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An attempt at projecting NHL performance for Flyers’ prospects

Let’s use some research out there to take a stab at projecting how certain Flyers prospects’ offensive performances in other leagues may translate to the NHL.

There is no perfect way to predict a prospect’s success in the NHL. One of the better ways to predict a prospect’s success, however, is by finding out a player’s NHL equivalency, or NHLe. This is a measure that attempts to equate how many points a certain player would produce in the NHL by using their point totals of whatever league they are currently playing in.

Thanks to the hard work of Gabriel Desjardins and Rob Vollman, we are able to use this practice to find out the NHLe for the majority of players who aren’t currently playing in the NHL. Desjardins, the creator of the stat, sums it up like this:

“One way to evaluate the difficulty of one league relative to another is examine the relative performance of players who have played in both leagues. Players rarely play significant time in two leagues in the same year, but they often play in one league in one year and in another the next. As long as a player’s skill level is approximately constant over this two year period, the ratio of his performance in each league can be used to estimate the relative difficulty of the two leagues.”

Since this might be a little hard to follow so far, I’ll use Flyers’ 2012 fifth-round pick Reece Willcox as an example. So far this season, Willcox has seven points in 30 AHL games. Since one point in the AHL is equivalent to 0.47 points in the NHL according to Vollman’s latest translations, Willcox, in theory, has posted the equivalent of 3.29 points in 31 NHL games. With the majority of hockey leagues across the world having different lengths of seasons in terms of games played, I figured the easiest way to compare these totals would be to convert the rates to an 82-game season. Doing this, Willcox’s AHL point total translates to 8.9927 points in the NHL. Unfortunately for Willcox, I did not round up to any degree, so I said at this point he’d finish the season with eight points if he played a full NHL season.

Some Flyers’ prospects (Sam Morin, Danick Martel, and Tyrell Goulbourne) have already played in a few NHL games this season. For their equivalency totals, I subtracted the number of games played in the NHL this season from 82 and based the translation factors on that total number of games (Goulbourne played in two NHL games, so I used an 80-game season to find his AHL equivalency total rather than 82).

THE OLLE LYCKSELL EXPERIMENT
Luckily, 30 of the 31 translatable Flyers’ prospects’ NHLe were pretty straightforward and easy to complete. Olle Lycksell, the Orange and Black’s sixth-round pick in this year’s Entry Draft, was the only exception. The Swedish forward has played in 21 games for Linkoping HC’s under-20 team, 16 games for their SHL club, and a pair of games in the Allsvenskan with IK Oskarshamn.

To figure out Lycksell’s NHLe, I looked at what percentage of the season he has played in a certain league (53.84 percent of the season in the SuperElit, 41.02 percent of the season in the SHL, and 5.12 season in the Allsvenskan), figured out the number of games that would be in an 82-game season (44 games in the SuperElit, 34 games in the SHL, and 4 games in the Allsvenskan), found the NHLe totals in each of these leagues (nine in the SuperElit, four in the SHL, and one in the Allsvenskan), and added them together.

These percentages will most likely change throughout the season, as he is still loaned to IK Oskarshamn and will probably play several more games in the Allsvenskan.

NOAH CATES
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough out there to put together a passable translation rate for USHL players, meaning Noah Cates is the one Philadelphia prospect who isn’t listed below. The left winger has six goals and 14 assists in 26 games this season to place him fourth on the Omaha Lancers in scoring. His 20 points puts him in a tie for 27th in terms of scoring in the USHL. He is tied for 61st with 54 shots on goal among the 472 skaters to play in the USHL this season.

With all the explaining out of the way, here are where the Flyers’ prospects stand going into Friday night’s action:

