Thursday, 7 March 2013

Kadri & Co.: NHL Impact Analysis of Top-10 CHL Forwards

A little over a week ago, I wrote a piece on the NHL impact of top-10 junior defensemen in scoring from their respective leagues. The idea was sparked by a conversation I had with Curt from Blue Chip Prospects about the Leafs' track-record and effectiveness at the draft. With Morgan Rielly currently sitting in the top-5 in scoring among WHL defensemen, he's got some big shoes to fill. In this piece, I'll be taking a look at the top-10 junior forwards in scoring.

Nazem Kadri recorded 93 points during the 09-10 regular season with the 
London Knights - good enough for 5th place in OHL scoring.
Just like the prior article, I decided to use the All-Star, Impact, Replacement, and Bust methodology, and did so for the top-10 scorers between 1999 and 2008. Having defined categories for players kept the analysis nice and tidy, but I believe players like Bobby Ryan and Jakob Voracek should be included  in the All-Star conversation, especially Voracek who is tied in scoring with All-Stars like Tavares, Getzlaf, and Kane, and would certainly be an All-Star during the current campaign.
The OHL stands out with the highest number (18) and percentage (22.5%) of Impact+ players, and the lowest bust rate - not too dissimilar from defensemen it has produced over the years.  From 1999 to 2008, the OHL has produced 80 unique forwards in the top-10. In doing so, no one player was over-represented in the sample. Some notable graduates include Patrick Kane, Corey Perry, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Taylor Hall, and Bobby Ryan.

As an aside, it's impressive how many All-Stars the London Knights have produced (Kane, Perry and Tavares). This thought would have been nearly unfathomable at the beginning of the season, but if the All-Star game was miraculously rescheduled tomorrow, I believe Kadri is on the first ballot. The Leafs have something special on their hands and it appears that their patience, along with Kadri's resilience and perseverance, is paying off.
The QMJHL, overall, is in the middle of the pack in terms of number (15) and percentage (20.6%) of Impact+ players produced. From 1999 to 2008, there were 73 unique forwards who occupied the top-10 positions in scoring. With a bust rate of 72.6%, it's better than the WHL but not by much. Some notable graduates include Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Mike Richards, Jakob Voracek, Radim Vtbata and P.A. Parenteau.
The WHL stands out, but not for the best of reasons. With a combined 8 Impact+ players, or 10.2% of all 79 unique forwards from 1999 to 2008, the top-10 forwards in scoring have only produced one All-Star and bust at a rate of 74.7%. Some notable graduates include Joffrey Lupul, Devin Setoguchi, Brayden Schenn, Jarret Stoll, Evander Kane, and Tyler Ennis.

After taking a glance at all three junior leagues, it is evident that the OHL produces the most, on an absolute and relative basis, Impact+ forwards.  Interestingly enough, the year Kadri came 5th in OHL scoring fell just outside of the sample timeline, and for good reason. It usually takes draftees a couple of years before they are able to make a sizable impact at the NHL level - and boy is he making an impact now!

His trials and tribulations were well-documented and it's refreshing to see a top prospect starting to pan out for the Leafs. With his ability to make others around him better, and hopefully with some more ice-time, the sky could be the limit for the kid they now call "The Dream".

Note: Other unique forwards who finished in the top-10 of scoring during the 2009-2010 OHL regular season include Tyler Seguin and Jeff Skinner. (Greg McKegg finished 11th that year) 

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