Habs Prospect NHLE for 2011-12 Season

CALGARY, CANADA - JANUARY 3: Brendan Gallagher #12 of Team Canada scores a late third period goal against Andrei Vasilevski #30 of Team Russia during the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship Semifinal game at the Saddledome on January 3, 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Team Russia defeated Team Canada 6-5. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

In celebration of the final days Memorial Cup signifying the end of the prospect season and the 4 Montreal prospects still contending for the CHL title (Bournival, Beaulieu, Ellis and Tinordi) it's time for another update on the Habs prospect scoring stats by NHLE.

As we have done this a few times now I have elected to add things like shot rates and more complicated specific conversion-rates to provide a deeper look at what numbers we have available to us.

Before looking at the results we should once again go over what NHLE is and isn't to avoid confusion.

What NHLE is:

- A translation of what the average relationship between the counting stats (goals, points) of players in NHL feeder leagues and their counting stats in the NHL in following seasons.

- Its a tool for tracking scoring of prospects and comparing them across leagues.

- Tends to be fairly accurate at guessing the ballpark levels of offense a player might provide if they make the jump to the NHL next season.

-A good way to keep track of a player's performance from year to year as they shift from league to league.

What NHLE is not:

- Universally a good indication of a player's offense. It tends to get very pronounced flaws for players outside the typical range of age an NHL prospect that is following a typical development process will be playing at. 20+ year old CHL players or 24+ year old AHLers don't tend to be as good as their NHLE number.

- It also makes no statement about the relatively likelihood of a player to translate well (i.e. retain most of their scoring) or poorly (i.e. not score nearly as well in a higher league) beyond which league they played in. For example, this season Louis Leblanc has scored at a better NHLE rate in the NHL itself than he has in lower leagues like the AHL and CHL, while Gabriel Dumont's production has cratered ever since graduating into the pro game.

- A flat out comparison of which player is better than the other. There is much more to hockey than scoring.

AHL

Forwards

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Shots

SPG

Palushaj

22

15

35

35

0.43

1.00

15.46

36.08

115

3.29

Geoffrion

23

6

21

29

0.21

0.72

7.46

26.13

66

2.28

Leblanc

20

11

22

31

0.35

0.71

12.80

25.61

112

3.61

Engqvist

23

20

43

60

0.33

0.72

12.03

25.86

144

2.40

Blunden

24

3

8

17

0.18

0.47

6.37

16.98

49

2.88

Desimone

24

14

33

76

0.18

0.43

6.65

15.67

122

1.61

Dumont

20

13

24

59

0.22

0.41

7.95

14.68

138

2.34

Fortier

22

8

15

37

0.22

0.41

7.80

14.63

69

1.86

Schultz

22

6

23

60

0.10

0.38

3.61

13.83

93

1.55

Nattinen

20

11

21

63

0.17

0.33

6.30

12.03

79

1.25

Masse

23

9

19

58

0.16

0.33

5.60

11.82

77

1.33

Avtsin

20

6

14

63

0.10

0.22

3.44

8.02

101

1.60

NHLE of .44

As a group these AHL forwards are, by the numbers, largely as uninteresting as they are made out to be. Leblanc is the most interesting of the bunch, doing relatively well as a 20 year old, albeit more in a way that says future middle-six scorer than star although his shot rate is fantastic. Palushaj is at least making a good case for being a solid fill in player. He may not be a realistic option for a starting top nine winger next year but is about as good as it gets as a first call up to patch a hole if there are injuries at forward. Otherwise he can be kept in the AHL with the hope that he might blossom into an impact player given enough time, much like Desharnais, Parenteau or Moulson did. Palushaj's NHLE is probably a bit flattering to him, Robert Vollman's studies on AHL to NHL conversion and age has shown that PPG+ players 22 years and older convert to the NHL at a lower rate (to be expected because if they did not have flaws they'd already be NHLers). His numbers are reconverted here to reflect this.

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Palushaj

22

15

35

35

0.43

1.00

13.00

30.34

NHLE= .37

Other than Leblanc and Palushaj there is nothing to indicate a top nine future in anyone else in this group. The top players in Mike Blunden, Blake Geoffrion and Andreas Engqvist generally fail to be even as interesting as say, Ryan White and Mathieu Darche were. The highly touted Alexander Avtsin is a particular disappointment in that regard.

