Oct 29, 2017
Oct 9, 1995
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Campabee</b></div><div>Its not about a French player for me, I could care less but when you have the opportunity to add a franchise changing player to an already very good roster I think you have to make a solid pitch.</div></div>
Call me crazy, but I don't think Lafreniere is anywhere near the tier of player that McDavid or Crosby were when they were drafted. Giving the kid the franchise tag now seems incredibly premature. For a quick reference, McDavid had an NHLe nearly 1.5x greater than Lafreniere had this season. Crosby's NHLe was 30. Matthews had an NHLe of 49 coming out of the NLA. If these are the kinds of prospects worthy of being labelled as generational, franchise-defining players before they've even seen NHL ice. Jack Eichel - who's lumped in this group - has a comparable NHLe of 25, but I think this would be the natural cutoff between what is and isn't "franchise-defining", especially given that Eichel did it as a center instead of as a scoring winger.
Again, using NHLe as an analytical tool, Lafreniere compares very closely to Taylor Hall. I won't argue that Lafreniere is the undisputed number one pick in this draft, but I wouldn't claim Lafreniere to be a franchise-defining player. If Lafreniere should end up in Montreal - by all metrics he's a superstar - but that era of Canadiens will be remembered as a collective, not as the Lafreniere Canadiens.
If we're going to be a stickler for labels, nobody is trading Lafreniere if he should be considered franchise-defining.
Regardless of labels, there's more value in the individual pieces for Montreal than burning them to move up to select Lafreniere.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>sedin33</b></div><div>Second, I think you are overvaluing JP. He hasn't fared very well in the NHL. Yes, he has similar stats as Virtanen at the same point in their careers except he has already played with McDavid and Draisaitl. He's played with RNH as well. All of these guys are better than Brandon Suter or Adam Gaudette (Jake's most common centermen).
In this case, I don't buy the probability that JP will eclipse Virtanen.</div></div>
Puljujarvi's first NHL season occured when he was 18 years old: he didn't turn 19 until the end of the season. Virtanen is a year and two-thirds older than Puljujarvi. Are you aware of the kinds of physical differences between an 18 year-old and a 19 year-old, just talking from the physical act of puberty and maturation. Puljujarvi was a boy among men more so than Virtanen was. Puljujarvi's pace that season? 3 goals, 21 assists. Virtanen's? 10 goals, 9 assists. Even with every disadvantage - Puljujarvi sure as hell wasn't in the top six in Edmonton during his rookie season - a younger Puljujarvi was still out-producing Virtanen.
Both men spent time in the AHL in the following season. If we pro-rate to the number of games Virtanen played (not every AHL team plays the same number of games per season), Puljujarvi was much further ahead: 7 goals, 26 assists versus Virtanen's 9 goals and 10 assists.
The only time there's been any overlap between both men has been over the last two seasons. The big factor here is that Puljujarvi had to play through hip spurs AND be stapled to Milan Lucic or the Oilers' fourth line in order to be brought down to Virtanen's level. This season, when both players were given the chance to elevate, they did. The difference is Puljujarvi has two seasons before he peaks.
Virtanen isn't in the same class of player as Puljujarvi.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>sedin33</b></div><div>We both agree that we wouldn't do this trade. Fair enough.
So this is academic, but your rationale has significant flaws. First, you undervalue Virtanen. He has improved his goal scoring significantly. Why are you so certain it won't improve beyond the 21 goals per season pace he had this year? He's not even 24 years old yet.</div></div>
Virtanen is 24 in 10 days. Knock it off.
<a href="https://hockey-graphs.com/2017/03/23/a-new-look-at-aging-curves-for-nhl-skaters-part-1/#:~:text=Rob%20Vollman%20summarizes%20this%20quite,by%20age%2034%20or%2035.%E2%80%9D" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">https://hockey-graphs.com/2017/03/23/a-new-look-at-aging-curves-for-nhl-skaters-part-1/#:~:text=Rob%20Vollman%20summarizes%20this%20quite,by%20age%2034%20or%2035.%E2%80%9D</a>
Rob Vollman is considered one of the true experts of statistical hockey analysis, and I refer a lot to his work. The big takeaway in the link I supply is shown in the highlight:
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Rob Vollman</b></div><div>“Most players hit their peak age by age 24 or 25 then decline gradually until age 30, at which point their performance can begin to tumble more noticeably with the risk of absolute collapse by age 34 or 35.”</div></div>
While he does state that some players can plateau in the age range of 22-25, what you see is what you get by the time a player reaches 24-25. This represents a statistical average: in order for Virtanen to "beat the odds", his style of play would have to fundamentally change. Either the way he shoots, how frequently he shoots, or where he shoots from has to drastically change. Given that hockey players are notoriously habitual, what seem like simple changes to us as fans is more of a cerebral undertaking than we give it credit for.
