Prospect Statistics Have Moved Far Beyond Looking at Point Totals

Jeremy Davis
September 19 2017 09:29AM

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PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID BANKS - USA TODAY SPORTS

I, like many hockey nuts across Canada, have a subscription to the Athletic. It’s one of the few sports publications I’ve been willing to pay for, and that has a lot to do with their lineup of writers. Analytically oriented writers Tyler Dellow and Dom Luszczyszyn played a major role in that, not to mention that them landing Corey Pronman allowed me to discontinue my ESPN Insider subscription. Another major factor was the hiring of Justin Bourne, whose most recent gig was as a video coach for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

What got me excited about the Bourne addition is that his focus area has previously been on scouting and systems analysis, which is an area that I’d like to improve in. I was genuinely obsessed with the systems articles that he used to produce for The Score before taking the job with the Marlies in 2015.

While I’m still looking forward to what Bourne has to say about hockey strategies and video analysis for both NHL and non-NHL players, one of his recent articles for The Athletic suggests to me that his knowledge of prospect statistics and analytics is lagging a bit behind. The piece, titled “When Evaluating Players, Gauging Opportunity They’ve Been Given is Crucial” laments the lack of available statistics for prospects beyond raw points. (Paywall, obviously.)

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2017 Consolidated Draft Rankings: March

Jeremy Davis
March 23 2017 01:15PM

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I skipped over last month, what with the NHL trade deadline and all, but we are now just three months away from the NHL Entry Draft, and plenty of services have dropped new rankings on us, so it’s a fine time to take a look at how the first round is shaping up.

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Do The Canucks Have Something in Evan McEneny?

Jeremy Davis
February 24 2017 03:34PM

Evan McEneny

Photo Credit: Lindsay A. Mogle / Utica Comets

NOTE: This was written before Jim Benning revealed today that Evan McEneny would be called up to the Vancouver Canucks in response to several players being diagnosed or tested for the mumps. I was going to advocate for McEneny being a late season call up, but now that that's already happened, you can consider this a primer on him instead.

Once a forgotten member of the Canucks prospect pool, Evan McEneny is suddenly putting up numbers in his first full season with the Utica Comets. Struggling to remain in the lineup just a few months ago, McEneny is now an all-situations player for Comets coach Travis Green, and is seemingly resistant to the rotating healthy scratches.

Is this simply a blip of the radar, or do the Canucks still have something in McEneny?

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Let's Talk About Michael Rasmussen

Jeremy Davis
February 02 2017 03:00PM

Any of you that followed me during my most recent stint on Twitter will know that a have a particularly strong affinity for Nico Hischier, one that I was particularly vocal about during the World Junior Championships, when he basically single-handedly scared the pants off the Americans in the quarter finals. Hischier, who started the year outside the top ten by many (and in 10th by my early top ten), was already a consensus top five pick at this point and was only heading up (he's now provided a reasonable challenge for first overall).

Meanwhile, the Canucks heading into the Christmas break (and thus the start of the World Junior tournament) were undoubtedly one of the league's worst teams, and their position in the standings showed it. They sat in 27th place at Christmas, and even with a couple of early wins out of the Christmas break, hope was allowed to creep in and create draw a line between the Canucks' terrible record, their eventual draft position, and this shiny young Swiss centre that was setting the WJC on fire.

As a rule, the Canucks aren't usually allowed to have nice things, with a few exceptions. In nearly 50 years, they have never captured the first overall pick - a trend that started with a spinning wheel back in 1970. So rather than hoping for number one, hoping for a top two or three selection seemed like a safer bet for a Vancouver fan, right? This could really happen!

It was then that my bubble was burst by the mention of one name: Michael Rasmussen.

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Time Has Made Mike Gillis' Draft Record Look Better - But It's Still Bad

Jeremy Davis
February 01 2017 01:33PM

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Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY SPORTS

The emergence of several players after Mike Gillis was fired, including Bo Horvat, Ben Hutton, and Brendan Gaunce, and even strong AHL showings from Jordan Subban, Alex Grenier, and Joe LaBate have served to dull the pain from a decade of poor results during the Ron Delorme era, the pinnacle of which coincided with Gillis’ reign as GM.

A short time ago, Anton Rodin made his debut with the Vancouver Canucks, and in doing so he was the eighth Mike Gillis-drafted player to make his NHL debut after Gillis was fired. The addition of Rodin and core players like Horvat and Hutton to the Canucks lineup make Gillis’ draft record look vastly better than it was, and some have speculated recently that his drafting might be better than we thought.

Well, that’s not really the case. Vancouver’s draft history over the last fifteen years has been so abysmal that anything looks good. Even with these new young players brightening the ranks, Gillis’ draft record is still not good. And I have evidence.

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