As most of you know, I’ve had an interesting summer. I left my perch at The Nation Network, I started up this website, and promptly abandoned it to pursue my dream of being a professional long-distance walker.
Okay, that last part isn’t true, though I did take advantage of the lack of significant news in the offseason to get myself mostly back in shape and sort some loose ends out in my life. That’s meant that this site has been pretty inactive, which is usual for some like me that tends to be unable to shut up for extended periods of time.
Admittedly, I did have a bit of a something up my sleeve.
One thing I really enjoyed doing during the offseason while at The Leafs Nation was our annual prospect ranking series. They served as an opportunity to regroup my thoughts about players within the organization, get an idea who was on the right path, who wasn’t, and maybe learn a thing or twenty while doing support research.
As well, it was satisfying to know that others would use our articles to do their own catching up, and it always helped to have an up-to-date page to reference on a young player throughout the season. Oh, and the big hits and big misses are always fun to talk about in hindsight.
Since I didn’t get that chance this year, I decided to go in solo, and go a little bit deeper than just a Top 20. I also didn’t feel like doing the typcial summer-traffic thing, releasing posts one by one to get people back on the site. Releasing them all at once felt like more fun, so here we are.
This series covers 39 players in the organization. I was a little relaxed with how I qualified a player as a prospect, in this case: the Leafs still had to own their rights, the player had to be under 25, and they had to have played no more than half an NHL season to date. I didn’t include players on AHL deals that are NHL free agents, though if there is interest, I’ll post up a piece on the players that otherwise fit these parameters in the coming days.
The players that qualify for this series are as follows:
|Adam Brooks||JD Greenway||Nikolai Chebykin|
|Andreas Borgman||Jeremy Bracco||Nolan Vesey|
|Andreas Johnsson||Jesper Lindgren||Pierre Engvall|
|Andrew Nielsen||JJ Piccinich||Rinat Valiev|
|Calle Rosen||Joseph Woll||Ryan McGregor|
|Carl Grundstrom||Josh Leivo||Ryan O’Connell|
|Dakota Joshua||Kasimir Kaskisuo||Timothy Liljegren|
|Dmytro Timashov||Kasperi Kapanen||Tobias Lindberg|
|Eemeli Rasanen||Keaton Middleton||Travis Dermott|
|Fedor Gordeev||Kerby Rychel||Trevor Moore|
|Frederik Gauthier||Martins Dzierkals||Vladimir Bobylev|
|Garret Sparks||Miro Aaltonen||Vladislav Kara|
|Ian Scott||Nicolas Mattinen||Yegor Korshkov|
These players are ranked in an order of preference, but I’ve left them unlinked and alphabetical here to avoid spoilers.
What to Expect
All of these posts go into reasonable detail on what the players have accomplished leading up to this season, what I expect them to do in 2017/18, and where I can envision things going for them in the long term. I tried my best to find a balance between detail and being overwhelming; pooling every single piece of information possible on a prospect into one post would just be overwhelming, but if you are new to a player on this list, you should walk away with a solid understanding of what they’re about.
That’s not to say this is a package without detail, though; it all amounts to about 40,000 words.
Note that these rankings will almost undoubtedly be proven wrong by history. Nobody ever gets these correct, even when they get to crop off the bottom of the list. Getting 39 players’ careers nailed down in perfect order is about as likely as me entering every lottery option at the corner store tonight and winning them all, but as it stands, I’m confident in what I have here as a fair overall assessment of the organizational depth chart. Besides, the Top 5 is what 90% of people are usually concerned about, and that was pretty easy.
As well, most of the lower-range players will have more optimistic profiles than their reality. That’s a natural flaw in projection posts; we spend most of our time talking about what a player can be if they make it, but the overwhelming majority of these guys don’t. Even with Toronto having one of the deepest pools in hockey, pure odds suggest that it’d still be a shock if a third of these guys played 200 games.
To give a bit of historical, mathematical support to the rankings, I’ve integrated pGPS data into all of the posts. pGPS is the brainchild of the Canucks Army staff, designed to project a prospect’s odds of becoming an NHL regular using historical comparables.
Here’s a quick legend to the terms you’ll see in these posts: “pGPSn” indicates how many players have put up historically comparable years at this stage in their development, “pGPSs” indicates how many of those went on to play 200+ NHL games, “Expected Success %” is a weighted percentage indicating their chances of joining the S pool, “Expected Points/82” is a similar weighted odd for projecting the prospect’s upside as far as offensive contribution goes, and “Expected Value” combines the two to give a bit of a catch-all number showing the prospects worth based on their recent track record. CA found that most first round picks in this year’s draft, for example, had an expected value between 15 and 35.
A massive thank you to Jeremy Davis from the CA staff for compiling the data for this part of the series and providing the cohort charts for players of interest.
How To Access
Because this is a 40-article series that took a significant amount of time to put together, I’m launching these rankings as subscribers only feature. You can become a member of the site here.
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