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Draft Notes: WHL Draft-Eligible Players

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04-30-2004, 11:35 PM
  #1
Prussian_Blue
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Draft Notes: WHL Draft-Eligible Players

I'm going to start a new feature here, and throw out some notes and observations I've made during my research on draft-eligible players. Some things will surprise you, some may upset you, but all should stimulate some draft conversation here.

I'm going to start with the Western League, because for my money that's the best of the three major junior leagues. They play the most games, and have the most grueling travel schedule, so players from that league come out more prepared, IMO, for the rigors of the life of a pro hockey player.

1). Mike Green. A lot of people here are very high on this guy, and at first glance, why not? Ranked 8th in North America by Central Scouting at mid-term. Decent size at 6-01, 195. A right-hand shot, which the Blues could certainly use in their system. And decent offensive numbers (14-25-39 in 59 games played).

Ah, but that's the rub... those numbers aren't as good as they seem. Here's why.

As of January 1, Green was cruising along with 10 goals (6 on the power play), 28 points, 47 PIM and a respectable minus-4 on a team that was 6-25-7-0 in 38 games and had a minus-55 goal differential (83 GF, 138 GA). Green had played 36 of those games for Saskatoon.

From that point to the end of the season, Green played only 23 of the Blades' remaining 34 games, and managed only four goals and 11 points while seeing his plus-minus nosedive to a minus-29. His team won only one game in calendar year 2004, and finished with a whopping minus-139 (140 GF / 279 GA).

Missed one-third of his team's games down the stretch; personal plus-minus plummets at a greater proportion than that of his team; points per game cut just about in half compared to the first part of the year. In the first part of the year, Green played most of the time and managed to stay near even on his plus-minus even though his team was getting blitzed.

Now, granted, Green's team sucked rancid canal water; the ineptitude of the Blades was hardly his fault and his alone. But you've got to wonder when you have a guy who's so highly-touted for his offense, and he manages only four goals (all on the power play, BTW) in 23 games and is unable to lead his team to more than a single victory after New Years' Day.

IMO, this experience has to have had one of two effects on the kid: Either it's built his character until he's a cross between Abraham Lincoln and Luke Skywalker, or else it's ruined him for years until he can get with a team where he's not expected to be a "go-to" guy for a while. The Blues would do very well to determine which of the above is true before spending their highest first-round pick in almost a decade on this guy.

2). Devan Dubnyk vs. ???: Dubnyk is another guy who was rated very highly by the CSB at mid-term. Third overall among North American goalies. 6-05, 186 pounds. Edmonton in particular is said to be very high on the young man.

Take a look at his stats at the end of each month in calendar year 2004:


Player .. Mth End. GP . Mins .. GA. SO .. GAA . W .. L .. T ... SA .. Svs . Sv %
================================================== ==============================
Dubnyk .. Dec 03 . 25 . 1420 .. 59 . 4 . 2.49 . 13 .. 9 . 2 .. 705 .. 646 . 0.916
Dubnyk .. Jan 04 . 37 . 2144 .. 89 . 5 . 2.49 . 17 . 14 . 5 . 1067 .. 978 . 0.917
Dubnyk .. Feb 04 . 42 . 2413 . 103 . 5 . 2.56 . 19 . 17 . 5 . 1224 . 1121 . 0.916
Dubnyk ... Final . 44 . 2533 . 106 . 6 . 2.51 . 20 . 18 . 5 . 1278 . 1172 . 0.917
================================================== ==============================
Dubnyk 2004 ...... 19 . 1113 .. 47 . 2 . 2.53 .. 7 .. 9 . 3 .. 573 .. 526 . 0.918


Now, you look at that and think, "hey, this guy was the model of consistency. GAA stays around 2.5, save percentage stays around 91.7%. Not bad."

Yes, until you look at the won-lost column and see that he was actually below .500 for the calendar year.

