2019 NHL Draft: Jeremy’s Winter Rankings

Happy new year! Welcome to 2019 ladies and gentlemen. I recently published another edition of our consolidated industry draft rankings, but we are now officially in the same calendar year as the next NHL draft and I have yet to publish any personal rankings for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Well that changes today.

What follows is my own personal list of the top 75 prospects available for selection this coming June. Following the format that I used last year, the list itself below is complete with a variety of biographical and statistical data, which I’ll detail prior to the list.

Before I get into some notes on the players themselves, I have some general notes on my ranking process, which remains consistent with what I have published in previous seasons.

First, these rankings are mine alone. While I bounce ideas off of my co-writers, the list-making process itself involves no coordination with other members of Canucks Army (the final profiles that we publish in May and June will of course be a combined effort), and while I pay close attention to the lists of others in the industry, they have very limited influence on how I order my own list.

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Second, it’s no secret that my rankings are heavily influenced by statistics. Numbers-based methodology has a guiding hand in shaping the outline of my rankings, before lays of context and nuance are peeled away. For me, viewing a prospect is more of a cross-checking process than a starting point. I use personal viewings to see if there are extenuating circumstances that should result in a player being higher or lower than I have them.

Reiterating what I wrote last year, I believe that tangible results are of the utmost importance. If a player is good, they should be putting up strong numbers; if they aren’t putting up numbers, they need to have a good reason. Sometimes those reasons show up in contextual numbers (e.g., if they’re team related or luck related), but sometimes they don’t (such as nagging injuries or psychological factors). If the issues are related to factors in the latter group and they aren’t public knowledge, that’s when we (the prospect hobbyists) are at a serious disadvantage to NHL teams, who have the access and resources to dig far deeper into prospects. That cannot be understated or forgotten; we are doing the best we can with the information that is available to us. The player assessment section in my Spring Rankings from last year covers this in some greater detail.

Watching the Prospects

I do make an effort to lay eyes on each prospect as much as possible (which gets more difficult each passing year with life other demands, if I’m being honest). There are a variety of ways that I go about doing this. For starters, I live just a handful of minutes from the Langley Events Centre, allowing me to check out prospects when they roll through town (check out this article for a review of which draft eligible players are playing in the vicinity of Vancouver this season), usually as a fan with my kid(s) rather than a member of the media.

Then there’s online viewing. I have access to the various CHL Live feeds, as well as Hockey TV (which streams the BCHL and USHL, among other less prominent leagues), and whatever streams I can find from Europe. YouTube is a friend as well, but scouting from highlights alone is almost always an ill-advised misadventure. You need to see how a player is performing the 95% of the game when they aren’t putting up points. That’s why I have so much appreciation for people that put together shift-by-shift videos, like Burgundy Rainbow or Hockey Prospect Centre, but the cream of the crop is Anthony at ProspectShifts.com, who publishes shift-by-shift videos daily (subscription fee required, but absolutely worth it).

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A Rundown of the Statistical Measures Used

What follows is a brief description of each of the stats referenced in the tables below.

  • Age: Exact age to two decimal points, calculated as of September 15th, 2018. That date is used for draft purposes – anyone with an exact age greater than or equal to 17.00 and less than 18.00 as of that date will be eligible for the first time at the 2019 draft.

Production Measures

  • Box Cars: GP, G, A, P stand for the standard Games Played, Goals, Assists, and Points, during the 2018-19 regular season.
  • INV%: Involvement Percentage, or the percentage of team goals that the player had a point on. This has been a pretty standard prospect measurement for a while (I even use a variation of it within my pGPS model), but I particularly like this title for the metric, which was coined by @scouching.
  • 5v5 PrINV%: Similar to INV%, but this metric considers only 5-on-5 team goals that the player had a primary point (a goal or first assist) on.
  • ePrP60: Estimated primary points per 60 at 5-on-5. Estimated in conjunction with the eTOI metric described below.
  • SEAL: The SEAL adjusted scoring value. SEAL stands for Situational, Era, Age, and League. Here’s a rundown of the current iteration of SEAL, which evolved from a technique that Garret Hohl pioneered for the 2015 draft.
  • Sh/GP: Shots on goal per games played.
  • Sh%: Shooting percentage.

On-Ice Measures

  • eTOI: Estimated 5-on-5 Time on Ice. This has long been estimated by the proportion of events (goals for and against) that a player is on the ice for relative to the total for their team.
  • GF%: Percentage of 5-on-5 on-ice goals scored in favour of the player’s team.
  • GF%rel: The difference between the player’s on-ice GF% relative to the team’s GF% when the player is off the ice.
  • GD60rel: Relative goal differential per 60 minutes, based on eTOI. This differs from GF%rel above by taking into account ice time. When there are two players with the same GF%rel, the one that gets more ice time will be of greater benefit or detriment to his team. GD60rel accounts for this.

Cohort Measures

pGPS is an ever-evolving metric, and while the principles of the model stay roughly the same, the formulations and terminology change from time to time. The following are the definitions of the statistics used in the latest version.

  • XLS is Expected Likelihood of Success for the player, based on how similar players performed at the NHL level. Rather than the likelihood of simply playing games in the lineup, this number purports to measure the likelihood of being a regular fixture on the top four lines or top three defence pairs.
  • Top XLS is the Expected Likelihood of Top 6/Top 4 Success. Similar to the XLS percentage above, this version predicts the likelihood of the player being a top six forward or top four defenceman.
  • XPR is Expected Production Rate, the weighted average prime production rate per 82 games of statistical matches that played at least 100 NHL games.

