Friday, July 2, 2010
It's Friday? Wow, time flies when you're waiting for hockey season....
....So, let's empty out the ol' mail box.
Joe Macdonell named VP of Business Operations for the USHL.
Mahtomedi to make stop in Omaha before heading to the Gophers.
Former Stamps star Prosser re-signs with Wild.
Fighting Saints trim roster to 23.
Ex-Gamblers switch teams.
P.K. O'Handley to help at Cup champ camp for junior and midget aged players.
I stumbled across the little gem while emptying out the email box this morning. It's from the hockey blog Puck Prospectus, written by Iain Fyffe. In the June 28th edition of his blog, Mr. Fyffe talks about the possibility that NHL scouts over-rated players on the USNTDP. Read this part of his June 28th for his thoughts as to why that was:
I believe that the scouts may be overrating many of the USNTDP players from the USHL (Montreal trading up to draft a hulking defenseman doesn't instill confidence); when you rely on personal observation for evaluation, you'll often overrate the players you see most often. And with so many draft-eligible players playing on the same team in the USHL, they all got seen a lot by many scouts.
That being said, I do think that the Projectinator is off on these players. The explanation for this error is, I believe, due to the fact that these players are playing in a normal junior hockey environment, which is what the system is calibrated for. By a “normal” environment, I mean playing with players of a variety of age levels; a few 16-year-olds, some 17s, and a lot of 18s and 19s, and even 20s. The fact that the USNTDP players in the USHL were all 16s and 17s (plus one 15 in Jake McCabe), has caused their numbers and therefore the Projectinator's ratings of them to be affected. They don't have the support of a normal number of older players, but they have to play against a normal number of older players. Interpreting numbers at this level is as much art as science, and there can always be factors that you didn't consider.
To go back to the other hand, though, it's easy to overestimate how important this difference might be. When the USNDTP played in the NAHL the same situation presented itself, in the sense that they didn't have any players over 17 in the lineup. There were some players that were still able to put up impressive numbers for their age, such as Jeremy Morin, James Van Riemsdyk, and both Erik and Jack Johnson. Although the NAHL is of lower quality than the USHL, it doesn't seem to be that much lower so as to make up this difference. When the Projectinator is calibrated for the NAHL, some light should be shed on this issue.
A check of the 2009-2010 USHL schedule yielded the following information:
The USNTDP U-17 team played 34 games in the USHL, while the U-18 team played 26 games.
Of those 26 USHL games played by the U-18 team, they played:
2 games in October
4 games in November
5 games in December
5 games in January
4 games in February
6 games in March
A check of the U-18's roster showed that of the 9 players drafted, 6 of the 9 turned 18 before their USHL schedule ended(Justin Faulk turned 18 on the last day of the team's USHL schedule), as did 4 undrafted players. 5 players turn 18 this off season and 7 players turn 18 after the 2010-2011 starts, but before the league's Christmas break.
Last season, the U-18 team played a combined total of 13 games with 16-year-old players on the roster.
Each of the 9 drafted players played at least 21 USHL games, with the exception of goaltender Jack Campbell, who played 11. Two played 22 games, one played 23 and three played 26. One player, Bryan Rust, played 27 USHL games.
In the second paragraph, Mr, Fyffe states that: "The fact that the USNTDP players in the USHL were all 16s and 17s (plus one 15 in Jake McCabe), has caused their numbers and therefore the Projectinator's ratings of them to be affected." That statement is not completely accurate. It is true that the majority of players on the U-18 team were 17 when playing in the USHL this past season. But, of the five who did turn 18 during the post-Christmas Break portion of the schedule, all played several games as 18-year-olds.
This makes me wonder: Did the "Projectinator" (Whatever that is anyway) take birth dates into account? This statement ended the second paragraph: "They don't have the support of a normal number of older players, but they have to play against a normal number of older players. Interpreting numbers at this level is as much art as science, and there can always be factors that you didn't consider." After having to read that statement two or three times, I do agree with what it says. Age and experience apparently do count for something in junior hockey. BTW: After the the first of the U-18 team players actually turned 18(Jack Campbell on January 9th), the U-18 team won 9 of 13 games. They were 4-2 when all six players mentioned earlier were actually 18. That would be what? 40-20 over the length of a full USHL season?
Regardless of how the numbers break down, "Projectinator-ed" or not, it is indeed an interesting study. I just think the one point that Mr. Fyffe missed a bit on, was appearing not to know that the U-18 team did play 26 USHL games and that they played just 13 of those 26 games with 16-year-olds eligible to play(Every player on the U-18 team was a '92 birth date).
Now, after all that, I'm gonna go take a couple of aspirin and lay down. Have a good day everyone.