TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #11 Jeremy Bracco

TLN11

It’s hard to imagine someone that put up 126 points in their draft year and someone that a lot of people felt was worthy of a first round pick sits this low in rankings. Is that a knock on Bracco, or a testament to the depth of the Leafs’ prospect pool?

Let’s take a look.

THE VOTES

Jeff Ryan H. Shawn Ryan F. Adam Dom Jess Katy Readers
11 14 6 14 7 12 11 20 13

PLAYER BIO

Position Hometown Height Weight Handedness 2015 Team Acquired
RW/C Freeport, NY 5’9 172 Right Kitchener Rangers 2015 Draft (2-61)

THE STATS

 SEASON AGE TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP NHLe PIM +/-
 2009-10 13  Long Island Gulls Bantam Minor  AYMBHL 28 34 41 75 N/A 4 N/A
 2010-11 13  Long Island Gulls Bantam Major  AYBHL 31 25 42 67 N/A 6 N/A
 2011-12 14  Long Island Gulls Bantam Major  AYBHL 28 26 49 75 N/A 26 N/A
  14  Portledge School  USHS 20 15 27 42 12.6 N/A
 2012-13 15  Portledge School  USHS 11 12 12 24 13.09 N/A
  15  New Jersey Rockets  MetJHL 10 9 15 24 N/A 0 N/A
  15  New Jersey Rockets  AtJHL 30 16 34 50 N/A 24 N/A
 2013-14 16  USNTDP Juniors  USHL 34 9 28 37 22.04 10 -7
  16  U.S. National U17 Team  USDP 54 16 58 74 N/A 20 N/A
 2014-15 17  USNTDP Juniors  USHL 24 14 18 32 27 6 20
  17  U.S. National U18 Team  USDP 65 30 64 94 N/A 10 N/A
 2015-16 18  Boston College  NCAA 5 0 3 3 N/A 4 3
  18  Kitchener Rangers  OHL 49 21 43 64 31.35 19 15

Bracco’s consistently put up the points wherever he’s played. His absurd production with the USNTDP in his draft year is why a lot of the more statistically inclined felt he could be a major bargain bin pickup, and last year he continued to produce, putting up a strong 64 points in 49 games with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.

PROJECTION STATS

pGPSn pGPSs pGPS% pGPS PPG pGPS PP82 pGPSr
46 (8/18) 11 (11/18) 23.9% (13/18) 0.47 (12/18) 38.42 (12/18) 11.21 (14/18)

  • pGPSn: The number of matches between the subject and the player-seasons (one season by a single player, i.e, John Tavares 2008 OHL) in the historical sample.
  • pGPSs: The number of statistical matches that became NHL regulars. This is determined by playing 200 NHL games.
  • pGPS%: Simply s divided by n, this is the percentage of statistical matches that successfully became NHL players.
  • pGPS PPG: The NHL points per game of successful matches.
  • pGPS P82: The same as pGPS PPG, but stretched over 82 games.
  • pGPSr: A bit of a hybrid number, this pGPS Rating combines the percentage and points per game to produce a number that includes both likelihood of success and potential upside.

Based on the success of his historical comparables, Bracco is projected to become a third line forward.

To learn more about the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System, check out this post.

THE EYE TEST

Oddly enough, I wasn’t a big fan of Bracco at all in his draft year, and the eye test was the reason why. Every time I got to watch him I was left wondering how a player that seemed slow, unthreatening with the puck, and generally invisible could put up so many points.

Fast forward a year, and I’m convinced I was either catching him in all the wrong games or that he’s done a lot of growing over the span of a season. It’s probably a bit of both.

Granted, Bracco is still a little slow, and for someone that’s also 5″9′, his speed is going to be the biggest thing that might hold him back from a future in the NHL. But, he’s not Andy Wozniewski out there either.

Aside from that, Bracco’s pretty shifty with the puck and is an entertaining and noticeable puck-handler. He doesn’t really dance through games, but he’s a good zone entry player that seems to have the puck on his stick a lot, and he uses his puckhandling to keep the puck in his team’s possession. Basically, he might have better puck skills than any other Leafs prospects outside of the big three.

He’s also got a good shot, and passing is a serious asset. He certainly does them well enough to entertain possibilities of tantalizing NHL upside.

So, the guy has skill. Enough for me to think he has legitimate top-six upside, which I’d say only him and Kasperi Kapanen have for Leafs prospects outside Matthews, Marner, and Nylander.

But, skating is an issue, and so is shot generation, which are the things leaving me thinking he probably won’t reach his upside. High-ish ceiling, low-ish chance of reaching it.

