April 17, 2007

ECAC Hockey Recruiting Rankings

Updated: 10/6

Background: BRP's attempting to take a quasi-objective look at ECAC Hockey's incoming 2007 class. The process is pretty simple. Without going into too much detail, however, Central Scouting's list has been used to weigh the relative depth of various source leagues (junior, prep, and high school) and then players on Chris Heisenberg's list have been awarded bonus points (with the top half of each eligible league's list receiving more points than the lower half). Bonus points are additionally awarded for having been named to Central Scouting's watchlist or for having been drafted; there is also a minor deduction if one is dropped from the final list and has been previously awarded bonus points. Finally, bonus points have been (or will be) awarded for certain league-wide or conference-wide awards (MVP, ROTY, all-star teams, etc) -- though these are the smallest bonuses in use -- and for being named to INCH's top-positional players list. The goal is to calculate an average value per class (represented by each team's score) so that the effect of class size is somewhat mitigated.

There were some late additions to a couple of classes so the number of players has increased since the post-draft list.

ECAC Hockey

1) Harvard - Players, 7; Score, 119; Grade, A+
  • A very talented class across the board. There's a lot to be excited about...if one's a Crimson fan.
    Buzz: Michael Biega (5' 11", 180), 1989-born forward, Salisbury Prep. It was a little surprising that Biega was bypassed during this year's draft.
    NHL: Matt McCollem, #154 (St. Louis) in 2006.

    2) Cornell - Players, 8; Score, 105; Grade A
  • Filled numerous roles with this class. A solid showing in British Columbia.
    Buzz: Riley Nash (6' 1", 175), 1989-born forward, Salmon Arm/BCHL. The top recruit in the ECAC this year.
    NHL: Riley Nash, #21 (Edmonton) in 2007.

    3) Colgate - Players, 5; Score, 100; Grade, A
  • Class is probably as talented as Harvard's, just fewer of them.
    Buzz: Brian Day (6', 185), 1988-born forward, Governor Dummer Prep. Should make an impact early for the Raiders.
    NHL: Brian Day, #171 (New York Islanders) in 2006.

    3) Dartmouth - Players, 9; Score, 100; Grade, A
  • Tied with Clarkson and RPI for the largest class. The Green did very, very, very well in Minnesota.
    Buzz: Joe Stejskal (6' 2", 190), 1988-born defenseman, Grand Rapids (MN) HS. One of three outstanding prospects from Minnesota.
    NHL: Joe Stejskal, #133 (Montreal) in 2007.

    5) RPI - Players, 9; Score, 84; Grade, B
  • Joins Clarkson and Dartmouth with the league's biggest class. The good news in Troy is that Seth Appert can recruit. The bad news is that he may be coaching in the WCHA or CCHA before his first class has graduated.
    Buzz: Bryan Brutlag (6' 1", 190), 1989-born defenseman, Holy Angels (MN) Academy. Tied for the most assists in Minnesota prep play this year.

    6) Clarkson - Players, 9; Score, 82; Grade B
  • Added a couple of players late which gave them the largest class, along with Dartmouth and RPI. Clarkson did very well in Ontario.
    Buzz: Scott Freeman (5' 11", 180), 1988-born forward, Bowmanville/OPJHL. Leading scorer in the OPJHL and divisional MVP.
    NHL: Bryan Rufenach, #208 (Detroit) in 2007.

    6) Princeton - Players, 7; Score, 82; Grade, B
  • Did a nice job in the USHL. Also landed a pair of defensemen from one of Alberta's top teams, Fort Saskatchewan.
    Buzz: Cam Ritchie (6', 190), 1987-born defenseman, Fort Saskatchewan/AJHL. Averaged nearly a point per game for the high-scoring Traders.

    8) Quinnipiac - Players, 6; Score, 67; Grade, C
  • Added a solid prep prospect late -- Sean Coughlin.
    Buzz: Zack Hansen (5' 10", 165), 1987-born defenseman, Sioux Falls/USHL. Was the first Minnesota high schooler selected in last summer's USHL draft. Small, but showed offensive potential in his rookie year.
    NHL: Pat McGann, #222 (Dallas) in 2005.

    9) Union - Players, 8; Score, 64; Grade, C
  • The league's oldest class should provide immediate help. Union also snagged ECAC Hockey's top incoming goalie.
    Buzz: Cory Milan (5' 10", 160), 1986-born goalie, Penticton/BCHL. Named the BCHL's top goalie.

