Vande Velde"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Great write-up. One that I’d support the placement with blind faith.

    As a prospect, his type is not really matched in the system. He’s bigger than Pouliot and *cough* O’marra and brings the kind of game that we want from Brodziak. If he can translate NCAA play to the professional ranks, I’d be tempted to call “career journeyman”, but hope I’m wrong.

    All those V’s however, make my eyes hurt.

  2. B.C.B. says:

    DG: I don’t know if ‘career journeyman’ is a bad thing in relationship to Vande Velde.

    Career Journeyman are often underrated players that bring useful skills to a team, which cannot be replaced by any AHL ready kid. These things include toughness, high faceoffs %, defensive play, and possible PK ability. Moreau is a career journeyman, and so is Reasoner (and they are useful to their respective teams).

    All of these things the Oilers are in need of: both now, and especially in relationship to the small offensive forwards and defensemen above Vande Velde in the system.

    To bad, Vande Velde is left handed, it would be sweet if he was right handed.

  3. doritogrande says:


    When I think career journeymen, I think Mike Sillinger, Trevor Letowski, Geoff Sanderson, Mike Peca is borderline.

    These are the guys that always seem(ed) to be available come the trade deadline. Guys that go through 6 or 7 teams before they really find a home if they do at all. Which means we’ll probably get about a season’s worth of the growing pains of VandeVelde. Not ideal.

  4. Lowetide says:

    dorito: Mike Peca had value early on, and actually so did Mike Sillinger although the Red Wings did better that draft weekend in later rounds. If Vande Velde can become a “Kyle Brodziak” type in a few years then he’d certainly cover the bet and every NHL team is going to need inexpensive talent that can fill a role.

  5. B.C.B. says:

    DG some of those names you listed were pretty good:

    Peca, Selke winner 96-97, 01-02
    G. Sanderson two 40 goal, and four 30 goal seasons
    Sillinger: 1,042games 546 pts 644 PIM

    If Vande Velde comes any where close to these players the Oiler’s scouting department did awesome.

    As LT said becoming a “Brodziak” type player would be great, I’d be happy for VV to be a grinder we could use for 3-4 season at a reasonable price (especially if he could win draws and do a little PK).

  6. RiversQ says:

    Hey LT, you’re the Oiler blogger with the wooden shoes. Shouldn’t this kid’s name be van de Velde?

    If amateur league FO% numbers have anything to do with NHL performance, I’d guess that the NCAA would give the best correlation.

  7. Coach pb9617 says:

    The difference is probably his shooting percentage year over year (17.2% in 07-08 and 8.1% this season)

    He should get closer to the net. He would shoot 20%

  8. raventalon40 says:

    I can imagine a future checking line of Milan Kytnar-VVV-McDonald.

    What do you think of Teemu Hartikainen? Sounds a lot like an Esa Tikkanen type of player and we could maybe use one of him around if his skating could improve.

  9. Asiaoil says:

    Still waiting for that big defensive-minded center who can pop a few points and make people pay physically. Seems that particular wish of mine goes unfilled every year – but I’m still hoping – and VV could be that guy in 3 or 4 years………or load up the soda for another coke machine.

  10. namflashback says:


    still waiting for that one too. and the absurdity of listening to the coach talk about the offensive productivity, when the defensive side of the puck in the neutral zone and on the PK has been the real issue.

    They are trying to reinvent run and gun, but they don’t have the skill gap relative to the other teams that would make that work.

  11. kanadienkyle says:


    Just a couple of quick points.

    -Faceoffs are VDV’s strength for sure. He works on them a lot and has become quite good over the last couple years. The concern is that aside from the draws, he seems to be a perfect winger. I expect he will fit in as a LW if he makes the NHL.

    -As for points, he isn’t scoring as much but is getting the Penner “phantom assists” in that him being parked in front of the net and causing havoc down low is opening up a lot of room. Also, he is seeing time with a lot of different linemates (though usually with Duncan) and no one is getting much done offensively.

  12. kanadienkyle says:

    Also, I think the “other” was a hit from behind and ejection.

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