Now, what if I could show you a guy who was ranked a little lower than Dubnyk, but is just about as big (my guy was ranked 8th in North America, and is 6-02, 182) and who didn't just maintain down the stretch... he improved as the going got tougher. Improved dramatically.

I'm talking about Kootenay goalie Jeff Glass.


Player .. Mth End. GP . Mins .. GA. SO .. GAA . W .. L .. T ... SA .. Svs . Sv %
================================================== ==============================
Glass ... Dec 03 . 30 . 1642 .. 78 . 1 . 2.85 . 13 . 11 . 1 .. 748 .. 670 . 0.896
Glass ... Jan 04 . 44 . 2489 . 106 . 3 . 2.56 . 21 . 15 . 3 . 1119 . 1013 . 0.905
Glass ... Feb 04 . 51 . 2920 . 117 . 4 . 2.40 . 24 . 17 . 5 . 1299 . 1182 . 0.910
Glass .... Final . 57 . 3263 . 128 . 5 . 2.35 . 26 . 20 . 6 . 1442 . 1314 . 0.911
================================================== ==============================
Glass ..... 2004 . 27 . 1621 . 50 . 4 . 1.85 . 13 .. 9 .. 5 .. 694 .. 644 . 0.928


Glass personally won 13 of the 15 games Kootenay won in calendar year 2004, and improved his GAA and save percentage in every month. He's sort of flying under the radar, so to speak, and should be available in the third round if the Blues decide to go for scoring in the first and second.

At this point, I'd take him ahead of Dubnyk, but most teams will look at Dubnyk's size and hype, and go with him. That's good for the Blues, who should be able to add another decent goalie to a stable that now includes Curtis Sanford, Tuomas Nissinen, and Konstantin Barulin.

3). Right-handed shots on defense: This year's WHL draft class is chock-full of 'em. In addition to the aforementioned Mike Green, the Blues can also take a look at the following:

Roman Tesliuk ... 6-01, 191 ... Kamloops ....... 70 . 5- 9-14 . 118 PM, - 6 ... 22nd NA
Brett Carson .... 6-04, 221 ... Calgary ........ 71 . 5-27-32 .. 49 PM, +14 ... 28th NA
Max Gordichuk ... 6-01, 228 ... Kamloops ....... 70 . 0- 8- 8 .. 54 PM, + 8 ... 39th NA
David Schulz .... 6-03, 201 ... Swift Current .. 70 . 3-14-17 .. 79 PM, +14 ... 82nd NA
Evan Schafer .... 6-02, 221 ... Prince Albert .. 71 . 3- 6- 9 . 190 PM, - 6 ... 131st NA
Mike Card ....... 6-01, 205 ... Kelowna ........ 72 . 6-12-18 .. 47 PM, + 1 ... 204th NA
Riley Day ....... 6-03, 215 ... Medicine Hat ... 61 . 1- 3- 4 . 154 PM, +10 ... 207th NA


Of that group, Carson looks to be about the best, and a possible second-round pick. Day is still playing with Medicine Hat in the WHL final, and would be a decent mid- to late-round pickup.

4). Left Wings: In a forward position where the Blues are lacking in depth, this WHL draft class is pretty well-stocked. Here are the LW's from the Dub:

Andrew Ladd ..... 6-02, 200 ... Calgary ........ 71 . 30-45-75 . 119 PM, +39 ... 2nd NA
Dane Byers ...... 6-02, 184 ... Prince Albert .. 51 .. 9- 8-17 . 134 PM, - 5 ... 18th NA
John Lammers .... 5-11, 182 ... Lethbridge ..... 62 . 21-24-45 .. 31 PM, + 8 ... 69th NA
Denis Tolpeko ... 5-11, 175 ... Seattle ........ 72 . 13-16-29 .. 63 PM, - 6 ... 108th NA
Justin Keller ... 5-10, 174 ... Kelowna ........ 72 . 25-21-46 .. 44 PM, +13 ... 112th NA
Ned Lukacevic ... 6-00, 185 ... Spokane ........ 72 . 19-14-33 .. 65 PM, - 7 ... 126th NA
Mitch Bartley ... 5-11, 204 ... Vancouver ...... 72 . 31-28-59 .. 64 PM, + 2 ... 141st NA
Kris Hogg ....... 5-11, 174 ... Kamloops ....... 72 . 24-14-38 .. 79 PM, +23 ... 153rd NA


The ones who most interest me are Bartley, with his 31 goals, and Keller, who seems to be a power-play specialist. 13 of his 25 goals wer scored with the man advantage. Hogg had 24 goals and was a plus-23 on a team that scored 192 goals all together (that gives the mighty mite exactly one-eighth, 12.5%, of his team's total goals for the season), and was only a plus-10 in goal differential (192 GF / 182 GA).

Needless to say, I'd love for Andrew Ladd to fall to the Blues at #17, but that's got two chances of happening: slim and none.

There you have it, folks. Discuss amongst yourselves, and I'll work on doing something similar for the OHL, to be posted next week.

PrussianBlue


Last edited by Prussian_Blue: 05-01-2004 at 12:00 AM.
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Old
05-01-2004, 08:43 AM
  #2
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Thanks for the info.
I'm one of the people that has been interested in the possibility of the Blues drafting Green. It will be interesting to see how this progresses.

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05-01-2004, 12:21 PM
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just a note...I wouldn't let denis tolpeko's low numbers discourage you...as a first year russian player, the kid impressed the hell out of me...he's an awesome skater with a surprising amount of physicality and fiestiness for a russian

he's going to grow into something special I think

I wouldn't draft him in an early round...but I would draft him

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05-01-2004, 02:34 PM
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Just a couple of thoughts...

1. I agree with you on Jeff Glass. Definitely a better prospect long-term.

2. I also believe that Mike Green is a dangerous choice even if he falls to 17. Think Daniel Cleary....the comparisons aren't so glaring but I think Green will be one of those guys who'll score when things go well, but fade away when his team needs him to step up. Sorry...we've already got a bunch of those guys.

3. On defense I like Carson or Gordichuk...but with Backman the only really established young offensive defenseman I think Carson would be the better choice. (Of course, I'm probably missing someone in the system...so please remind me who that O-D guy is.) Gordichuk strikes me as a stay-at-home defenseman but not really mean. I'm also intrigued by Schaefer - has size, plays mean, and a touch of offense. Late in the draft, he might be a good pick.

4. The only knock I have on Bartley is his height. We have *so many* players under 6 feet, I'd like to see us go after skilled wingers who are at least 6'1". Part of that is personal preference - I'd rather have my wingers at 6'1" or 6'2" than at 5'9" or 5"10". Don't hold me to this, but I think one of the knocks on him is his skating. If he's an OK skater, it'll kill him as he gets closer to the NHL. You can still learn shooting, passing, and defense as you get older, but if you can't skate by 17 or 18 you're not going to get any better.

Still, great info PB. I'm looking forward to the OHL list.

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05-02-2004, 11:37 AM
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Every person that I've spoke with that has seen Green play has said that he is an incredible player on a horrid team. One person told me that he wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be the best defenseman out of this draft.

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05-02-2004, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
Every person that I've spoke with that has seen Green play has said that he is an incredible player on a horrid team. One person told me that he wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be the best defenseman out of this draft.
I will defer to the opinions of those who have seen him play, because I haven't.

All I'm saying is that I think the Blues need to do their homework thoroughly on the kid, and that they'd probably be better served by drafting the best scoring forward they can get in the first round.

Besides, Green's stock continues to rise thanks to publications like McKeen's. It's a strong possibility he won't even be available when the Blues pick at #17 anyway.

This is what I wanted this thread to do, folks. Let's keep it up.

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05-02-2004, 11:53 PM
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PB,
This is probably something we'll never agree on. As weak as the Blues are on the LW in the system, I still don't think it's a reason to stray from a BPA strategy. I'm still big on Green and I think he'll probably be the best around at the 17 spot, unless a Getlzaf-like fall happens again this year (how he went from a projected ninth all the way down to the Ducks is beyond me). I think it couldn't get any better to draft a possible boom with very little bust possibility.

