NHL organizations each have their own preferences about where to draft from in June. Some are more or less hesitant of drafting Russians, some believe in the NCAA more than others, but whether they prefer it or not, a huge chunk of kids every year are coming out of the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL. So my question this week is: which NHL teams have the strongest CHL investments right now?
I'm going to look at two things:
1. Which teams have the most players currently in the top-10 in scoring in their respective league?
2. Which teams have the most players selected for the upcoming CHL Canada Russia series?
For the first point, here is the current tally of top scorers in the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL:
The prospect count from those lists:
St. Louis: 2
Tampa Bay: 1
So 12 NHL teams are represented by top-10 scorers, while Calgary, LA, and St. Louis are lucky enough to each have two players representing them very well on the scoresheet. I was surprised more teams weren't included here, which was mainly due to most of the QMJHL top scorers being either undrafted or draft-eligible in 2018. This list makes it look like 19 teams need to step up their drafting game if they want the best the CHL has to offer.
For count number two (Canada Russia series)
I'll first refer you to this Ramblings done earlier this week by Cam Robinson. He covers the rosters released and adds some observant notes.
Obviously there is alot of overlap between the leagues' top scorers and their selected players for the tournament. Plus, this method actually includes goaltenders, and places more value on all-around defecemen. Dont worry, I'm not going to add up numbers at the end and ttry to make a list, I just want this second avenue of checking whose prospects are earning extra attention so far this season.
Based on the rosters in Cam's Ramblings, here is another count of the best CHL prospects, by NHL ownership:
St. Louis: 4
Tampa Bay: 4
New Jersey: 1
25 NHL teams make this list, a much better spread than the first one. Detroit, Tampa, LA, and St. Louis come out on top with 4 players apiece set to battle Team Russia in the next month.
6 NHL teams failed to have a single CHL prospect in a lineup, those organizations are Chicago, Dallas, San Jose, Washington, NY Rangers, and Minnesota.
So there you have it. Whether you prefer to look at the top scoring lists or the Canada-Russia series rosters, some teams clearly have their cupboards stocked from the CHL more than others. Quality players of all sorts can come from any league at any time, but considering that the CHL is typically known as the best league for producing the most high-upside scorers, maybe a few organizations need to start diversifying their portfolio to include a few high-profile prospects in these leagues.
Some more first NHL goals to report this week, fittingly by some former CHL stars:
Nico Hischier gets left alone in front with a wide open net…Ottawa could'nt have made it easier for the 1st overall pick
Mikhail Sergachev winds up from the point for his first tally
Derek Grant is going t make people happy if he can keep getting pucks on net despite defenders being in his face
Mackenzie Weegar freees defenders, finds a shooting lane, then blasts one home for a beauty of a first goal
Matt Barzal ignores his playmaking instincts and decides to put the puck on net, and finds a hole through the King
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