Yesterday we took a look at some of the CHL forwards that might be overlooked leading up to the draft based on the numbers given to us by the very handy PCS% tool and Projection Project. Today we’re gonna do the same thing, only this time we’re looking at the blueliners. Here are 10 CHL defensemen that the projection tools feel might be overlooked:
MITCHELL VANDE SOMPEL
Vande Sompel is all over the place in draft rankings and I’ve seen him ranked anywhere between the first and fourth rounds. On Bob McKenzie’s final draft rankings, he comes in at 63 which would make him an early 3rd round pick. If that’s his consensus I think it’s fair to say he’s overlooked, especially because of how good his numbers are.
Vande Sompel is a mobile 5″10′ defenseman for the Oshawa Generals that put up 63 points in 58 games for the eventual 2015 Memorial Cup champions. Those numbers are good in their own right and the projection tools back that up.
PCS says Vande Sompel has a 25.0% chance of reaching 200 NHL games (10th among CHL defensemen). His comparables using this tool include, a little surprisingly given how skilled he is, former Leaf Tim Gleason.
The Projection Project likes Vande Sompel even more, giving him a 70% chance of becoming an NHLer which would put him 2nd among CHL blueliners just behind Ivan Provorov (71%).
I can see where the scouts are coming from. Despite his numbers, I watch him play and see more of a future bottom-pairing defenseman in the NHL if anything. But his numbers are good enough that he deserves to go sooner rather than later in the NHL draft.
Here’s a good video to give you a better idea of how Vande Sompel plays:
The projections tool like Mitchell Vande Sompel, but they love Rasmus Andersson. Andersson has the highest PCS% of any CHL defenseman by a fairly wide margin. Ivan Provorov’s 29.41, 7th among CHL defensemen, pales in comparison to the 46.67% chance of reaching 200 NHL games that Andersson is given. Among his comparables using this tool are Drew Doughty, Cam Fowler, and Trevor Daley. Not bad for somebody ranked 93 by NHL Central Scouting.
From a qualitative perspective I find Andersson very impressive too. His slower-tempo offensive style reminds me a bit of Cody Franson. I think Andersson is a legitimate first-round talent and would be thrilled if the Leafs could get him at any point in the draft.
Here’s another reason, by the numbers, that Andersson and Vande Sompel are considered so good. Since 2012, Andersson, Vande Sompel, Aaron Ekblad, Anthony DeAngelo, and Cody Ceci are the only 5 OHL defensemen to post a TmGF% of at least 23% and a Points / Game of at least 0.60. Pretty good company. Those numbers come courtesy of CHL Stats by the way, a great website that you should check out as soon as you’re finished with this article.
Here’s a good video to check out if you’ve never seen Andersson play before:
He had just 16 points in 64 games this season, but when you’re 6″7′ your chances of reaching the NHL certainly increase. The PCS tool gives Martenet a 30.0%, with some of his comparables being Adam McQuaid, Mark Fraser, Matt Carkner, and Matt Pelech. So as you might expect there appears to be limited upside here, but Martenet might project safely as a depth defenseman in the NHL. Martenet plays for the London Knights, so there is a connection between him and Mark Hunter.
Another player that the numbers just love. Ranked 91st by NHL Central Scouting, Schemitsch plays for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. When you’re 6″3′ and put up 49 points as an 18 year old the projection tools are bound to give you some love. PCS gives him a 37.04% and the Projection Project gives him a 55 (both top ten scores). Some of his historical comparables are Paul Ranger, Paul Mara, Martin Skoula, and Jay McKee. Could be pretty nice value as a mid-round pick.
He’s ranked all the way down at 121 by Central Scouting but has some good offensive numbers. PCS doesn’t love him (11.67%) but the 54% that the Projection Project gives him is among the best of all CHL defenders in this draft. Leveille could be available in the 5th round or beyond in this draft, so he’s someone to keep your eye on.
Another QMJHL defender with strong numbers that seems to be overlooked by traditional scouting services. He gets just a 7.84% from PCS, but his 54% from The Projection Project is once again quite good. Ranked 89th by NHL Central Scouting, he could end up being a good bargain.
He is ranked 24th by Central Scouting, but his ranking at 55 by Bob McKenzie comes closer to reflecting his standing among the scouts. His 38.30 PCS% is 3rd among CHL defenders (sandwiched by Andersson, Schemitsch, as well as Niagara defenseman Vince Dunn). He’s got some pretty good comparables, a list that includes Mike Green, Jay Bouwmeester, Karl Alzner, Brad Stuart, and Luke Schenn.
I’ve seen Pilon play a few games and he’s pretty well-rounded. I could definitely see him becoming a decent second-pairing or depth defenseman in the NHL. I’d be a little afraid that his numbers are the product of playing on the WHL’s highest-scoring team in Brandon, but nevertheless Pilon’s numbers are pretty good.
Here’s a video of some Pilon shifts to give you a better understanding of his playing style:
He was passed over in the NHL draft last season, so increased exposure was probably a big reason he decided to move from Switzerland to Kamloops this season. He’ll be 20 in October, but his 14.14 PCS% is pretty solid considering he’s ranked 205th by NHL Central Scouting. Brenden Dillon, Andrej Meszaros, and Keaton Ellerby are among his historical comparables. WHL expert scout Cody Nickolet likes him as a “meat and potatoes” blue-liner that has solid depth potential as a pro. He could be a decent 6th- or 7th-round pick, or maybe he’s someone you look at signing as an undrafted free agent.
The Swedish blueliner put up a steady 44 points in 67 games for the Greyhounds in the OHL this year. Kyle Dubas drafted him, so there’s a connection there. I didn’t get a huge look at Bouramman this past season but he was reasonably impressive in the games I watched. He’s ranked 75th by Central Scouting and didn’t make the cut of Bob McKenzie’s top 85, so he’s likely a 4th round pick or in that realm. I think he’d be solid value at that point in the draft. Bouramman has a 16.16 PCS% and a 41% using The Projection Project. Both solid numbers given where he’s ranked. Some of his comparables include Dennis Wideman, James Wisniewski, Kevin Klein, Tim Gleason, and Carlo Coliacovo. Not bad at all.
At 210, Bruce is literally the lowest-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He had just 3 points in 52 games for North Bay of the OHL this season, but he doesn’t even turn 18 until July. His 10% PCS score is mediocre, but that’s solid value for someone who probably won’t even be drafted. If you can sign someone with a 1 in 10 chance of playing 200 NHL games as an undrafted free agent, that might not be the worst of ideas. His historic comparables include Brett Bellemore and John Erskine.
Below is a list of the 30 highest-ranked CHL defensemen by NHL Central Scouting. As we can see, a lot of the players discussed in this article show up and fare quite well when it comes to the numbers game: