Todd Cordell

USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS

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By The Numbers: Evaluating OHL 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 Prospect-Stats.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 level.

Last season I did track a fair amount of junior and college games, which allowed me to share (for the most part) small samples of numbers for many of the top draft eligible prospects. I was hoping to track a lot more this season but the streaming service I used folded about halfway through the season so I was only able to track nationally televised games down the stretch.

Nevertheless, tracking is a time consuming process and I’m fairly content with the information I was able to gather throughout the season even though it’s a little top heavy.

What Can The Numbers Tell Us?

While for most of the players I tracked 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 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 generates a lot of controlled entries on a per game basis it’s probably a reasonable bet to assume he’s normally good through the neutral zone.

Notes & Numbers

A few notes before presenting the data:

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

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

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

– I added sorted stats below the raw table but it’s important to note that time on ice is a very important factor with those numbers.

Without further ado here are the zone start, zone entry and shot attempt numbers from the 2015-16 season for many of the top prospects coming out of the OHL.

Data

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Sorted by SAF/GP

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Sorted by SAA/GP

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Sorted by CE/GP

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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: A Look At The OHL’s 2015 NHL Draft Eligible Players

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As someone who scouts OHL, I love the NHL draft, and I love following the prospects who could be selected.

While I’ve seen every team in the OHL this season, I obviously can’t be at every game, so I regularly take to the numbers and highlight packages to see what I’ve missed.

Numbers aren’t the whole story, obviously, but since I read every OHL boxscore anyways, I decided to start an excel document tracking some numbers.

This little project simply keeps track of how often a player gets on the scoresheet, and what percentage of games Player X records at least one point, at least two points, and so forth.

Ice time, strength of linemates, etc. all factor into a player’s production, but I thought it’d be interesting to see just how frequently certain players get on the scoresheet, and how often they have multi-point games.

This tells me who is producing offense on a consistent basis, and who is capable of putting up points in chunks. Again, there is a lot that goes into it, but generally a player who has a handful of games where he has put up 4+ points possesses more offensive upside than a guy whose season high is two points.

With that in mind, here are the numbers for most of the top draft eligible forwards and defensemen from the OHL.

Note: This is only 1st year eligibles. 2nd year entries such as Andrew Mangiapane – who is likely to be selected this year – were not included. I update this chart regularly and will add the newest version to this blog post at least once a week. 

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By The Numbers: Shawinigan Cataractes @ Québec Remparts – Feb 6 2015

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Though the QMJHL is the best of the three CHL leagues when it comes to tracking data – they have shot and dangerous shot totals, among other numbers – there isn’t much data available at the junior level.

With that in mind, I PvRed last night’s game between Shawinigan and Quebec and decided to track even-strength numbers when I arrived home from scouting Barrie @ Mississauga.

It would take far too long to track everyone, so I decided I’d only track draft eligible forwards Anthony Beauvillier (SHA), Dennis Yan (SHA) and Dmytro Timashov (QUE), all of whom are producing at high rates and should be top-90 picks.

I should note I only tracked the even-strength numbers for the first 55 minutes of the game, as my PvR stopped recording with five minutes remaining; though almost all of it was spent with the special teams units on the ice.

Zone Starts

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It was clear that Shawinigan wanted Beauvillier in the offensive zone as much as possible, as he is their most prolific offensive player. He started quite a few shifts in the defensive zone while taking a regular shift on the PK, but again, they wanted him in offensive situations at ES. He led all players with 8SOG so it’s not hard to see why.

Dennis Yan started a lot of his early shifts in either the NZ or DZ, but started to get more offensive zone starts as the game went on, and Shawinigan was pushing to tie the game. He took a few shifts on Beauvillier’s line late.

As for Dmytro Timashov, he didn’t seem to get as much ice as you’d expect a guy with over 70 points in 53 games would get, but that’s likely a product of playing on a team loaded with star power. That also falls in line with the numbers CHLStats.com has, as they project he gets less than 10 ES minutes per game.

Zone Entries

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Looking at the zone entry numbers, it’s not hard to see why Yan started a lot of shifts outside the offensive zone early in the game. He’s a good skater and is clearly good at driving play up ice and carrying it into the OZ to set up shop.

Timashov and Beauvillier both enjoyed some success with zone entries, but their sample sizes were rather small.

Shot Attempts

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Beauvillier was controlling play at a high rate for the first 35 minutes or so, but he was caved in as the game went on. When he started playing every other shift in the 3rd period his numbers really plummeted. Playing heavy minutes against an elite team will wear on you, and I think that was the case in this one.

Yan started slow – I believe only one of the first five attempts were by Shawinigan – but he got better as the game went on, as his OZS% started to rise late when Shawinigan was trying to come from behind.

Timashov’s numbers were very impressive, and he started to take over the game as it went on. Playing primarily against Shawinigan’s top-6 forwards Timashov was able to control play despite starting only one shift in the offensive zone at even-strength.

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I’m not sure how often I’ll be producing these articles, but Sportsnet airs 1-2 (typically two now) CHL broadcasts per weekend, so I’ll try and track the top draft eligibles from most of the games they air.

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