AS SEEN ON TV

NEXT SEASON

Bracco’s still pretty young, especially relative to most Leafs prospects given the Leafs drafted a bunch of old men in Buffalo. He was really productive last season but definitely needs to improve on those totals for me to really feel optimistic about his future. He also needs to improve his skating and ability to put pucks on net. If he can do those things, he likely finishes a lot higher in our mid-season rankings.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I think Bracco’s one of a very select few in the Leafs prospect system that have legitimate top-six upside, even if he might not be likely to reach it. For me, that’s reason enough to argue he should be ranked higher.

Alas, we are where we are, and Bracco sits in the back half of a pretty damn deep prospect pool. All I’ll say is I think Bracco’s poised for a big 16-17 season, especially with even more opportunity arising in the graduation of Kitchener’s star center Ryan MacInnis to the pros. I also think some of the players that are being highly valued in these rankings could disappoint. So, don’t be surprised if Bracco is a lot more highly coveted down the line.

The Rankings So Far

  • magesticRAGE

    This doesn’t really make sense.

    “Based on the success of his historical comparables, Bracco is projected to become a third line forward.”

    “Based on the success of his historical comparables, Leipsic is projected to become a middle-six forward.”

    Yet Bracco is ranked ahead of Leipsic?

    Leipsic has already put up stellar AHL numbers. He had 54 points in 65 games last year .83 points per game. Bracco has yet to do that.

    Leipsic also proved he could score in the NHL with 3 points in his first 6 games,.50 per game. So the probably of success in the NHL is far closer to being established.

    I would put Leipsic a few notches ahead of Bracco.

    • magesticRAGE

      I think if Bracco made the list he wouldn’t be ranked above two guys that have had already a cup of coffee in the NHL with success mind you. After all, isn’t that the ultimate measuring stick?

  • silentbob

    Which brings me to my point on the problem with the rankings in the a post a few days ago.

    Are we ranking based on potential or NHL probability, both aren’t the same. At which point do people say the person that will make it onto my team in the NHL has more value than the guy that gets ranked higher based on potential. We want these guys to make it, even if just as a Bozak or Glendening or Marincin, not just be potential.

    • silentbob

      I agree… the perception I’m getting from the rankings and people’s post is based on the individual’s skillset and not fit on the Leafs current roster.

      A player might be good enough to play in the NHL but may not be a fit for the Leafs based on their roster. I pointed this out with Leipsic and the uphill battle he has to make the Leafs.

      • silentbob

        the problem is this assuming that a large % of these players will make the NHL.

        An above average drafting team in the NHL has a 20% success rating. Even if you want to argue that this list of 20 will have a higher success rating because its the top 20 prospects in the system, even doubling the success rate has less then half the list being NHL players.

        Ultimately if a player is good enough to be an NHL player, there will be/they’ll find a spot for him. Teams don’t really have the luxury to keep quality NHL players in the NHL.

      • silentbob

        It extends past just for the Leafs team. Will they make it at all.

        Would you trade Marincin for Brennan? No.

        Marincin is a NHL commodity where Brennan has higher upside. Potential doesn’t win Championships or contribute but I know Marincin can be in my line-up nightly or be traded for something of value the team needs.

        So my argument isn’t if they can make the Leafs, its if the scouting department is drafting players that will be NHL products. NHL products, even fourth liners (Hyman labal) are worth more than a Brennan or other AHL/ECHL pro, or bust like “the guy we kept instead of Rask” Pogge.

  • silentbob

    Is there good competition in the USNTDP or could his lack of speed have been forgiven by having really solid vision?

    Looks like he’s a hell of a passer.

  • Stan Smith

    I find it interesting that I read this article and PPP’s article about Bracco one right after another. If you combine the two you have a player whose skating ability is slow but yet has above average speed. He is a player that likes to handle the puck but plays a past first type of game. He is a linemate of Ryan MacInnis, but doesn’t play on the same line as MacInnis. About the only thing both articles agreed on is he is 5’9″.

    • Gary Empey

      And @Shawn Reis

      Your point on his skating ability is a huge one.

      This article is the first I have read that questions his skating. Anyone who knows hockey can see the Leafs are attempting to put together the fastest team in the NHL.

      I went to PPP and read their article on Bracco. Here is what was said about his skating.

      “He’s also a very nimble skater. I never really saw him blow someone away with pure speed, but he has above average speed and excellent edge work”

  • Gary Empey

    Bracco has excellent vision and excels with skilled linemates! he has superb puck control and is fully confident in his abilities. i don’t think breakaway speed is his game anyways and neither is Marners. in PP situations Jermey is money! if he can avoid injury or suspensions.. he will be a Pro! i obviously seen him play alot so call me biased but i like his game as a potential 2nd line winger.

  • magesticRAGE

    Bracco will do just fine considering Mascherin is his trigger man! he is a no look pass & dangle specialist. so far as Macinnis skill.. it will be replaced by other’s as the Rangers will be competitive. Bracco should lead the team if he remains durable through a full season in the O. not sure who you think davidson is… not on our roster.