A lot of people forget/just don't know that Green has a bit of a nasty streak in him as well, and has a penchant for monstrous hits (including a huge one in the CHL Prospects Game). He's got a deadly shot and is more defensively reliable than his +/- would indicate; he played major minutes and in all situations. Again, he's a 3/4 with a possibility of being a top guy. It's quite likely that by the time his NHL debut rolls around, he's got an extra inch and 20 more pounds at least.

Regarding Dubnyk, he has indeed fallen a bit, but it's not really the stats that I look at when I see him. I look at his size (6'5") and the fact that he's quite agile for his size and covers a lot of net. Granted, the WHL isn't exactly known for it's goaltending superstars, but they've had their share of NHL starters.

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05-03-2004, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Stankonia
PB,
This is probably something we'll never agree on. As weak as the Blues are on the LW in the system, I still don't think it's a reason to stray from a BPA strategy. I'm still big on Green and I think he'll probably be the best around at the 17 spot...
Don't get me wrong, KOS. If the Blues do end up drafting Green, I won't have problem one with that selection. I'd really like to see them get the best forward they can get, but if Green is truly the best player available when they pick, that's fine.

Let's look at this from another angle, though... suppose a Kyle Chipchura, or an Alexandre Picard, or even a Wojtek Wolski, falls to the Blues. None of those situations is completely out of the realm of possibility. Do you still take Green if one of those guys is available?

And if you'd take one of those players over Green, how much difference is there really between any of those guys and Lukas Kaspar? Or Enver Lisin?


Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Stankonia
A lot of people forget/just don't know that Green has a bit of a nasty streak in him as well, and has a penchant for monstrous hits (including a huge one in the CHL Prospects Game). He's got a deadly shot and is more defensively reliable than his +/- would indicate; he played major minutes and in all situations. Again, he's a 3/4 with a possibility of being a top guy. It's quite likely that by the time his NHL debut rolls around, he's got an extra inch and 20 more pounds at least.
That's all great, and once again... if the Blues draft Green, that's OK with me.

Let's assume the Blues do take Green. What move do you make in the second round? Do you go with a goalie? Do you reach for a LW like Lethbridge's John Lammers (5-11, 182, 21-24-45 in 62 GP), or maybe Mitch Bartley (5-11, 204, 31-28-59 in 72 GP)? Or maybe a right wing?

How about Troy Brouwer of Moose Jaw? 6-02, 216 pounds, played every game for the East Division champion Warriors.

..................... GP .. G ... A ... Pt .. +/- .. PIM .. PP .. SH
Brouwer ... Dec 03 .. 38 .. 18 .. 14 .. 32 .. + 8 ... 51 ... 7 ... 1
Brouwer ... Jan 04 .. 58 .. 19 .. 22 .. 41 .. +11 ... 80 ... 8 ... 1
Brouwer ... Feb 04 .. 67 .. 21 .. 24 .. 45 .. +15 .. 100 ... 8 ... 1
Brouwer .... Final .. 72 .. 23 .. 26 .. 49 .. +15 .. 111 .. 10 ... 1



Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Stankonia
Regarding Dubnyk, he has indeed fallen a bit, but it's not really the stats that I look at when I see him. I look at his size (6'5") and the fact that he's quite agile for his size and covers a lot of net. Granted, the WHL isn't exactly known for it's goaltending superstars, but they've had their share of NHL starters.
As I said in another thread someplace else, Dubnyk would be a good choice for the Blues in goal. But, sight-unseen, and going only by the demonstrated progression and improvement in the stats of Jeff Glass, I'd consider Glass a pretty darn good consolation prize.

Dubnyk is 6-05, 186. Glass is 6-02, 182. I'm pretty sure that a guy 6-02 can cover just about as much of the net as a guy 6-05, and you can't deny that Glass really picked it up in the last three months of the year.

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05-03-2004, 11:48 PM
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PB... I think the question you should be asking is how much of a difference is there between the forwards you can get at 17 and the forwards you can get at 17 and at the same time, the difference in the defensemen that you can get at the same two spots.

Personally, I'd much rather get Mike Green and Petteri Nokelainen than Chipchura and a Kirill Lyamin or a Jeff Shultz.

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05-03-2004, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
PB... how much of a difference is there between the forwards you can get at 17 and the forwards you can get at 17 and at the same time, the difference in the defensemen that you can get at the same two spots.

Sorry but this kinda confuses me.

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05-05-2004, 01:04 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrussianBlue
Let's look at this from another angle, though... suppose a Kyle Chipchura, or an Alexandre Picard, or even a Wojtek Wolski, falls to the Blues. None of those situations is completely out of the realm of possibility. Do you still take Green if one of those guys is available?

And if you'd take one of those players over Green, how much difference is there really between any of those guys and Lukas Kaspar? Or Enver Lisin?
If Chipchura and Wolski by some miracle, fall to the Blues, I'd be very upset if they let them go past. Mike Green I'm high on, but I would stick to BPA no question at all, even taking into account Wolski's indifferent play this year. If I were at that draft table, I wouldn't even bother going up to the microphone; I'd just yell from where I was.

The difference between an Enver Lisin and a Chipchura to me is only that I've seen Chipchura whereas I don't get to watch any RSL action. I can only call 'em as I see 'em, which is a definite fault, and will probably lead to my inevitable downfall in any argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrussianBlue
That's all great, and once again... if the Blues draft Green, that's OK with me.

Let's assume the Blues do take Green. What move do you make in the second round? Do you go with a goalie? Do you reach for a LW like Lethbridge's John Lammers (5-11, 182, 21-24-45 in 62 GP), or maybe Mitch Bartley (5-11, 204, 31-28-59 in 72 GP)? Or maybe a right wing?
With second round, I'd rather go BUPA (Best Upside Potential Available) on most teams, but perhaps the Blues getting a LW prospect at this time wouldn't be such a bad idea. That being said, if Evan McGrath is available (which I highly doubt, although Patty O'Sullivan lasted to the Wild in the 2nd last year) I'd want the Blues to jump at him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrussianBlue
As I said in another thread someplace else, Dubnyk would be a good choice for the Blues in goal. But, sight-unseen, and going only by the demonstrated progression and improvement in the stats of Jeff Glass, I'd consider Glass a pretty darn good consolation prize.

Dubnyk is 6-05, 186. Glass is 6-02, 182. I'm pretty sure that a guy 6-02 can cover just about as much of the net as a guy 6-05, and you can't deny that Glass really picked it up in the last three months of the year.

PrussianBlue
Goaltenders first round make me feel icky, unless they're guaranteed blue-chippers like Luongo, DiPietro, or Fleury. Goaltenders are projects past the top-5 and I'd rather reserve something like that for a very late 1st or a 2nd.

Glass posted some impressive numbers, but fell pretty flat (along with the rest of the Ice) in the playoffs. Again, he'll be a project regardless, but you simply can't teach 6'5" in Dubnyk's case, and he's sure to top 200 when he's NHL ready, making him a wall.

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05-05-2004, 01:31 PM
  #12
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but doesnt 6'5" give him a large 5-hole

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05-05-2004, 07:14 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CuSa_1
Sorry but this kinda confuses me.
Basically what Im saying is that, IMO, the talent gap between the forwards you can get at #17 and #47 is smaller than the talent gap between the defensemen you can get at those same two spots. Make sense?

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05-06-2004, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
Basically what Im saying is that, IMO, the talent gap between the forwards you can get at #17 and #47 is smaller than the talent gap between the defensemen you can get at those same two spots. Make sense?

Actually that makes 100% sense, however I believe it must have been a typo because you had #17 twice, instead of #47.

If you read your post, you'll see what I mean.

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