Friday, March 30, 2012

Breaking Down the Draft by Round, League and Country

Knowing your chances; playing the percentages

Drafting an NHL-calibre player is a science in and of itself. The pool is large. But, the jump from Junior, or even Europe's top leagues to the NHL is substantial. The game is fast. As such, the ability to make split-second decisions at top speed is paramount. With all this said, looking at past drafts tell us which countries and which leagues are producing the most NHL talent. We can also study which rounds produce the most NHL talent, and at what percentage. Going even further than that, we can view which countries or leagues produce the most talent in specific rounds.

The study is in its early stage, but the results are interesting none-the-less.

Breaking down the nine NHL drafts between 1999 and 2006 we can see which rounds have produced the highest percentage of NHL players, and at what rate. For the sake of this study, we will define an NHL player as any draft pick that has played more than 200 games. It is for this reason that the current study stops in 2006, as any player draft since would be hard-pressed to have already played 200 games; particularly a High School,  NCAA or European prospect.

As expected, the first round produced the highest percentage of NHL players. In fact, 64% of players drafted in the first round through those years have played 200 or more NHL games.  In terms of leagues, between 1998 and 2003 80% of NCAA players drafted in the first round played 200-plus games, followed by the OHL (77.5%), and the WHL (70.6%). The percentage of first round draft picks from other leagues or countries are as followed; QMJHL (60%), Sweden (60%) Russia (50%), Czech Republic (50%), Finland (50%). The lowest percentage of first round picks to play 200-plus games came from US high School hockey, as only 25% of first round picks drafted out of high school through those years have played 200 or more NHL games.

As for the second round, 25% of players chosen in this round have become NHL players. In terms of leagues, the highest success-rate came from the OHL, where 42% of draft picks became NHL-players. The NCAA had the second-best success-rate at 33%, followed by the Czech Republic (25%), and the QMJHL (25%). The success-rate of second round pucks from other leagues or countries are as follows; WHL (16%), Finland (14%), US high School (12%), and Russia (9%).

In the third round, 16.2% of players drafted have become NHL players. During the years studied, an incredible 50% of third round picks from Finland have become NHL players. The next highest success-rate belongs to both the QMJHL (26%) and the OHL (26%); the Q actually has the slightly higher percentage when not rounded-off. The NCAA produced a success-rate of 21%, followed by Sweden (20%) and the WHL (19%). Russia and the Czech Republic have identical percentages at 16.7%, while no US high school players drafted in the third round during these years has established themselves in the NHL.

Nine percent of players chosen in the fourth round have become NHL players. In terms of leagues or countries, the success-rates also drop substantially. US high school hockey actually has the highest success-rate in this round, with 20% of USHS players drafted in the fourth round becoming NHL players. Sweden and the Czech Republic follow with equal success-rates of 12.5%. The success rates of other leagues are as follows; OHL (8%), NCAA (6%), QMJHL (5%), Russia (4%), WHL (4%), and Finland (0%).

The fifth round has actually produced the lowest percentage of NHL players than any round save for the now defunct ninth. Only 7% of players chosen in the fifth have played more than 200 NHL games. In terms of leagues, 21% of NCAA players chosen in the fifth have become NHL players, followed by the OHL with a success-rate of 18%. The success-rates of other leagues or countries are as follows; Sweden (12.5%), Czech Republic (9.1%), and the WHL (8%). The QMJHL, Russia, Finland, and USHS dis not produced any NHL players in the fifth round.

As for the sixth round, 10% of players drafted in this round have played 200-plus games. In terms of leagues, 29% of players drafted in the sixth round out of Finland have become NHL players, while 18% of WHL players have become NHLers. The success-rates of other leagues or countries are as follows;  QMJHL (15%), Russia (15%), Czech Republic (13%), OHL (13%), and the NCAA (7%). No sixth round draft picks from Sweden or US high school hockey during the years studied have played 200-plus games.