Certain metrics are only available for certain leagues, depending on how easily available the data is to the public. I’ve spent a good portion of my spare time over the past several months developing scrapers for new leagues, meaning that we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. Here’s a run down on which metrics are available in which leagues.

  • pGPS: I can run pGPS data on about 20 leagues right now, so at the top of the draft, it’s easier just to say which leagues it doesn’t do. For the purposes of this list, the missing leagues are: the VHL (Russian tier 2 league), MHL (Russian Junior), SM-Liiga Nuorten (Finnish Junior), the US High School circuit, and the OJHL.
  • SEAL: Dependent on availability of situational scoring data. SEAL adjustments are currently available for all CHL leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL), BCHL, USHL, NCAA, SHL, Allsvenskan, Finnish SM-Liiga, Czech Extraliga, and J20 Superelit. KHL is normally included, but I have a bit of a snag in my scraper that will be fixed in due time.
  • INV%, GF% and GF%rel: Dependent on availability of on-ice records for goals on game sheets. Currently available for all the leagues listed above under SEAL, with the exception of the BCHL.

Given my time constraints, this article was put together over the course of several weeks. I have done my best to keep the numbers as current as I can. The counting stats on this list are current to January 5th, 2018. The prospect model data is current to December 24th, 2018.

Player Notes

Before the big list itself, I have picked out a group of noteworthy players for which I have drummed up extra tidbits of information.

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Like every other prominent draft ranking, I have Jack Hughes sitting at the top of my board, which is exactly where he belongs. Second only to Clayton Keller and Auston Matthews in points in USNTDP U18 history, and second to none all-time in points per game. As I mentioned in the consolidated rankings, Jack Hughes is likely capped by an artificial ceiling of sorts that will prevent him from matching league-adjusted scoring rates from the likes of Kaapo Kakko (2nd), who has been quite productive in the Finnish Liiga. Kakko is extremely dynamic in the offensive zone, showing a great degree of poise and control against professionals, oozing out of his puck protection, playmaking, and positioning. His defensive game needs work: as a winger, he can jump early and leave his teammates in poor situations, and he doesn’t pressure opponents in any way that threatens to turnover pucks. That will drive some coaches nuts, which could unfortunately inhibit his opportunity depending on who he plays for. The fact is, however, that he’s a special player and his offensive acumen will carry him to great heights in the NHL.

The third and fourth best prospects, to me as well as most other prognosticators, are Western League centres Dylan Cozens and Kirby Dach. Their rank order is still pretty debatable at this point, though I have Cozens ahead by a hair. A statistical comparison between the two shows Cozens with a edge in just about every metric, even if it’s only a slight one in some cases.

Dylan Cozens Player Kirby Dach
17.60 Age 17.65
35.3% INV% 36.5%
29.4% 5v5 Pr INV% 24.4%
2.61 5v5 ePr60 1.82
1.43 SEAL 1.24
3.12 Sh/GP 2.86
63.3% GF% 56.4%
12.8% GF%rel 1.1%
66% XLS% 52%
51% Top XLS% 42%

The above stats are current to December 24th, 2018.

Vancouver Giant Bowen Byram is my top defenceman, and the only blueliner in my top ten. Byram is an absolute workhorse for the Giants. His average ice time, while not publicly published, must be at least in the mid-20’s per game. He runs Vancouver’s power play, gets plenty of time on the penalty kill, and hardly leaves the ice in close and late situations. I attended a game where Byram was out every second shift (with a variety of partners) from the middle of the second period on through the end of the game. He shows a great amount of poise with the puck, although that can occasionally deteriorate under the weight of his ice time. Ryan Biech provided an in-depth scouting report on Byram earlier in the season, which you can find at The Athletic.

Two more centres occupy my 6th and 7th spots: Kootenay’s Peyton Krebs and Barrie’s Ryan Suzuki. My dominant memory of Krebs is from his draft-minus-two season, when he made his WHL debut and put up six points in six games as a 15-year old. Fast forward a couple of seasons, and Krebs is now the captain and leading scorer of an abysmal Kootenay Ice squad. Kootenay is in the midst of swirling relocation rumours, and while announcements have been habitually delayed, it does seem inevitable that the Ice will end up in Winnipeg. Guy Flaming of the DUB Network postulates that a move to an NHL market would mean the franchise needs to hold on to a star like Krebs at all costs, which could rule him out of potential movement at the upcoming WHL trade deadline. Why does this matter? It means that Krebs will likely continue to play for a subpar team and will subsequently be dealing with muted numbers and no playoff run heading toward the draft.

Ryan Suzuki, meanwhile, is the younger brother of Nick Suzuki, drafted by Vegas, acquired by Montreal in the Pacioretty deal, and now starring for team Canada at the World Juniors. We were high on Nick in his draft season in his draft year in 2017, rating him 8th (he eventually went 13th), and Ryan shares many of the qualities that make his older brother a special prospect. Extraordinary levels of playmaking and intelligence set him apart from the rest of his OHL brethren, and his skating and shooting aren’t far behind.

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Coming in at 8th is Hamilton sniper Arthur Kaliyev, who’s blowing away all draft eligible CHL competition this year in terms of goal scoring and point production. I mentioned some of the concerns around Kaliyev to Ryan Biech in a roundtable discussion for The Athletic: namely that he’s more of a beneficiary than a generator. I’ve tracked entire games where Kaliyev plays overs 20 minutes minutes and never sets up a teammate for a single shot attempt at even strength. He sure does take a lot of shots though and a large portion of them of dangerous shots from the slot; part of the recipe there is getting into open positions to get those opportunities, which is a skill in itself. Kaliyev’s production, if it continues, will help him go high in the draft, but if he ends profiling as a finisher who needs someone else to set him up, he may go in the teens or 20’s when the draft rolls around.

