by Lowetide

Two of my favorite hockey observers took a lash at prospect evaluation about a year ago. 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)

My idea goes like this (using Connor McDavid). At age 17, in his draft season, 97 was a “5” (impact junior) and that’s as high as he could go. The following season, I had McDavid as a “12” and this past season he is clearly a “13” on my list. That’s super nova. What would it look like if I applied it to the entire Oilers prospect list?

  • Age 17: Jesse Puljujarvi is the best prospect age 17, Kailer Yamamoto right behind him and Ostap Safin is about the same level. A bunch of prospects (Bear, Benson, Khaira, Skinner, Rattie) after that, it’s an interesting list that would be more interesting if we kept Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the group.
  • Age 18: Jesse Puljujarvi is miles above the crowd again, suspect Yamamoto will post a 5 along with Bear, Jones and Khaira at the same age. That’s where Ty Rattie was at 18 and Filip Berglund was a year ago.
  • Age 19: Ziyat Paigin and Filip Berglund, along with Bear, Jones and Rattie are all in about the same spot at age 19. As a group, expectations were some time in the AHL and then (hopefully) an NHL career.
  • Age 20: Paigin and Rattie performed at 20 in a manner that suggests a quick NHL look would have been appropriate. Brossoit and Khaira both a little shy, Gambardella in college.
  • Age 21: Khaira, Rattie and Brossoit all “in the window” where NHL time would be expected, and hopefully enough traction to stay in the NHL and establish a career at that level.
  • Age 22: Khaira, Rattie and Brossoit repeat the previous season, Khaira moving up a hair but none of the three able to establish themselves.

I’ve worked with this model for years, and despite some flaws (the European numbers seem a little high) it works for me as a quick evaluating tool. The best players (McDavid, Draisaitl) don’t get to age 20 before vaulting to the top of the list and then graduating. Jesse Puljujarvi’s career trajectory suggest the same kind of progression and we’ll see about Yamamoto (he might have more of a Jordan Eberle rise—5, 5, 5, 11, 12, 11).

Among the players entering pro hockey this season, Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear ideally have a Ty Rattie at 20 kind of season and get a cup of coffee. Ziyat Paigin, to me, is possibly ready to ascend to the NHL at any time during the season. He appears close to NHL-ready.


You may also like

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

A cieling based rating system for players is counter to the development of dynasty and constant competitive teams.

High repeatabilty of baseline is what you need.
For unit and position specific skills.



1st pairing Klefbom-Larsson @ $4.16mil/ year each.

Boy, how huge (value that is) are these two contracts looking with ++ years left on them.


A bit off piste, but within the world of sports.

Hands down the best “silks” and the coolest looking team on the planet – not to mention great causes. Maasai Cricket Warriors – of which I knew nothing until this morning. No specific link – just goog it.

semi legendary rot lobster


harvey has washed me ashore

lucky i found internet

stupid harvey



I like the chart.

Puts the ages in perspective and shows who is progressing and who is running in place.

Would be nice to see it every year.




You know its a solid news day when you are consulting the Regina Leader Post! LOL

I keed, I keed


Spooky Lynx

Derek van Diest reports that Trey Fix-Wolansky has been invited to Oilers rookie camp

Good for him. I enjoyed watching him in Oil Kings silks last year.


Regina Leader-Post reporting defender Liam Schioler will be at Oilers’ rookie camp

You can’t spell “Oilers” without “S__ioler”. Too bad his first name isn’t “Ed”.


OK – now that I’ve read the blog again I understand completely. Not sure I’ve made sense of the “results” yet though but I leave that to the smarter statisticians around here.

Stud Muffin

I’m not sure I understood any of that tbh

Crazy Pedestrian

Interesting way to view prospect progress for sure. Puljujarvi progress incuraging. On a side note, does anyone know if they made a custom helmet to fit his enormous head yet? Or are they not allowed to custom fit certain size heads due to NHL regulations?


Chiarelli did a good job with the Oilers D core. 1st pairing Klefbom-Larsson @ $4.16mil/ year each.
Nurse and Benning 3rd pairing pending RFA next season.
When Sekera and Russell contracts expire and all goes as plan Jones and Bear will be matured seasoned AHLers ready to set up.
Salary space is going to be tight, it’s not next season but the season after when they have to resign a starter and Puljujarvi.

Pink Socks

Quality as always LT even though the Plante sighting reminds me of the ’07 draft. Sour grapes I suppose drafting a 3rd round ranking slow D 15th overall and then trading up to take Riley Nash over Max Pacioretty. Sigh. Here’s to one or two of these players hitting 11 & 12 in the next couple of seasons.

Rube Foster

If you are going to “steal” an idea from anyone, you could do a lot worse than shoplifting from the Bill James store.

The resulting chart is a lovely way to monitor the development path of the Oilers Prospects!


Speaking of prospects, the Leafs announced their rookie tournament roster today – I’m looking forward to the Oilers doing the same shortly.

I think the tournament starts next Friday – always fun and the first taste of real hockey.

Means main camp is right around the corner.


Interesting blog but I’m not sure I understand it – I will have to re-read it when I’m home from the office.