I’m a big believer in NHL equivalency, if not in the exact number the formula spits out for each player, then the spirit of what it tries to do. Rob Vollman publishes a new set of numbers each year and talks about it annually in his Hockey Abstracts (new one out soon!). For me, it seems there is in fact a line in the sand for offense among forwards. If a player can’t reach the highest outer marker, chances are his only NHL option is as a depth player. If a player can’t deliver at least some offense, we are looking at a wasted selection or signing. I do believe NHLE can guide us in this area, and that’s important.
Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $4 a month! I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s a pure pleasure to visit. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.
- New Black Dog Pat: The Pursuit of Happiness.
- New Jonathan Willis: No. 14 prospect—Olivier Rodrigue
- New Lowetide: No. 15 prospect—William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: No. 16 prospect—Cameron Hebig
- Lowetide: No. 17 prospect—Graham McPhee
- Jonathan Willis: No. 18 prospect—Ryan Mantha
- Lowetide: No. 19 prospect—John Marino
- Jonathan Willis: No. 20 prospect—Tyler Vesel
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospects: Forwards outside the top 20
- Jonathan Willis: Are Hayden Hawkey and Phil Kemp underrated gems?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2013 draft: Two NHL players and one crazy trade.
- Lowetide: Tracking Oilers training camp six weeks out.
- Lowetide: Some lingering questions about Oilers 2018 draft and evaluating goalies.
- Lowetide: Oilers training camp: 28 men for 23 jobs.
- Jonathan Willis: Predicting the winners in the top 6 and top 9 forwards.
- Lowetide: The news is out: Youth shall be served.
- Lowetide: Cap decisions of 2017 may continue to hamper 2019 decisions
- Jonathan Willis: Analyzing the Oilers 2018-19 depth chart (including additions)
- Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors could be best Oilers AHL team in ages
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
NHLE FORWARDS, SUMMER 2015
NHL equivalencies are helpful and you need to know age as well. Although the Connor McDavid number is insane, and we knew he was going to be earth shattering before applying math, the fact that he did it in the best junior league in the world at 17 is mind boggling.
The Draisaitl number is outstanding, doubly so because in 2014-15 he was 18. That’s an outstanding total for a draft +1 player. The rest: Kyle Platzer 19 (led Owen Sound Attack in scoring), Anton Slepyshev 20, Tyler Pitlick 22, Iiro Pakarinen 23. Andrew Miller was 25. Where is your ‘line in the sand’ for a future skill player? Is it 35 points? 30? A lot of the conversation surrounds the age of the player when he reaches those plateaus.
NHLE FORWARDS, SUMMER 2018
Kailer Yamamoto’s NHLE at 18 (36.2) was impressive, just a little shy of Leon Draisaitl at the same age. I’m not going to suggest KY has the same impact, the undersized winger plays the wing and doesn’t have the same skill set. That said, he’s an outstanding talent, whether he arrives this fall or next.
What to make of Cooper Marody? A 34.8 NHLE is a strong number, but he did it at 21. Andrew Cogliano was at 35.6 (age 19) with Michigan in 2006-07, Zach Hyman had a 39.4 NHLE for Michigan (Marody’s college) at age 22, that’s a handsome figure. I’m inclined to believe Marody is going to be able to deliver enough offense to be in the conversation for a skill line in the NHL when he arrives.
Kirill Maksimov is a fascinating character, should we count on him to be something else? Well, there’s a chance. He posted these numbers in the OHL too, that’s a quality league. Cliff Pu (36.1), Jason Robertson (33.9) are in the general range, Robertson was noted as a possible first rounder in Maksimov’s draft year. We need to see him do it again, but this is a nice neighbourhood. I’d say a re-draft puts him well inside the second round.
NHLE DEFENSE, SUMMER 2018
Evan Bouchard blocks out the sun, he is both very young and extremely talented. Paul Coffey’s NHLE in his final junior season (age 18) was 33.6 and he was Paul freaking Coffey. So there’s that. The defensive questions about him this week were in fact contained in his scouting reports, including Corey Pronman at The Athletic:
- “He’ll need to continue improving defensively in his reads/battles to be solid defensively as a pro, but he’s shown progress there and took the tough matchups this season.”
We can’t know about Bouchard’s future as a defender beyond the fact there’s a learning curve and that’s an area he’ll need to improve in order to be the player his skills imply. NHLE tells us he is a substantial offensive prospect so there will be a temptation to give him a push this fall (I think he’ll land in Cologne and get 9 NHL games before heading out).
Evan Bouchard is a substantial prospect and there is much work to do. If he becomes another Ryan Ellis, music! We’re many miles from knowing his outer marker. We don’t know what we don’t know, but we can use common sense and the tools available to us to monitor progress. If you’re upset about Bouchard’s Kamloops performance, here’s some advice: Calm your tits, pack a lunch because the answer isn’t going to arrive this morning when your toast pops up. Ryan Ellis was drafted in 2009, became an NHL regular Boxing Day, 2011. Pace yourself, be good to each other, and know that if you’re ripping Bruce McCurdy you’re on the wrong side of history, current events and your Mom.
LAST YEAR’S NHLE (FORWARDS AND DEFENSE)