This collection of peers is otherworldly though.

I’m quite a bit higher on undersized Moncton winger Jakob Pelletier (12th) than most, which seems a little silly considering that he’s put up 50 points in 35 games so far this season. At 5-foot-9, he’d have trouble getting drafted in the top couple of rounds just a half-dozen years ago, but the NHL has moved on since then, and players of Pelletier’s stature are having all sorts of success. Pelletier has the third highest SEAL adjusted scoring rate of my sample following only Kakko and Kaliyev.

Another pint sized dynamo that seems to be flying under the radar is Nicholas Robertson (16th), younger brother to Dallas Stars prospect Jason Robertson (starring on USA’s U20 squad in Vancouver). Robertson has a very late birthday for his draft year (just four days before the cutoff), which, combined with a height of 5-foot-9, is a recipe for being overlooked early on. Still, he’s having a great year for the Peterborough Petes and after just a couple of viewings, he has become one of my early underrated favourites. He has that waterbug quality to his game, and uses his agility to dart into dangerous soft spots on the ice to receive and redistribute pucks. He clearly prefers to set up teammates, and his hands and vision allow him to be very successful at this, but he can score as well.

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This set up on an Adam Timleck goal is absolutely bonkers.

h/t ProspectShifts.com

Trevor Zegras (19th) has plenty of fans among draft prognosticators, and his numbers with the USNTDP are excellent. Maybe I’m just catching him on the wrong games, but I just haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen from Zegras when I actually watch him though. He’s struck me as more of a passenger than a driver, and while his hands are undeniably good, they can’t always get him out of jams that his brain gets him into.

It shocks me to a degree that Mikko Kokkonen (22nd) isn’t getting more attention at this point. The Finnish blueliner has already accumulated more points in the SM-Liiga than Miro Heiskanen did in his draft year, and he’s done it in half a dozen fewer games. Kokkonen isn’t without his challenges – he skates himself into trouble enough to put a question mark on his ability to read the play, and that shot share of about 40% (yes, Liiga publishes Corsi numbers) is pretty horrendous – though it’s partially reconciled by the fact that he has a Zone Start Ratio of 37.5%, meaning that he’s started nearly twice as many shifts in the defensive zone than the offensive zone (subject of course to the limits of the effect of zone starts on shot shares).

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Connor McMichael (27th) has had opportunity thrust upon him, playing for a rebuilt London Knights team that has either dealt its star forwards to other teams or lost them to the NHL, and has recovered nicely to lead the OHL’s Western Conference to this point in the season. McMichael has a lot to do with that – the first time eligible centre in currently leading them in goals and points. He’s popping in all manner of draft analytics as a result, and I haven’t seen anything in a couple of viewing sessions that would constitute a major red flag. Currently 39th by my consolidated rankings table, I think he’ll be a riser over the second half of the season.

I took a liking to Seattle’s Dillon Hamaliuk (30th) early on in the season; he jumped to a very strong start, backing up great point totals with impressive highlights. It was enough to keep me checking in on him throughout the season. His production tailed off a bit, but he remained at close to a point per game until significant injury knocked him out of the lineup and will force him to miss the remainder of the season. The prognosis of that injury will have a great effect on where he is selected, and even being limited to just 31 games make knock him down a round or more.

I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure why many are as high on Philip Broberg (33rd) as they are. Certainly the skating is there; Broberg loves to carry the puck and does it at speed. The issue is that these rushes frequently result in nothing as a drives along the wall and fails to convert an entry into a viable scoring chance for himself or others. His numbers in the Allsvenskan this year (no goals, seven assists in 27 games) are not bad for a draft eligible player in a pro league, but they aren’t high end numbers that should net him a spot in the conversation of best defenders in the draft. I see his rushes, already iffy in terms of success, only becoming less effective as the level of competition increases, and I’m not sure he has enough other skills to fall back on to become an impact player at the NHL level.

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I’ve got my first overage prospect at 39th in Brett Leason. Twice undrafted, Leason played a prominent role for Canada at the World Juniors before their early exit, and has been an absolute force this season with the Prince Albert Raiders. Being the engine powering a team that has only lost five times in 39 games this season has a way of getting people’s attention.

You might remember a brief kerfuffle last season when former CanucksArmy contributor Vanessa Jang brought a pair of young Swedish twins to the attention of Canucks fans right around the time that the Sedins were gearing up for their farewell tour. The Wahlgren twins shared similarities with the Sedin twins beyond being zygotic anomalies – they played similar positions and even played for the Sedins’ pre-NHL organization, MODO. I did a little piece on the Wahlgrens back then, throwing a bit of cold water on the notion that they be the next Swedish twins to make the jump to the NHL. Eight months later, Max Wahlgren (63rd) is making a case to not only be drafted, but to be drafted in the second or third round. Things aren’t as rosy for brother Joel, who’s producing at about half the rate of Max.

