Draft Theory: Re-Defining the Roles of Scouts and Stats

Rhys Jessop
June 10 2015 02:30PM

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Numbers and scouts would seem to be at odds over Pavel Zacha. But are they really?

I don't know precisely why this is, but I think I have a pretty good idea. Whenever we talk about looking at prospects through the lens of statistics and quantitative analysis, the discussion almost inevitably turns to "stats vs. scouts." Often times, people like myself are as guilty of going here as anybody. "Can you believe those idiots ranked Lawson Crouse ahead of Mitch Marner," I'll begin. "Don't they know that the numbers say this is insane?"

The thing is, going down the stats-against-scouts road is missing the point entirely. This isn't a pissing contest to see who's right more often. It's a continuous journey towards consistently identifying the best talent that has the highest chance of contributing at a significant level in the NHL. Numbers and watchers-of-the-games shouldn't be at odds with one another, since our end goal is the same - to identify the junior-aged players that project to be the best future NHLers.

As such, although the Twitter snark is fun, the actual debate when we're trying to advance our knowledge shouldn't be centred on who's right and who's wrong. Instead, we should be trying to leverage the strengths of every angle we can look at talent identification from to build a drafting and scouting approach that is as accurate, precise, and predictive as we can possibly make it. We want to use numbers to get the most out of our scouts, and we want to use scouts to get the most out of our numbers.

So how should we go about constructing a talent identification system that is grounded in quantitative analysis and also takes advantage of a rigorous qualitative approach? Let's explore after the jump.

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Utica Comets Calder Cup Postgame: Comets Bounce Back, But Suffer Another OT Loss

Rhys Jessop
June 07 2015 07:17PM

After a disappointing first game, the Utica Comets put together a much better game 2 as they tried to tie their Calder Cup final series against the Manchester Monarchs at one game apiece. While it was a far better effort than Saturday's, Utica simply could not contain the Monarchs for the full 60 minutes or on special teams, and couldn't beat Jean-Francois Berube more than once.

In a similar fashion as last game, the Comets were able to hang on until overtime, but Manchester eventually broke through with an OT winner, giving themselves a 2-0 lead in the series. Join us after the jump for some thoughts on tonight's Comets game.

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Utica Comets Calder Cup Postgame: Comets Drop Game 1 in OT

Rhys Jessop
June 06 2015 08:02PM

We knew going in to tonight that the Manchester Monarchs were the toughest test that the Utica Comets could possibly face this post season. Los Angeles' farm team had breezed through their bracket, dispatching their first two opponents in five games each before sweeping Hartford in the 3rd round. Much like their parent club, they are a dominant possession team that gives up next to nothing in terms of shots or chances.

Unlike the Kings though, Manchester possesses the most dominant offensive trio in the AHL, with Jordan Weal, Brian O'Neill, and Michael Mersch having lit up the playoffs so far. Jacob Markstrom did his best to hold the Comets in the game tonight, but the Monarchs attack was just too much in the end, as they were able to dispose of Utica 3-2 in overtime of game 1.

Join us after the jump to see what went down.

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Bob McKenzie Reveals Consensus Draft Rankings; Who Do the Canucks Pick?

Rhys Jessop
June 05 2015 05:51PM

Twitter was abuzz with some good old fashioned prospecting this morning, as The Godfather himself Bob McKenzie unveiled his consensus top-75 draft rankings for this month's upcoming entry draft (you can click here to view McKenzie's top-75 as well as player profiles from Craig Button). McKenzie's rankings carry a lot of weight because they're not actually his rankings per se, but rather an industry survey of a variety of scouts that work for NHL teams.

McKenzie's rankings are also generally the most accurate prognosticator of the first round, meaning he's usually bang-on in terms of the range of picks a guy will be selected in. With that in mind, let's take a look at the five players who surround Vancouver's 23rd overall selection to see what should be on the board.

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Benning: "Markstrom is ready now to play in the NHL"

Rhys Jessop
June 03 2015 05:36PM

Vancouver Cancuks General Manager Jim Benning joined the Sekeres and Price show on TSN radio this morning to talk about Jacob Markstrom's play down in Utica, among other Comets news and notes. While there wasn't a whole ton in the way of new information, Benning did drop an interesting tidbit in regards to how Vancouver's goaltending situation is going to play out this upcoming summer.

Is Benning's confidence in Markstrom misplaced? What does this mean for Eddie Lack? We'll investigate after the jump.

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