Todd Cordell

USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS

Category Archives: QMJHL

By The Numbers: Evaluating Prospects With Advanced Stats

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Intro

Analytics in hockey have been growing rapidly over the last few years but there’s still a long way to go – particularly in junior hockey and with prospects.

While there are some good websites (notably CHLStats.com) out there that provide more insight into what really is going on in the prospect world, there is essentially nothing available when it comes to underlying numbers on a game-by-game basis at the CHL and NCAA levels.

When I’m not scouting in a rink I often find myself watching junior hockey on TV whenever the opportunity presents itself. Since I’d watch a lot of games, anyway, I decided to start tracking numbers for prospects in the games televised.

Unfortunately it’s a very time consuming process so I only tracked a handful of players per game.

I didn’t start doing this until midway through the season so I missed the opportunity to track a good chunk of games, however, I tracked a fair amount in the latter half of the season and throughout the CHL playoffs.

What Can This Tell Us?

While there isn’t enough data available to make any dramatic conclusions, this can help give us an idea of how Player Y was utilized by his team, Player Y’s ability to drive play up ice and why Player Y produced as much/as little as they did.

For example, it’s tougher for a player with a lot of defensive zone starts to produce offense than a player who regularly starts in the offensive zone. If Player Y is being spoon fed defensive zone starts his ability to put up points is being hindered.

In terms of zone entries if a player gained the line with possession 20 out of 25 times it’s probably a reasonable bet to assume he’s normally good through the neutral zone.

Notes & Numbers

A couple notes before presenting the data:

– These numbers include all even-strength play (i.e. 5 v 5, 4 v 4, etc.).

– I sorted by league to make all the data easier to navigate.

– I didn’t combine international hockey to a player’s numbers in North America due to different levels of competition, larger ice surfaces, etc.

– Memorial Cup numbers have been added to a player’s league numbers since the level of competition is very similar. That means Leon Draisaitl’s numbers, for example, include what he did against WHL teams as well as what he did at the Memorial Cup against OHL/QMJHL teams.

– SAF and SAA are shot attempts for and against. OZS, NZS, and DZS are offensive, neutral and defensive zone starts. CE are controlled entries and EA are entry attempts.

Without further ado here are the zone start, zone entry and shot attempt numbers from the 2014-15 season for many of the top prospects in North America.

OHL

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WHL

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QMJHL

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NCAA

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World Hockey Championships

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Under 18’s

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If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

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By The Numbers: Kelowna Rockets vs Quebec Remparts – May 29, 2015

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Intro

Players tracked:

*2nd year eligible

Quebec – F Vladimir Tkachev (2015*), F Dmytro Timashov (2015)

Kelowna – F Leon Draisaitl (Oilers), F Nick Merkley (2015)

Final score: 9-3 Kelowna

Zone Starts

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Vladimir Tkachev started the game on a line with Dmytro Timashov but midway through they were separated and Tkachev didn’t play much in the latter half.

Dmytro Timashov started almost all of his shifts outside of the offensive zone until the very end of the game. He had three offensive zone starts (a couple as a result to icings) in the final few minutes. It was clear that Quebec had no problem with him starting outside of the OZ and they relied on him heavily to drive play up ice.

Nick Merkley and Leon Draisaitl are linemates and were once again relied upon to do the heavy lifting for the Rockets. They fared extremely well in doing so, which you’ll see below.

Zone Entries

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Vladdy Hockey had four controlled entries in the first eight minutes of the game, and just one in the final 52. More than anything that was a result of almost no ice time in the latter half of the game. Despite limited ice he was still excellent through the neutral zone and did a good job moving the puck in the right direction.

It’s not hard to see why Timashov started the majority of his shifts outside of the offensive zone. He’s a very good skater with excellent puck skills so he’s able to dance around defenders even when challenged.

Merkley was absolutely dominant through the neutral zone. He’s a great skater and his speed regularly forces defenders to back up and give him the line. There’s also always the option of dishing it off to Draisaitl which defenders have to respect. That often gives Merkley more space to work with.

Draisaitl wasn’t perfect but was once again very good through the middle of the ice. He’s not a burner but he has a great set of hands on him which makes him tough to defend in space.