2019 NHL Draft Winter Top 75

Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
1 Jack Hughes C 17.34 5.10 USA USHL 25 10 38 48 31.3% 10.3% 1.13 1.38 4.20 2.4% 15.9 52.9% -13.7% -1.76
2 Kaapo Kakko RW/C 17.59 6.01 FIN Liiga 27 9 11 20 26.7% 21.4% 1.22 1.84 4.70 7.1% 16.4 55.6% 3.6% 0.27 58% 49% 62.2
3 Dylan Cozens C/RW 17.60 6.03 CAN WHL 38 22 30 52 35.3% 29.4% 2.61 1.43 3.12 17.5% 17.4 63.3% 12.8% 1.60 66% 51% 59.9
4 Kirby Dach C 17.65 6.04 CAN WHL 39 16 30 46 36.5% 24.4% 1.82 1.24 2.86 14.0% 17.9 56.4% 1.1% 0.11 52% 42% 56.5
5 Bowen Byram D 17.26 6.01 CAN WHL 37 10 22 32 27.8% 14.3% 0.78 0.90 2.94 9.6% 19.2 55.8% -2.4% -0.20 58% 41% 37.1
6 Peyton Krebs C/LW 17.63 5.11 CAN WHL 37 14 33 47 43.2% 27.5% 1.43 1.17 2.78 14.6% 18.4 34.5% -2.0% -0.24 38% 20% 47.8
7 Ryan Suzuki C 17.30 6.00 CAN OHL 36 12 28 40 32.4% 14.1% 1.13 1.20 2.48 11.7% 15.4 55.6% 9.1% 1.03 42% 21% 46.7
8 Arthur Kaliyev LW 17.22 6.02 USA OHL 39 29 30 59 44.4% 31.1% 1.87 1.60 4.09 17.3% 17.9 52.6% 18.2% 2.04 93% 78% 61.1
9 Raphael Lavoie C/RW 17.97 6.04 CAN QMJHL 36 19 23 42 25.0% 20.0% 2.15 1.17 3.77 12.0% 16.2 63.0% -8.7% -0.96 21% 7% 43.0
10 Matthew Boldy LW 17.45 6.02 USA USHL 31 19 14 33 28.3% 25.8% 2.63 1.31 3.91 18.6% 16.6 57.9% -6.6% -0.83 33% 33% 66.0
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
11 Vasili Podkolzin RW 17.23 6.01 RUS VHL 7 1 0 1
12 Jakob Pelletier LW 17.53 5.09 CAN QMJHL 38 21 34 55 35.2% 20.2% 2.10 1.58 4.09 14.8% 16.5 74.1% 22.6% 2.90 55% 49% 62.4
13 Cole Caufield C/RW 17.70 5.07 USA USHL 31 26 11 37 22.6% 12.9% 1.67 0.94 4.18 17.4% 13.1 46.7% -21.9% -2.74 22% 12% 51.2
14 Cam York D 17.69 5.11 USA USHL 30 2 18 20 13.2% 9.7% 0.94 0.64 2.36 0.0% 17.4 70.0% 13.3% 1.67 16% 8% 38.7
15 Alex Newhook C 17.63 5.11 CAN BCHL 34 20 41 61 39.1% 25.4% 0.58 11% 0% 29.0
16 Nicholas Robertson C/LW 17.01 5.09 USA OHL 25 13 13 26 29.6% 26.0% 2.63 1.21 4.00 13.8% 14.9 63.0% 8.0% 0.87 48% 31% 56.3
17 Alex Turcotte C 17.55 5.11 USA USHL 9 5 5 10
18 Anttoni Honka D 17.94 5.10 FIN Liiga 15 1 3 4 9.8% 4.5% 0.27 0.81 1.93 3.4% 15.1 31.3% -17.3% -1.47 15% 15% 37.9
19 Trevor Zegras C 17.49 6.00 USA USHL 30 13 30 43 32.7% 28.6% 2.78 1.53 2.40 16.7% 17.3 72.2% 16.7% 2.08 0% 0% 0.0
20 Nolan Foote LW 17.79 6.03 USA WHL 37 20 15 35 36.8% 24.0% 1.56 0.88 3.52 15.5% 14.0 50.0% 5.4% 0.48 33% 16% 42.6
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
21 Thomas Harley D 17.07 6.03 USA OHL 38 6 26 32 23.6% 7.5% 0.41 0.88 2.09 5.8% 22.2 42.9% -5.8% -0.67 59% 40% 38.3
22 Mikko Kokkonen D 17.66 5.11 FIN Liiga 34 1 11 12 16.4% 7.3% 0.62 1.20 2.66 1.3% 10.4 52.6% 7.7% 0.61 70% 70% 46.4
23 Matthew Robertson D 17.52 6.04 CAN WHL 32 5 16 21 17.5% 9.1% 0.62 0.74 2.37 7.0% 19.2 55.8% 3.7% 0.40 49% 30% 26.2
24 Victor Soderstrom D 17.55 5.11 SWE SHL 22 2 2 4 6.7% 0.0% 0.00 0.16 1.68 6.3% 18.8 66.7% 23.8% 0.76 31% 23% 28.6
25 Samuel Poulin LW 17.55 6.01 CAN QMJHL 39 15 26 41 26.9% 22.5% 1.89 1.10 3.56 11.6% 16.8 65.4% 16.4% 1.80 18% 7% 43.2