NHLe Through Thursday’s Games

Player Team League Age Year in League Games Goals Assists Points 82-game NHLe
Player Team League Age Year in League Games Goals Assists Points 82-game NHLe
Wade Allison Western Michigan University NCAA (NCHC) 20 2 20 15 13 28 49
Morgan Frost Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 18 3 40 24 42 66 40
Cooper Marody Michigan University NCAA (Big Ten) 21 3 20 7 22 29 39
Tanner Laczynski Ohio State University NCAA (Big Ten) 20 2 22 10 19 22 35
Danick Martel Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 23 4 34 17 9 26 28
Mike Vecchione Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 24 1 31 8 15 23 28
Carsen Twarynski Kelowna Rockets WHL 20 4 38 27 19 46 28
Oskar Lindblom Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 21 2 37 12 14 26 27
Matthew Strome Hamilton Bulldogs OHL 19 3 38 24 19 43 27
David Kase Mora IK SHL 20 1 26 5 9 14 25
Maxim Sushko Owen Sound Attack OHL 18 2 31 19 12 31 24
Valeri Vasiliev Severstal Cherepovets KHL 23 6 39 7 9 16 24
Nicolas Aube-Kubel Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 21 3 37 9 13 22 22
Connor Bunnaman Kitchener Rangers OHL 19 4 39 17 18 35 22
German Rubtsov Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 19 2 28 9 20 29 21
Anthony Salinitri Sarnia Sting OHL 19 4 42 16 20 36 21
Isaac Ratcliffe Guelph Storm OHL 18 3 39 19 14 33 20
Wyatt Kalynuk University of Wisconsin NCAA (Big Ten) 20 1 23 1 16 17 20
Sam Morin Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 22 3 12 1 5 6 18
Mikhail Vorobyev Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 21 1 27 4 8 12 17
Terrance Amorosa Clarkson University NCAA (ECAC) 23 4 20 5 11 16 15
Olle Lycksell IK Oskarshamn Allsvenskan 18 2 39 12 13 25 14
Pascal Laberge Quebec Remparts QMJHL 19 4 38 8 16 24 12
Radel Fazleev Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 22 2 31 1 8 9 11
Tyrell Goulbourne Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 23 3 34 6 4 10 11
Mark Friedman Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 22 2 34 0 9 9 10
Brendan Warren University of Michigan NCAA (Big Ten) 20 3 20 3 4 7 9
Reece Willcox Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL 23 3 30 2 5 7 8
Linus Hogberg Vaxjo Lakers HC SHL 19 3 26 1 3 4 7
David Bernhardt Djurgardens IF SHL 20 2 33 1 3 4 5
David Drake University of Connecticut NCAA 23 4 24 0 3 3 3

Some observations on our findings here:

• Wade Allison is truly killing it. Allison is fourth in the NCAA among players who have played in at least 20 games with 1.40 points per game and is one of only four players in the NCAA who has 15 goals or more in 20 games or less. Allison is the only one of the four players averaging 1.40 points per game and one of two players with 15 goals in 20 games (along with Florida Panthers’ prospect Henrik Borgstrom) playing in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), which is regarded as the hardest NCAA conference to produce points in according to Vollman’s numbers.
• Cooper Marody and Tanner Laczynski make up two of the other three Flyers’ prospects with an NHLe of 30 points or better. Marody has been a part of Philly’s system for a little longer and is having his best season so far at Michigan with 29 points in 20 games during his junior season. Laczynski has the same number of points in two more games during his sophomore season at Ohio State. To go along with his 1.32 points per game, Laczynski is also fifth in the NCAA with 86 shots on goal.
• Morgan Frost: also killing it. Heading into Friday night’s action, Frost leads the OHL with 66 points in 40 games, which is three more points than the second closest skater. His overall shooting percentage of 18.8 is a little high, but Frost also leads the OHL with 0.8 primary points per game at 5-on-5 out of the 34 forwards who have played 40 games or more, according to Prospect-Stats.
• The trio of Oskar Lindblom, Danick Martel, and Mike Vecchione are producing at a rate in the AHL equivalent to point totals in the high twenties if they spent the whole season in the NHL. Jori Lehtera is on pace for eight points, Taylor Leier is on pace for nine, and Dale Weise is on pace for 13 in the actual NHL this year.
• Over the summer I wrote about the four Flyers’ prospects whose rights expire after this season: Carsen Twarynski, Anthony Salinitri, Terrance Amorosa, and David Drake. Based on their NHLe, it doesn’t look likely they’ll be earning a contract before next season. Twarynski, Salinitri, and Amorosa each have point totals that translate to over 20 points in the NHL over a full season. However, each of these three players are in their fourth full season in their respective leagues and aren’t really standing out in any fashion. Drake is a shutdown defenseman who has never produced points in his career, so NHLe isn’t exactly a fair way to represent his game. Unfortunately for him, the fact he doesn’t produce points doesn’t necessarily help his case to earn a contract over the next few months.