Only one member of Canada’s silver medal-winning team at the World Championships was from outside the NHL, and he wants that to change.
Chris Lee has played the last four seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. He’s also played in the DEL and SHL in the seven years he’s spent overseas. In 2016-17, Lee scored 65 points in 60 games to lead all defensemen in the KHL by 27 points, setting a KHL record. Using Rob Vollman’s NHL equivalencies (more on those later), Lee would have had 66 points in the NHL this season. That would have put him fourth in the NHL behind only Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, and Erik Karlsson. Obviously it’s somewhat unlikely that a 37-year-old rookie would score 66 points, but Lee’s NHLe demonstrates that there is a player there. He drew into the Canadian’s lineup after Tyson Barrie was injured in a hotel room wrestling match with a teammate. Lee had two assists in seven games with Canada.
KHL insider Aivis Kalniņš reported that the 6′, 185 lbs Lee has left Magnitogorsk with hopes of signing in the NHL. One team who could be interested is the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres recently signed Lee’s KHL defensive partner Viktor Antipin and could look to re-unite the pair in North America.
- Back to NHL equivalencies (NHLe), Rob Vollman recently released updated translation factors. The number is essentially an educated estimate of how a player’s stats would translate to the NHL. Here’s a look at the updated numbers. To use Lee as an example, he scored 65 points in 60 games. Sixty-five points in 60 games works out to 88 points in 82 games. But because the KHL is a lesser league than the NHL, you multiply 88 by 0.74.
|CHL||0.3 to 0.25|
- Looking back at recent top draft picks since 2010, most are in the 40-point range. There were some notable exceptions in 2015, with Connor McDavid posting a 67-point NHLe. Jack Eichel, Mitch Marner, and Dylan Strome all had 50-point-plus NHLes.
- Speaking of high draft picks, Corey Pronman released an unusual draft ranking over at ESPN (Insider post). Pronman ranked top picks of the last five years based on his views of them on draft day. This leads to some unusual rankings, like Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick being ranked above Leon Draisaitl. Pronman’s top five featured McDavid, Patrik Laine, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, and Eichel. Other oddities include Jesse Puljujärvi being ranked sixth, above players like Aaron Ekblad (9), Mitch Marner (13), and William Nylander (15).
- This draft class tops out at Hischier at 22, Patrick at 24, Gabriel Vilardi at 25, Cody Glass at 28, and Nick Suzuki at 29. The 2017 draft has the fewest players in Pronman’s top 30, while 2014 leads the way with seven.