Predicting Future NHL Scoring Success with NHLe Thresholds & Related Factors

Byron Bader
July 17 2015 12:00PM

NHL Equivalency (NHLe) is a formula used by some in the hockey analytics community to normalize scoring rates in different prospect feeder leagues. The object of finding a similar "score" for players across different leagues is to help project future NHL scoring/performance. It’s a method developed by Gabe Desjardins of a number of years ago and has been expanded upon by hockey analytics pioneers like Rob Vollman and Kent Wilson. Here's Gabe's original piece to give you a context if you're not fully versed in NHLe.

Previously, I looked at draft year NHLe and forwards drafted in the first round from 2005 to 2010. In that investigation, I found that of players who had scored a career 0.6 PPG or higher in the NHL (approximately 50 points or more a season) 22 of 32 in total had an NHLe of at least 34 in their draft year.  

In fact, of all the first round forwards who had an NHLe of 34 or more in their draft year, only five hadn’t scored at a rate of 0.6 PPG or higher in the NHL to that point, though all had already made the NHL. While draft year NHLe provides certain insights, I was curious how you could project future impactful point producers (0.6 PPG or higher) overall, beyond the 1st round and beyond a player’s draft year equivalency.  

The following analysis provides insights into the following questions:

  • Are there differences between players who score a high equivalency in their draft year compared to later on? 
  • Do elite scorers tend to hit certain NHLe thresholds (e.g., 30+ or 40+) more often and/or more frequently than average, replacement-level scorers and busts?
  • What impact does age have in hitting an equivalency threshold and future NHL success? 

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Byron Bader
June 24 2014 08:00AM

NHLe is an equivalency formula used by some in the hockey analytics community.  It’s a method of standardizing scoring across various major and junior leagues.  Standardized scoring gives an idea of how players, generally younger prospects, perform at the NHL level. Some argue its merit as a valuable metric in assessing future performance.  The following provides a framework of how it can be used as a possible drafting qualifier.

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Byron Bader
May 09 2014 08:30AM


-via Dave Shaver

The NHL draft is one of the most important parts of any NHL team’s year. It is a team’s opportunity to pick up players that, down the road, may turn into franchise cornerstones or at least pieces that will them be successful. Unlike free agency or trades, the draft is an opportunity to add pivotal assets at basically no charge, with the added bonus of (likely) having the player through his prime playing years.

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Rookies and the 20 Goal Plateau

Byron Bader
January 25 2014 09:18AM

-via halfaxdrunk

Flames' rookie Sean Monahan has been the talk of Flames Town for much of the 2013-14 season. He was selected in the 2013 draft 6th overall by the Flames and made the team immediately out of camp. He did not disappoint in his first few months in the league, putting up 15 points in roughly 20 games. His game has trailed off since then but he's still contributing on a Flames team that doesn't score very much. In fact, he's leading this Flames team in goals with his 14 on the season.

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How Does Size Relate to Winning and Offense in the NHL?

Byron Bader
December 18 2013 12:56PM

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) during the third period of a NHL game in Boston on April 25th, 2013.  The Bruins beat the Lightning 2-0.(Photo: Brian Fluharty)

-piv via insidehockey

Since Brian Burke has taken over and emphasized a need to get bigger, the Flames fan base has mixed reviews on whether or not they are on board with this notion.  With this in mind and after a recent request from FN reader Matthew Kutarna, we're going to have a look at size as it relates to impact players.

Kent talked at great length about  the issue of "getting bigger" yesterday.  A sticking point of the article is that teams should not be getting bigger for the sake of getting bigger. Rather, teams should be  focused on getting skilled rather than bigger and not the other way around.  If the skill comes with size that's an obvious double threat that any fan would welcome with open arms.  

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