Eight percent of seventh round draft picks have played 200-plus games. In terms of leagues, 15% of players from sweden drafted in the seventh round have become NHL players, while 14% of QMJHL and WHL players have met our minimum game requirement. The success-rates for other leagues or countries are as follows; Czech Republic (11%), Finland (9%), and the OHL (4%). The NCAA, Russian and US high school hockey have yet to produce NHL players in the seventh round.

Although these rounds no longer exist, it is interesting to note that an impressive 29% of players from the Czech Republic drafted in the eighth round have played over 200 NHL games, while 25% of players from Finland chosen in the ninth round have become NHL players.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Palushaj Deserves his Chance with Plekanec

The time for experiments is now

Aaron Palushaj is a hard-working player facing the 6 most important games of his career. The young winger has nothing more to offer the AHL, and needs a solid swan song in order to earn a spot in the NHL (with Montreal or elsewhere). Palushaj has earned his opportunity, the only question that remains is will he get his chance?

As mentioned here, at this point in the season Rene Bourque is just a body playing along side Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller.  Bourque simply kills too many offensive-forays.  Palushaj, on the other hand has the best overall risk/reward ratings of any winger not named Max Pacioretty. Palushaj simply has better numbers than Bourque in every even-strength metric tracked.

Palushaj has the third-best offensive-zone risk/reward rating on the entire team; behind only Eller and Pacioretty. His numbers show that he can maintain puck-possession in the offensive-zone, and will be able to support the o-zone cycle with Plekanec and Eller. Granted, he wins only 40% of his offensive-zone puck-battles, but makes up for that with the most offensive-zone loose-puck recoveries per-minute played on the entire team. His success-rate for offensive-zone passes (65%) is even better than the Habs top "money-passer"; David Desharnias.

When engaging in plays that require him to maintain puck-possession, Palushaj's success-rate of 63% is slightly better than even Pacioretty, and surpassed only by his potential linemates, Eller and Plekanec. Palushaj defensive-zone risk/reward rating is fourth-best among forwards. It is equal to Plekanec, and surpassed only by Petteri Nokelainen and Lars Eller.

In terms of even-strength ratio, Palushaj makes 1.84 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful plays. this is the third-best ratio among wingers, and substantially higher than Bourque's ratio of 1.53 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play.

This is not about slamming Rene Bourque. This is about  quantifying internal assets. In order to create an accurate and tangible value on Aaron Palushaj, the Canadiens have no choice but to play him with better players.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Habs: Top Performers in Each Statistical Category (part 2)

Tracking each event during a game allows us to quantify players' performances across multiple statistical categories. Below is  a list of the top performers among Montreal Canadiens players in each category we track.


OFFENSIVE-ZONE RISK/REWARD (EVEN-STRENGTH)

Offensive-zone risk/reward rating is a representation of how well a player performs in the offensive-zone per-minute of ice-time. It takes into account all events tracked in the offensive-zone. Breaking this metric down to represent a value for each minute a player spends on the ice allows us to compare players more equally. Check the FAQ's at the top of the page for more information on risk/reward ratings.

Max Pacioretty has the Canadiens top offensive-zone risk/reward rating (0.54). He's followed by Lars Eller (0.49), Aaron Palushaj (0.45), and Scott Gomez (0.44). Andrei Markov and Tomas Kaberle are tied for the top o-zone risk/reward rating among defensemen (0.27)



DEFENSIVE-ZONE RISK/REWARD (EVEN-STRENGTH)

Defensive-zone risk/reward rating is identical to offensive-zone risk/reward rating except in the fact that it only takes into account those events that take place in the defensive-zone.

PK Subban has far-and-away the best defensive-zone risk/reward rating. Subban's rating (1.18) is the product of an incredible amount of events, and a large amount of ice-time.  The only other Canadiens player with a d-zone rating above 1.00 is Kaberle. Kaberle's poor play without the puck is compensated by an incredibly high d-zone passing success-rate.

