What follows is a guest post written by @bryan_nikkel and @moneypuck_ on the subject of how playing for an excellent team in the CHL impacts player production, which in turn impacts how teams and scouts value draft eligible players. Are there any hidden gems leading the attack with little help for overmatched CHL teams whom the Canucks might target with the second round pick?
There has been a lot of talk this summer about the correlation between scoring in junior and success in the NHL, most notably the Sham Sharron draft, which got a ton of attention
Here is a list of the top draft eligible CHL players in terms of points per game.
Not surprisingly, consensus top five picks Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl, Sam Bennett, and Michael Dal Colle topped the CHL in point per game this year, and high PPG players like Robby Fabbri have seen their stock soar (Fabbri – 8th per ISS and Canucks Army).
There are so many factors that lead to success and production. Much has been written about how teammates can effect perception. We’ve seen Ehlers be discounted due to Drouin being on his team. The hyperbole surrounding Ehlers has been debunked, however, there are players that do benefit greatly from being on powerhouse teams, just as there are some players being overlooked in bad situations. Because the CHL doesn’t have nearly the same level of parity we see in the NHL, the impact can be extreme.
This write up will focus on two players in very opposite situations, Robby Fabbri of the Memorial Cup runner up Guelph Storm, and Nikita Scherbak of the rebuilding Saskatoon Blades.
Let’s look at potential top 10 pick Robby Fabbri and potential second round pick, Nikita Scherbak in more depth:
|Name:||Robby Fabbri||Nikita Scherbak|
|Team:||Guelph Storm||Saskatoon Blades|
Fabbri has the size and skill package of a player that was a steal in last year’s draft, Nicolas Petan. He’s a little bigger and more inclined to score though, but both are shifty, skilled pivots.
Scherbak has a big 6’2 frame, but has some filling out to do. He’s rangy and uses his size well. Nikita is a dynamic player who generates offense from every angle, and attacks as well off the rush through the neutral zone, as from within the offensive zone.
The OHL champions and Memorial Cup Finalist Storm were absolutely loaded with talent this year, scoring 74% more goals per game than Saskatoon. Guelph had six forward who scored more than 1 point per game, whereas Saskatoon had 1 by the end of the season – Nikita Scherbak.
Here is the even strength goals for and against for Fabbri’s linemates with him and without him:
Fabbri and his linemates dominated this year. The results are a bit of a wash, with Kerby Rychel (CBJ 1st- 2013) and Zack Mitchell (undrafted) benefiting from playing with Fabbri, but Brock McGinn (CAR 2nd – 2012) did well without Robby. Fabbri wasn’t waterskiing behind his linemates, but he wasn’t carrying them either.
Fabbri’s fantastic season was in part thanks to the addition of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 2013st round pick, Kerby Rychel, to his line. Here is a breakdown of Fabbri and Rychel’s scoring before and after the trade:
|Before Rychel Trade||19||12||14||26||1.37|
|After Rychel Trade||39||33||28||61||1.56|
In contrast, Saskatoon was very much in a rebuild this year, trading away two of their best overage forwards, Nathan Burns (undrafted) and Collin Valcourt (undrafted), in December. Here is the impact on Scherbak’s numbers before and after the Burns and Valcourt trades:
|Before Burns/Valcourt Trades||34||20||26||46||1.35|
|After Burns/Valcourt Trades||31||8||24||32||1.03|
Interestingly, before the trades Scherbak and Fabbri were performing at roughly the same PPG pace (Fabbri 1.37 PPG, Scherbak 1.35 PPG), but when life was just about to get fun for Fabbri, things were about to get very difficult for Scherbak.
Here is the even strength goals for and against for Scherbak’s linemates with him and without him:
This table clearly shows how much of the heavy lifting Scherbak had to do this year, especially after Burns and Valcourt were traded, but the impact he had on his teammates is actually pretty incredible. Keep in mind this is a team where only 1 player managed more than 45 points this year, so the opponent’s game plan was pretty simple: shutdown Scherbak and you win. As a result, Scherbak faced the other team’s top defensive pairings night-in and night out, and still managed to end the year with 1.2 points/game.
Some see Fabbri at 1.5 PPG and assume he had a more impactful year than Scherbak at 1.2 PPG, but let’s look at this one more way. How much did each player contribute to his team’s scoring? Given that Guelph scored a ridiculous 5 goals per game, Fabbri was in on 30% of his team’s goals. Scherbak’s team, on the other hand, only managed 2.875 GPG, so his 1.2 PPG had him contributing to 41.7% of his team’s offense. That’s up there with Michael Dal Colle…a top 5 consensus pick.
Conclusion – the Tale of Two Trades:
The consensus draft rankings have Fabbri sneaking into the top 10 and Scherbak way back in the 20’s or later, despite both players scoring at the same clip for the first half of the year. Trades and team strength had them forge different paths to end the season, but you have to consider that when ranking players. This article isn’t a knock on Fabbri. He’s a legitimate 11-20 pick in our eyes. Scherbak might just be a top 10 player from this draft when people look back on it.
Scherbak is one of those players where looking deeper into his numbers helps to confirm the talent we see when watching him play. If he somehow slides to the Canucks at 36, this will be a guy we’ll be able to get pretty excited about.