What if ? (20 years of 18-year-old fwd’s in the NHL)


If you’re not completely burnt out on Zibanejad coverage, this is my last word on the subject, bear with me.

Below is a table of every forward drafted in the last twenty seasons who made the NHL at eighteen. The third, fourth and fifth columns are their goal, assist and point totals through their first nine games. The two far right columns are their total games played and total points scored that season. The table is sorted by points scored through nine games, so where did Mika stand historically?

Player Draft # 
  Goals    Assists    Points            Total GP Total Points
Alexandre Daigle 1 5 8 13 84 51
Patrick Kane 1 3 10 13 82 72
Sidney Crosby 1 2 10 12 81 102
Patrice Bergeron 45 2 5 7 71 39
Sam Gagner 6 1 6 7 79 49
Chris Gratton 3 2 5 7 84 42
Jeff Skinner 6 3 4 7 82 63
Ryan O’Reilly 33 1 6 7 81 26
Ilya Kovalchuk 1 6 0 6 65 51
Marian Gaborik 1 4 1 5 71 36
Taylor Hall 1 2 3 5 65 42
Evander Kane 4 3 2 5 66 26
Tyler Seguin 2 3 2 5 74 22
Jordan Staal 2 4 1 5 81 42
Mikkel Boedker 6 3 1 4 78 28
Matt Duchene 3 1 3 4 81 55
Jaromir Jagr 5 3 1 4 80 57
Manny Malhotra 6 3 1 4 73 16
Steven Stamkos 1 2 2 4 79 46
Pierre-Marc Bouchard 8 1 2 3 50 20
Tim Connolly 5 2 1 3 81 34
Radek Dvorak 10 0 3 3 77 27
Rick Nash 1 1 2 3 74 39
Jeff Friesen 11 1 1 2 48 25
Vincent Lecavalier 1 1 1 2 82 28
Patrick Marleau 2 1 1 2 74 32
Owen Nolan 1 1 1 2 59 13
Dainus Zubrus 15 2 0 2 68 21
Radek Bonk 3 1 0 1 42 11
Rico Fata 6 0 1 1 20 1
Scott Hartnell 6 0 1 1 75 16
Nathan Horton 3 0 1 1 55 22
Mika Zibanejad 6 0 1 1
Robert Dome 17 1 0 0 30 7
Dan Fritsche 46 0 0 0 19 1
Joe Thornton 1 0 0 0 55 7
Jason Wiemer 8 0 0 0 36 5

A couple points:

  • Since the 1990-91 season there have been 37 forwards who played more than 10 games in the NHL at 18.
  • The average #1 pick scored 43.6 points over the season, the rest averaged 26.3 points.
  • Through their first 9 games, 13 players put up 2 or fewer points. The highest point total from this group over the season was 32 (Marleau), the average being 14.5 points at 0.28 pts/g clip.

Mika has some company at the bottom of the table, but his odds of having a signifcant offensive impact this season did not look promising. A few weeks ago I applied Gabe Desjardins NHLE league translations to his SEL #’s and came away with similar results. For these reasons it’s not surprising the organization chose to send him back to Djurgarden:

“The reason we’re probably sending him back is…we want him to have the puck, we want him to have a chance to score points, to be a legimitate top-six NHL player.”Murray

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