The First Overall Pick: Avoid Nugent-Hopkins

Jonathan Willis
February 05 2011 09:39PM

 

 

As it stands today, at least four players have a legitimate shot at going first overall: defenceman Adam Larsson of the Swedish Elite League, and forwards Sean Couturier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog.

After looking through the numbers, I’m convinced that Nugent-Hopkins would be the wrong selection.

Over in Lowetide’s gameday thread, commenter PunjabiOil made mention of an interesting point with regard to Nugent-Hopkins: 

[Ryan Nugent-Hopkins] concerns me. 47 of his 69 points (someone on HF did a breakdown) have come on the powerplay. [Sean Couturier] appears to be a vastly superior prospect, IMO.

Naturally, that caught my attention. From what I’ve seen, junior players that put up a massive percentage of their points on the power play tend not to carry that production with them into the NHL. Generally, young forwards simply don’t get the same amount of minutes on the power play in the big leagues that they get in junior, and thus it’s essential that they also have production at even-strength.

In light of that, I decided to break down the offensive production of the three forwards in major junior by game state. This required going through the game sheets on the OHL, WHL and QMJHL websites, so it’s possible I made an error adding somewhere – the QMJHL website in particular is not especially user-friendly – but these numbers should be either bang on or very close to it.

Power-Play Scoring

Player Goals Assists Points
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 8 39 47
Sean Couturier 6 20 26
Gabriel Landeskog 7 4 11

Even-Strength/Shorthanded Scoring

Player Goals Assists Points
Sean Couturier 19 29 48
Gabriel Landeskog 18 17 35
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11 21 32

*Note: Couturier’s numbers include six points while short-handed: two goals and four assists. He’s the only one of these three players to be adding offence while short-handed.

The dichotomy between Nugent-Hopkins’ results in these two tables is incredible. On the one hand, he contributes more offence on the power-play than Couturier and Landeskog combined. Clearly, the diminutive forward is an ace with the man advantage.

However, at even-strength Nugent-Hopkins is actually the least effective of the three players, particularly when we take into account games played: Couturier’s played 44, Landeskog 33 and Nugent-Hopkins 52. In other words, while both of the other forwards are slightly above the point-per-game mark in even-strength offence, Nugent-Hopkins is well below it.

I’m actually surprised at how well Gabriel Landeskog holds up by this measure – he’s pretty much on par with Sean Couturier’s even-strength results, and although he doesn’t compare on the power play that might indicate he’s a better scorer than his reputation would suggest.

This is hardly a comprehensive evaluation of the three players, but based on the results I have no hesitation in saying that I’d rank Nugent-Hopkins well back of both Couturier and Landeskog.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Ducey
February 05 2011, 09:48PM
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Agreed JW.

He would be a particularly bad pick for the Oilers (although they should go BPA). They have enough small shifty guys as it is.

I don't think RNH will be any better than Gagner.

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#2 edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY
February 05 2011, 09:49PM
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Fist of all, the Q is weaker than the other 2 leagues but good stats to look at! ....ill take landeskog. Comparible numbers, not french and physical!!

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#4 IHeartHemsky
February 05 2011, 10:05PM
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@Jonathan Willis

It is going to be a really hard choice if they get the #1 pick...I think it will come down to Larsson or Landeskog.

Landeskog - Would bring immediate impact next year...Larsson...well look at Hedman..will be good but guys like Doughty don't come along often.

If you take Landeskog...you STILL end up with massive holes at D & C.

maybe another year of rebuild is coming in 2012 as well :(

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#6 K
February 05 2011, 10:11PM
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Could we start comparing with Ryan strome now? He's younger then couturier and outscoring him

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#7 Ducey
February 05 2011, 10:16PM
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How about Ryan Strome?

82 pts in 50 games. He has only 5 on the PP and 2 SH. Thats kind of hard to believe but thats what the OHL site says.

Why wouldn't the Niagra coach play the second highest scorer in the OHL on the PP? Weird.

And he is a 6ft 1" C with 60 PIM - so presumably has some grit.

Edit: Good thinking K!

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#9 Death Metal Nightmare
February 05 2011, 10:25PM
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this is a lame year to have the #1 pick. trade down.

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#10 Mbam99
February 05 2011, 10:28PM
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You're killing me JW. I'm a rebel season ticket holder and just love the skill RNH brings. The team would be nowhere near where it is now without him. I haven't been impressed with what I've seen of Couturier (wjc and prospects game). Larsson just seems blah. I'm gonna say RNH will be the best player to come from 2011, but don't think he'd be ready next fall.

