Benning Eye for the Stats Guy: Sudbury vs Mississauga

In a recent Benning Eye for a Stats Guy post, we saw the Mississauga Steelheads fall to the Erie Otters in a game where the Steelheads top draft prospects, Alex Nylander (PCS pace 26%), Michael McLeod (PCS pace 18%), and Sean Day (11%) were pretty underwhelming. Would they redeem themselves in Benning’s second viewing on November 15th versus Sudbury? Find out after the jump. 

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The Wolves are currently in the cellar of the OHL’s central division and didn’t put up too much competition for the Steelheads in this game, eventually losing 6-0. Their highest rated draft prospect is Dimitri Sokolov (PCS pace 10%), who is in his first OHL season after playing last year with Omskie of the MHL. He was a non-factor in this one, with no points and a minus 3 rating.

The Steelheads opened the scoring early in the first period, with McLeod burying a slick pass from 2016 draft eligible center, Nathan Bastian (PCS pace 22%). The 6’4, 204 lb Bastian looked excellent in this game, showing excellent patience while beating out multiple Sudbury defenders to find McLeod on this goal: 

Bastian recorded his second assist of the game just over two minutes later when he teed up Alex Nylander for a one-timer from the point. Nylander has a cannon of a shot, and there wasn’t much the Sudbury goalie could do on this one: 

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The Steelhead prospect line hit the score sheet again in the second period. See McLeod win the foot race for the puck to gain the zone, then drop pass to Bastian, who finds Nylander in the slot for his second goal of the game: 

After racking up three assists, Bastian showed Benning that he can find the back of the net himself, hammering a rebound into the back of the net from about 15 feet out: 

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Key Takeaways from Benning’s Eyes

On this road trip, Benning has been treated to watching excellent from London’s Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, and Christian Dvorak, and Erie’s top line of Taylor Raddysh, Dylan Strome, and Alex Debrincat. After  quiet viewing against the Erie Otters, Benning got to see the best that the Bastian, Nylander, McLeod line could offer as the trio lit up the Wolves for a combined 10 points. 

Every linemate brought their best to the table today: Nylander showing off his elite shot, McLeod showing his speed and playmaking ability, and Bastian earning a spot on Benning’s radar as a potential radar as a potential mid-round selection. 

Noticeably quiet again was Sean Day, only the fourth player to ever receive the OHL’s exceptional player status enabling him to play as a 15-year-old. The 6’3, 230 lb man-child has been sliding down most draft ranking over the past 12 months and really didn’t do much to impress Benning tonight. 

Benning Eye for the Stats Guy Player of the Game: Nathan Bastian

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Others in this series: 

Benning Eye for the Stats Guy: Windsor vs Erie

Benning Eye for the Stats Guy: Sarnia vs Saginaw

Benning Eye for the Stats Guy: Erie vs Mississauga

Benning Eye for the Stats Guy: London vs Guelph

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      • Spiel

        Well moneypuck did write the paragraph below in the very first article of this series. Caps used to emphasize where the writer seems to know exactly how Benning evaluates players.

        “I like stats, to the point that Josh Weissbock and I developed the Prospect Cohort Success method to put a value on the potential of upcoming prospects, and to track their development over time. However, JIM BENNING DOES NOT RELY ON STATS AT ALL. He relies on his eyes, and amazingly, it’s getting harder and harder to critique his draft record. He is a scout at heart, and his eyes aren’t all that bad.”

        This site gets a lot of mileage out of panning Benning and his supposed “old school” view of hockey. I get it. As soon as there is a dissenting comment it gets smacked around by the stat police.

    • TrueBlue

      Unfair and useless.

      The title of the series suggests that it’s a best-guess glimpse into the eye-test portion of Benning’s scouting process. A process he likely relied upon heavily when hired as a scout over 2 decades ago. So it’s safe to suggest he still believes it holds some value.

      And since Benning is competing against all 29 other teams to get a leg-up in June, it’s fairly doubtful that having a conversation with him about what he saw would amount to much.