26 Albin Grewe C/RW 17.48 6.00 SWE Superelit 19 11 17 28 37.3% 22.9% 2.14 0.81 17.1 76.9% 17.3% 1.76 58% 16% 38.5
27 Connor McMichael C 17.67 6.00 CAN OHL 36 25 20 45 28.8% 25.6% 2.86 1.31 3.61 19.6% 15.5 66.0% 4.5% 0.53 50% 28% 51.3
28 Nathan Legare RW 17.68 6.00 CAN QMJHL 39 26 29 55 32.4% 20.5% 1.77 1.39 3.82 16.2% 18.0 63.6% 1.3% 0.14 43% 24% 49.7
29 Moritz Seider D 0.00 0.00 GER DEL 23 1 3 4 0.0% 0.63 8.3%
30 Dillon Hamaliuk LW 17.88 6.03 CAN WHL 31 11 15 26 27.7% 21.3% 1.94 0.88 2.76 13.8% 13.8 47.5% -0.8% -0.09 19% 7% 35.2
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
31 Simon Holmstrom RW 17.31 5.11 SWE Superelit 8 4 2 6 30.0% 41.7% 3.93 0.62 10.9 100.0% 58.8% 4.62 8% 6% 52.1
32 Nils Hoglander LW 17.74 5.09 SWE SHL 28 4 3 7 6.3% 0.0% 0.00 0.16 0.88 18.2% 10.7 30.0% -27.1% -1.22 32% 17% 31.8
33 Philip Broberg D 17.22 6.03 SWE Allsvenskan 27 0 7 7 8.2% 6.3% 0.29 0.36 2.30 0.0% 21.4 48.0% -16.5% -0.86 23% 1% 17.8
34 Alex Beaucage RW/LW 17.14 6.02 CAN QMJHL 40 20 25 45 26.8% 20.4% 2.07 1.33 3.26 15.8% 16.6 75.0% 10.9% 1.17 36% 22% 54.4
35 Alex Vlasic D 17.28 6.06 USA USHL 30 3 10 13 9.4% 6.5% 0.89 0.51 0.73 12.5% 12.2 42.9% -26.6% -3.32 39% 22% 29.4
36 Lassi Thomson D 17.97 6.00 FIN WHL 38 7 18 25 24.7% 11.8% 0.60 0.65 2.79 7.4% 17.6 54.5% 14.8% 1.31 31% 16% 23.5
37 Maxim Cajkovic RW/LW 17.70 5.11 SVK QMJHL 33 8 14 22 29.0% 21.7% 1.39 0.73 3.10 8.9% 14.8 35.8% 11.3% 1.67 6% 2% 41.7
38 Cole Mackay RW 17.26 5.11 CAN OHL 38 14 22 36 22.9% 11.8% 1.25 0.98 2.29 14.1% 14.1 61.2% 10.3% 1.26 32% 13% 40.9
39 Brett Leason C 19.38 6.05 CAN WHL 33 28 38 66 43.8% 33.7% 3.95 1.34 5.42 16.7% 16.2 84.3% 20.4% 2.49 100% 36% 43.0
40 Daniil Gutik LW 17.04 6.03 RUS MHL 24 3 6 9 0.0%
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
41 Pavel Dorofeyev LW/RW 17.89 6.00 RUS MHL 15 13 11 24
42 Matvei Guskov C 17.62 6.01 RUS OHL 28 7 13 20 16.2% 13.5% 1.94 0.73 1.96 9.8% 11.9 70.0% 9.8% 1.14 11% 3% 34.9
43 Valentin Nussbaumer C/W 17.97 6.00 SUI QMJHL 30 7 11 18 22.2% 14.9% 0.93 0.60 1.47 15.9% 15.0 25.0% -7.1% -0.98 3% 1% 31.9
44 Luke Toporowski LW 17.43 5.10 USA WHL 38 13 18 31 21.0% 10.8% 1.07 0.78 3.15 9.6% 11.9 55.9% 7.5% 0.77 18% 8% 40.9
45 Henry Thrun D 17.51 6.02 USA USHL 31 6 14 20 18.9% 19.4% 2.08 0.97 1.27 28.6% 15.7 55.6% -10.1% -1.26 40% 40% 35.9
46 Spencer Knight G 17.41 6.03 USA USHL
47 Marcus Kallionkieli F 17.49 6.01 FIN USHL 25 15 9 24 29.2% 26.1% 1.83 0.93 2.67 23.2% 18.7 66.7% 20.5% 2.07 43% 16% 43.0
48 Phillip Tomasino C 17.13 6.00 CAN OHL 37 17 22 39 23.2% 22.2% 2.57 1.17 2.78 15.7% 14.6 75.0% 15.6% 1.76 37% 18% 47.2
49 Matias Maccelli LW 17.92 5.11 FIN USHL 31 15 21 36 36.7% 20.0% 1.71 1.09 3.04 17.7% 16.2 59.5% 3.6% 0.38 15% 8% 57.1
50 Billy Constantinou D 17.48 6.00 CAN OHL 37 6 16 22 16.5% 10.1% 1.01 0.63 2.06 7.6% 14.9 51.0% 1.9% 0.24 27% 13% 30.7
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