Eller has the top d-zone risk/reward rating among Habs forwards (0.68). Eller's rating is substantially higher than any other forward, and is the product of more d-zone events than any forward. Eller is simply far more involved than other forwards in the defensive-zone.


NEUTRAL-ZONE RISK/REWARD (EVEN-STRENGTH)

The three leaders in neutral-zone risk/reward rating on the Habs roster are all players with fewer events than their teammates. Andreas Engqvist, Frederic St. Denis and Blake Geoffrion all have high neutral-zone risk/reward rating. Due to lower event totals than other zones, neutral-zone risk/reward rating takes longer to stabilize.

Among players with substantial events, Scott Gomez and Tomas Plekanec have the highest neutral-zone risk/reward ratings. Centremen are normally puck-carriers, which explains their high n-zone ratings. PK Subban (another puck-carrier) has the top neutral-zone risk/reward rating among defensemen.


PERCENTAGE OF INDIVIDUAL EVENTS IN OFFENSIVE-ZONE

This category tracks the percentage of a player's total events that occur in the offensive-zone. This metric is position-heavy in the fact that centremen and defensemen usually engage in far more events than wingers. Obviously, forwards also engage in more o-zone events than d-men, while d-men engage in more d-zone events than forwards

Among centremen, forty-seven percent of David Desharnais' total events occur in the offensive-zone. Among wingers, fifty-one percent of Erik Cole's, Rene Bourque's and Aaron Palushaj's total events occur in the offensive-zone. Andrei Markov has the highest percentage among d-men, as 23% of number 79's total events occur in the offensive-zone.


PERCENTAGE OF INDIVIDUAL EVENTS IN DEFENSIVE-ZONE

Among defensemen, 72% of Chris Campoli's total events occur in the defensive-zone, while 70% of Josh Gorges' total events also occur in the d-zone. Among centremen, 39% of Petteri Nokelainen's total events occur in the defensive-zone, while among wingers, 41% of Michael Blunden's total events occur in the defensive-zone.

2012 NHL DRAFT: One-game Scouting Report for Martin Frk

Impressive puck-skills

Martin Frk is the 25th ranked prospect on Central Scouting's mid-term rankings. The 6'0", 204 lbs right-handed shooting winger is in his second season with Halifax. The Czech Republic native suffered through injuries this season, ending the campaign with 16 goals and 13 assists through 34 games. Frk has great hands and solid vision. He's at his best with the puck on his stick.

The below one-game scouting report is from 7-4 loss to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on January 13th, 2012. Keep in mind that this is a 1-game scouting-report, and is only meant to quantify Frk's play in this particular game.


OVERALL GRADE

Frk produced a solid, above-average overall grade of 82. His best work was done in the offensive-zone; at both even-strength, and while on the powerplay.


91

WINS
53
WINS
EVENTS
65
EVENTS
GRADE
82
GRADE
PLAYER
91



OVERALL RISK/REWARD RATING

Frk engaged in 3.47 events per-minute played, and produced an impressive overall risk/reward rating of 2.04. His ratio was an equally impressive 3.83 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play.


91

POS
46
POS
NEG
12
NEG
RATIO
3.83
RATIO
MIN/G
16.7
MIN/G

91

MINUTES
17
MINUTES
POS/MIN
2.75
POS/MIN
NEG/MIN
0.72
NEG/MIN

91

EVENTS/ MIN
3.47
EVENTS/ MIN
RISK/REWARD
2.04
RISK/REWARD

91




OFFENSIVE-ZONE RISK/REWARD RATING

As mentioned earlier, Frk best work was done in the offensive-zone. He earned an offensive-zone risk/reward rating of 1.14, and an o-zone ratio of 2.46 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. He recovered 7 loose-pucks in the offensive-zone, and completed 78% of his attempted passes. He completed 4 of his 6 attempts to beat opposing players 1on1 (deke). He was also able to get 3 of his 4 attempted shots on net.


