Team Strengths: 11 to 20
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Now on to the 11 to 20 team prospect strength rankings…
20. Montreal – Not Matching Consensus
Montreal has some good talent in their system but it’s not overly rich and does not appear to have a bonafide star. This may come as a surprise as the system is thought of as top notch in many circles. Fleury, Suzuki, Caufield, Brooks and Norlinder profile like NHLers and will likely be good players down the road but not stars. To be honest, I have a tough time understanding how Montreal is seen as having one of the best prospect pools. Montreal ranks in the lower end of the top 15 in terms of Top 5 NHLer potential and overall NHL potential but they rank in the bottom 15 in the star components.
19. NY Rangers – Another System That Doesn’t Match Consensus
Most any ranking has the Rangers with one of the best prospect pools. Hockey Prospecting doesn’t but let me explain why. The reason is the Rangers have a lot of unusual prospects that are regarded very highly but don’t project to their reputation in the Hockey Prospecting model. This is especially true in the their top 5. The Rangers have the 26th ranked star potential and 19th ranked NHLer potential in their top 5.
Kakko is seen as a future superstar by many, but doesn’t appear as one in the model. He currently profiles like Dustin Brown and Josh Bailey rather than Alex Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin.
Fox doesn’t show up overly high in the model but this is partially because he returned to college for three years and the model is confused by him and underrates him. I’m a big fan of Fox. The Hockey Prospecting model projects that Rangers currently have one star in their system and that star is likely Fox, even though his star probability is only 10%.
Lundkvist is very odd. His draft year and post-draft year results were underwhelming of a 1st round pick. The SHL is notorious for bringing along their young talent slowly, especially defensemen. This is partially what’s happening here. Lundkvist exploded onto the scene in his D+2. He projects like nobody in the model. He might be underrated in the model.
Kravstov and Andersson are also rare unique cases that don’t project as high as you’d think. I don’t believe they’re underrated in the model, the projection is accurate. The Rangers also have a number of near 50/50 NHLer defensemen (Miller, Robertson, Jones), more than any other team.
This team is the most likely to be underrated by Hockey Prospecting. But will all of these misfits make it and have an impact? It seems unlikely. As well, they only have 0.54 expected stars in the system. Fox is already shining through as that star. Will they have two or more expected stars in the system when they’re not even expected to really have one? Again, it seems unlikely.
Finally, it’s important to note that Lafrenière, who the Rangers are expected to select at 1st overall, projects like a near certain star. He will bring their top 5 score and the team ranking up from where they stand now.
18. Anaheim – Is it as Good as it Seems?
The pool is headlined by Zegras, Comtois and Steel. Anaheim’s prospect pool has a significant quantity of expected NHLers. But it mostly lacks in star potential. They haven’t drafted a forward star since Getzlaf and Perry and gave one of the only stars they have drafted in the past 15 years to Vegas in the expansion draft (Theodore). The Ducks have many low potential stars in the system and many with moderate NHL potential. The team is rebuilding now and will be a lottery team for a number of years, time to get some bonafide studs!
17. Calgary – Good Now But It’s About To Get Bad
The Flames top prospect pool is solid, in star and NHLer probability. The top prospects are Dube, Kylington, Valimaki and Pelletier. However most of the players in the top 5 are about to become full-time NHLers, and therefore be ineligible for this list. The pool will be left with Pelletier and then a very steep drop. The pool could be one of the worst in the NHL within the next 1-2 years. Now is not the time for the Flames to trade anymore 1st round picks, they need them.
16. Colorado – Very Significant D Pieces at the Top
Makar and Byram are the major pieces in Colorado and they are very good, elite offensive D prospects. They have some younger, growing players in the system but beyond the big two, not a lot of star potential and an average amount of NHLer potential. Newhook is a player that many are very high on. He was only just drafted in 2019 and is still developing but, at this point, he doesn’t profile like a star. He compares to Tyson Jost and Luke Kunin currently.
15. Edmonton – It’s Not Rich But The Very Top is Nice
Bouchard and Yamamoto are very good prospects. There’s likely a star between the two of them. Bear, Lavoie, Jones and Benson round out the top prospects. The pool really drops off after that. Broberg is not a top prospect yet. May develop into one in the near future. The Oilers rank in the middle of the pack in three components of the ranking system. They rank 5th in top 5 star potential.
14 . Florida – Paging the Computer Boys!
The pool is headlined by Finkelstein and Tippett. Denisenko is a player that projected well when drafted but, moving over to the KHL, hasn’t been able to reach another level and has fallen off. There’s still time for him to develop into something though. Players like Heponiemi and Borgstrom once showed great promise but have fallen off and are unable to make their way into the NHL. The pool has a few potential pieces but not much of anything notable. My guess is the Panthers don’t often pick who their draft analytics consultants (Lawrence and Weissbock) suggest. Just a hunch though.
13 .Chicago – It Should Be Better
Chicago doesn’t have a very deep pool. Their only potential star is Boqvist. Dach, a top 3 pick, doesn’t read like a star at this point. They also have a significant quantity of 50/50 potential NHLers (a few nice D pieces like Carlsson and Mitchell). It’s a pretty mediocre pool for a team that has been drafting high for a few years now and will be for the next few years. Trading Jokiharju for Nylander did not help the cause.
12. Arizona – An Unique Team
The pool is headlined by Hayton, Jenik and Capobianco. Hayton is likely their best prospect. He appeared to be heading for stardom after his D+1 year but after an injury filled D+2 season, he’s fallen back of his star potential. Hopefully he can regain that form over the coming seasons.
You probably expected to see Soderstrom in the top prospects. He’s a very unique player that doesn’t project great in the model because of his age and starting point when drafted. But he is producing significantly in the SHL currently and could shoot up the rankings over the next few years. In general, Arizona is slightly above average all over. I’m not sure what to make of them, especially given the team’s affiliation and reliance on Stathletes tracking data which sometimes differs from what the Hockey Prospecting model projects.
11. San Jose – The Algorithm Beater
The Sharks have really only one big piece in their system, that being Ryan Merkley, who projects like a star offensive defensemen. Ferraro is another nice d prospect that has made the NHL early and will likely become a full-timer. Their third best prospect, by our ranking, is Joseph Garreffa. An AHL-signed player that went undrafted twice before exploding with Marco Rossi on the Ottawa 67’s this past year.
The Sharks look so well in the rankings largely because they have gigantic quantity of ‘potential NHLers’. They have the 3rd most. But nearly all of them have a a 30% to 50% chance. They have more of these players than anybody else. Given the probabilities and what those types of players turn into, the Sharks’ system is loaded with future bottom six/bottom pairing players. The Sharks trip up the Hockey Prospecting system. It’s overrated by this method. They need many a high-probability player to re-stock that system.
The 11 to 20 group can mostly be categorized as teams with plenty of potential NHLers but not a lot of star power. Team rankings 1 to 10 drop tomorrow. Stay tuned!