<a href="https://www.naturalstattrick.com/playerreport.php?fromseason=20192020&thruseason=20192020&playerid=8477937&sit=5v5&stype=2" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">https://www.naturalstattrick.com/playerreport.php?fromseason=20192020&thruseason=20192020&playerid=8477937&sit=5v5&stype=2</a>
All numbers below are at 5v5.It's worth noting that his goal scoring over the past 3 seasons, at least at even-strength, haven't changed much. The average of 30 goals over the last 3 seasons is very much in-line with what his actual production was.
Delving into Virtanen's numbers suggests that he's averaging 123 shots per season with about 12 minutes of icetime over the last three seasons. The variation in this number is minimal, as is his average number of games played: Virtanen suits up for about 71 games per season (granted, the shortened season this year is a factor in this number). His shooting percentage hovers around 8.11% over this same timespan, but if we opt to discount his lower shooting percentage from the 17/18 season and assume his true shooting percentage is more in line with what we've seen over the last two seasons, his average only slightly improves to 8.75%.
All of this suggests that Virtanen shoots the puck once just shy of every 7 minutes he plays. If his shooting percentage cannot be changed, the only way he can score more is if he opts to shoot the puck more or if he sees more icetime. Icetime does not immediately improve on his results: a jump from 12 minutes per night to 14 would suggest he consistently takes two shots per game. The math results in about 142 shots per season, and with his 8.75s%, would result in 12 or 13 goals per season. One or two more goals. Connor McDavid is not exclusively a play-making centerman and does shoot the puck a fair bit. Virtanen - as McDavid's winger - would not necessarily shoot more than he already does. 12 to 13 goals should still be expected, it's the change in primary and secondary assists that would drive any substantial increase in points for Virtanen.
I am ignoring powerplay production for the time being: I don't think Virtanen would get much - if any - in Edmonton, as the #2 unit never sees action as it is, and I suspect that Hoglander and Lind will consume any prospects Virtanen will get on the man advantage in the future for the Canucks.
I genuinely don't believe any of the above is undervaluing Virtanen: he was on pace for 13 even-strength goals and 17 even-strength assists. That's good third-line production, and his powerplay utility this season is apt to net him more money than the average quality third liner.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>sedin33</b></div><div>I'm assuming it extrapolates points earned in other leagues to determine what the projected points in the NHL would be. Is that right?
My point is that Virtanen is a proven NHL winger who is only 2 years older than JP. Of course it's possible for JP to better than Virtanen. To make that bet right now, is inflating JP's value considerably. Virtanen has proved it and JP has yet do it. So no to the trade.</div></div>
Correct. The "translation factors" are based on dividing how a player scores in one league relative to the NHL. Because the math itself isn't smart enough to deduce strength of opposition, usage, etc., NHLe forces the assumption that Puljujarvi - as the top scorer on his Finnish team - must be Edmonton's top scorer. No other relative rates are assumed: the only thing compared is the strength of the leagues. The math for Puljujarvi is as follows:
NHLe = (Translation Factor)*(PPG in Liiga)*(82 NHL GP)
NHLe = (0.4696)*(53 points/56 Games)*(82GP)
NHLe = 36.4 points at the NHL level
Again, it's vitally important that we establish that this number assumes that Karpat's top scorer plays an identical role in Edmonton as the team's top scorer. There is no factor that distinguishes line mates. We know this is false: Edmonton has the two top scoring players in the league. The only "real" assumptions we make in this calculation is that Puljujarvi plays a full 82 games and that the fundamental nature of hockey doesn't change. There may be a mild effect if Puljujarvi plays #3RW as opposed to alongside McDavid or Draisaitl, but we can dismiss this, as Edmonton's crucial need for cheap top-six wingers suggests that he'll get every chance at the role.
I haven't dismissed that Virtanen is not a proven NHL winger: by this point in his career, he's a proven <em>third liner</em>. Any uptick in production should he be traded to Edmonton and played alongside a McDavid or Draisaitl will statistically be because of who is new center is, not because Virtanen just "awoke" in Edmonton. If Virtanen's career PPG of 0.341 is to be believed, he should be good for an annual 28-points.
To me, most Oiler fans, and likely Oilers management, there's more risk in assuming someone entering their Draft+7 season is apt to contradict their career trajectory as opposed to Puljujarvi reaching his projected NHLe. That 6 point gap, grouped with Puljujarvi being younger, having more potential to eclipse his NHLe, and coming in at a third of the price is more than enough to shoot this trade down.