The Prospect Pyramid

It’s that time of year again!

September first is great because it means hockey is right around the corner! The World Cup is coming, then preseason, and teams will be competing for the Stanley Cup before you know it. Maybe a Canadian team will even make the playoffs this time! Who knows? The sky is the limit.

There is one thing about this time of year that I hate though: Prospect rankings.

Everybody is coming up with their Top 20, Top 25, Top 100, Top Billion prospects around the NHL, and I never like it. Sure, I like reading about individual prospects and learning about them but it’s the ranking part that I hate.

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The internet is full people people passionately debating whether or not the likes of Kasperi Kapanen should be called the Leafs’ fourth, sixth, or fifteenth-best prospect, comparing him to players they’ve probably never even seen play. When I managed this fine site we used to argue about these things all the time and the comment sections would be even crazier.

I have a solution: The Prospect Pyramid.

The video below explains the idea in-depth but what the Prospect Pyramid does is it allows you to rank prospects based on tiers instead of a ranking position. For example, I saw people debating on Twitter about whether or not Mitch Marner is a better prospect than William Nylander. How about this: Who cares? If the gap between them is small enough for us to have this debate, then they’re in the same tier. Make sense?

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If you don’t have time for the full video, these are my tiers for the Leafs’ prospects.

Tier 1: Auston Matthews

Tier 2: Mitch Marner, William Nylander

Tier 3: Connor Brown, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnson, Travis Dermott

Tier 4: Nikita Soshnikov, Brendan Leipsic, Kerby Rychel, Jeremy Bracco, Dmytro Timashov, Tobias Lindberg, Andrew Nielsen, Carl Grundstrum, Zach Hyman

Tier 5: Frederik Gauthier, Rinat Valiev, Yegor Korshkov, Adam Brooks, Martins Dzierkals, J.D. Greenway, Viktor Loov, J.J. Piccinich, Jesper Lindgren

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Tier 6: Everybody else

How did I get to that? Watch and enjoy!

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  • Max G

    This video completely echoes how I’ve been feeling about the prospect rankings I’ve seen over the last few years. I love them to bits, and it’s really great to see each prospect get their time to be discussed, but when it comes to individual rankings it’s so often negligible differences that end up making the difference between #6 and #7, or #16 and #17.

    This idea is really great and I’m totally stealing it for my own personal thought processes in the future.

    P.S. I’d probably swap Sosh and Dermott personally, but that’s probably a bit biased towards the fact he got a shot at the top line last year.

  • Gary Empey

    Lol Steve Dangle… List or Tiered, there’ll always be an argument when you have a hockey panel that tends to be clueless or lacks sound judgement. However, I do agree the tiered method would be the best to group prospects.

  • Gary Empey

    Steve, I have a question. Once in a blue moon someone unexpectedly comes out of training camp and makes the team.

    Do you see that possibility this year? There does seem to be a few openings….

    I have a gut feeling someone shows up and is just too good to be send down…

  • Gary Empey

    Nylander is not in the same tier as Marner. Not even close. If you want to put marner and matthews in a tier that’s fine but Marner is still way better.

    • Gary Empey

      This particular Prospect Pyramid is Steve Dangle’s very own. Everyone’s own pyramid will be different. As they are prospects, it will always be peoples educated guess of their chances of success at the NHL level.

      I don’t claim to know Steve’s thinking, but it looks to me that Matthews is in a tier on his own because he is the only one he considers to be a lock to make the Leafs this year.

      Nylander and Marner are only most likely to make the team this year.

      If you are using potential only, your tiers will look different. Marner certainly has the potential to be a super star at the NHL level. If you are blending potential and chances of making the team this year, your pyramid will look different.

  • Capt.Jay

    A tier 2 or 3 prospect on the leafs would be a tier 1 on a lot of other teams. Does a team like San Jose have a tier 1 player comparable to the rest of the NHL or is it just because he’s the best on San Jose he gets a tier 1 nod?

    Either way. Great system, I like it.

  • Stan Smith

    Anything you do is going to create some controversy. There is always going to be an argument for what the players has done up to date, against what their potential is. I would like to see someone do a ranking based on where the player is expected to play this season, where they would project to play next season, and where they most likely ultimately end up.

  • Drapes55

    I am a fan of this tier ranking system over the top 20 type of ranking, after reading and seeing the rankings that were done on here it’s very evident that everyone was grading on very different systems high only leads to very skewed rankings in my opinion. One prospect I don’t think is getting enough love in the Leafs system is Rinat Valiev. Everywhere has him ranked in the lower tier of the Leafs prospect pool but from what I’ve seen the guy looks like he could be a solid #4-5 defender on the Leafs in a year or two. He seems to have all the tools needed to play at the next level and impressed me during his short time with the Leafs last year.