51 Jake Lee D 17.18 6.02 CAN WHL 35 2 16 18 18.4% 7.7% 0.52 0.63 1.74 3.7% 18.8 50.0% 3.8% 0.46 35% 21% 25.0
52 Bobby Brink RW 17.19 5.10 USA USHL 19 15 18 33 45.8% 27.3% 1.96 1.65 3.32 23.8% 19.3 67.7% 16.6% 1.69 0% 0% 0.0
53 Tobias Bjornfot D 17.44 6.00 SWE Superelit 24 6 6 12 12.7% 6.7% 0.70 0.21 15.7 76.7% 17.0% 1.78 4% 3% 21.5
54 Artemi Knyazev D 17.70 5.11 RUS QMJHL 33 9 11 20 19.6% 11.4% 0.83 0.53 2.21 12.5% 12.5 50.0% 12.3% 1.22 20% 10% 25.4
55 Sasha Mutala RW 17.36 6.01 CAN WHL 34 9 13 21 20.9% 21.8% 1.58 0.69 2.31 10.4% 15.7 58.1% 18.1% 2.05 10% 4% 35.6
56 Judd Caulfield F 17.49 6.03 USA USHL 31 6 16 22 22.6% 6.5% 0.83 0.89 1.00 0.0% 13.1 60.0% -2.9% -0.36 0% 0% 0.0
57 Dmitri Sheshin F 17.29 5.07 RUS MHL 31 13 15 28
58 Blake Murray C 17.20 6.03 CAN OHL 36 14 10 24 22.3% 13.5% 1.21 0.72 2.19 20.6% 16.0 59.1% -1.7% -0.18 28% 10% 41.3
59 Ben Brinkman D 17.95 6.01 USA NCAA 19 1 4 5 12.8% 8.3% 0.60 0.53 13.4 71.4% 32.5% 2.71 19% 12% 30.4
60 Brayden Tracey LW 17.30 6.00 CAN WHL 36 15 24 39 30.3% 17.2% 1.12 0.98 2.70 12.3% 17.8 63.4% 16.4% 1.51 32% 15% 42.7
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
61 Lucas Feuk C/W 17.57 6.00 SWE Superelit 28 16 15 31 37.2% 29.4% 1.88 0.66 17.8 51.1% 17.3% 2.04 16% 11% 41.6
62 Danil Antropov RW 17.74 6.02 CAN OHL 37 10 22 32 22.1% 18.5% 1.84 0.90 1.85 14.3% 14.4 62.2% 6.4% 0.71 20% 7% 38.4
63 Max Wahlgren C/W 17.35 6.00 SWE Superelit 26 13 10 23 24.7% 25.0% 2.58 0.59 13.6 73.1% 17.0% 1.63 12% 8% 45.9
64 Samuel Fagemo LW/RW 18.51 6.00 SWE SHL 22 6 6 12 25.0% 28.6% 0.90 1.02 2.33 10.2% 18.9 66.7% 18.8% 0.85 50% 37% 53.3
65 Robert Mastrosimone C 17.64 5.10 USA USHL 22 12 10 22 27.0% 22.5% 2.27 0.89 3.47 18.6% 14.0 50.0% -2.8% -0.34 19% 4% 35.6
66 Adam Beckman C 17.35 6.01 CAN WHL 39 17 13 30 22.4% 21.5% 1.64 0.82 2.41 20.7% 15.1 60.0% 17.8% 1.87 25% 13% 42.6
67 Michael Gildon F 17.24 6.01 USA USHL 28 7 9 16 17.0% 14.8% 3.81 0.78 1.44 30.8% 7.0 85.7% 27.4% 3.65 31% 8% 36.8
68 Xavier Simoneau C 17.33 5.07 CAN QMJHL 27 11 17 28 20.0% 15.1% 2.57 1.17 2.44 16.7% 11.2 59.4% -9.0% -1.14 11% 8% 45.9
69 Ilya Mironov D 17.50 6.03 RUS MHL 22 1 5 6
70 Kaedan Korczak D 17.63 6.03 CAN WHL 39 3 16 19 18.7% 11.5% 0.60 0.50 2.23 2.6% 17.2 50.0% 7.1% 0.62 26% 10% 20.1
Rank Player Pos Age Height Nat. League GP G A P INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 ePr60 SEAL Sh/GP Sh% eTOI GF% GF%rel GD60 rel XLS% Top XLS% XPR
71 John Beecher C 17.45 6.03 USA USHL 30 3 14 17 13.0% 13.8% 2.26 0.61 1.40 7.1% 10.6 63.6% -1.1% -0.13 10% 2% 25.3
72 Sergei Sapego D 18.94 6.02 BLR WHL 30 7 19 26 19.8% 13.3% 2.01 0.79 1.71 14.6% 13.7 86.1% 20.3% 2.67 51% 30% 29.1
73 Vladislav Kolyachonok D 17.31 6.02 BLR OHL 27 0 15 15 18.1% 3.9% 0.31 0.62 1.39 0.0% 16.7 43.9% 2.1% 0.27 24% 10% 28.9
74 Ryan Johnson D 17.14 6.00 USA USHL 23 2 9 11 14.5% 8.8% 0.63 0.50 1.16 4.5% 15.2 46.2% 1.3% 0.14 7% 4% 28.3
75 Tag Bertuzzi C 17.57 6.01 CAN OHL 29 4 5 9 7.8% 5.3% 0.89 0.29 1.69 8.2% 9.3 33.3% -22.2% -2.95 4% 1% 22.8

