Prospect Ramblings – Ice time leaders and PDO “leaders” (Nov 6 2016)

Hayden Soboleski

2016-11-06

Taking a look at which prospects are earning the biggest minutes on their NHL squads, and who may be due for less good luck in this Sunday Ramblings…

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There are an incredible number of rookies and other young players in today's NHL, so much so that they are starting to eat into each other's time-on-ice. It used to be that an average prospect would break into the league with TOI in the low teens and earn increases from there if they managed to produce with thier limited time. For more outstanding players, immediate playing time in the top-six (and therefore more minutes) has become more prevalent, logically preparing a player for the role he will have for the majority of their career. But now with so many balanced lineups full of talented players both new and veteran, earning serious minutes as a rookie is difficult even for the most talented of prospects. It is therefore a very promising sign when this happens, as it shows that a prospect has truly earned the trust of their coach, have earned themselves dibs on any opportunities that appear over the season, and are the least likely option to be reassigned to the minors or junior if the team is in a cap or roster spot crunch.

 

So, let's take a look at which newbies are wasting no time earning their spot. I have only considered players who have played enough games to be a legitamate threat to stick around all season. Expect these players to maintain their promising starts and have the benefit of the doubt when they slump, since their coaches seem to be fans:

 

Defencemen:

  • Brandon Carlo (BOS – 22:31) 
  • Nikita Zaitsev (TOR – 22:01)
  • Zach Werenski (CLB – 21:42)
  • Michael Matheson (FLA – 19:45)

Forwards:

  • Patrick Laine (WPG – 18:52)
  • Auston Matthews (TOR – 17:21)
  • Mitch Marner (TOR – 16:27)
  • Brayden Point (TBL – 16:00)

 

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Another huge factor when it comes to youngsters producing immediately after making the jump: PDO. Also known as the "luck" stat – this combines the team's shooting percentage when a player is on the ice with the team's save percentage while the player is on the ice. Obviously, whether a team scores or gets scored on while a prospect is on the ice plays a major factor in a coach's mind when deciding if he wants that player to stick around. The problem with this: a high PDO may indicate luck is playing a part. 

So, who's being boosted by a "lucky" PDO early on? These players are playing well but may not be reliable bets to maintain their play when the goings get tough:

  • Joel Eriksson Ek (112)
  • Tyler Motte (110)
  • Jimmy Vesey (109)
  • Devin Shore (108)

 

And who's been the subject of bad luck, hurting their stats and indicating probable improvement to come? These players are already looking good, but could become even stronger contributors to their clubs:

  • Mikko Rantanen (85)
  • Ivan Provorov (91)
  • Austin Czarnik (93)

 

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I was lucky enough to be granted a media pass by the Vancouver Giants this weekend, who played the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. The DobberProspects team is working hard to scout the junior leagues more than ever (see our monthly articles on each league), and to add to this I thought I'd throw out a few notes from these WHL games:

 

  • Cal Foote (2017) of Kelowna was a player of interest as a potential first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Though he didn't impress offensively on Friday, his intelligence in his own end was outstanding. Alwasy made the smartest play, even if it wasn't necessarily the fastest or easiest one.
  • Radovan Bondra (CHI) puts up the points and has a laser of a shot, but I was disappointed by his need for space to unleash it. He has the body to made a difference when he