Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Starting points review

Since our last ranking was published almost two months ago, many other lists for the 2017 NHL Draft have come out, including Bob McKenzie’s first of the season and NHL Central Scouting's preliminary assessment of this year class.

Bob’s list came out the day after ours and provides a benchmark for what the supposed scouting consensus was at the start of the CHL season. 

You can find his preliminary ranking here. To the left you can see highlighted the players who were eligible for our ranking. When looking at those names the main thing that struck us was two players were missing from Bob's list: Nico Hischier and Elias Pettersson were right on top of our ranking but nowhere to be found there. Even more striking when considering K. Kostin, our #4 in Europe, sat at #3 overall, and K. Vesalainen, our #7 in Europe, sat 7th overall behind only T. Liljegren and K. Kostin among Euro-based prospects. Only two more of those made McKenzie’s list, M. Necas and L. Andersson, with our #5 M. Davidsson missing as well.

The future CSS lists for Europe will be particularly interesting and easy to compare since they’ll pertain to the same group of prospects, but at this stage CSS still has all the players together and only rated by A/B/C rather than ranked. Still, their initial ratings released on October 4th (as of now yet available here) definitely provided some food for thought as they even sharpened some of the differences mentioned above between our assessment and the seeming consensus.

As highlighted in the pictures below, they had Pettersson rated as 2nd/3rd material, together with M. Davidsson, D. Samorukov and H. Jokiharju. Our highest ranked goaltender, D. Tarasov, got a 4th to 6th round assessment, like S. Walfridsson and F. Zetterlund.

Almost two months later, and with the first international break in the books, it’s interesting to focus on the players recipient of the main differences.
Our September top ranked prospect Nico Hischier took some weeks to get comfortable on North American rinks, had no goals in his first 5 QMJHL regular season games, but has scored 19 times in his last 19 games, producing at a 2 points per game pace over that span, with a recent spurt of 19 points in his last 6 games. 
His current output (41 points in 24 games, 18 more than the next rookie) is good for second in the league; considering Nico is far from a one dimensional player, that is really encouraging and we would be indeed surprised if he is not going to make McKenzie’s top 15 at midterm.