Shot Attempts

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Tkachev didn’t bring his best possession game to the table, however, he went huge chunks of minutes without a shift at times which probably didn’t help his cause. One shift he was caught out for seven shot attempts against vs the Merkley/Draisaitl line and that killed his numbers. Beyond that one shift he was actually pretty good and his neutral zone work was excellent.

Timashov played about as well as you can in a 9-3 loss. He was effective through the neutral zone, came out positive in possession despite a good chunk of defensive zone starts and he also chipped in a power play goal.

Merkley somehow didn’t get on the scoresheet despite an excellent showing. He was perfect through the neutral zone and dominated in possession while starting just one of 17 even-strength shifts in the offensive zone.

Last but not least we have Leon the beast Draisaitl. He was excellent in all aspects of the game and that shows up in his underlying numbers. For the standard stat crowd he scored a goal, added two assists and recorded six shots on goal while also winning over 60% of his faceoffs. He was a man amongst boys in this one.

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If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

By The Numbers: Rimouski Oceanic vs Quebec Remparts – May 27, 2015

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Intro

Players tracked:

*2nd year eligible

Quebec – F Vladimir Tkachev (2015*), F Dmytro Timashov (2015)

Rimouski – F Frederik Gauthier (Maple Leafs)

Final score: 4-0 Rimouski.

Zone Starts

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Vladimir Tkachev started the game playing on Antony Duclair’s line but moved to Dmytro Timashov’s line in the 2nd period. As a result they had similar zone start numbers. Both are good through the neutral zone and generally far well in possession in the games I track so starting them outside of the offensive zone isn’t a cause for concern.

Rimouski was the better team and carried play for most of the night so as a whole the team had a lot of offensive zone starts. Still, Frederik Gauthier was spoon fed as many defensive zone starts as he could handle. He played primarily against the Tkachev-Duclair line early on, and shifted his focus to the Tkachev-Timashov duo when they were put together.

Zone Entries

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Tkachev made good of his only entry attempt in this game. For the most part he’d carry the puck up through the neutral zone and dish it off to someone else before gaining the line.

Timashov was very good through the neutral zone. He’s a good skater and he possesses excellent hands which allowed him to elude defenders if he was challenged.

Gauthier was surprisingly good through the neutral zone. He’s not a burner and doesn’t ooze puck skills but he used his big, strong frame to power through contact and stick checks when necessary. I don’t see him as a dominant NZ guy but he was good in that aspect during this game.

Shot Attempts

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Tkachev didn’t get on the scoresheet but he was excellent in this game. His speed made him very tough to contain, and he was creating chances almost every time he touched the ice. It’s pretty hard to defend a guy when he’s setting up teammates while laying on the ice.

Timashov was in the same boat as Tkachev. He didn’t get on the scoresheet but he was still quite good in this game. When you can drive play at a near 60% clip despite starting more shifts in the defensive zone than offensive zone you’re doing something right.

Gauthier played the best game I’ve seen from him in the Memorial Cup. His possession numbers won’t ‘wow’ anyone but when you factor in he was spoon fed defensive zone starts and was perfect through the neutral zone it’s hard not to be impressed.

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If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

By The Numbers: Rimouski Oceanic vs Kelowna Rockets – May 25, 2015

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After dropping their opening games to Oshawa and Quebec respectively, the Rimouski Oceanic and Kelowna Rockets squared off looking for their 1st win of the tournament.

Kelowna jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and, though Rimouski was able to make it interesting for a little bit, never gave up the lead en route to a 7-3 win.

For the Rockets I tracked Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl as well as draft eligible forward Nick Merkely, while I kept my eyes on Maple Leafs prospect Frederik Gauthier for Rimouski.

Zone Starts

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Nick Merkley and Leon Draisaitl played on the same line in this game. Kelowna seemed hell bent on getting those two away from Frederik Gauthier so they essentially started in whatever zone Kelowna was in when Gauthier left the ice. Both have the ability to drive play up ice and produce offense so I don’t think the Rockets were overly concerned about that duo starting the majority of their shifts outside of the offensive zone.

Gauthier started a lot more shifts in the offensive zone as the game went on. Rimouski was down for almost the entire game and Gauthier is one of their best players so naturally he started more in the offensive zone while the Oceanic were trailing.

Zone Entries

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Merkley didn’t have many entry attempts because Draisaitl is the driver on their line, however, Merkely did show the ability to gain the line with possession in a small sample.

