Hockey regular seasons around the world are ending soon, and (guesstimating) just under half of the world's hockey players will not be participating in the playoffs. Some of those players are Flames prospects. Here are five of them.
Kind of not-surprisingly, these players aren't very high up on the prospect chart. They aren't difference makers for their teams, which is probably why they're not playing hockey before April. You might look at these names and say "oh yeah, that guy."
We'll be breaking down these guys' seasons using some handy NHLe charts I made up. They're a bit tricky, so here's a guide on reading them:
How to read these charts:
The Y-Axis is NHLe and the X-axis is the months (0 is October, so count up from there). All other data is mentioned in the legends, and is only for comparison purposes.
R squared (or line of best fit):
To sum up NHLe, it is the amount of points a non-NHL player, based on their PPG output in whatever league, would likely score over the course of an 82 game season based on historical trends from players in that same league. While this is a useful tool for projections, there are some flaws with this number. NHLe cannot account for hot starts, cold streaks, absences, streaky play, and whatever else may positively/negatively influence the number (this is important to mention, especially at the NCAA level when the opening schedule is usually comprised of weaker teams). R squared helps cut out that noise. Since we tracked stats on a month-to-month basis, we can show a player's consistency and discover which NHLe numbers are inflated and which are not. Two things to help determine this:
- The direction of the line of best fit is a good hint. Conventional hockey wisdom would say that a player gets better as the season goes on, so normally, the line should go up, indicating continued growth and strong performances. A line going down usually indicates a hot start and declining performances, and should be viewed more cautiously. Basically, the direction of the line could show whether or not a number is influenced by a certain good/bad stretch. Steepness of the line indicates how heavily it was influenced (however, depending on how the images scale out, lines may appear steeper than the actual data says)
- The actual r squared number. This number is how well the line of best fit actually fits the data. In our terms, this is how consistent the player was over the course of a season. The closer the number is to one, the better. If a number is closer to one, we have a relatively steady player (the higher the NHLe, the better this is. Someone consistently scoring is better than someone not scoring). The further, the more sporadic.
NHLe flat lines:
These are comparison points. Generally, you would want the month-to-month data to hover around this line for the current season, and higher than all previous seasons.
Basically the same deal, but with SV%.
|RW||January 11th, 1994||6'3"||193||2013, 6th round (#157)|
This was Harrison's Junior year at Colgate. The big winger contributed eight goals, nine assists, and 17 points - all career highs- for the Raiders, who placed 10th in the ECAC and lost in the first round of the conference's tournament to Dartmouth.
2015-16 Final NHLe: 8.91
Harrison certainly peaked very early in the season, scoring two goals and notching one assist in his first six games. Then he dropped off, only adding one assist in his next nine games. For the majority of the season, Harrison was a no-show, performing just about the same as he did the previous year. While he certainly made up for lost time in the final few months, Harrison just didn't have a good year as his NHLe would say. Considering that number is 8.91, that doesn't bode well.
Projection data (finding players with similar NHLe in certain years) is all from theprojectionproject.com, a site I cannot recommend enough
They don't look good. Players with similar heights, weights, and draft +2 data (TPP will only allow you to search up to the d+2 year, Harrison had a 5.61 NHLe that year), include Steven Fogarty, Robert Nyholm, Dominik Uher, and a whole lot of other names. Basically, no one worth a damn. Optimistically, he has some minor AHL success like Uher. Harrison has another year to prove himself, but the outlook isn't positive.
|C/LW||September 17th, 1993||6'0"||183||2012, 7th round (186th)|
In his senior year at Michigan State, DeBlouw put up nine goals, eight assists, and 17 points in 28 games, good for a career best 0.6 PPG. An undisclosed injury early in the season kept him out for five weeks, but he returned and put up his best production with MSU. The Spartans' season ended early in the Big 10 tournament, bowing out to Ohio State in the first round.
2015-16 NHLe: 17.43
You can clearly see the impact of his injury in the chart (I forgot to mark it, but it comes at the end of October and finishes mid-November). While he slowly returned to form, he was never quite the same after a hot start, only heating up towards the end of the season. DeBlouw certainly made major improvements from his first two years in the Big 10 (for those wondering why he put up great numbers in his first year, the CCHA was trash in it's final year and the Big 10 is a significant improvement), but his numbers are still somewhat low for a senior.
It's probably something that we haven't heard anything from the Flames with regards to signing him and giving him an AHL or ECHL chance. TPP lists 305 players with stats similar to his at any point in his career. Only 63 of those guys found a regular place in the NHL, 19 of them on the fourth line. That's optimistic. Most likely, this is the last we'll ever hear of him.
|D||July 30th, 1996||6'4"||209||2014, 6th round (#175)|
The Flames' big Swedish defender got a big international debut on the World Juniors stage as one of Sweden's younger elder statesmen. Unfortunately, he injured himself and was out for the rest of the season. He was playing so well!
2015-16 NHLe: 8.5
Not much to say here. He was playing very well for a defencemen in a professional league, then he got injured. He did better then he did in years past, with consistently improving numbers (besides his hiccup last year, growing pains I would say).
The Flames should probably bring him over to the Stockton Heat this offseason. Right now, Ollas-Mattsson is tracking similarly to Brendan Mikkelson, Carl Sneep, and Ivan Baranka. These aren't household names, but they all have NHL experience and decent AHL careers. Considering his draft status, that's not bad at all.
|D||May 15th, 1995||6'2"||207||2013, 7th round (187th)|
Our own enigmatic Russian received some substantial and valuable KHL time this year, though didn't do much with it. Rafikov also had brief stints in the MHL (where he played in the playoffs) and VHL. Two steps forwards, one back yadda yadda.
2015-16 NHLe: 3.98
Rafikov did not belong in the KHL this year, as his stats show. He was a good player back in the VHL (though the NHLe for that league is derived from other translation factors (KHL*AHL) due to the fact that very few players from the VHL ever make it to the NHL), and the transition to the KHL was rough. Better luck next year.
Maybe he comes over for development camp this year? There's nothing helpful in the TPP database regarding Rafikov.
|G||July 21st, 1997||6'2"||181||Undrafted (2015 draft eligible year)|
Originally a training camp invitee, Schneider became a favourite among Flames management and found himself with an ELC heading back to Medicine Hat. He didn't start off so hot, but got much better as the season progressed. Schneider dragged the Tigers from the brinks of early elimination to a one game playoff with the Edmonton Oil Kings for the final playoff spot in the WHL, ending in a bitter 6-4 defeat.
2015-16 SV%: 0.896%
Yes, that start to the year was absolutely terrible. It did impact his numbers throughout the year, but he remained relatively steady at sub .900% numbers. He wasn't the worst in the WHL, but he was far away from average. Luckily, he's still 18, and has time to improve.
There are no actual projection methods for goalies, but based on his numbers from the year before, I'd imagine that we aren't going to see Schneider get much better than he already is.
And that's it for this round of prospect wrap ups! Frozen Four and CHL playoffs begin tomorrow, so perhaps we'll have some more wrap-up posts in upcoming weeks. Until then, enjoy!