I started this year thinking Sean Couturier was the best available player in the CHL. Size, skill and he was good enough to make the Canadian squad at the World Juniors.
What’s not to like? Well, apparently there’s a list. Couturier doesn’t use his size as he should, some project him as a 2line C (whatever that is) and I’ve read in several places that he’s disappointed because the progression year to year hasn’t been there.
A few things: Couturier WON the Beliveau trophy (leading scorer) in 2009-10, so improving on winning the scoring championship is pretty hard no matter the league. Second, he’s missed some games but is still delivering quality offense.
So, in an effort to find out exactly how good he is in one of the few disciplines we can measure with junior kids (total points per game), I thought it might be an idea to go in search of the best offensive player from the CHL eligible for this draft.
First, here are the goals per game totals for each CHL league. QMJHL: 3.36; OHL: 3.64; WHL: 3.40. I added the total goals for and divided by total games played, which (unless I’m smoking the drapes) should give us a solid GF total for each team. Correct? So, the CHL’s most offensive league is the OHL. Fair?
- Sean Couturier 55gp, 36-56-92 (1.67)
- Jonathan Huberdeau 63gp, 40-59-99 (1.57)
- Zack Phillips 62gp, 38-54-92 (1.48)
Three interesting offensive players, two of them likely to go in the top 10 overall. Couturier has a nice range of skills and that makes him the class of this group.
- Ryan Strome 61gp, 32-69-101 (1.66)
- Shane Prince 59gp, 25-63-88 (1.49)
- Gabriel Landeskog 49gp, 33-29-62 (1.27)
Another interesting group. I think Strome will rank higher in the final seedings and suspect Landeskog’s offense will send him down the final lists too. Why aren’t we talking about Strome more?
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 65gp, 24-72-96 (1.48)
- Sven Bartschi 62gp, 32-51-83 (1.34)
- Ty Rattie 62gp, 28-48-76 (1.23)
Hopkins posts a nice number and the other two highly ranked picks clearly have offensive ability. Bartschi is a pure WHL rookie and leads all first year players in points.
So, with those numbers posted–and understanding the Q is not the most offensive league in the land–what on earth do we do with that Couturier number? I think we take it for what it is–an accurate reflection of his offensive ability. Math doesn’t lie, but it is up to us to suss it what math is saying. In this case it seems to be offering us a clue about the 2011 entry draft. We should also be talking about Ryan Strome more. A lot more. And Sean Couturier might just be that big center Edmonton has been needing since Christ was a kid.
Nation Radio hits Team 1260 at noon today. Scheduled to appear:
- EJ McGuire from Central Scouting
- David Staples from the Edmonton Journal
- Jonathan Willis from Oilers Nation, etc
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Health
- Kirk Luedeke from NE Hockey Journal and Bruins Draft Watch
- Jim Byer, play by play voice of the OKC Barons
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