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  • #31
    Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post
    Decided to make a list of the top 25 NHL-drafted prospects.

    1. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche - His numbers in NCAA at 20 are simply ridiculous. Maybe not a sure bet, but his potential is unlimited.
    2. Barrett Hayton, C, Arizona Coyotes - May well end up a 19-23 minute a game type of guy.
    3. Kristian Vesalainen, LW, Winnipeg Jets.
    4. Erik Brannstrom, D, Ottawa Senators - High chances he'll be a perennial 50 point per year, 25 minute per game defenseman.
    5. Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks - Better offensive upside than Brannstrom perhaps, but not as polished or as proven at higher levels.
    6. Thatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks - Has been elite at every level. I will be surprised if he doesn't end up one of the best goalies in the NHL at some point.
    7. Drake Batherson, RW, Ottawa Senators - A year ago he wouldn't have made my top 50, but a 20 year old rookie putting up numbers like he is in the AHL this year is unusual.
    8. Aleksi Heponieni, C, Florida Panthers - After he was among the top scorers in WHL at 18, he returned to Finland to be one of the top scorers in SM Liiga at 19. Also tied for the scoring lead at World Juniors. I haven't been paying attention to what the "experts" say about prospects, but I have a feeling kid is gonna fly under the radar. Don't sleep on him.
    9. Cody Glass, C, Vegas Golden Knights.
    10. Maxime Comtois, LW, Anaheim Ducks
    11. Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Nashville Predators - A year ago he might have been in the top five. Having an off-year but his upside is still tremendous.
    12. Adin Hill, G, Arizona Coyotes - A 6'6, 22 year old goalie who already has three solid AHL seasons under his belt and has performed respectably in a handful of NHL appearances this year.
    13. Vitali Kravtsov, RW, New York Rangers.
    14. Logan Brown, C, Ottawa Senarors - It was tough to get a read on him as a junior prospect, but this year he's one of the highest scoring 20 year old AHL rookies. What sets Brown apart from Kyrou or Dube is that he's 6'6.
    15. Jake Oettinger - G, Dallas Stars - Still too young to get much of a read on for a goalie, but he was a rare first round pick, and hasn't done anything to hurt his pedigree since his draft.
    16. Filip Zadina, LW, Detroit Red Wings - He hasn't been bad, but I'm less excited about him now than I was a year ago.
    17. Eric Comrie, G, Winnipeg Jets.
    18. Josh Norris, C, Ottawa Senators.
    19. Evan Bouchard, D, Edmonton Oilers.
    20. Adam Boqvist, D, Chicago Blackhawks.
    21 Juuso Valimaki, D, Calgary Flames.
    22. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, Buffalo Sabres.
    23. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Carolina Hurricanes.
    24. Martin Necas, C, Carolina Hurricanes.
    25. Emil Bemstrom, C, Columbus Blue Jackets.
    Great list. If I had to make one addition at each position, these would be my choices (no idea who I would remove though):

    F - Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers
    D - Henri Jokiharju, Chicago Blackhawks
    G - Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

    Looking at the lists, teams with more than one entry:

    Arizona - Hayton and Hill
    Carolina - Nedeljkovic and Necas
    Chicago - Boqvist and Jokiharju
    Ottawa - Brannstrom, Batherson, Brown, and Norris (maybe a bit of bias here)
    Philadelphia - Frost and Hart
    Vancouver - Hughes amd Demko
    Winnipeg - Vesalainen and Comrie

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by Josh View Post

      Great list. If I had to make one addition at each position, these would be my choices (no idea who I would remove though):

      F - Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers
      D - Henri Jokiharju, Chicago Blackhawks
      G - Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

      Looking at the lists, teams with more than one entry:

      Arizona - Hayton and Hill
      Carolina - Nedeljkovic and Necas
      Chicago - Boqvist and Jokiharju
      Ottawa - Brannstrom, Batherson, Brown, and Norris (maybe a bit of bias here)
      Philadelphia - Frost and Hart
      Vancouver - Hughes amd Demko
      Winnipeg - Vesalainen and Comrie
      Great observations all around. 25th seems way too low for Bemstrom in my books though.

      Comment


      • #33
        Was a pretty spur-the-moment thing. Not as much time and care went into this list as some others. One of the main problems was I didn't clearly decide or define what constitutes a prospect. But yeah, Jokiharju and Hart weren't oversights. I figured they had played too many games. That may not have been the right decision.

