Scoring across various leagues by players of different ages is hard to compare leading up to a draft. This is where NHLe comes into play. The idea is that players will - on average - produce a predictable amount in the NHL based on what they produced in their current league.
Copper & Blue has the translation factors here. In the interest of not re-typing it, here the factors are:
Is it perfect? No. Special team scoring is in here. Time on ice information would help fine tune it. These things can't be fixed without more information available. Age has been accounted for however. Using the method Rhys Jessop developed players have been adjusted down if they're older than 17 when the past season started. Age isn't as much of an issue for us now like it had been in the past.
What this will allow us to do is find players who are coming in a bit under the radar who have been scoring at higher levels than their projected draft position would otherwise suggest.
As a frame of reference for what constitutes a good NHLe, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl rated at about 43 coming into last year's draft. Sam Bennett was 39. On defense, Aaron Ekblad came in at 22.48 and Julius Honka at 22.2. No, this does not tell us everything about a player. It does help frame their offensive production though.
Players playing in European Professional leagues deserve a little leeway.
The Rank in the table below is the Future Considerations final ranking. With that out of the way let's take a look at the forwards.
Some names to keep an eye on who could present big bargains: Conor Garland, Anthony Beauvillier, Anthony Richard, Andrew Mangiapane, and Jack Roslovic. What do Garland, Beauvillier, Richard, and Mangiapane have in common? 5-foot-8, 5-10, 5-9, and 5-10. They're all short.
Conor Garland in particular really jumps out at you. Let's start at the beginning. He and Jack Eichel were teammates with the Jr. Bruins in 2012 when Garland led the team in scoring. Garland decided to go to the QMJHL instead of college saying:
"I want to play hockey as a profession, and I thought the best way for me to do it was to play Major Junior. It's like getting a degree in hockey. You learn how to prepare. You learn how to play a full, 80-game schedule. It's four games a week, instead of two in college."
If you dig around about Garland you find a few interesting tidbits. Many can be found over at HF. He apparently improved his skating significantly prior to the past season though he still isn't a burner. He's an annoying player to play against who doesn't mind going into dirty areas. And, most importantly if you follow the Stars. he has hockey IQ that is off the charts to go with elite skill. Just watch him go. He's No. 8 in red.
Boy he's shifty. You have to wonder how some of that will play at the NHL level. He's going to have to use his teammates more to get up the ice, but there's definitely skill and IQ there. He should be a mid-round pick and it's hard to pass on skill like that in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Craig Button ranks him 43rd. Hockey Prospectus has him at 76.
Beauvillier is probably more of an option if the Stars trade down from No. 12 or trade up from their second round selection. He's projected to go at the end of the first round or early in the second. Like the others, based on his scoring rate, you could make a good case for him going higher.
Beauvillier is at least bigger than Garland standing at 5-10 and 181 pounds. He's going to need to add some muscle, but most 18 year olds need to. He seems like a high character player, the type that will get the most out of his abilities.
"He definitely leads by example," said Dan Marr, head of the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau. "There's an infectious attitude in the way he plays. He's similar to Robby Fabbri last year where he's really relentless on the puck, relentless on the play. He doesn't quit."
Anthony Beauvillier (Shawinigan): Has been the unquestioned catalyst for a resurgent Shawinigan club. Makes things happen all over the ice and is the most quietly buzzed about prospect in the league.
McKeen's ranked him No. 2 in their list of the top character players in the draft.
He probably doesn't get to the Stars second round pick, but you never know. They could get quite the bargain if he does.
Unranked by Future Considerations and McKeen's comes our next small scorer.
Fast skater that seems even quicker due to his constant motion .. dangles in and out of traffic areas, adding pressure that causes opponents to defensive breakdowns .. interprets game quickly in the offensive zone .. excellent puck control at top speeds .. possesses the capacity to corrals passes quickly without losing a step .. controls the puck well at top speeds .. doesn't have a great shot but releases it so quickly with little warning that it catches opponents off-guard .. undersized forward who will have to improve his overall strength .. hesitant in his decision-making in the defensive zone .. can get in trouble when game is played tight due to his smaller size .. consistency from game to game remains a concern.
There doesn't seem to be much buzz surrounding him. If he gets drafted it's looking like he'll be a 4th-7th rounder.
What does Mangiapane have in common with Garland and Richard aside from being small? He's also unranked by McKeen's. He's entering the draft for a second time.
Yet another player who went undrafted mainly due to his size, Mangiapane took steps to ensure his offensive upside by posting a 100+ point season including 43 goals. He plays a lot bigger than he is and is a water bug on the ice, using his quickness and determination to gain and maintain puck possession. He has also refined his defensive game making him a more complete player.
Like Richard, there's no telling where he'll go. Craig Button and Hockey Prospectus both rank him in the 40's, but most seem to think he's a 4th rounder or later. Derek touched on Mangiapane (and Garland) the other day.
Roslovic dominated this season in the USNTDP. He's 6-1. He's ranked 33rd by Future Considerations and 26th by McKeen's. The top four scorers in this class are in a tier of their own, but Roslovic is one of the leaders of the second tier.
The problem? He played on a line with two of the top prospects in the 2016 draft, Matthew Tkachuk and Auston Matthews. Does he drive the play or is he a passenger to two great prospects? That uncertainty undoubtedly plays into his ranking.
A slippery, instinctive playmaker who sees openings and makes sharp passes through a maze of players. Extremely skilled at creating puck movement with his stickhandling - and then deftly dishing off a play on his backhand. A clever winger who plays an effective supportive offensive role getting into good shooting lanes but often looking to pass first - understanding that he will get it back. Superb pivoting and transitions while moving that support his body positioning to receive passes. A gifted skater with great outside speed
They also note that he needs to add bulk and work on his defensive game.
Like Beauvillier, the Stars would likely need to trade up or down to be in a position to take Roslovic.
Timo Meier and Travis Konecny offer decent scoring upside. If you like the whole package either player brings they would be fine picks, but if it's predominantly based on scoring teams should be careful, Players who produced comparable offensive seasons will be available throughout the first few rounds the draft.
Two who really need to be watched are Pavel Zacha and Lawson Crouse. Both rate out fairly low offensively. There are those who love Crouse for his defensive game, skating, and physical game who see a guy who can be a valuable top six forward that contributes in various ways. Are you going to risk passing on an Ivan Provorov, Zach Werenski, or Kyle Connor to see?
Zacha looks the part. He's a big center who can punish physically, skate, and has shown off a good shot.. There are numerous reasons for the low production. McKeen's explains:
A fragmented season of development appearing in only 37 games in his North American debut after playing in a professional league in the Czech Republic at 16 .. big, hulking power forward who plays with a mean streak .. explodes into players, demolishing them - but needs to work on technique and keep arms and sticks down - can be a surly, chippy player, allowing his emotions to get the best of him .. early momentum interrupted twice by suspensions .. missed more time in the new year due to a hyper-extended elbow
There are some legitimate reasons for his scoring to not be where you would expect a top prospect to be, but his game also sounds like that of a bottom six forward. They even note that, at a minimum, he should be an effective third line forward.
A third line forward that contributes for years is a good get from a draft. The same can be said for Crouse really. Perhaps they can both be more than that, but neither one screams "high upside offensive player". Quality prospects, but red flags that seemingly limit their upside nonetheless. Both could be available with the Stars pick at 12, but given their tendency to lean offensive with their top picks under Nill they don't seem like Stars picks.
We'll tackle the defensemen in Part 2 soon.