FanPost

The Ryan Strome Question: A Deep Dive into the History of How High End Prospects are Handled

"Play me, bro." - Mike Stobe

Although anything is possible, Ryan Strome will most likely start the season in Bridgeport. The few available spots in the Islanders' forward corps were filled in the offseason by acquisitions. On top of that, Jack Capuano and Garth Snow have strongly hinted that Brock Nelson would be first in line to fill any holes.

This would be a mistake. Strome is an elite talent highly touted by experts. His point production has been stellar and consistent: an eye-popping 1.63 point per game (PPG) as a 17 year old in the year before the draft, dropping to a "mere" 1.48 PPG in his first post draft year and increasing to 1.77 PPG this past season. His stats in Juniors are below

Season

Team

League

GP

G

A

TP

PIM

+/-

Postseas.

GP

G

A

TP

PIM

+/-

2008-09

Toronto Marlboros Minor Mdgt AAA

GTMMHL

76

41

63

104

-

|

2009-10

Barrie Colts

OHL

34

5

9

14

35

7

|

Niagara IceDogs

OHL

27

3

10

13

26

-2

|

Playoffs

5

0

3

3

0

-1

Canada Ontario U17

WHC-17

6

2

1

3

4

|

2010-11

Niagara IceDogs

OHL

65

33

73

106

82

28

|

Playoffs

14

6

6

12

19

-4

2011-12

Niagara IceDogs

OHL

46

30

38

68

47

37

|

Playoffs

20

7

16

23

31

-3

Canada U20

WJC-20

6

3

6

9

8

9

|

2012-13

Niagara IceDogs

OHL

53

34

60

94

59

43

|

Playoffs

5

2

1

3

8

-4

Bridgeport Sound Tigers

AHL

10

2

5

7

4

-1

|

Canada U20

WJC-20

6

4

2

6

10

2

|

He has no gaping holes in his game (in Pronman's words, "not a whole lot to nitpick about Strome. He does not have a glaring weakness.") and no character issues. At 20 years old he's ready to help the team. Is he perfect? No, but neither is Peter Regin or Kyle Okposo. Sure Strome can improve his game in the AHL but he can also do so in the NHL.

I also thought that putting Strome in the AHL would nearly be unprecedented. My sense was that high end forward prospects with no glaring holes in their game who continue to progress after they are drafted nearly always make the NHL roster within a year or two of their draft year.

To check whether this impression was correct, I looked at all top 10 forward draft picks since the 2000 Entry Draft to determine how many were not given a spot on their NHL team's opening roster by their 3rd post draft season. I didn't include players who were given meaningful NHL experience in their first or second seasons (and presumably weren't given a roster spot because they failed in their earlier audition), players kept off their team due to the 2004 lockout or players who were likely unavailable to their teams because they were in college or a European league.

As it turns out, out of 80 draftees, only 6 players failed to make their team's NHL roster in their third post draft year. In addition, not one of these 6 players matched Strome's level of production in Juniors and most encountered significant issues in their development after they were drafted. But, as you will see, there is one draft pick who, while not matching Strome's production, came pretty close and serves as a great template for Strome to follow.

Mikhail Yakubov

Drafted: 10th overall, 2000 Entry Draft, Chicago Blackhawks
NHL Stats: 53 GP, 10 G, 2A.

Pre/post-draft Career:

1999-00

Lada Togliatti-2

Russia3

35

12

12

24

34

|

Russia U18

WJC-18

6

1

5

6

2

6

|

2000-01

Lada Togliatti

Russia

26

0

0

0

4

|

Russia U20

WJC-20

7

0

1

1

6

2

|

2001-02

Red Deer Rebels

WHL

71

32

57

89

54

27

|

Playoffs

23

14

9

23

28

8

2002-03

Norfolk Admirals

AHL

62

6

5

11

36

-7

|

Playoffs

9

0

0

0

8

-1

2003-04

Chicago Blackhawks

NHL

30

1

7

8

8

-12

|

Norfolk Admirals

AHL

51

9

18

27

22

10

|

Playoffs

8

0

3

3

2

-2

2004-05

Norfolk Admirals

AHL

59

12

15

27

43

-1

|

Playoffs

3

0

0

0

0

-2

2005-06

Spartak Moskva

Russia

29

5

6

11

38

-2

|

Chicago Blackhawks

NHL

10

1

2

3

8

0

|

Norfolk Admirals

AHL

8

1

3

4

8

-4

|

Florida Panthers

NHL

13

0

1

1

4

-1

|

Comment: While I don't know much about Yakubov, based on his stats, he didn't do much in his post-draft career to justify a promotion to the NHL. Yakubov played in the RSL (the predecessor to the KHL) in his post draft season and went scoreless, followed by a season in Juniors, where he scored a respectable, if not spectacular, 89 points in 71 games. He spent the next season in the AHL and didn't make his NHL debut until his fourth post-draft season.

Andrei Kostitsyn

Drafted: 10th overall, 2003 Entry Draft. Montreal Canadiens
NHL Stats: 398 GP, 103 G, 119 A.

2001-02

Khimik-SKA Novopolotsk

Belarus

17

9

6

15

28

|

Khimik-SKA Novopolotsk

EEHL

29

9

8

17

16

|

Yunost Minsk

Belarus

6

2

0

2

8

|

Belarus U18

WJC-18

8

7

3

10

18

-5

|

Belarus U20

WJC-20

6

3

0

3

0

-5

|

2002-03

CSKA Moskva

Russia

6

0

0

0

2

|

Khimik Voskresensk

Russia2

2

1

1

2

0

|

Yunost Minsk

Belarus

4

6

4

10

43

|

CSKA Moskva-2

Russia3

3

2

2

4

25

|

Belarus U18

WJC-18

6

6

9

15

28

-3

|

Belarus U20

WJC-20

6

2

1

3

0

-9

|

Belarus

WC

2

1

0

1

2

-2

|

2003-04

CSKA Moskva

Russia

12

0

1

1

2

-6

|

Yunost Minsk

Belarus

2

0

2

2

14

|

Playoffs

6

4

4

8

16

Junior Minsk

EEHL B

1

0

1

1

2

|

Junior Minsk

Belarus

1

0

1

1

2

|

Belarus U20

WJC-20 D1

5

5

5

10

12

7

|

Belarus

WC D1

5

3

3

6

0

4

|

2004-05

Hamilton Bulldogs

AHL

66

12

11

23

24

6

|

Playoffs

3

0

0

0

0

-1

Belarus U20

WJC-20

5

1

4

5

6

-1

|

Belarus

WC

6

0

0

0

4

-2

|

2005-06

Montréal Canadiens

NHL

12

2

1

3

2

1

|

Hamilton Bulldogs

AHL

64

18

29

47

76

-14

|

Belarus

WC

6

1

4

5

6

1

|

Comment: Again, unlike Strome, Kostitsyn's post-draft career wasn't that strong. He scored one point in the KHL in his post draft year and was assigned to the AHL the next season, where he scored 23 points in 66 games. He did not make the team out of camp the next season but was a mid-season callup.

Benoit Pouliot

Drafted: 4th overall, 2005 Entry Draft, Minnesota Wild
NHL Stats: 291 GP, 61 G, 63 A.

2003-04

Hawkesbury Hawks

CJHL

45

21

21

42

85

|

Playoffs

6

3

7

10

10

Sudbury Wolves

OHL

4

2

2

4

0

5

|

Playoffs

4

2

1

3

0

-1

2004-05

Sudbury Wolves

OHL

67

29

36

65

102

7

|

Playoffs

12

6

8

14

20

3

2005-06

Sudbury Wolves

OHL

51

35

30

65

141

23

|

Playoffs

8

8

3

11

16

4

Houston Aeros

AHL

0

0

0

0

0

|

Playoffs

2

0

0

0

2

-2

Canada U20

WJC-20

6

0

5

5

14

3

|

2006-07

Minnesota Wild

NHL

3

0

0

0

0

-1

|

Houston Aeros

AHL

67

19

17

36

109

-16

|

2007-08

Minnesota Wild

NHL

11

2

1

3

0

-1

|

Playoffs

1

0

0

0

0

1

Houston Aeros

AHL

46

10

14

24

67

-8

|

Playoffs

3

0

0

0

2

-2

Comment: Superficially, Strome's junior career echoes Pouliot's: Both burst on the scene relatively late and shot up the prospect rankings based on a single season's performance. However, Pouliot's numbers never matched Strome's, who was nearly a year younger than Pouliot at their repsective drafts. In addition, Pouliot's numbers in the AHL (where he played in his second post draft season) were not impressive for a high end prospect (36 points in 67 games).

Zach Hamill

Drafted: 8th overall, 2007 Entry Draft, Boston Bruins
NHL Stats: 20 GP, 0 G, 4 A.