The counting stats on this list are current to January 5th, 2018. The prospect model data is current to December 24th, 2018.

Sources: Raw data for pGPS is from Elite Prospects and Hockey Reference. Raw data for SEAL adjusted scoring and on-ice metrics is from whl.ca, ontariohockeyleague.com, theqmjhl.ca, ushl.com, bchl.com, swe.hockey.se, hokej.cz, collegehockeyinc.com, collegehockeynews.com, liiga.fi, and en.khl.ru.

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  • Darren C

    Finally got to watch Bowen Byram live yesterday. Of course one must consider the level of competition, but he sure was a guy in control at both ends of the ice. It was obvious that his teammates were looking to him for leadership which he provided. He also played both sides on defence seemingly alternating shifts at times between right and left.
    I know after being shut out twice in a row fans are looking for more offence, but in say 2-3 years Byram could be the guy that replaces Edler’s first pairing minutes and position on the pp.

  • Sandpaper

    Thanks for this update Jeremy, it is loaded with information.
    I only get too watch a few of these players occasionally, but the analytics and eye-test are matching up quite well, on the players I have been following.

  • If the Canucks end up mid-round, I wonder if they’d go for Newhook. On paper, he reminds me of Tyson Jost in terms of build, position and individual stats. One big difference is that Newhook is a pillar for the Grizzlies whereas the Vees were stacked.

  • El Kabong

    Its kind a a weird feeling right now, for the first time in a few years I don’t have a clear idea where we will be drafting. Could be anywhere from 5-18th.

  • TheRealRusty

    Thanks for the write up.
    For all his earlier misadventures and mistakes (growing pains from being an inexperienced GM), drafting has always been GMJB’a strong suit. Other than reaching for Virtanen (whom I am still convinced that ownership pushed hard for), he has consistently gotten value from his picks. My only concern is that 5 years into our retool/rebuild, ownership is getting ansy with the lack of progress and he will be out of a job should we fail to make the playoffs again this year. Sigh.

      • TheRealRusty

        Petey40. The “sigh” was not for GMJB but for us long suffering fans. I have always expressed my belief that JB was an excellent chief scout, but was also very inexperienced as a GM. He would not have been my first hire as it would only prolong our rebuild (with all the growing pains he had to go through and mistakes a plenty he made outside of drafting). More could have been accomplished with a seasoned GM, assuming that he also brought with him a AGM with a strong background in amateur drafting… a position JB is best suited for imho).

        But now that we are 4 years down the road and have suffered through all of GMJB’s growing pains (give the man credit, he hasn’t made the same mistake twice). My fear is that the impatient ownership will prolong the pain if they choose to replace management after this season. With new management comes turmoil and change that would be disruptive. The new management would most likely want bring their own people to oversee all areas, negatively affecting the chemistry and synergy within the scouting department.That is why I believe organizations like Tampa and Nashville can keep on churning out talent year after year. Stability of ownership and continuity of trust that management has on its amateur scouts.

        That is why it would be more prudent to continue the course with GMJB at the helm

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      He kinda screwed up taking McCann over Pastrnak though (he was the assistant GM for the team that did get Pastrnak with the following pick, so he had the scouting reports and should’ve gotten it right). And, while I am not ready to completely write off Juolevi just yet, Matthew Tkachuk would look mighty good on this team right about now.

      However, I will agree that most of his best moves have been draft selections, and wish he would acquire and use as many picks as possible this year after throwing away several chances to show his draft mettle in trades in the past.

      • kermit

        We can only guess at what the Boston scouting reports said. Maybe Benning was using them and they had McCann ranked higher as well. Pasternak just fell to them as their next pick. Take a look at the following draft in 2015, they had three first round picks and passed over Barzal, Chabot and Boeser, to pick guys named Zboril, DeBrusk and Senhshyn. Maybe Boston management aren’t geniuses after all.
        Juolevi might be one of those learning moments for Benning as well, not to put too much weight on a player having one exceptional tournament like Juolevi did at the World Juniors. He should still pan out as a top 4, but he may be injury prone like Tanev.

        • Chris the Curmudgeon

          Oh, I certainly didn’t think Boston was a landing of scouting genius. I just think that if Benning was really as amazing of a talent scout as he was made out to be, he should have been able to pick out Pastrnak. If “everyone makes mistakes, no one could have known”, etc, well fine, but that sort of counters the narrative that Benning has some sort of special eye then, doesn’t it?

          I didn’t necessarily think taking Juolevi was unsound at the time. But it looks like NOT taking Tkachuk was the real screwup. These things always need to be considered with the opportunity cost built it. Again, maybe no one could know how good Tkachuk would be this fast, but I feel that having a handle on such things is what Benning is getting paid for.

          • kermit

            Yeah, Tkachuk was an unfortunate miss. I suspect what Benning saw was a first pairing D man versus a second line winger. It’s been a while since we had a draft pick step into the lineup as an 18 year old and thrive the way Tkachuk did.

          • TheRealRusty

            Chris. I would respectfully disagree with you on this one. Amateur scouting is an inexact science even at the best of times. Nobody can really 100% predict on how a 17 year old will mature mentally and how his specific skillset will translate into the NHL. If GMJB can draft 2 solid players out of each draft, then he would be outperforming 90% of the NHL teams out there. The 2014 draft produced Virtanen, McCann and possibly Tryamkin. Even if McCann didn’t end up playing any significant games for the Canucks does not diminish that GMJB and his team did a great job drafting 2 NHL players who will play at least 250 NHL games.

            Btw, I totally agree with your assertion that he should have retained more of our draft picks over the past 4 years which would have resulted in our rebuild being at least a year ahead of where we currently are.

          • Dirk22

            The RealRusty – I get what you’re trying to say but you’re not using very good examples. You’re referencing the 2014 draft where the Canucks picked 6th and 24th. According to Scott Cullen, there’s an 84% chance of a #6 pick becoming a full time NHLer and a 52% chance at becoming a top-6. Juries still out on Virtanen for the second part of that. A #24 pick has a 64% chance of becoming a full time NHL’er. Long story short – it’s extremely likely that these two picks would become full time NHL’ers and your notion that Benning is bucking the odds here is false.

            That being said, you could point to Forsling and potentially Demko to make your point for that year, although it’s buffered at this point by subsequent drafts like 2016 which looks like a lost year apart from Juolevi.

          • Chris the Curmudgeon

            Rusty, I agree that drafting is fraught with error. But, it is germane to any conversation about Benning’s success as a drafter that in the 2014 and 2016 drafts, he passed up significantly better players with each of his 1st rounders. Would I have gotten all of those picks right? Almost certainly not. But no one is paying me to either.

