Ranking the Rankers: Corey Pronman (ESPN Insider)

    Finding the Best NHL Draft Rankings

    By David Venturi

    Corey Pronman NHL Draft Rankings

    Corey Pronman (Twitter)

    “Ranking the Rankers” is a 7-piece series that quantifies past NHL draft rankings from various prognosticators based on player performance to date.

    Part 4: Corey Pronman (ESPN Insider)

    Your favourite hockey team just drafted a teenager. He, presumably, is good at hockey. How can you be sure? Because this set of draft rankings from [insert writer / scout / website here] says so.

    This series attempts to determine which set of draft rankings is best at predicting future NHL success (and which one you should hope your team follows on draft day).

    Next up, likely the most detail-oriented and analytically-inclined of the sources in this series (and well worth the Insider subscription): ESPN Insider’s Corey Pronman.

    Methodology Review

    Check out Part 1 for a detailed summary of:

    • How player performance is measured (career Point Shares/60 minutes of TOI)
    • How draft rankings are gathered (first round only for 2010-2013)
    • How scout performance is measured (absolute difference between draft ranking and that player’s career PS/60 rank among their draft class peers)
    • Limitations (Point Shares and TOI sample size)

    All of the rankings used in this post were released prior to Pronman’s hiring at ESPN and are not behind the Insider paywall.

    How to Interpret the Following Charts

    Think of “PS/60 Rank” (read: career Point Shares/60 minutes of playing time rank) as how well the player has performed so far compared to his draft class peers. If the bar is small, they have performed relatively well. If it is large, they have performed relatively poor.

    Think of “Absolute Difference” as that draft rank being a “hit” or a “miss”. If the absolute difference bar is small, that’s a hit. If it’s large, a miss.

    The smaller the total absolute difference for each year, the better that set of draft rankings performed. By comparing each prognosticator’s average performance from 2010-2013 (see Part 7: Conclusion when released), we get an idea of whose NHL draft rankings are best at predicting future NHL success.

    The Results

    Toggle the buttons to switch chart views.

    • The Russian Factor did not scare Pronman off of Vladimir Tarasenko, as it did for two other sources. The Blues forward (and PS/60 Rank leader for 2010) at 6 is a big hit.
    • Pronman had Erik Gudbranson ranked the lowest of all sources and was one of two to not have Jack Campbell as a first rounder. Major coups for Pronman, both.
    • Kirill Kabanov is a big miss. The only source in this series to have him in the first round, the 4th overall ranking torpedoes Pronman’s 2010 “Total Absolute Value”. The Islanders draftee has thus far failed to play an NHL game. The situation is nuanced, however, as Kabanov left to play overseas.
    • Brandon Gormley as a top-5 pick is a common miss. Every source except the actual draft order had him ranked 3-5.
    • John Klingberg, Brendan Gallagher, and Mark Stone (none in the top-30 for any of the sources) are top-10 players on the PS/60 Rank leaderboard for the 2010 NHL Draft.
    • Vladislav Namestnikov is a hit here, as two sources failed to include the Lightning forward in their draft rankings.
    • Avoiding Duncan Siemens and Tyler Biggs in the first round completely are also nice hits for Pronman. Some sources had the physical skaters near the top-10.
    • Mark McNeill as a top-10 pick is a big miss. Pronman had the Pittsburgh pick the highest of any of the sources.
    • Alexander Khokhlachev may not be a miss despite the large bar here. The Bruins have chosen to keep their forward in the AHL thus far despite three excellent AHL campaigns.
    • Nikita Kucherov leads the PS/60 ranks for the 2011 draft class. Pronman was one of two sources that had the Lightning forward as a first-round pick. Johnny Gaudreau and Ondrej Palat are two and three, respectively.
    • Filip Forsberg early was the right call. His draft day drop to 11 seems silly in hindsight. Bang on here for Pronman.
    • Griffin Reinhart at 15, the lowest of any of the sources, is another big coup. Pronman seems to have a knack for avoiding slow-ish defenseman misses.
    • Everyone missed on Nail Yakupov.
    • Mikhail Grigorenko at 2, the highest of all sources, is a miss so far for Pronman. One source had the Buffalo draft pick at 4. Others in the 10s and 20s.
    • Calder Trophy nominee Shayne Gostisbehere, the underutilized Andreas Athanasiou, and fancy stat darling Colton Parayko top the PS/60 ranks for the 2012 draft class.
    • Corey Pronman wins the 2013 draft with the lowest “Total Absolute Value” score by a slight margin. There’s an asterisk on this one, however, due to the aforementioned TOI sample size limitations.
    • At 13, Pronman had Andre Burakovsky ranked the highest of all sources in this series. The speedy Capitals forward looks like a nice hit thus far.
    • Like most sources, Sean Monahan and Max Domi look like hits early.
    • Oliver Bjorkstrand and Shea Theodore, who lead the PS/60 ranks for this draft crop right now, look like slight misses. Pronman ranked the former as a late-second-rounder.


    Draft miss scores decrease as we progress to more recent draft years. I suspect this occurs because later-round picks tend to get their chance to establish themselves later than first-round picks. Top-30 talents that don’t live up to the hype then drop in the PS/60 rankings as they are outperformed by the draft steals.

    Part 7 puts the draft miss scores in context so we can compare the talent-identifying abilities of Corey Pronman to those of team scouts and general managers, Bob McKenzie, ISS Hockey, and Craig Button.

    Links to each “Ranking the Rankers” piece will be hyperlinked below when complete.