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#11 negrilcowboy
February 05 2011, 10:34PM
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there is little or no difference between the o and the dub. as for rnh he lacks the strength to be an effective pro for a minimum of 3 years, whats he truly weight a buck and a half.

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#12 Hack The Bone
February 05 2011, 10:36PM
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I'd be very interested to see how the rest of the top ten/fifteen breakdown like this JW. Thanks for all your work.

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#13 k
February 05 2011, 10:45PM
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I'd like to see strome listed with the other 4, just cause hes rated lower by Mackenzie and THN doesn't mean we should overlook him. theres something behind those numbers and hes younger even then RNH. Am I missing something between him and the top four? hes plus 7 and RNH is -6 even with all of his PP time.

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#14 forestscooter
February 05 2011, 10:45PM
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wow yeah... great breakdown ! I hope ST reads this :D

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#15 common sense
February 05 2011, 10:53PM
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We should've had this analysis done before we drafted the Shrempster. That guy too scored the bulk of his goals on the pp. Oh well tell that to Kevin Prenderghast.

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#16 Team Hall
February 05 2011, 10:56PM
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A player who knows how to work on the pp? No, we don't need that at all. Our pp is fine. I kid. I agree with JW, except on the Landeskog thing. Looking at those numbers for Landy, they don't look any better than RNH if you ask me, and the W is harder to play in 5 on 5, especially for small players. Couturier is ahead by a country mile, with Landy and RNH tied for 2nd. Having said all that, we'd be happy to land an RNH.

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#17 edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY
February 05 2011, 11:32PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't know if I buy that about the Q. It's a little weaker historically, to be sure, but the gap between it and the OHL/WHL is not as big as it gets made out to be.

I cant think of the last elite star to come from the q other than crosby...i havent really looked though. Who would some be?

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#18 Connor
February 05 2011, 11:32PM
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I live in Red Deer and have seen a dozen Rebels games and all I have to say is that you really need to watch RNH before you judge what kind of player he is gonna be. He makes the most ridiculous passes in the tightest of areas but a lot of the supporting cast that he has doesn't really finish that well. I really encourage anyone who is a doubter of RNH to go and watch him play. You will be surprised at his poise and playmaking abilities.

See him before you let the numbers do the talking.

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#19 Rude
February 05 2011, 11:54PM
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Connor wrote:

I live in Red Deer and have seen a dozen Rebels games and all I have to say is that you really need to watch RNH before you judge what kind of player he is gonna be. He makes the most ridiculous passes in the tightest of areas but a lot of the supporting cast that he has doesn't really finish that well. I really encourage anyone who is a doubter of RNH to go and watch him play. You will be surprised at his poise and playmaking abilities.

See him before you let the numbers do the talking.

You are right Conner RHN does make some wicked passes but he also seems like a man among the boys in Red Deer. He will take a little longer to mold into a NHL player but if whoever drafts him has the patience they will have a solid player. Reminds me of Mike Rebeiro in top form.

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#20 Jon
February 05 2011, 11:56PM
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You look at this guy's frame and you got to wonder what he could do when he fills out. I look at those numbers, and I'm not sure what to interpret. Is this guy a PP only guy? Or is this a guy that will translate his PP skills to ES as well when he fills out?

One thing, I do know for certain is that I'm not ruling a guy out because he's on the lower end of the 5 on 5 numbers.

In their draft years: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 0.62 EV points/game Corey Perry 0.46 EV points/game Jeff Carter 0.61 EV points/game Matt Duchene 0.70 EV points/game

One thing in RNH's favour...he absolutely destroys these guys in terms of PP numbers.

IMHO, when I watch the top 4 prospects play and when I look at the numbers, the only thing I can say without hesitation is that RNH is probably the least ready to jump in right away. And IMHO that's probably what the lower EV numbers compared to Landeskog and Couturier mean.

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#21 Jon
February 06 2011, 12:10AM
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PS bro, click on leaders and look up PP and SH, and then do some subtraction. No need to go through the game sheets.

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#22 dawgbone
February 06 2011, 12:21AM
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Ducey wrote:

How about Ryan Strome?

82 pts in 50 games. He has only 5 on the PP and 2 SH. Thats kind of hard to believe but thats what the OHL site says.

Why wouldn't the Niagra coach play the second highest scorer in the OHL on the PP? Weird.

And he is a 6ft 1" C with 60 PIM - so presumably has some grit.

Edit: Good thinking K!

That's 5 PP goals. He's also got 25 PP assists.

Still a very good split though.

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#23 freeze
February 06 2011, 12:27AM
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In Stu we Trust.