            He nailed it with the Boeser pick, and even with EP (as there were lots of other good options at #5). Jury’s out on Hughes, though it was probably more luck than anything that a few other teams reached. But, if we’re going to praise the good, we should also condemn the bad. And, it bears repeating, we’re just talking about the GM’s supposed “greatest strength”. His trades have been a mixed bag at best, and his signings have been generally awful.

          • Kappa Cocko

            You guys are all losers trying to sound smart like you’re better than Jim Benning because you have hindsight. He’s done a hell of a job. The most important job he has is to draft and develop players and he’s doing a hell of a job. Pat him on the back. Stop whining. You’d probably complain if Steve Yzerman was our GM.

      • apr

        It would not surprise me at all if there was an agreement that Benning could not touch some prospects that Boston was drafting as per release/non-disclosure agreement.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Maybe I missed something but I didn’t see any goaltenders rated or mentioned in this very informative article. I suppose clubs wait til later rounds to select from this very crucial fraternity because without a solid goalie you’re going nowhere and fast. Maybe none rank higher than 75th this year but this may be where Benning can capitalize with all those 6th round picks he’ll have. That’s what I’d do.

  • truthseeker

    I’m still of the mind that we avoid drafting wingers with our first round picks, unless said winger is “Liane game changer type” given their low trade value and inability to bring back and significant Defense or Center returns that would be of equal talent value.

    If they want forward help, I think they should go with the best available center and then convert those centers to wing if need be. So for an extreme example (because it’s most likely never going to happen) if we did get Hughes, and Gaudette progressed to a solid performing 3rd line center who contributes good offensive numbers, that would create an excellent opportunity to ride a center depth of Hughes, Horvat, Guadette, and then shift EP over to the wing on one of the top lines. A position where we know he already can excel and produce points as high as he would at center.

    I would like them to target D though. It’s nearly an impossible position to trade for, in terms of a number one or two, without giving up a player we don’t want to give up. Getting a current top young D man will cost us a Horvat or Boeser minimum. I doubt most teams would even do that.

    I’m really hoping someone like Woo “Over achieves” from his draft position cause we really need that.

    • jaybird43

      Converting EP, clearly their best and most creative centre at present, and highly responsible defensively, to wing, makes little sense. Guadette on wing on a higher line might though; all this of course is under the magical assumption that Hughes #2 comes to us.

      • truthseeker

        wow…tough call on that one.

        I suspect most would claim it’s an “easy answer” and make that trade immediately, and I get where they’re coming from. Since joining the Jackets he’s put it all together and is now a consistent 50 (on pace for 60 this year) point D man. That’s absolutely huge.

        I suppose a part of it is how much you believe in Boeser. In terms of goal scoring I personally believe he could end up being one of the best in the NHL consistently through his career. That’s something the canucks do need basically as much as a top D man.

        But in the end, yeah I make that trade. That level of D man is just stupidly hard to get whereas wingers that can score (obviously not quite like Brock) are a bit more common.

        Jackets would never do it though. Not in a million years based on trade precedent. To get Jones himself back when he was only a “rising prospect” with some questions about his defensive abilities, took the Jackets giving up their young number one high scoring already proven first line center. That’s crazy.

        Honestly I doubt the Jackets would trade Jones for almost anything. From us it would probably take Petterrson, Hughes, and our first round pick. The Oilers would need to give up McDavid, type thing.

    • El Kabong

      Why do I keep seeing the if we get Jack Hughes we shift EP to the wing. We have one of the best players in franchise history , breaking or matching the production of the best players in the league. In what world does it make sense to move him to a wing. Imagine if the Oilers, after Gretzky’s first season decided to move him to the wing to make room for a young, unproven prospect.


    The Canucks aren’t making the playoffs since most of the teams have 3-5 games in hand.
    It would be nice for GMJB to get the same Hughes treatment in Vancouver. With only 1 Dman in the top ten, everyone is looking C/Wing and a really good d prospect drops in their lap.
    Ollie will be good if not a pretty great Dman, if we could have a good season and luck into a Byram…. that’s a grwat season!
    Get well soon EP, but maybe not too soon? Struggling between 40 goals and top 10 draft pick! Darn it

  • jaybird43

    Hi Jeremy, I’m wondering if you can dive into the Top XLS % (prediction of being in the top 6 forwards or top 4 d) a bit more, particularly in regards to back testing, plus any opportunities clubs might have for “market mismatches” on draft day.

    Looking at the Canucks situation specifically, and their need for defence, I’m looking at relatively highly placed Top XLS %. Bowen Byram, ranked 5th, has a Top XLS of 41%. The next bevy of d players, at 21, 22, 23 and 24, respectively are Thomas Harley (TXLS 40%), Mikko Kokkenen 70%, Matt Robertson 30%, Victor Soderstrom 23%. Later on, at 45 is Henry Thrum at 40%, and really late at 72 is Sergei Sapego, 30%.

    If the Canucks draft outside of the top 10 say, aren’t they more likely to end up with quality NHL players just by drafting off that Top XLS scorecard? What’s the backtesting success looked like there? Wouldn’t that give them the best opportunity to find “unearthed gems”, particularly in the defence realm, where drafting outside the top 15 can be notoriously difficult?

  • 51Geezer

    The concept of using a player’s exact age is very interesting, although it’s not obvious how you’re using the information. Has age difference increased the separation between, for example, Byram (17.26) and Honka (17.94)? Or, has Broberg’s relative youth (17.22) caused him to move down?

  • Puck Viking

    Surprised you have Honka as high as you do. Kokkonen has way better numbers and is excellent in his own end. Many people dont even have Honka in the top half of the 2nd round.