2004-05

Everett Silvertips

WHL

57

8

25

33

29

4

|

Playoffs

11

2

3

5

8

1

Canada Pacific U17

WHC-17

6

2

3

5

10

|

2005-06

Everett Silvertips

WHL

53

21

38

59

28

18

|

Playoffs

15

3

11

14

4

-1

2006-07

Everett Silvertips

WHL

69

32

61

93

90

16

|

Playoffs

12

2

8

10

16

0

2007-08

Everett Silvertips

WHL

67

26

49

75

88

1

|

Playoffs

4

0

3

3

2

-3

Providence Bruins

AHL

7

0

5

5

6

4

|

Playoffs

9

1

3

4

0

5

2008-09

Providence Bruins

AHL

65

13

13

26

40

7

|

Playoffs

16

1

5

6

4

-3

2009-10

Boston Bruins

NHL

1

0

1

1

0

1

|

Providence Bruins

AHL

75

14

30

44

24

0

|

2010-11

Boston Bruins

NHL

3

0

1

1

0

1

|

Providence Bruins

AHL

68

9

34

41

66

6

|

Comment: In his first post draft season in juniors, Hamill scored 75 points in 65 games, a unremarkable level of production for a 19 year old and well below Strome's numbers at that age. Hamill played in the AHL and produced mediocre numbers for a high end draft pick -- 26 points in 65 games.

Logan Couture

Drafted: 9th overall, 2007 Entry Draft, Boston Bruins
NHL Stats: 232 GP, 89 G, 78 A.

2005-06

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Ottawa 67's

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif OHL

65

25

39

64

52

-4

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

6

3

4

7

0

0

2006-07

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Ottawa 67's

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif OHL

54

26

52

78

24

-1

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

5

1

7

8

4

-1

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Canada U18

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif WJC-18

6

2

2

4

2

3

|

2007-08

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Ottawa 67's

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif OHL

51

21

37

58

37

9

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

4

2

1

3

0

-2

2008-09

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Ottawa 67's http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/C.png

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif OHL

62

39

48

87

46

27

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

7

3

7

10

6

3

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Worcester Sharks

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif AHL

4

0

0

0

7

-1

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

12

2

1

3

11

5

2009-10

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif San Jose Sharks

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif NHL

25

5

4

9

6

4

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

15

4

0

4

4

1

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Worcester Sharks

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif AHL

42

20

33

53

12

16

|

2010-11

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif San Jose Sharks

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif NHL

79

32

24

56

41

18

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

18

7

7

14

2

2

2011-12

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif San Jose Sharks

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif NHL

80

31

34

65

16

2

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

5

1

3

4

0

-1

2012-13

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Genève-Servette http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/lock.png

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif NLA

22

7

16

23

10

8

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif San Jose Sharks

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif NHL

48

21

16

37

4

7

|

http://www.eliteprospects.com/layout/stats_arrow.gif Playoffs

11

5

6

11

0

-6

Logan Couture had a solid Juniors career, consistently scoring significantly above a point per game pace. Yet despite his performance, San Jose assigned him to their AHL affiliate in his third post-draft year. San Jose's development decisions seemed to pan out as Couture has established himself as one of the league's better forwards. However, we shouldn't draw to much from San Jose's handling of Couture.

First of all, he never matched Strome's performance in Juniors and at the time of his draft he was not as highly touted as Strome at the time of the draft and was considered a bit of an overdraft by San Jose at 9th overall. Second, San Jose was a perennial Cup contender at the time. In his third draft year, San Jose's forward corps included Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Ryan Clowe and Joe Pavelski. San Jose finished first in its division and went to the conference finals. There was simply no room on the roster for Couture.

Scott Glennie

Drafted: 8th overall, 2009 Entry Draft, Dallas Stars
NHL Stats: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A.

2007-08 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 61 26 32 58 50 10 | Playoffs 6 1 0 1 7 2
Canada Western U17 WHC-17 6 4 6 10 2 |
2008-09 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 55 28 42 70 25 22 | Playoffs 12 3 15 18 11 10
2009-10 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 66 32 57 89 50 36 | Playoffs 15 3 7 10 14 2
2010-11 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 70 35 56 91 58 4 | Playoffs 6 3 7 10 6 0
Texas Stars AHL 4 0 0 0 2 -2 | Playoffs 6 1 0 1 2 0
2011-12 Dallas Stars NHL 1 0 0 0 2 0 |
Texas Stars AHL 70 12 25 37 26 -8 |
2012-13 Texas Stars AHL 37 5 9 14 10 4 | Playoffs 9 0 0 0 8 0

Like Logan Couture, Scott Glennie's Junior career was solid. However, there were significant questions surrounding his game as he finished Juniors (was ranked 64th best prospect by the Hockey News in 2011) and his development was interrupted by a concussion during training camp, damaging his chance at making the NHL club out of camp in his third post-draft season. But, again, his post draft performance in Juniors did not match Strome's stratospheric numbers.

The focus on these six distracts from the fact that 75 other prospects that were given a shot by the beginning of their third post-draft season. And in fact, the vast majority of those prospects (approximately 65 of them) got a shot at the NHL by their second post-draft season. So, yes, assigning Strome to Bridgeport to start the season would be highly unusual,

Who knows. Maybe management surprises me and Strome gets a spot on the team. But if he does, his development would be entirely consistent with how nearly every other prospect in his position has been handled in the recent past.

<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>

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