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#24 Ducey
February 06 2011, 12:38AM
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That's 5 PP goals. He's also got 25 PP assists.

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.

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#25 Zed
February 06 2011, 12:47AM
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freeze wrote:

In Stu we Trust.

Does not really matter who scores at even strength more. I am concerned about who is going to score the winning goal in game 7 during the Stanley cup finals in 2013.

That is who you would want to pick in the draft this year.

Being the logical and analytical guys that Stu and I are, we know that that player will be picked in the 3rd round 95th overall.

And his name will be Frumpus Boodleshnit.

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#27 knobby k
February 06 2011, 02:16AM
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Stats Schmatts:

Interesting analysis. Save this post and let's check it out say...oh I don't know...5-7 years from now. Statistical breakdowns on 18 year olds is really a limited sample. It's somewhat like picking pepper out of fly crap. Five years from today we'll know who the Oilers chose and if there is any correlation whatsoever in your analyis. For example I have often wondered if you have a breakdown on Gagner for example. What did you see then in statistical terms and how has he shaken out since his draft year when the only stats would have been generated by a then 18 yr old out of junior.

The really successful organizations are in my view the ones who pull out the stars from the 3 to 7th round of the draft and are deep in solid talent yearly.

Just a thot.

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#28 pelhem grenville
February 06 2011, 05:16AM
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...take Frumpus Boodleshnit for example ...he has what god like prognosticators call 'big po' yes? he's now just turned seventeen and hasn't a clue who he is or how he'll control his raging hormones from one moment to the next.Chrikey he doesn't even know what hormones are but he likes the nocturnal emissions ...When he's on the ice though Frumpus hasn't a worry in the world but boy he likes scoring goals,hitting the bigger kids hard and always always stands up for his teammates.Other than having his very own special bottle of blue gatorade on the bench,the only other thing he's really looking forward to is spending his first NHL pay cheque on a new car that the chicks will love to see him driving.

Then comes along a man in a suit ...Mr Tambolini...he's with the storied Edmonton Oilers and wow he thinks Frumpus is the next player who gets picked in the draft to round out his young team UP in Edmonton. Mr Tambolini says ...but Frumpus my boy, there's a fellow on the internet, his name is Jonothan Willis...no matter what you and your family do Frumpus, don't read what this Willis man says on OilersNation about how you "add up" or that your "corsi ratios", whatever they are, are out of kilter for a hockey player with your type of 'big po'... For the life of me i can't understand anything about these numbers willis churns out about you young up and comer prospects, i say why doesn't he just let you fellas play Frumpus... Just play hard and fast Frumpus, play until we're all up on the draft stage together like a new family,you,me,Taylor and my boss Kevin. We'll have our picture taken and have a great time Frumpus, you'll have a great career, i'll keep my job for a couple more years and you'll have all the money in the world to buy cars and nail young girls...

whadaya say Frumpus?...are ya in boy?

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#29 a lg dubl dubl
February 06 2011, 05:22AM
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Im torn between keeping this years 1st round pick and trading it in a package deal that would get the Oilers really good player(s) to push the "re-build" along. Don't get me wrong i love the Oil and would like nothing more than for them to be the next penguins, hawks, or wings but the team NEEDS players NOW that will really compliment the likes of Hall Eberle and PRV not players like Fraser, Foster, GILBERT, Khabby. but thats just me and my opinion.

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#30 @NateInVegas
February 06 2011, 05:57AM
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I've watched RNH play live 4 times this year hoping he'd show enough reasons for the Oilers NOT to take him but he does the opposite.

Can you provide a stat for which player shows up the most from the start of a game or in big games???

RNH does ...Can't say the same for Couturier yet.

Anyone betting against RNH should watch him live a few times before counting him out like I did..

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#31 Oilcruzer
February 06 2011, 06:54AM
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@pelhem grenville

There's some quality logic there. Well done.

=======

Yes he comes to play. Yes he is good on the pp and can pass. Those aren't the questions the Oil need ask.

Is he going to spend his time on the I.R. being another Hemsky? Is he another Boyd Devereaux? (remember he was sixth overall when selected) Does he fill a need?

I'm more convinced than ever that the Oil need to trade the pick away with one of the forward prospects of either Gagner or Cogliano for someone like LA's Alex Pietrangelo and their first rounder...

...and use that pick to select a goalie

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#32 Ken
February 06 2011, 07:59AM
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I think you are puting too much emphasis on weight.Skill,Speed and grit will overcome size, Gretsky was skinny ,we had whitney in our back yard and didnt sign him because of size and picked a big softy over Parise. We do need a center and whichever one we pick will be on our anemic powerplay.My own feeling is RNH and Couturier will both be very good NHL players and safe picks for the oil.

