In about three weeks from now, we will gather around the TV or streaming device and watch our favorite team draft the next big thing for the organization. But before we get there, let’s have a look what the team prospect pools look like right now. Which systems are absolutely loaded with legit NHL, maybe even star, talent? Which systems are bone dry, with little NHLers in sight?
The team strength approach we will be using at Hockey Prospecting is to use our own model, largely based on NHLe tracking over a five year period – from the pre-draft year (D-1) to the three years after the draft year (D+3). The draft year is the prospect’s first eligible draft year so players drafted in their first eligible year and overagers are all on the same level here.
We’ll look at each team’s system by:
- Only Forwards and Defencemen are considered
- The player was drafted from 2015 to 2019 or was eligible to be drafted in those years.
- The player could have been drafted by the team or they now own the player’s rights through signing or trading for the player
- All ‘prospects’ will have played less than 100 games in the NHL.
What we’ll analyze four categories:
- Average Star Probability of top 5 prospects
- Average NHLer Probability of top 5 prospects
- 10%+ Star Probability: The number of players with a Star probability of 10% or more. How many players in the system have at least a shot of being a Star?
- 30%+ NHLer Probability: The number of players with a NHLer probability of 30% or more. We chose 30% as a cut off as 3 of 10 will still make the NHL here. Below that, the odds get less and less and over half of prospects fit the 0% to 29% criteria.
- Teams are ranked in each of the four categories above and then the average rank of the four categories determines the team’s overall ranking. This will give us a good sense of what each team has for grade A talent and how many players with a better than average shot at making the NHL does each team have in their system.
*Top 5 prospects are determined by sorting the players based on ‘NHLer probability’
**Rankings may differ slightly from previously released rankings from a few months ago. The ranking methodology has been adjusted from then and now. The hope is to keep the methodology consistent going forward.
BONUS: The much anticipated ‘Team Strength Tool’ is now live for all Hockey Prospecting members!! The tool allows you to see everyone in the team’s system, drafted from 2013 to 2019. Already a member? The tool is available in the ‘Hockey Prospecting Tools’ section. Haven’t signed up yet? $25/year gets you access to the Team Strength Tool and all the other tools at Hockey Prospecting including the ‘Player Comparison Tool’ and the ‘Drafter Tool’. Sign up below.
The rankings will be released over the next three days. Although, if you’re a Hockey Prospecting member you can hop right into the Team Strength Tool and see where each team ranks right now.
We begin with the team prospect strength rankings from 21 to 31…
31. Boston – Bottom of the Barrel
The Bruins have the worst prospect pool in the NHL. They rank last or second last in all four categories. Their only prospect that looks to have a notable shot of making the NHL, by the Hockey Prospecting model, is Jack Studnicka. Historically, the Bruins have had very good success drafting. They have drafted seven stars in the past 15 years (Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Seguin, Hamilton, Pastrnak and McAvoy). However, there’s nobody currently in the system that looks anything like the stars they’ve drafted previously. Hopefully a Stanley Cup is on the horizon for the Bruins. The core is aging and they could be heading for a long rebuild in a few years.
30. Tampa Bay – Teenage Wasteland
Tampa’s prospect pool is very shallow and completely lacking star potential. They rank in the bottom three in all four categories. Their only notable players are Cal Foote, Taylor Raddysh and Mikhail Shalagin. The weak pool can partially be attributed to trading away high picks and notable prospects recently. Typical of a contender chasing the Cup.
29. Pittsburgh – There’s Nothing Left, it’s All Traded
The Penguins are in the habit of trading away their first rounders and any prospects of value they had (Hallander and Addison). The only notable prospect left in the system is Samuel Poulin. It’ll be the worse pool in the NHL before you can blink.
