FanPost

Ranking the Buffalo Sabres prospects using the NHLe formula

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NHLe is an equivalency formula developed by hockey stats guru Gabe Desjardins that is designed to help predict NHL production for prospects or other players outside the NHL.

Basically you take the points per game scored by a player and multiply it by a conversion factor specific to the league he played in (NCAA, WHL, SHL, etc.) and the number you get is the "equivalent" number of points scored in the NHL.

The numbers are derived from the point totals of the NHL players that came out of those respective leagues. Obviously these are just based on averages and there is a ton of uncertainty, so they aren't meant to be taken too seriously. It's just a quick and dirty way to compare players across leagues, since scoring rates can vary wildly across them: for example, our top scoring prospect right now is Giorgio Estephan at 1.28 ppg in the WHL. How does that really compare to, say, Victor Olofsson's 0.59 ppg in the SHL?

There has been some work done around just how useful this stuff is, and a good milestone seems to be 30 points - generally speaking, most players that go on to become productive NHLers usually recorded at least one season of 30+ equivalency before they went pro. Of course there are plenty of exceptions in either direction and I want to stress that this is mostly just for fun.

The equivalency factors based on the most recent data are listed here. Since this is entirely based on point production, it's probably not very useful for defensemen, but I'll include them anyway. I will include NHLe from the player's draft year and each subsequent year if applicable (so first season after being drafted is Draft+1, season after that Draft+2, etc.).

If they were undrafted, I just picked a start year that seemed appropriate to me. The most recent seasons obviously aren't complete yet for many of these players. Also, a useful tool for this that saves you from having to do too much math is the Projection Project.

So without further ado:

Draft Draft + 1 Draft + 2 Draft + 3 Draft + 4 Draft + 5
Estephan (2015 WHL) 18 28
Cornel (2014 OHL) 24 21 32
Fasching (2013 Big 10) 8 22 20 29
Malone (2013 ECAC) 16 12 16 13
Peterson (2012 NCHC) N/A* 11 12 6 20
Karabacek (2014 QMJHL) 15 14 13
Olofsson (2014 SHL) N/A* 11 32
Bailey (2013 OHL, AHL) 17 21 32 25
Carrier (2013 Q, AHL) 26 22 13 20
Martin (2014 WHL) 6 12 12
Hurley (2013 HE) 14 19 10 15
Catenacci (2011 OHL, AHL) 28 28 31 10 16 19
Possler (2013 SHL) 10 34 22 23
Baptiste (2013 OHL, AHL) 19 36 31 16
Guhle (2015 WHL) 10 9
Rodrigues (UD HE, AHL)** 10 27 14 45 16
Florentino (2013 HE) N/A* 11 11 11
Borgen (2015 NCHC) N/A* 13
Dupuy (UD OHL, AHL)** 4 10 22 11
Nelson (UD WCHA)** 30 20

*N/A - player played in a league that year from which not enough players go directly to the NHL for there to be an NHL equivalency, such as the USHL.

**Undrafted players, with the 15-16 season in their last column.

There are a couple more players in the system, but their numbers are so low that they're not even worth including here. Olofsson and Eric Cornel (signed to an ELC last week) are the only players to hit that 30pt milestone this season (though Hudson Fasching is close enough). Newly signed Casey Nelson was the only defenseman to have a 30pt season. The highest individual season was Evan Rodrigues's season on Eichel's wing. Speaking of which, let's throw in a couple current NHL players just for some perspective:

Draft Draft + 1 Draft + 2 Draft + 3 Draft + 4 Draft + 5
Eichel (2015 HE) 54
Reinhart (2014 WHL) 39 31
Kane (2009 WHL) 35




O'Reilly (2009 OHL) 25




Ennis (2008 WHL) 29 31 36


McDavid (2015 OHL) 67

Does this change or reinforce how you feel about any of the current prospects? For me personally, it makes me feel a little better about Nicholas Baptiste (not that I was panicking) and a little more intrigued about Olofsson. I think Baptiste and Justin Bailey maybe suffered from a weird season in Rochester this year and I'll be looking for bounce-back seasons next year. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Edit: I decided to add a section for a couple undrafted free agents that will be available soon as well as some of the guys we may be targeting in the draft. If you have a specific player you would like to see added let me know. Since none of these guys have been drafted yet I did it by season, just keep in mind that the college guys are much older than the draft-eligible guys.


2013-14
2014-15
2015-16



Drake Cagiulla (UD NCHC) 19 29 42
Jimmy Vesey (UFA Aug 15 ECAC) 13 30 26
Auston Matthews (Swiss A) N/A N/A 42
Patrik Laine (Liiga) N/A N/A 17
Jesse Puljujarvi (Liiga) N/A 12 13

Matthew Tkachuk (OHL) N/A N/A 31
Alex Nylander (OHL) N/A N/A 35
Pierre Luc-Dubois (Q) N/A 18 31
Michael McLeod (OHL) N/A 12 28
Jakob Chychrun (OHL) N/A 21 20
Olli Juolevi (OHL) N/A N/A 19
Mikhail Sergachev (OHL) N/A N/A 22


Jake Bean (WHL) N/A 17 21






















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