USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
The NHL Draft is sort of like a stock market.
Past years matter, but who is trending up or down the most when the draft rolls around often weighs heavily on which prospects are chosen where.
With that in mind, one thing I like to do every year is look at a prospect’s games played totals, divide them by two, and tally up how many points said prospect records in each half.
The OHL regular season recently came to a conclusion, so I did just that.
There is a lot that goes into production – linemates, usage, etc – and this isn’t a perfect system, but generally it gives a pretty good idea of which prospects improved as the year went on, and which prospects failed to sustain early season success.
To start, I charted the nine highest scoring draft eligibles from the OHL, and sorted them into a top-tier (OHL defensemen and the 2nd tier of forwards will be featured in later posts).
Below you will see the 1st half production, 2nd half production, and the differential – either positive or negative – for those nine prospects.
Oddly enough, Connor McDavid’s scoring rates were identical in the 2nd half of the season. Ideally you’d like to see higher totals in the 2nd half, but McDavid is so far above the rest and sets such a high standard that it’s almost impossible to improve on his totals.
Both Mitch Marner and Dylan Strome improved on their 1st half totals, but the difference was insignificant.
Travis Konecny entered the season regarded as a potential top-5 pick – and top-10 lock – but didn’t produce much out of the gate for a variety of reasons (including injury). His production rose significantly in the 2nd half, though, as he saw the biggest differential out of all OHL draft eligibles. In the 1st half he posted a respectable .87PPG. In the 2nd half he put up points at a 1.4 per game clip. That’s over a .50PPG difference. He’ll rise in draft rankings accordingly, I imagine.
Pavel Zacha possesses a ton of talent, but due to a) playing on a mediocre team and; b) missing a bunch of time due to injuries, suspensions, and the World Juniors he never really got going. Given all he went through it’s actually pretty impressive he almost produced at a point per game clip.
Lawson Crouse is another guy who took off in the 2nd half. Part of that is the return of Sam Bennett, but Crouse’s point production was improving prior to Bennett’s return. If he wasn’t already graded so highly by most services he’d be looked at as a riser. Say what you want about him, but 6’3′ prospects who average over a point per game (for the 2nd half, anyway) don’t come around all that often.
Nikita Korostelev started the season pretty well, but his production has dipped in the 2nd half. I haven’t seen him/Sarnia enough to pin point exactly why his production has dipped, but he is still a prospect I like.
Blake Speers tore it up in the 1st half of the season, averaging over 1.2PPG. His 2nd half production dipped a fair amount, but he’s still averaging over a point per game. As much as anything, I think his decrease in production could be attributed to playing a lesser role after deadline acquisitions such as Sabres prospect Justin Bailey and Ducks prospect Nick Ritchie joined the Greyhounds.
Lastly we have Dante Salituro. He’s a very small guy – listed at 5’9′- so naturally he’s not ranked highly by a lot of people despite his impressive point totals. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes come June.
If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!