28. Columbus – Not Much of Anything
The Blue Jackets do not have a lot in their prospect pool. They have a few middle six forwards in Texier and Bremmstrom that have made their way into the NHL and will become full-time NHLers. Marchenko is probably their most notable prospect that isn’t in the NHL yet. Foudy, a recent 1st round pick, also probably makes the NHL but this 1st rounder compares with the likes of Casey Cizikas rather than a bluechip star prospect.
27. Dallas – A Few Good Prospects
The pool is headlined by J. Robertson, Harley and Dellandrea. Outside of the big three, the prospect pool doesn’t have very much. However, Gurianov counts here and is a low probability prospect (by the Hockey Prospecting model). He’s arrived and he’s very good, beating out the Hockey Prospecting projection. I’m skeptical there’s another one of those in the system though.
26. Washington – No Depth
Washington is another team that has been chasing cups (winning one in 2018). and its left the prospect pool pretty bare. McMichael and Alexeyev are nice players that could evolve into something. Recently acquired Daniel Sprong might also have something left and become a full-time NHLer.
25. St. Louis – Perunovich and the Gang
The Blues have just won their first Stanley Cup and are currently a very good team. But there’s not much coming up the pipelines to replace the old guard. Scott Perunovich, drafted as a 2+ overager in 2018, is a player I really like and I think he’s going to be a very good player. Kyrou has some NHL potential. But it’s a big drop after that. The pool will quickly become one of the worst in the NHL without an influx of young talent.
24. Winnipeg – Not a Lot There
The Jets have a similar prospect pool to the teams belows them. Very shallow with little star potential and little NHLer potential. The Jets, however, are not a cup contender and never really were besides that 2018 year. Gawanke, Niku and Chisholm appear to be their best prospects and have some potential. But there is no Connor/Laine type player in the pool. As well, recent 1st rounders like Vesalainen and Roslovic have been underwhelming. The Jets are in a difficult position. They need to re-tool quickly and get back into the playoff picture while their stars are young enough. This will need to start with drafting.
23. Buffalo – What Would you Say you Do Here?
The pool is headlined by Cozens and really only Cozens. The Sabres have been bad for a decade and their best prospect who’s not in the NHL is Dylan Cozens. Cozens is a bluechip prospect that profiles like Alex Tanguay and Nazim Kadri. As well, Jokiharju is also a very good prospect but has has graduated past the 100 game plateau and isn’t considered here anymore. They have almost nothing else notable in the system. They need to turn it around quick and start getting some solid pieces, and stop reaching on late 1st rounders and 2nds.
22. Detroit – Motown Needs Stars
The pool is headlined by Zadina and Rasmussen. The Red Wings need a star very badly. They very likely don’t have one in their system currently. They have many 50/50 NHLers in the system. They rank in the top 5 in terms of Top 5 NHLer % and number of potential NHLers across the whole system. But they completely lack in star potential, ranking in the bottom 5 in both star categories. The Red Wings actually haven’t drafted a star forward since they drafted Zetterberg in 1999, although Larkin might get there. They haven’t drafted a star defenseman since Kronwall in 2000. There’s lots of potential stars in the 2020 draft. The Red Wings are drafting 4th. They need a star from this draft. Possible names to consider at that spot are Rossi, Drysdale and Perfetti.
21. Vegas – Without Trading Brannstrom and Suzuki, It’s a Great System
Vegas has only been around for three years but has already traded it’s best drafted prospects (Brannstrom and Suzuki) to acquire Stone and Pacioretty. Given how significant those pieces are, if Vegas hadn’t traded them they would have a top 15 prospect system. Vegas is a very good drafting team. They’re going to climb these rankings fast, if they stop trading away their best pieces. Their best assets now are Dorofeyev, Glass and Krebs.
The 21 to 31 team strengths can be best described as underwhelming. All of them completely lack future NHLers and/or future stars. Stay tuned for the 11 to 20 and 1 to 10 team strengths!
Remember: If you’re looking to dig into your team’s prospect system and see why they’re ranked where they are. Sign up below! You can see all 31 team rankings right now!