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#33 Sumoil
February 06 2011, 08:13AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If there's interest, I'll go through the game sheets and do up charts for some of the other top prospects.

I don't wish to advertise here, but I will be putting up situational scoring numbers for top chl prospects over at C&B. Should make your work easier!

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#34 SumOil
February 06 2011, 08:23AM
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Among those players landeskog is the only guy with more than p/g at ev

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#35 ubermiguel
February 06 2011, 08:53AM
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Frumpus Boodleshnit sounds intriguing. Has anyone projected his NHL equivalencies yet?

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#36 spOILer
February 06 2011, 08:59AM
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Nice points, JW.

EV has to be considered more important than PP scoring on the early picks.

Like Fs over D. Goals over Assists. RHers over LHers.

Couturier, RNH, Huberdeau are all lefties. Our franchise player plays the left side. Ideally we should have a rightie C playing with him.

Couturier is beating Johansen and Schenn's 17yo seasons, so he projects better despite footspeed issues. The mono cuts him some slack too.

I wouldn't be terribly upset if we traded our 1st overall to Boston for their 5th overall & 24th (approx).

Draft Murphy/Hamilton & McNeill or Strome & say Bell or Musil or that monster in the USA.

Assuming Stu wasn't convinced by the top of the batting order.

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#37 FMS
February 06 2011, 10:50AM
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The one thing I keep coming back to with Couturier is the mononucleosis angle. His NHLE is already the best of any of the big 4 prospects, and considering he had mono this summer it just makes me wonder what kind of season he'd be having if he had been able to train properly over the summer.

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#38 pelhem grenville
February 06 2011, 11:22AM
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@oc

...St Louis's Pietrangelo might be a nice piece for this team i agree, in the Petry mold maybe[ big petry fan here] but what, two years behind Petry and he's in the show! So maybe prospect Dmen taken in the 1st round CAN be NHL ready two years after they're drafted,Blues Erik Johnson did it from the get go so it kinda makes for the argument to trade the pick if Oilers want a Larsson over a Couturier...and to use their pick to take a goalie?...dunno 'bout that one...don't we want a centre from somewhere, anywhere?

ifya have the stud Dman maybe you just focus on & pick couturier already

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#39 Chris.
February 06 2011, 11:41AM
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Everyone in Oil country, whether they are in love with all our small players or not, agrees on one thing: we need more size in our top 9. Everyone also agrees that this team need more of a net presence (guys who go to the blue paint to score) We have too many players who are content to play on the perimeter, and try to pass the puck into an empty net. IMO, our dismal PP is merely a symptom of this root cause.

I'm a Couturier guy. I know he didn't show well in Buffalo; but Hopkins didn't even make that team.

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#40 speeds
February 06 2011, 12:07PM
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Chris. wrote:

Everyone in Oil country, whether they are in love with all our small players or not, agrees on one thing: we need more size in our top 9. Everyone also agrees that this team need more of a net presence (guys who go to the blue paint to score) We have too many players who are content to play on the perimeter, and try to pass the puck into an empty net. IMO, our dismal PP is merely a symptom of this root cause.

I'm a Couturier guy. I know he didn't show well in Buffalo; but Hopkins didn't even make that team.

I don't agree.

It would certainly be nice to add size, if you can add it in good players. Like most people, all else equal, I prefer the player who has size to the player who doesn't.

But if the Oilers could acquire, say, Derek Roy and Zach Parise, both healthy, I wouldn't be opposed to it just because they aren't big.

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#41 Chris.
February 06 2011, 12:21PM
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@speeds

It would certainly be nice to add size, if you can add it in good players. Like most people, all else equal, I prefer the player who has size to the player who doesn't.

Your right: you have to take the BPA regardless of size; now let's see who has the best numbers...

News flash: Couturier is a "good player."

Edit. Or are you saying the Oilers don't need players who attack the blue paint... or to add some legit top nine players with size? (in a more general sense and not in reference to the RNH debate)... Because I believe there is broad based concensus in Oil Country that the forward core is already too small, soft, and unwilling to compete for greasy goals. I wonder about Brule; but; I like Gagner. I like Cogliano. I like Hemsky, and Omark. I really like Eberle... but these are all small players. I like these guys individually, but I don't like the overall makeup of the top nine. A good asset will probably have to be moved to achieve more balance. There is concensus... just not about which of these players should be the one(s) to go.