91

OZ POS
32
OZ POS
OZ NEG
13
OZ NEG
RATIO
2.46
RATIO
MIN/G
16.7
MIN/G

91

MINUTES
17
MINUTES
POS/MIN
1.92
POS/MIN
NEG/MIN
0.78
NEG/MIN

91

EVENTS/ MIN
2.69
EVENTS/ MIN
RISK/REWARD
1.14
RISK/REWARD

91



DEFENSIVE-ZONE RISK/REWARD RATING

Frk produced a below-average defensive-zone risk/reward rating of 0.18, but a solid d-zone ratio of 2.50 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. The reason his ratio doesn't match his rating is because he had a limited number of defensive-zone events; a normal occurrence for wingers. He recovered 3 d-zone loose-pucks, and completed both of his attempted passes. He also lost his defensive-zone coverage on two separate occasions.


91

DZ POS
5
DZ POS
DZ NEG
2
DZ NEG
RATIO
2.50
RATIO
MIN/G
16.7
MIN/G

91

MINUTES
17
MINUTES
POS/MIN
0.30
POS/MIN
NEG/MIN
0.12
NEG/MIN

91

EVENTS/ MIN
0.42
EVENTS/ MIN
RISK/REWARD
0.18
RISK/REWARD

91



NEUTRAL-ZONE RISK/REWARD RATING

Frk had an above-average neutral-zone risk/reward rating of 0.42, and a ratio of 4.5 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. Frk is a solid puck-carrier, he completed all 3 of his n-zone pass-attempts, while also successfully completing all 3 of his attempts to beat opposing players 1on1 (deke). He recovered 4 loose-pucks, but was unable to complete either of his 2 attempts to dump the puck deep into the offensive-zone.


91

NZ POS
9
NZ POS
NZ NEG
2
NZ NEG
RATIO
4.50
RATIO
MIN/G
16.7
MIN/G

91

MINUTES
17
MINUTES
POS/MIN
0.54
POS/MIN
NEG/MIN
0.12
NEG/MIN

91

EV/ MIN

EV/ MIN
RISK/REWARD
0.42
RISK/REWARD

91



POWERPLAY RISK/REWARD RATING

Frk was solid on the powerplay. He  produced a PP risk/reward rating of 2.70, and a ratio of 2.67 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. He recovered 3 loose-pucks, and completed 12 of 15 PP pass-attempts; many of his passes were attempted from the half-wall toward the opposing goalie's right.


91

POS
16
POS
NEG
6
NEG
RATIO
2.67
RATIO
MIN/G
3.7
MIN/G

91

MINUTES
4
MINUTES
POS/MIN
4.32
POS/MIN
NEG/MIN
1.62
NEG/MIN

91

EVENTS/ MIN
5.95
EVENTS/ MIN
RISK/REWARD
2.70
RISK/REWARD

91

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Habs: Top Performers in Each Statistical category (part 1)

Tracking each event during a game allows us to quantify players' performances across multiple statistical categories. Below is  a list of the top performers among Montreal Canadiens players in each category we track.

OVERALL GRADE

Overall grade is a numerical representation of each player's play. It takes into account successes and failures within each metric tracked, and includes traditional plus/minus, as well as shot and point totals.

Tomas Kaberle has the top overall grade (74) among Canadiens players. Kaberle's grade is the product of a large amount of powerplay time. This powerplay time allows him to completed loads of offensive-zone passes, thereby padding his grade. His grade is also helped by his assist total.

Among forwards, the top overall grade belongs to both Max Pacioretty (70), and Tomas Plekanec (70). Pacioretty's grade is helped by his point total, and his ability to get the puck on net. Plekanec's grade is particularly impressive considering his extremely low traditional plus/minus. Overcoming this is the fact that he's among the leaders in most puck-possession metrics.