For the top AHL forwards, their AHL results alone don't tell the story as they also spent time as NHL callups. To get a better idea of where they are at I took their converted AHL results and combined them with their NHL results.

AHL

NHL

AHL-NHL Average

NHLE G

NHLE P

Games

NHLE G

NHLE P

Games

NHLE G

NHLE P

Palushaj

15.46

36.08

35

2.16

10.79

38

8.81

23.43

Leblanc

12.80

25.61

31

9.76

19.52

42

11.28

22.57

Geoffrion

7.46

26.13

29

4.56

11.39

36

6.01

18.76

Engqvist

12.03

25.86

60

0.00

0.00

12

6.01

12.93

Blunden

6.37

16.98

17

4.21

8.41

39

5.29

12.70

As a group, the callups universally under-performed their expected results in the NHL, with Leblanc being the only player close and far from the pack here. Which probably demonstrates how he is the only one with an NHL offensive future worth considering. He at least could score like a 3rd liner as a 20 year old.

Defense

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Shots

SPG

St. Denis

25

3

28

58

0.05

0.48

1.87

17.42

114

1.97

Mitera

23

3

13

76

0.04

0.17

1.42

6.17

92

1.21

Malka

21

1

3

21

0.05

0.14

1.72

5.15

46

2.19

Stejkal

23

0

3

55

0.00

0.05

0.00

1.97

46

0.84

The AHL defense largely mirrors that of the forwards. Frederic St- Denis is the only player here of any real interest, which he also demonstrated through his 3rd pairing yeoman work as a callup last year. Being a solid AHL number one defenseman at 25 probably means his potential upside is sharply limited though. He's at least in a position to fight for an NHL job next year though.

CHL

Forwards

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Holland

19

25

109

72

0.35

1.51

8.54

37.24

Gallagher

19

41

77

54

0.76

1.43

18.68

35.08

Bournival

19

30

56

41

0.73

1.37

16.80

31.36

Archambault

18

17

39

45

0.38

0.87

8.67

19.90

NHLE Q = .28, W/O = .30

Brendan Gallagher looked to run away with this in the middle of the year but a sharp production decline after suffering an injury after the WJC. His previous pace of ~0.9 goals and ~1.8 points per game would have put him as the standout leader among offensive prospects with an impressive NHLE pace of 20+ goals and 40+ points. As it stands, even diminished he looks like the best goal scorer in the Habs' system after being one of the best in the CHL at getting the puck in the net.

Recently acquired Patrick Holland showed some unexpected offensive flair in his 19 year old season with the caveat that it was as a linemate to some high scoring over-agers. Still, potential upside is welcome in the 7th round pick. Michael Bournival had a strong goal-scoring campaign that dried up in the post-season. Hopefully he can have as good a transition to the AHL as Leblanc has. Olivier Archambault put up lackluster totals and remains a long term project.

Defense

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Beaulieu

19

11

52

53

0.21

0.98

4.77

22.53

Ellis

19

15

52

60

0.25

0.87

5.74

19.90

Dietz

18

15

44

72

0.21

0.61

5.13

15.03

Tinordi

19

2

16

48

0.04

0.33

1.03

8.20

It was a solid year for the Habs' CHL defensive prospects. As expected, 1st round draft pick Nathan Beaulieu lead the way behind his powerhouse Saint John's team with solid if not sensational numbers. More surprising was the offensive breakout seasons of late round picks Morgan Ellis and Darren Dietz, both of whom could be said to have upstaged well regarded 1st round picks from the same year on their team (Gormley and Siemens respectively). Ellis in particular exploded when finally traded from a sad-sack Moncton team to a Memorial Cup contender. There he outpaced WJC Team Canada 1st pairing defender Brandon Gormley at scoring while remaining a primarily defensive defenseman.

Jarred Tinordi's lesser numbers on OHL Champion London reflect how little offensive potential he shows currently. However a league leading +39 while leading their shutdown pairing reflects his defensive dominance at the junior level. Together Beaulieu, Tinordi and Ellis will make for a very strong cohort of defensemen to be added to the Bulldogs next season.