      Not to mention the fact that there’s very little “this is what Benning is thinking” in the article. Actually, it’s pretty much just a rundown of what happened in the game with highlights on draft-eligible players. Wait a minute….

      Goddamn it. I just bit on a troll, didn’t I? Well, I already wrote it all out….

      • Dirty30

        Nobody who reads this series believes that Moneypuck has Benning’s scouting ability, though.

        Phrases like “key takeaways from Benning’s eyes” are unnecessary.

        I like the series but could do without the voyeurism.

        • Spiel

          I get what you’re saying, and you could be right, but I didn’t interpret the tone that way. To me the line you quoted sounds like an easier-to-read version of “key takeaway from what Benning’s eyes would have physically seen in person from his seat in the rink”, maaaaybe with a twist of “I should tie-in the title cause that would be fun, and a good hook” thrown in. Not a condescending statement of “I know what Benning thinks he’s seeing” or “I can scout as good as Benning, here’s what we saw in the game”.

          I really didn’t — and still don’t — interpret the tone of the article as any sort of comparison of scouting skills, but looking at it from the other side: if that’s the vibe some people are picking up from the article, then I can understand where the negativity is coming from.

          • Dirty30

            It would be simpler for Moneypuck to say “key takeaway from my eyes”.

            Why even try to get into Benning’s mind with these articles?

            It accomplishes nothing and distracts the reader from the main ideas of his posts.

  • Dirty30

    One of the most written about events in history is the Battle of Waterloo — and somewhat ironic, it had very few actual observers, and fewer still who documented what they saw that day.

    Historians do try to document only the facts, but informed speculation — “What was on Napoleon’s mind as he surveyed the hill above the plain where Wellington had stationed his troops?” doesn’t suggest the writer can know Napoleon’s thoughts, but can enrich the experience of history by providing the opportunity for the reader to potentially enter the mind of a historical figure and imagine it.

    I don’t see the writer of this post comparing himself to Benning, knowing his thoughts or having any kind of contact or relationship, but simply inviting the reader to imagine the mind of Benning and enter that literary space for a moment.

    Does anyone know what Benning is thinking? Obviously not. But we all have the imaginative capacity to ponder the thought “What is he thinking here?”

    • Dirty30

      Nothing is being enriched here.

      This would resonate more with the reader if Moneypuck wrote about HIS experience watching these games and cut out the superfluous Benning stuff.

      • Spiel

        Except that the context of the series is based specifically on games that Benning went out of his way to attend for scouting purposes. I would find it more strange or out of place if he didn’t mention highlights that Benning would have seen and probably noted.

        Spiel brings up a good point with the paragraph that kicked off the series though. Certainly it’s no secret that there is a more stats oriented focus to the site, and it does come through. I recall reading that in the first article as well and probably mentally rolling my eyes, but I carried on through the article and was impressed with the direction it went. So I’d like to think there’s some hyperbole going on in there. But if not, then Moneypuck has done a pretty good job of keeping his opinion out of the content of the series, because I don’t feel like it carried on with that sentiment. It seems more like an honest look at “I believe in stats, but this guy seems uncanny at drafting with his eyes, if that’s truly what he’s doing. Let’s take a look at what he sees and try to figure this out..”

        • Spiel

          I think the assumption that Benning’s eyes only note the highlights that the writer sees are what is annoying about the series. The presumption is that Benning’s old school ways are so very simple compared to the new school stats that they are basically captured by a review of highlights.

          I’d like to think that the reason Benning was a gainfully employed scout and talent evaluator is because he has a trained eye that looks for something different than what the average fans see when they watch a game. The truth is he knows more about the game of hockey than anyone writing for or commenting on this site.

      • Dirty30

        Maybe we should Poll it:

        1. Yes, MP should keep going with the ‘ mind of Benning’ narrative.

        2. No, MP should get a mind of his own.

        3. I really wouldn’t mind more Jennifer Lawrence pics.