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Rating Teenagers: A Situational Breakdown of the Top Forward Draft Prospects

When considering who the Avs should draft in the 2011 draft, it is worthwhile looking at how the top draft prospects perform in certain situations. To do this I taken 6 forwards which are considered to be top 10 selections - 2 from each of the major junior leagues (WHL, OHL and QMJHL). I looked at Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Strome from the OHL, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sven Bartschi from the WHL and Sean Couturier and Jonathon Huberdeau from the QMJHL.

Firstly, as mcarson recently did with Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins and Couturier, I split the statistics of the top prospects into even strength, powerplay, shorthanded and empty net points scored at even strength. Statistics are current as of today's playoff games.

 

Situation                 EV       PP      SH      EN       Total

Landeskog                50       20       2         4           76

Strome                     69       45       2         1           117

Nugent-Hopkins         51       65       0         1           117

Bartschi                    74       24       0         1           99

Couturier                   63       35       8         1           107

Huberdeau                 81       38       6         2           127

However, as is obvious, Landeskog suffers by this metric. Accordingly, these figures were converted in point per game figures:

 

Situation              EV   PP   SH   EN   Total

Landeskog           0.83 0.33 0.03 0.07 1.27

Strome                0.90 0.58 0.03 0.01 1.52

Nugent-Hopkins    0.65 0.83 0.00 0.01 1.50

Bartschi               0.96 0.31 0.00 0.01 1.29

Couturier              0.93 0.51 0.12 0.01 1.57

Huberdeau           1.04 0.49 0.08 0.03  1.63

 

 

Observations:

  • What is interesting about these results is that the top two forward prospects according to the most recent Central Scouting rankings for 2011 in Nugent-Hopkins and Landeskog actually have the lowest Even Strength point per game averages out of the six skaters examined. This could possibly suggest that scouts are paying too much attention to the powerplay performance of a prospect (Nugent-Hopkins) or are banking on the fact that injuries have hurt their rate of scoring (Landeskog). As the CHL does not publish time on ice data - there is no way to know how many minutes each player was playing.

  • By this metric, both the QMJHL players in Huberdeau and Couturier look very good.

However, I also wanted to attempt to standardise the amount of points scored by players in different leagues. Two methods were adopted to do this. First, I calculated the number of goals scored across the three leagues for the regular season and then standardised the points per game figures using the different between the OHL and the other leagues.

Goals Scored by League:

  • QMJHL: 4112 goals in 612 games, 6.72 GPG. 1 QMJHL point is worth 1.08 OHL points

  • OHL: 4934 goals in 680 games, 7.26 GPG

  • WHL: 5356 goals in 792 games, 6.76 GPG. 1 WHL point is worth 1.07 OHL points.

As we can assume the amount of assists for a goal is constant across the leagues, we can work out a ratio of how many points a point in the OHL is worth (I have used the OHL as it is the highest scoring league) and multiply all of the point per game scores by this, getting the following results:

 

Standardised Points Per Game

 

  • Landeskog: 1.27
  • Strome: 1.52
  • Nugent-Hopkins: 1.61
  • Bartschi: 1.38
  • Couturier: 1.70
  • Huberdeau: 1.76

 

This has caused the gap between Landeskog and the other skaters to increase again. Of course, this does not account for any differences in the average skill of skaters in the respective leagues. In order to consider this I looked at the percentage of offence contributed by each prospect - in the hope of providing context to their point per game figures by comparing to the rest of this team. To get team points per game I took the goals per game and added 1 and 3/4 assists for each goal.

 

Here are the results:
			Team Goals	Team GPG	Team PPG		% Points Contributed
Landeskog		256 			3.76 		10.35		12.23%
Strome  		273			4.01		11.04		13.76% 
Nugent-Hopkins		268			3.72		10.24		14.65% 
Bartschi		303			4.21		11.57		11.11% 
Couturier		251			3.69		10.15		15.50% 
Huberdeau		324			4.76		13.10		12.43% 

 

Observations:

  • It appears that Couturier has suffered by virtue of his team having an average offence: a QMJHL team's average GPG is 3.4GPG, Couturier's team only averaged 3.69GPG.

  • Nugent-Hopkins stands out using this metric, whilst Huberdeau suddenly looks less exceptional.

Finally, I wanted to do home and away splits for these prospects for 3 things: total points, multipoint games and zero point games

 

			Points 		Multipoint Games	Zero Point Games
 			Home 	Away 	Home 	Away		Home	Away
Landeskog		51	 25	17	7		8	11
Strome  		62	 55	19	17		9	7
Nugent-Hopkins		64 	53	22	15		8	12 
Bartschi		44	55	9	16		9	8
Couturier  		58	49	18	17		6	8 
Huberdeau 		70	57	22	18		8	6

 

Observations:

Landeskog's numbers are a bit odd. His home/away games split is not even by virtue of his injury with 32 home games played compared to 28 away games - but a half a point per game difference is significant (1.6 PPG at home v 1.1 PPG away). His multipoint games could be inflating this variance - as his split of zero point games are roughly normal. His injury can't be used to justified this result - as his games prior to the injury are split 50/50 in home and away games and his first 4 games back from injury were home games.

I think it is possible that Landeskog's number reflect that he did not respond very well to away coach's being able to match lines against Landeskog, whereas at home Steve Spott (Kitchener's coach) could control who he was sent out against. 

Bartschi is the only player with better performances on the road across the year. This could be he is on a loaded Portland Winterhawks team and is effectively on the 2nd line of this team (Niederreiter is probably the 1st line LW). Accordingly, he could have been slipping under the radar slightly and not being matched against the oppositions top line. Also, his playoff performance has probably skewed the numbers, as 4 out of 5 multipoint games he has had in the playoffs were on the road, and he has only been scoreless at home during the playoffs (4 times).

If you are looking for a consistent performance by a prospect again - the top 2 prospects aren't very successful at this with Landeskog going scoreless in a 32% of his games and Nugent-Hopkins failing to record points in 26% of games. There is a 5% gap to Bartschi, with Huberdeau the best at 18% of games scoreless. Again, this reiterates that the scouts are probably utilising other metrics to calculate performance.

 

Conclusions:

 

So who would you choose from these numbers? Personally, I think that Couturier looks pretty good from these numbers, but I think any of these guys would be okay for the Avs. What are your thoughts? 

MileHighHockey.com is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of MileHighHockey.com.

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