Expected CHL to AHL translation

Goals

Points

Games

AHLE Goals

AHLE Points

Goals Per 82

Points Per 82

Gallagher

41

77

54

0.33

0.61

26.77

50.28

Bournival

30

56

41

0.31

0.59

25.80

48.16

Holland

25

109

72

0.15

0.65

12.24

53.38

Beaulieu

11

50

49

0.10

0.44

7.92

35.98

Ellis

14

52

60

0.10

0.37

8.23

30.56

Tinordi

2

16

48

0.02

0.14

1.47

11.75

The observed scoring translation between the CHL to the AHL is .43, we could call this the CHL's AHLE. From this we can make a projection for how well the CHL graduates will produce next season where they will presumably be playing in Hamilton. None look to blow down the doors at this level, with my money on a healthy Gallagher being the best bet to meet or exceed Leblanc's .71 PPG last year. Yannick Weber's .65 PPG as a rookie defenseman would be an interesting target for someone like Beaulieu to hit as their yearly CHL scoring rates are similar. Although a failure to meet that goal would not be reason to believe he is offensively weaker than Weber as that season has proved to be the height of Weber's scoring career thus far. The next season he was a more pedestrian .49 behind the phenomenal Subban.

NCAA

Forward

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Walsh

20

3

10

8

0.38

1.25

12.61

42.03

Kristo

21

19

45

42

0.45

1.07

15.21

36.02

Quailer

21

8

25

26

0.31

0.96

10.34

32.33

MacMillian

19

7

23

42

0.17

0.55

5.60

18.41

NHLE = .41

Dustin Walsh's leading results were over a small sample size and probably do not mean that he was the best of this bunch. Hopefully he'll build on his good 8 games and recover from his injuries next season. The best forward here and arguably one of the best forward prospects in the system is Danny Kristo, who had a solid bounce back to a disappointing campaign last year. Unfortunately he appears to be very loyal to his college team, having elected to finish his 4 year degree at UND. Thus the only likely graduate to the professional ranks is Steve Quailer, who appears to have recovered from two terrible seasons due to major injury. He appears to be capable of a scoring role at the AHL level at least. Mark MacMillian had a decent rookie season, his point totals ballooned towards the end of the year as he got more ice-time. Expect a much better season next year as he plays a more important role.

Defense

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Kishel

22

3

18

35

0.09

0.51

2.88

17.29

Bennett

20

4

21

41

0.10

0.51

3.28

17.22

Pateryn

21

2

15

41

0.05

0.37

1.64

12.30

Didier

18

0

3

41

0.00

0.07

0.00

2.46

Scott Kishel put up some points but in a specialist role as a senior. He looks to be done as a Habs prospect now that his NCAA days are over and he's unlikely to get a contract. More exciting is similar production in a more complete package from sophomore Mac Bennett. He and Greg Pateryn played on the same pairing and were an effective duo for Michigan. Pateryn moves on to the AHL this year while Bennett will likely stay in the NCAA for another year. Josiah Didier played a minor role as an 18 year old rookie so minimal production was to be expected. He'll likely see more ice as time goes on.

Europe

SEL

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Shots per Game

Nygren

21

7

18

50

0.14

0.36

8.95

23.03

1.88

NHLE=.78

Magnus Nygren has shown in both his seasons in the SEL that he can provide offense/power play ability from the back end. The question is largely whether he can bring anything beyond an offensive specialist game to even the Swedish Eliteserin level.

KHL

Age

Goals

Points

Games

GPG

PPG

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Shots per Game

TOI

Perezhogin

28

17

27

53

0.32

0.51

21.83

34.67

2.7

15:38

Korneyev

27

5

27

57

0.09

0.47

5.97

32.24

1.79

22:43

Trunev

20

4

10

49

0.08

0.20

5.56

13.89

1.22

11:46

NHLE = .83

Maxim Trunev appears to be largely forgotten in Habs circles. That he doesn't appear to be doing much of significance in the KHL right now appears to be the biggest reason why. Both Alexander Perezhogin and Konstantin Korneyev are technically still Habs property and appear be star KHL veterans that probably could play as mid-level NHLers if they wanted too. Unfortunately they do not appear to have any inclination to come over to North America like Alexei Emelin did last summer. Although a sufficiently enterprising GM might want to make the effort at some point. Perezhogin at least probably would be a good way to replenish lost winger 2nd/3rd line winger depth if he was available. However, rumour from Russia is that he'll be resigning for a 4 year deal this summer, so it looks like that boat has sailed.

