Last week we took a look at the NHL Equivalencies for the New Jersey Devils prospects based out of the European leagues. Today we will take a look at how the Devils North American based prospects stack up. Once again, a quick reminder that NHL Equivalencies (NHLe) were developed by Gabriel Desjardins of Behind the Net to give us an idea of how a player outside of the NHL would perform in it based on his counting numbers (points). It’s also an interesting way to compare prospects across different leagues. Desjardins outlined his methods on assigning NHLe values to various professional and junior leagues in this post. While you still have to look at a lot more than just statistics to evaluate prospects, NHLe is a useful tool since prospects that tend to produce at the lower levels are much more likely to make it to the NHL. The formula for NHLe is as simple as ((Points/Games Played)*82)*League NHLe Value.
As mentioned last week, Emmanuel Perry of Corsica released his updated values on twitter and this site a few weeks ago. We will once again be using those values but I will also add in a second NHLe column with Rob Vollman of Hockey Abstract numbers to get an additional perspective. His numbers tend to be higher as his formula tends to see more scoring translate to the NHL. Vollman also has the different NCAA conference broken down as opposed to just under one NHLe factor. Let’s take a look at how these prospects performed.
|Age (as of 2/1/18)
Jocktan Chainey is a steady defenseman with some untapped offensive potential who was able to take a step forward this past season due to an increase in PP time. Going off Perry’s numbers, Chainey saw his NHLe increase from 4.77 in 2016-17 to 6.62 in 2017-18. It’s worth noting that Chainey was one of the youngest members eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft so it’s not out of the question to see him take another step forward in his upcoming age 19 season in 2018-19.
Xavier Bernard is known as a big, physical, mobile defender whose two-way game is still developing. After registering just 6 points and a NHLe of 1.19 in 2016-17, he took advantage of a larger role in 2017-18 with a NHLe of 5.79. That is an encouraging sign but with nothing more than a big shot in the offensive zone, it seems his overall offensive capabilities may be limited at the next level.
Michael McLeod’s 2017-18 season was rocky based on the heavy expectations many had for him going into the year. A knee injury and the World Juniors limited him to just 38 regular season games in OHL action. He put up 1.16 Pts/GP and a NHLe of 14.97. Both of these numbers were slightly down from 2016-17 where he had a 1.28 Pts/GP and 16.56 NHLe. Vollman’s NHLe still suggest that he could contribute around 30 points over the course of a full NHL season right now, which I think would make a lot of Devils fans for a rookie season.
Marian Studenic enjoyed a successful year on both a personal and team level in 2017-18. He became an important role player for Hamilton capable of playing on any wing in the top 9 while also appearing on the PK on route to an OHL title. He also finished with a 0.77 Pts/GP and 10.01 NHLe in 2017-18 after putting up a 0.52 Pts/GP and 6.69 NHLe in his rookie OHL season of 2016-17. It will be interesting to see how this translate to the AHL level where he’s likely to spend the next season or two before likely having a chance to break into the NHL team. With what he may lack in scoring at the professional level, he will attempt to make up with in his defensive and transitional game.
Mitchell Hoelscher is coming off of a rookie season in the OHL that saw him put up 28 points in 67 games, mainly thanks to strong production in the 2nd half of the season. He finished with a NHLe of 5.40 which was an improvement over his NHLe of 2.61 in 2016-17 while playing in the GOJHL. He should feature as a two-way center for Ottawa going forward and could be a breakout candidate for this upcoming season.
Colby Sissons enjoyed a fine season in the WHL while helping Swift Current earn the WHL title. He finished with 71 points in 72 games which gave him a NHLe of 12.53 in 2017-18. That was good enough for the 7th best NHLe among WHL defensemen. This was up from his 2016-17 mark of 5.65 and his 2015-16 mark of 3.94.
As a rookie in 2016-17, Ty Smith put up a 0.48 Pts/GP and 6.16 NHLe. This past season he solidified his 1st round pedigree with a 1.06 Pts/GP and 13.44 NHLe going by Perry’s value. While he could use some more time in the WHL, I tend to think that with his skill, Vollman’s NHLe of 26.20 is more accurate for the talented defensemen. Going by Perry’s numbers, Smith’s 13.44 NHLe ranked 6th among the WHL defensemen.
Brett Seney’s NHLe remained very consistent during his productive 4 year career at Merrimack. From his freshman season in 2014-15 through his senior season in 2017-18, he posted NHLe’s of 10.73, 11.40, 12.08, and 12.14 respectively. He was their leading scorer every season and had to carry the offense. Vollman’s NHLe calculations split the NCAA into conferences with each having their own factor. He sees Seney’s 2017-18 NHLe around 27.87. He also made a great first impression in Binghamton with 8 points in 12 games to end the season. Should the fast, talented forward not make the Devils, then he should end up as a key player for Binghamton this season.
Joey Anderson actually saw a slight dip in his NHLe in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17. This past season he managed a 10.53 NHLe by Perry’s calculations this past season which was a drop from 13.31 in 2016-17. Vollman’s numbers see him around a 27-34 point player. With Anderson likely to break in at a depth role, I’d be more comfortable going with something slightly above Perry’s calculations.
Jeremy Davies has remained one of the Devils rising prospects since joining the prospect pool in the 2016 Draft. His NHLe has steadily risen from 5.44 in 2015-16 as one of the USHL best defenders to 8.49 as a freshman for Northeastern in 2016-17 to a 13.64 in 2017-18 as a sophomore. Will Butcher around that same age had a 11.52 NHLe so Davies is in good company. Once again if we use Vollman’s number, he is much more confident of Davies being capable of putting up around 30 points if he was to jump to the NHL, which I think could happen after this upcoming season.
Reilly Walsh is another defenseman to keep an eye out for. While his 8.51 NHLe may not seem significant when compared to the season Davies just had, it’s worth noting Walsh was a true 18 year old freshman for Harvard. I’m confident in his ability to keep improving his offensive production. I’m more concerned with seeing how his defensive game continues to develop at Harvard over the next few seasons. He’s another prospect that’s really worth keeping an eye out on.
Matt Hellickson is coming off of his age 19, freshman season for Notre Dame. He’s not necessarily the biggest point producer yet as evidenced by his 4.21 NHLe but he’s earned praise for his all-around game. This is another prospect that could make use of a few more seasons in college to continue to round out his game.
Are there any prospects that surprised you with their NHLE’s? Which of these prospects are you most looking forward to following this upcoming season? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!