Prospect Profile: #13 Thatcher Demko

That's Offside!
August 21 2014 10:58AM

8a

Years down the road, when we're looking back on the 2014 NHL entry draft with the benefit of hindsight, the story of Thatcher Demko may not be so much the story of Demko himself, but of goalies and their unique relationship with the draft. 

Indeed, all-star netminders have been selected in the first few picks of the draft, but for every Carey Price (5th overall, 2005), there is a Brian Finley (6th overall, 1999). For every Cory Schneider (26th overall, 2004), there are multiple Leland Irvings (26th overall, 2006). For every Jonathan Bernier (11th overall, 2006), there is a Brent Krahn (9th overall, 2000), and so on and so forth.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, I assume you're acquainted with our good friend Sham Sharron. If not, now is a fantastic time to get to know him if you've got an hour or six to kill. One of Sham's cardinal rules for drafting prospects was to avoid goalies at all costs since they're voodoo and, much like Sham's namesake, can't be trusted.

But why can't we trust goalies? Why should we avoid them? I'm glad you asked.

Read Article | 12 Comments

Prospect Profile: #17 Nikita Tryamkin

That's Offside!
August 14 2014 11:39AM

4

When we go back and analyze previous NHL drafts, certain patterns and truisms emerge. For instance, the guys who become NHLers are the guys who score a lot of points, everyone is terrible at scouting goalies, guys who are in their draft+1 and draft+2 seasons don't have a lot of upside, defensive ability tends to be overvalued, and so on and so forth. 

With this stuff in mind, there are three cardinal sins that a given NHL team should not do at the draft table:

  1. Don't draft a goalie in the first 3 rounds.
  2. Don't draft an over age player in the first 3 rounds.
  3. Don't draft a low-scoring defensive defenseman in the first 3 rounds.

A guy who fills just one of these criteria is a long shot to play in the league - CSS' top-3 rated goalies going into the draft have an ~80% bust rate between 2001 and 2010, and D drafted in rounds 1-3 that can't score at least 0.6 pts/GP at some point in their CHL careers miss the NHL nearly 90% of the time - so when a guy fulfills two of those criteria, you can, in most cases, just write that draft pick off as a wasted asset.

Fortunately for the Canucks, Nikita Tryamkin isn't your typical prospect.

Read Article | 16 Comments

Prospect Profile: #19 Michael Zalewski

That's Offside!
August 12 2014 10:30AM

2a

I'll let commenter JDM set us up:

I was just thinking, "these always start off in very sober fashion and are basically a downer for the first couple of entries". Which they are; I mean, it's basically a litany of reasons why prospect X is unlikely to ever be any good.

However, it then occurred to me that this is probably going to be the least depressing one of these lists ever compiled.

He is, for the most part, right. Vancouver's system is significantly deeper this season than it has been in previous years, but the unfortunate truth with top-20 prospect rankings like these is that a good number of the guys we rank and talk about likely won't play in the NHL for one reason or another. Some will get injured, some won't catch the breaks they need, and some just won't be good enough. For guys ranked around 10th or below, you're realistically looking at an outside shot of playing an NHL game at best. 

So when Michael Zalewski is your 19th-best prospect and has already played in the NHL (and acquitted himself rather admirably I might add, even if it were just the 2 games we saw him in), that says good things about your system.

Read Article | 5 Comments

On Prospect Evaluation and Uncertainty

That's Offside!
July 28 2014 11:22AM

157355843-jpg_224043

I had a conversation with Harrison Mooney last week. Well, it was more of a one-way discussion. I smiled and nodded as Harrison talked at me about how he thought I evaluated prospects, and the weaknesses he thought my approach had.

Despite being drunk at the time (it was his birthday), Harrison raised some really valid points and criticisms - points and criticisms that I thought were relevant and understandable enough that I needed to address. To paraphrase him: "Rhys, I like your stuff. But when I read it, you just seem so sure on these kids. Like you're certain you know how they're going to turn out. But you don't know, you can't know. They're so young!"

The thing is, he's pretty much completely right. We can't know how these kids are going to turn out, so making statements like "Bo Horvat is destined to be a 3rd line centre" are asinine and disingenuous. This is also why I try to avoid making statements like "Bo Horvat is destined to be a 3rd line centre."

"But wait, Rhys. Didn't you--" Yes and no. We'll get to that past the jump.

Read Article | 10 Comments

Get To Know A Prospect: Jared McCann, Not Jared McCan't

That's Offside!
July 07 2014 12:19PM

jared-mccann-nhl-2014-nhl-draft

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are one of the most forward-thinking and progressive hockey organizations on the planet. Under the leadership of young GM (and friend-of-the-blogosphere) Kyle Dubas, the Hounds have quickly vaulted to the top of the OHL standings, finishing this past year 4th in points in a brutal Western Conference. 

Dubas and coach Sheldon Keefe place a great deal of value on analytics, and track Corsi, zone starts, and zone entry stats in order to gain a better understanding of what meaningful contributions their players make over the course of a full season.

There is no one better to give a detailed, analytic-focused breakdown of Canucks 1st round pick and Greyhounds centre Jared McCann than Kyle Dubas himself. After reaching out to Canucks Army to address some of our concerns with the selection of McCann, Dubas generously agreed to answer a few questions we had about McCann and help Canucks fans gain a better understanding of the 17-year old kid who will hopefully turn into the centrepiece of the Ryan Kesler trade. You're going to like what you hear.

Read Article | 24 Comments