As per usual Draisaitl was a beast through the neutral zone. He’s not a burner but he gets around the ice better than most give him credit for and because of his puck skills and strength he’s very tough to stop.

I didn’t count any entry attempts for Gauthier. The Oceanic are a big, strong team and Gauthier doesn’t ooze speed/puck skills so often when he gained center he would just dump the puck in.

Shot Attempts

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There were 11 power plays in this game so the shot attempt numbers were a little lower than you’d expect to see from top players.

Merkley had a fantastic game scoring a couple goals and creating some glorious chances in the process, but he came out a little less than even in possession. He started more shifts in the defensive zone than offensive zone, though, so finishing almost 50% with three points is pretty impressive.

Draisaitl had a couple shifts away from Merkley throughout the game, and took on some heavier minutes, which shows in the numbers. Draisaitl still tallied three points, dominated through the neutral zone and came out close to 50% in possession despite starting just five of 17 shifts in the offensive zone.

Gauthier really struggled in this game. He started quite a few shifts in his own zone and struggled in the dot – he won 12/29 draws – which led to some shot attempts immediately after the puck was dropped. Rimouski also dumped the puck in a lot and failed to retreive those pucks on most occasions, which allowed Kelowna to grab the puck and take it the other way.

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If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

By The Numbers: Drummondville Voltigeurs @ Québec Remparts – Feb 8 2015

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I decided to track the numbers for Quebec vs Drummondville on Sunday. Unfortunately my PvR didn’t start recording until just past the midway point of the 2nd period.

I thought about just scrapping the tape, but given the limited amount of data available for CHL prospects I decided I’d track the remainder of the game.

Note: I tracked the numbers for draft eligibles Anthony Beauvillier, Dennis Yan and Dmytro Timashov from Quebec vs Shawinigan on Friday night.

Zone Starts

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This is less than 30 minutes of data, but it wasn’t too surprising to see Vladdy Tkachev spoon fed offensive zone starts by Quebec’s coaching staff. He’s an elite offensive talent, and the game was tied 2-2 when I started tracking, so it makes sense to give him favorable situations to play in.

I understand why Timashov (Quebec’s leading scorer) wasn’t given a ton of OZ starts, as through 4.5 periods of hockey I’ve tracked he has shown the ability to drive play up ice, and gain the line with control of the puck on a consistent basis.

As for Barre-Boulet, Drummondville spent a lot of the latter half of the game in their own zone so it was tough to get him offensive zone starts. That said, it seemed as if the coaching staff was quite comfortable with him handling tough assignments. He fared pretty well – especially given how he was utilized – which you’ll see down below.

Zone Entries

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Tkachev didn’t start a lot of shifts outside the offensive zone so he didn’t have many opportunities to rush the puck up ice and attack through the neutral zone. He looked good the couple times he did, though.

The sample size isn’t overly large, but I’m prepared to say Dmytro Timashov is very good coming through the neutral zone. He was a perfect 5-for-5 in the 2nd half of the game against Drummondville, and is now 8-for-9 in 4.5 periods of hockey.

Shot Attempts

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He had favorable zone starts, but Tkachev put on a show in this one. He was a consistent offensive threat, and it shows in the numbers. I didn’t track Tkachev’s performance in Quebec’s game Friday night, but he looked pretty good through the eye. I have no idea how this guy wasn’t drafted last June. Wait, I do. Small + Russian = passed over.

Timashov consistently carried the puck up ice and safely into the offensive zone, which allowed Quebec to set up shop and go to work. The results speak for themselves. Timashov had a 70CF% on Friday, and was at 71% in the 2nd half of this game. Considering he has 73 points and over 100 shots in 51 games, you’d think he’d be getting more talk.

Alex Barre-Boulet is not ranked by Central Scouting. I only saw a small sample, but I have a hard time believing over 200 players in North America are better. He scored a pair of goals – one of which I missed – and drove possession at a high rate, despite starting every shift outside the offensive zone.

Hopefully I can track more of his games in the future, because he strikes me as a good sleeper.

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Here are Timashov’s even-strength numbers through 4.5 periods of hockey. I just started doing this, so he’s the only player I have more than a game’s worth of data for.

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If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource.

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