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#42 speeds
February 06 2011, 12:34PM
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Chris. wrote:
It would certainly be nice to add size, if you can add it in good players. Like most people, all else equal, I prefer the player who has size to the player who doesn't.

Your right: you have to take the BPA regardless of size; now let's see who has the best numbers...

News flash: Couturier is a "good player."

Edit. Or are you saying the Oilers don't need players who attack the blue paint... or to add some legit top nine players with size? (in a more general sense and not in reference to the RNH debate)... Because I believe there is broad based concensus in Oil Country that the forward core is already too small, soft, and unwilling to compete for greasy goals. I wonder about Brule; but; I like Gagner. I like Cogliano. I like Hemsky, and Omark. I really like Eberle... but these are all small players. I like these guys individually, but I don't like the overall makeup of the top nine. A good asset will probably have to be moved to achieve more balance. There is concensus... just not about which of these players should be the one(s) to go.

I was speaking generally, not towards Nugent-Hopkins and Couturier.

as to your edit, I do think the Oilers could use good players who go to the net, and have size, which teams couldn't? But I don't think those attributes are a prerequisite for anyone they add in the top 9, depending on what else that player might offer.

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#43 Chris.
February 06 2011, 12:38PM
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@speeds

Fair enough.

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#44 Bigblue
February 06 2011, 12:51PM
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My vote is for Landeskog. He is everything the Oilers are missing up front. He has size, grit, leadership, and he can score. He is also used to the north American game already. I don't think we are in desperate need of a center. We have pitlick, martindale, vande velde, and lander who are almost ready to make the jump. The oil also have hall and ebs who both played center in junior. Then you add horc, gags, cogs, omarra... How many do we need???

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#45 Quicksilver ballet
February 06 2011, 01:36PM
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Took awhile to find this Frumpus Boodleschnit on google but eventually did find him. 6'6" tall, 225lbs. Blinding speed, appears to harvest 70% of his points while shorthanded, we need someone better 5 on 5, best stick with Couturier boys.

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#46 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
February 06 2011, 01:51PM
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Last thing this team needs is someone who can produce on the power play...oh wait

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#47 andrewmk20
February 06 2011, 03:23PM
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@edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY

I wouldn't look at the league he plays in as much as the player himself. Sidney Crosby and Hemsky were both from the Q. And according to a lot of scouting reports the Q is contributing a lot more ranked prospects in the draft than in previous years.

Also looking at the even strength/PK scoring numbers if you say the league is weaker than he is at the very least on par with Landeskog.

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#48 andrewmk20
February 06 2011, 03:33PM
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@Bigblue

Martindale is still a big question mark due to his footspeed and his work ethic. Vande Velde had a good training camp but his play in the AHL is apparently not so good. Pitlick and Lander are still at least a season or two away from making an impact as both should get some time in the AHL. As for the rest only Horcoff is a true center. Gagner is a good player but should not be the top center due to poor defensive coverage and bad Faceoff %. Cogs is even worse in the faceoff dot and his defensive play isn't anything to brag about either.

Also just because you play center in junior doesn't mean you can play it in the NHL. Couturier is the prototypical center at 6'4 193lbs. He's rangy and strong on the puck. At the World Juniors the one thing I noticed about the kid is that while he's not as flashy as some of the other players he keeps the play alive, very good at the spade work, and makes smart plays with the puck. Also the Oilers could use a guy who plays all three zones, as they only have one guy who does that and Horcoff isn't great in the offensive end.

The Oilers look like they already have some grit in Curtis Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick. Having a guy run through people isn't what breeds success. Just look at Toronto. Having depth at center and guys who can play in all areas does. Just think about this. Would you rather have guys like Eric Staal/Patrick Sharp/Jonathan Toews or David Backes/Milan Lucic/Scott Hartnell?

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#49 Quintana
February 06 2011, 04:50PM
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If I were Tambo I'd be callins Boston....our 1st + Hemmer for Seguin, otherwise draft Larsson !

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#50 edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY
February 06 2011, 04:53PM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

I wouldn't look at the league he plays in as much as the player himself. Sidney Crosby and Hemsky were both from the Q. And according to a lot of scouting reports the Q is contributing a lot more ranked prospects in the draft than in previous years.

Also looking at the even strength/PK scoring numbers if you say the league is weaker than he is at the very least on par with Landeskog.

Fair enough but just look at the elite players in the league....not too much comin out of the Q. Right now im in the pandeskog camp but havent seen the prospects play enough to judge. I really like the perception of lands as it sits now. Also as wanye had stated...ELPH (ebs, lands/lars, Pjarv, Hall). No possible argument can be made for Couturier or RNH with that logic!! LoL

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