        Frost was one that I had trouble leaving off, but I actually think less so than Jordan Kyrou and Dillon Dubé. I just find it hard to get excited about 19 year old prospects lighting up junior. Obviously this is somewhat flawed thinking, because of course there are elite prospects in junior... just they're a lot harder to pick out. And a lot of my impressions for this list were based on this past world juniors, so some Finns definitely get a boost, and Canadian prospects suffer (see: Bouchard).

        True Bemstrom is probably too low. Maybe a bit of Sens bias, but I dunno. I've been pretty clear about my thoughts on Brannstrom before he was a Sen. Look at AHL stats for the past 15 years, the numbers Batherson is doing at his age are very unusual. Really the only other examples are the ones I always point at as paradigm cases: Pastrnak, Kucherov, Rantanen, plus a few more. Josh Norris was one of the best players at World Juniors. The one I'm least sure about is Logan Brown, but he does seem to have a lot of tools.

        Comment


        • #34
          In retrospect, the weirdest thing about the list is that there are 6 goalies and 6 defensemen.

          Comment


          • #35
            To clarify the point I made about Batherson, here are the players who have put up more than a couple points better than a point per game under 21 in the AHL, the asterisks mark players who were not rookies to the AHL:

            Dillon Dubé (so far this season), Mikko Rantanen, William Nylander*, David Pastrnak, Ryan Strome, Kyle Palmieri*, Luke Adam, Logan Couture, David Krejci, Alex Radulov (18 in 11), Patrick O'Sullivan.

            Maybe Dubé should be pretty high up on the list as well. Based on this list there is a roughly 90% chance Dubé or Batherson makes the league, and at least a 50% chance they'll be really good players.
            Last edited by matchesmalone; 03-13-2019, 12:41 AM.

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            • #36
              I went to game 3 between the Saskatoon Blades and PA Raiders last night. Wow. I'm not sure I've ever seen such a tight checking, low-mistake junior game. The Blades picked up their first win of the series 1-0.

              Obviously the first thing to note was the goaltenders. About a minute into the game there was a long scramble in front if the PA net. I lost track of the puck but the ref seemed to make the right call not blowing it dead, and eventually the puck came loose and Kirby Dach was in good position in front of the net to sweep in the backhand. From there on both goalies were perfect. Leafs prospect Ian Scott looked strong but didn't face a lot of work, as PA controlled most if what there was for offensive zone time and chances, but really neither team had a ton, as the game was marked by broken plays and spent a lot of time in the neutral zone.

              Draft eligible Blades goalie, Nolan Meier saw a bit more work than Scott, and looked great when he needed to be, but the Raider's best chance of the game was a post by Brett Leason with the extra attacker with 11 seconds left. At just 6' Meier isn't ranked by any of the scouting services, but he played for Canada at Ivan Hlinkas, and had pretty good stats as a 17 year old starter in the WHL. I'd be surprised if he isn't drafted.

              As for skaters, I really don't have anything interesting to report. I kept an eye on Parker Kelly (undrafted Sens signee) and Canadiens 2018 5th rounder Cole Fonstad. Both looked like what they are. A 19 year old undrafted prospect and an 18 year old 5th rounder. Solid junior players, but fringe prospects; I'll be surprised if Parker Kelly ever sees an NHL game, and Fonstad will need a major breakout next year to establish himself as a legit prospect.

              Brett Leason looked like an NHL player. Big body, made smart plays, not a great skater or dazzling puckhandler but sees the ice well, had a couple of decent reverses and handoffs, and then finds open areas to set himself up for his real strength: his powerful shot, quick release and solid net-front presence.

              Kirby Dach was the most impressive player. Obviously. But it was a bit surprising to me - this was only my 3rd Blades game this season, my 5th time seeing him in total. And every other time he looked good, but not like a top 5 NHL draft pick. Last night he looked like easily a top 3 pick. Absolutely dominant. Ridiculous speed for a 6'4 kid. Still pretty lanky, but strong enough to be physically imposing at the junior level. Constantly used his speed, strength and body positioning to get around defenders. At times he just blew past guys with his speed (on one occasion going end to end around the entire team to create a scoring chance), and other times he used his size to protect the puck and lean on people to go around them. The Blades must have only had about 8-10 scoring chances all game, and Dach was involved in 4 or 5 of them.

              Comment


              • #37
                Heads up everyone, it is easy to miss with the NHL playoffs just starting, but the NCAA championship final game goes tonight, 8pm eastern. UMass - Amherst vs. U of Minnesota - Duluth. UMD is a perennial contender with 7 Frozen Four appearances (this is their third in a row) and two national championships (they are defending champs). This is UMass' first ever appearance in the Frozen Four.

