Thursday, November 08, 2012

2012 Draft Class Answering The Hype

The other day I stumbled across TSN's fantasy rankings of junior players. I knew that the Habs had a few good players to look out for, but after browsing, I was even more impressed.

The ratings formula shows that all those great statistics the Candiens junior prospects are putting up are actually comparing very favourably to their peers.

In all, 4 Canadiens draftees (all from the class of 2012) were in the top 50s in their respective leagues. Considering there were only 5 players from this year's draft playing in the CHL, this seemed to me to be a very good return indeed (Dalton Thrower spoiling the party).

The players in question

Tim Bozon (87.88) - 3rd in WHL, 2nd among drafted players in WHL, 5th among drafted players in CHL

Alex Galchenyuk (83.66) - 9th in OHL, 9th among drafted players in OHL, 14th among drafted players in CHL

Charles Hudon (81.77) - 19th in QMJHL, 5th among drafted players in QMJHL, 19th among drafted players in CHL

Brady Vail (74.09) - 39th in OHL, 24th among drafted players in OHL, 50th among drafted players in CHL

Of note:
Mikhail Grigorenko (92.68) - 4th in QMJHL, 1st among drafted players in QMJHL, 2nd among drafted players in CHL

I decided to run a bit of an analysis to see how the Habs stacked up against the other NHL clubs in terms of prospect performance in the CHL to this point.

Number of players
In sheer numbers, the Habs come in a tie for second with their 4. The leader in this regard is the despicable Maple Leafs with an impressive 5 players off to explosive CHL starts.

1) Toronto (5)
2) Montreal, Boston, NYI, Detroit, St. Louis (4)
7) Buffalo, Ottawa, Florida, Winnipeg (3)

There were 6 teams with no one on these lists (usually Habs territory) including NJ, Washington, Edmonton, Vancouver, Anaheim and LA

Total ranking
It's a bit contrived to put any weight in a total ranking on a list of players that is arbitrarily cut at 50, but I'll do it anyway. Here the Habs fare well again, with a 4th in the NHL position. The Maple Leafs on the strength of an extra player obviously took the top spot by a good margin.

1) Toronto (373.73)
2) St. Louis (332.93)
3) Boston (332.34)
4) Montreal (327.4)
5) NYI (316.52)
6) Detroit (301. 22)

Average ranking
OK, so is there any way we can beat Toronto? Well, average ranking of player shows promise. In this regard, Montreal is the 7th best outfit in the NHL (Toronto is actually 22nd - out of 24 remember? 6 teams no players).

1) Minnesota (84.59)
2) Colorado (83.405)
3) St. Louis (83.2325)
4) Boston (83.085)
5) Dallas (83.06)
6) Buffalo (82.37)
7) Montreal (81.85)
14) NYI (79.13)
19) Detroit (75.305)
22) Toronto (74.746)

Top rankings
Another look shows that:

- Montreal fares well in the top 10 (1 player - Bozon at 5) -- only St. Louis has 2

- Montreal leads in the top 20 with 3 players (Bozon, Galchenyuk and Hudon) -- tying them with St. Louis and Boston

What does it mean?
If hot starts in the CHL matter (and they do in a non-NHL November), then Habs fans should be happy with what they are seeing. The Canadiens clearly have a top 5 outfit of prospects if October 2012 in the Canadian Major Junior leagues is all you go by. I would suggest that St. Louis and Boston (who you'll notice are ahead in most lists above) are better. Beyond that, it's splitting hairs. Toronto has the volume and Buffalo with one less player has a slightly higher average score.

Generally a positive thing for Habs fans.

But if you haven't taken note already: Boston, Buffalo, Toronto... This scenario couldn't be closer to home. While the Habs enjoy a great draft, it would be nice if their closest rivals were on different paths. Clearly they are not, not yet. Even Ottawa has 3 players on the lists. That's 19 players from one division of a total of 60 drafted players from these three lists.

I think we'd rather be the standout in the Pacific or Northwest where 5 drafted players feature from each.

Though I don't think this snapshot of one league at one point in time means that much, it still tantalizes about the future of the Northeast division for the neutral fan, and worries the Habs fans hoping for Capitals passes to the playoffs.

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