OVERALL RISK/REWARD

Overall risk/reward rating is a representation of how well a player performs per-minute of ice-time. It takes into account all events tracked including even-strength, powerplay and short-handed situations. Breaking this metric down to represent a value for each minute a player spends on the ice allows us to compare players more equally. Check the FAQ's at the top of the page for more information on risk/reward ratings.

Andrei Markov has the top overall risk/reward rating, but has played far-less games than his teammates. Other players with high overall risk/reward ratings include PK Subban, and Kaberle.  Subban and Kaberle are both successful when moving the puck up-ice.

Lars Eller has the best overall risk/reward rating among forwards; followed closely by Max Pacioretty. Both players have high loose-puck recovery numbers.


EVEN-STRENGTH RISK/REWARD

Even-strength risk/reward is identical to overall risk/reward, except it only takes into account plays occurring at even-strength.

PK Subban has far-and-away the top even-strength risk/reward rating. He engages in more plays per-game than any other player, and has impressive loose-puck recovery numbers in the defensive-zone. Other players with high ES ratings include Markov and Kaberle.

Lars Eller has the top even-strength risk/reward rating among forwards. He plays fewer minutes than many of the Habs forwards, but engages in substantially more events per-minute played.


EVEN-STRENGTH RATIO

Even-strength ratio expresses the amount of successful plays a player makes for every 1 unsuccessful play. As such, the higher the number the more successful plays a player makes for every 1 unsuccessful play. This metric does not take into account ice-time.

Josh Gorges has the best ratio on the Canadiens. Gorges makes 2.60 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. The only other players with ratios above 2.40 are PK Subban and Tomas Kaberle.

Undervalued Mathieu Darche has the top even-strength ratio among forwards (2.11). The only other forwards with ES ratios above 2.00 are Eller, Pacioretty, and Plekanec.

Part 2 to follow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Defensive-zone Passing-percentage for Every Habs Defenseman

 Kaberle with Habs top defensive-zone passing success-rate

A successful first pass in the defensive-zone is a key aspect to any defensive-zone start or defensive-zone transition. We always hear about defensemen's ability to make that solid first pass. Below is a visual representation of the defensive-zone passing success-rate of every defenseman who has played for the Montreal Canadiens this season.


Andrei Markov has played far fewer games than any of the other defensemen. As such, his success-rate should be viewed as an early representation of his passing ability coming out of the defensive-zone, and not the likely long-term result. That said, Markov's d-zone passing-percentage has improved with each passing game.

Tomas Kaberle has the top defensive-zone passing-percentage among Habs defensemen. As much as Kaberle has been raked over the coals for his defensive-play, his ability to move the puck up ice quickly and efficiently is undeniable. Much of Kaberle's high defensive-zone risk/reward rating and ratio are the product of his passing ability.

Josh Gorges has the third-best d-zone passing success-rate among Habs d-men. Gorges' high success-rate combined with his willingness and ability to win puck-races, puck-battles, and block shots have allowed Gorges to produce the top defensive-zone ratio among Habs defensemen.

PK Subban has the fourth-best d-zone passing-percentage, and has consistently improved his  success-rate this season. Subban recently completed an incredible 31 defensive-zone passes in one game, and has completed 1175 total d-zone passes this season; 300 more than his nearest rival, Gorges.

Chris Campoli and Yannick Weber are fifth and sixth, respectively, and have similar defensive-zone passing-percentages. While Frederick St. Denis and Raphael Diaz come in seventh and eighth. Alexei Emelin has the lowest defensive-zone passing-percentage among all Habs d-men. An improvement in this aspect of his play would go a long way toward forcing himself into the Habs top-4 next season; particularly if he continues developing his shot-blocking, while also maintaining his physical play.

Tracking defensive-zone passing-percentages is the only way to quantify defensemen's ability to make a solid first-pass.