                UMD isn't a high scoring team and doesn't have a ton of high-end talent up front, but their D is absolutely stacked. Led by Michael Anderson (who was my pick for best D at World Juniors; LA - 103rd 2017) and his defense partner from WJHC, Dylan Samberg (Winnipeg - 43rd 2017). They also have St. Louis 2018 45th pick Scott Perunovich.

                But the real reason to watch will be UMass defenseman and Hobey Baker Winner, Cale Makar. Probably the best prospect in the world, with a couple points tonight he could actually win the NCAA scoring race. He would be the first to do so in the history of NCAA hockey.

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                • #38
                  Why do NCAA playoff stats count towards regular season totals?

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                  • #39
                    I was wondering the same thing. I've been looking into it. Still pretty confused but I think I figured it out. Each regional conference (there are 6) has it's own playoff tournament. Each is a bit different due to different number of teams, but as far as they can tell, each has 4 rounds of best of 3 (some teams get byes in the first round). And then the top team in each conference gets into the main tournament, and the other 10 teams get in based on some formula or something.

                    Considering each of the 6 conferences only has around 10-12 teams, and every team gets into the playoffs, you've got a large portion of the teams playing a bunch of extra games. Every conference only plays between 22-28 regular season games. So without wanting to do any math, it seems you've got a good chunk of teams playing up to a quarter or even a third of their games in the playoffs.

                    To cherrypick one example, U of Denver made it to the semifinal in the national tournament. They played just 24 regular season games but ended up playing 41 games total. That's 41% of their games were playoff games.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post
                      I was wondering the same thing. I've been looking into it. Still pretty confused but I think I figured it out. Each regional conference (there are 6) has it's own playoff tournament. Each is a bit different due to different number of teams, but as far as they can tell, each has 4 rounds of best of 3 (some teams get byes in the first round). And then the top team in each conference gets into the main tournament, and the other 10 teams get in based on some formula or something.

                      Considering each of the 6 conferences only has around 10-12 teams, and every team gets into the playoffs, you've got a large portion of the teams playing a bunch of extra games. Every conference only plays between 22-28 regular season games. So without wanting to do any math, it seems you've got a good chunk of teams playing up to a quarter or even a third of their games in the playoffs.

                      To cherrypick one example, U of Denver made it to the semifinal in the national tournament. They played just 24 regular season games but ended up playing 41 games total. That's 41% of their games were playoff games.
                      Wow, that's a pretty intense season. Thanks for sharing what info you could dig up :)

                      On another note, Massachusetts lost 3-0, so Makar failed to grab the title. Would have been really special. Colorado's got a damn decent cupboard now, and 4th overall plus another 1st round pick this year isn't going to hurt that at all.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Added a bunch of players, including Japanese prospects Yu Sato (2020) and Yusaku Ando (2021).

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                        • #42
                          I did up my top 20 Sens prospects, just gonna wait until after the draft to finish it. In the meantime I'm also gonna try to do Columbus, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Any other suggestions?

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post
                            I did up my top 20 Sens prospects, just gonna wait until after the draft to finish it. In the meantime I'm also gonna try to do Columbus, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Any other suggestions?
                            Vegas! Last I checked they had a very deep prospect pool, would love to see your analysis on them.

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                            • #44
                              Will do. I've also always been high on Bob Lowes as a scout. I'd imagine he has a significant role in drafting now as Assistant DPP, interested to see how he's doing there.

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                              • #45
                                K when Josh pointed out the possibility of bias in my top prospects list, I wondered if he might be right, now I'm not so sure.

                                Looking for bluechip talents, prospects with with a high chance to be NHL players, and a reasonable chance to be star players.

                                Toronto has three in Ian Scott, Rasmus Sandin, Jeremy Bracco. Columbus has four, Emil Bemstrom, Alexandre Texier, Liam Foudy, Danil Tarasov. The Rangers have three, Vitali Kravtsov, Lias Andersson, K'Andre Miller. Vegas has Cody Glass and Nic Hague.

                                The Sens have at least five, in Batherson, Bernard-Docker, Brannstrom, Brown and Norris. I would include Gustavsson, despite a rough year. This is fairly objectively verifiable. All were first round picks from within the past three drafts (Gustavsson a second, close enough for a goalie) who have not failed to show the signs of progression proper to a pick of that status, plus Batherson.

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