CHL Mid-Season Scoring Analysis

Jokke Nevalainen

2018-01-11

 

It’s about mid-season now, so I figured it’s a good time to check scoring numbers from the Canadian Hockey League. Because this is a fantasy hockey site, I’m only going to look at players who are either first-time draft eligible, have been drafted by an NHL team, or have been signed by an NHL team.

 

Scoring numbers in junior hockey can tell a great deal about player’s NHL potential. If we look back at the current NHL stars, most of them were offensive stars in junior hockey as well. That doesn’t mean all junior hockey stars become good NHL players – sometimes player’s development is stalled or their skills don’t translate to pro hockey. Scoring numbers are a good support tool but not a perfect system by any means. When used properly, they’re a good and easy way to check how your prospects are progressing, and sometimes you can find hidden gems when you dig deep enough.

 

Determining factors with scoring numbers

 

When looking at scoring numbers from junior leagues, there are two important factors to consider – player’s age and the league he plays in.

 

In this article, I’m only looking at the three CHL member leagues – OHL, WHL and QMJHL. All leagues are different, and scoring is easier in certain leagues when compared to others. To provide a level playing field between the three leagues, I’ll be using NHL equivalency (NHLe). If you’re not familiar with NHLe, it’s a method which tries to estimate what portion of player’s scoring in other leagues translates to the NHL. NHLe is most commonly used when players are about to enter the NHL to estimate how much offense they can provide during their first season but it’s also a very good tool to compare players from different leagues. If you want to know more, I suggest reading the “Projecting to NHL” article from BehindTheNet.ca. The article itself is quite old but the main point is still very much valid today, and the translation factors have been re-calculated since then.

 

One might think that determining player’s age is a simple thing to do but there are actually three different methods that are currently being used: NHL draft eligibility, birth year, and exact age.

 

Players are first-time NHL draft eligible during the year when they’ll be 18 years old on or before September 15th of that year. That date has been selected to make sure all NHL players will be at least 18 when the NHL season starts but other than that, it’s an arbitrary number which is not used anywhere else, so when looking to determine prospect’s age, it’s probably the worst possible method to use.

 

The CHL uses birth year to determine draft eligibility into their leagues. Birth year is also used to determine when players are no longer forced to return to junior hockey and they can play in the AHL instead (assuming they don’t make the NHL before that). IIHF also uses birth year to determine player eligibility to their events like the World Junior Championship.

 

Exact age is a newer method which considers not only player’s birth year but also the month and date when he was born. With this, players born in January and December of the same year are not considered equal, and instead the player born in January is considered to be much closer with players born in December of the previous year.

 

I think there are flaws with both the birth year and the exact date methods. With birth year, two players can be born almost 12 months apart and still