Best Offensive Seasons

Now that all the objective data is compiled, lets take a subjective turn and rank player's results from the past year.

Forwards

Forwards

League

Age

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Leblanc

AHL/NHL

20

11.28

22.57

Gallagher

WHL

19

18.68

35.08

Kristo

NCAA

21

15.21

36.02

Palushaj

AHL/NHL

22

8.81

23.43

Holland

WHL

19

8.54

37.24

Leblanc may not have the highest NHLE by a large margin but he did one thing no one else here accomplish, score at the NHL level. His 1.34 points per 60 minutes 5 on 5 at least was in the range of what a real NHL forward would be doing in his situation. Gallagher basically did everything you could have expected him to do as a 19 year old so he takes the next spot. Kristo's campaign was solid but we could have expected a bit more dominance from a 21 year old in college. Palushaj's AHL year was really good but he failed at what he needed to do most this year, show he could move up to the NHL level. Holland's year has plenty of caveats as well, but he put up the numbers and deserves recognition for it.

Goal Scoring

Scorers

League

Age

Shots/G

NHLE GPG

Gallagher

WHL

19

18.68

Leblanc

AHL/NHL

20

3.61/1.38

11.05

Kristo

NCAA

21

15.21

Bournival

QMJHL

19

4.12

16.80

Palushaj

AHL

22

3.29/0.97

15.46

Shot volume is how to score at the NHL level so I considered it with goal scoring where available. Gallagher came awfully close to a 20 NHLE goals scoring rate this year so he takes the top spot. Leblanc's 5 NHL goals and excellent shot volume place him in second. League difficulty and age makes the next three something of a toss up for me.

Defense

Defensemen

League

Age

NHLE GPG

NHLE PPG

Nygren

SEL

21

8.95

23.03

Beaulieu

QMJHL

19

4.77

22.53

Ellis

QMJHL

19

5.74

19.90

Bennett

NCAA

20

3.28

17.22

Dietz

WHL

18

5.13

15.03

Nygren's goals and points in a difficult league win him the top spot for offense, whatever his other deficiencies. Else-wise I had no problem ranking by straight NHLE for the lot of them.

In some cases using mathematical analytics helps us see what we couldn't before. In this case it does more to confirm what we already believed. There isn't really anything in the system that we can expect to step up to the NHL and make an immediate impact beyond the three best AHL players in depth roles. The AHL squad was weak but there is a strong cohort of 6 CHL players about to graduate into it which should make them significantly stronger next season.

There aren't that many sites that track NHLE for particular teams but I was able to find ones from four fellow Canadian franchises.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/4/8/2935402/2011-12-edmonton-oilers-final-nhle-the-defense-has-no-offense

http://flamesnation.ca/2012/4/19/flames-forward-prospects-nhle-2011-2012

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1181445-toronto-maple-leafs-top-10-prospects-and-how-they-will-translate-to-the-nhl/page/2

http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2012/05/12/drance-numbers-investigating-the-canucks-prospect-pool/

Montreal comes off about as good or equal to each of these teams for the most part. They have no one to match the Flames' wunderkind Sven Bartschi, but in terms of number of good scoring forward prospects, tentatively defined as 30+ NHLE Montreal comes off well.

Montreal: Gallagher, Kristo, Palushaj, Holland, Bournival, Quailer (Walsh?) 6

Edmonton: Rieder, Jones, 2

Toronto: Kadri (although Colborne and Frattin had good NCAA numbers recently) 1

Vancouver: None

Calgary: Bartschi, Ferland, Granlund, Gaudrau, Reinhart, 5

Although saying your team's prospect pool resembles Calgary's is nearly always a bad thing, in this case it seems Montreal is ahead of the pack. The Canadiens may not have a potential star forward in the system (although they have a nice 3rd overall pick to get one) but their depth should be respected. However, 4 of the 6 should be moving to the AHL next season, which tends to cause a NHLE dip (going from elder players in their old league to younger in the new).

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