Tomas Vincour is not impressed. - Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
How does the Stars prospect performance stack up with historical performance?
Funny you should ask that question. This post and the information contained herein attempts to show a ballpark estimate of what one could expect the prospects in question to produce at the NHL level given their current production levels in their respective leagues. The translation factors were initially recorded by Gabriel Desjardins at behindthenet.ca.
NHLe does have limitations as we've discussed in the past. Ice time, quality of competition, quality of teammates, and special teams time are all problems that are virtually impossible to overcome without more detailed statistical recording.
One tweak since the last time NHLe for Stars prospects was recorded on Defending Big D is adjusting for age in the AHL The old standard of using a translation factor for the AHL of .45 has been found to still be true, but for players under 23 in the AHL the factor is accepted to be .53. The reasoning is pretty straight forward. Young players succeeding in the AHL are generally the top prospects in hockey and carry more potential. Thus, they aren't still in the AHL when they're 23.
Before we begin looking at the Stars, if you'd like to do more reading about prospect projection I'd recommend following this link. It will take you to the NHL Numbers reference library on prospect projection. Plenty of good stuff can be found there, and it's curated by noted internet celebrity Eric T. of Broad Street Hockey fame.
The Stars system has hit a slight speed bump offensively. As you may have noticed, the Texas Stars can't really score. The Stars graduated a lot of prospects from the NCAA and Juniors into the AHL over the summer. The adjustment period for the forward prospects has made the system take a bit of a hit offensively.
As far as current production goes there still isn't much going on with the Stars blueline.
* Jokipakka leads the way with an NHLe of 23 playing in a league with men. He's gone relatively under the radar (as you'd expect with a late round pick playing in Europe), but he's taken as far of a step forward as any defensive prospect in the system.
* Jamie Oleksiak slides in at #2 with 19. Down the stretch with Niagara last year Oleksiak had an NHLe of 18. It looks like, so far in the AHL, that he's maintaining that level of offensive performance. He'll need to take another step forward offensively to be a top pairing candidate, but he's still incredibly young.
The forward group is where the system has taken the biggest hit from a production standpoint. It's still a deep group, but it still lacks the current "wow factor".
* Brett Ritchie predictably leads the way after the rampage he's been on in juniors. As of Friday he sat at an NHLe of 38. It's far from elite production, but it suggests that he can come in and be a useful offensive piece in a few years if the other aspects of his game continue to develop.
* Cody Eakin sits at an NHLe of 34 while centering the top line in Austin. His winger, Tomas Vincour, is humming along at 28 like he usually does. They don't offer top shelf offensive potential, but if they really are to be the Stars third line (if the season ever happens) then the Stars will have enviable depth up front.
* Scott Winkler continues to do his thing in college.
As the year continues it will be critical for Brett Ritchie, Radek Faksa, and the kids sitting in Austin to continue developing. They need a blue chipper from the blueline to step up, and a true impact forward up front wouldn't hurt. Hopefully someone breaks out.