    10) Yale - Players, 8; Score, 56; Grade, C-
  • This group will probably be more successful than any goofy ranking system could predict.
    Buzz: Broc Little (5' 9", 160), 1988-born forward, Cushing Prep. Runner-up for USHR Prep forward of the year.

    11) St. Lawrence - Players, 5; Score, 32; Grade, D-
  • The league's smallest class.
    Buzz: Nick Pitsikoulis (5' 9", 175), 1988-born forward, Westminster Prep. Has the potential to be a solid playmaker for the Saints.

    12) Brown - Players, 5; Score, 30; Grade, D-
  • 5 players from 4 different areas, only double-dipping in British Columbia.
    Buzz: David Brownschidle (6', 173), 1989-born forward, Tri-City/USHL. Solid, hard-working player whose contribution transcends the scoresheet.

    Anonymous said...

    Does the ranking take into account team or league awards? What about scoring compared to average league scoring? It seems like your rankings probably weight young potential heavily.

    Really, I'm just trying to figure out a ranking system that puts Cornell up higher :)

    BRP said...

    No, no, and yes. I wanted to keep the first iteration as simple as possible. Awards, at least on a league or conference or divisional level, might be an interesting (and fair) bonus. There were too many variable scoring measures running through my head, though I thought about a smaller bonus for leading one's league (forward & defenseman). Potential, probably, does carry a heavy weight.


    Anonymous said...

    Although I agree that Seth Appert might leave RPI before this class graduates, do you really think that someone who can only attract the 7th best class in the ECAC will be wanted at a higher profile school? Also, he did stay as an assistant coach in Denver for nine years which indicates that he isn't necessarily quick to leave.

    I am curious, could you go through a similar analysis (obviously very preliminary) for the class entering in 2008? I figure that RPI will be higher ranked with one player on the CSB list (Christian Morissette) and another (Patrick Cullen) who IMHO is more likely to be chosen.

    BRP said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    BRP said...

    Remember the final rankings aren't done, so there'll be some more movement -- I wouldn't be shocked if RPI moved up a little. I think Appert did a solid job for his first class and I expect his second class to be even stronger. RPI is involved with some big names already, and the longer he stays the better he'll get -- assuming the team's performance improves in concert. If his next class gets RPI in the top 4 or 5, and the team moves into the upper half of the league, his stock should take off. Luckily for RPI fans, there's not that many jobs that open up each year.

    I think RPI's 2008 class would fair very well right now -- I'm guessing top 5. I'm planning on working on the rankings over the summer so that when CS's list is released I can do the first update with relative ease. Send me an email sometime this summer and I'll let you know how it's coming along.


    Unknown said...

    You wrote that "Without going into too much detail, Central Scouting's list has been used to weigh the relative depth of source leagues... and then players on Chris Heisenberg's list have been awarded points". Any chance we could see the details you mentioned? I'd be interested to see your methodology, particularly what order you rank the leagues in.

    BRP said...

    Well the actual details are currently locked away in the vault at corporate HQ. Soon, however, USHR will be offering the BRBlender which will allow our readers to slice and dice, puree and fold the data any way they choose.

    However, to answer your question, or part of it...CSB was used only to guage the relative depth of the leagues. I added a factor based on additional data to rank (depth only) the top 6 leagues (or program) as such:

    1. USHL
    2. USHS West/Minnesota
    3. USHS East/Prep
    4. NTDP
    5. BCHL
    6. OPJHL

    The top-5 for goalies: USHL, USHS West/Minnesota, USHS East/Prep, NTDP, and OPJHL.

    I apologize for belaboring this, but, again, this part was quantitative and not qualitative.

    Thanks, brp.

    Anonymous said...

    The recruit grade will be incorporated into the upcoming TBRW Predictions.

    BRP, in your copious free time, could you calculate the grades of the prior season's entering classes (i.e., Gallagher's) using the same formula? It would be interesting to see how the metric is panning out over time.

    Love the work you do; thanks!

    BRP said...

    I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

    I haven't been able to locate all the data I'd need to do retro rankings. I'll let you know if I do.

    I am planning on updating the '07 rankings as necessary (early departures), and aggregating future classes to see how well they predict league performance in the future.

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