Last Updated: Nov. 28, 2023
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The Pro Hockey Group


Why are some reports displayed with a number grade and some with a letter grade?

Amateur reports are displayed with a letter grade. Professional reports are displayed with a number grade.

Letter grades are preferable for amateur players due to how quickly they can develop and improve. The letter grade has an intrinsic confidence interval range that can help account for these quick changes in their on-ice performance.

Number grades are preferable for professional players due to the increased precision: small differences are important to note between players.

Why are ratings weighted to a players talent level instead of a 0 to 100 linear scale?

Not all (1L) (2L) (3L) (4L) forwards can be graded against each other the same way. A (1L) and (4L) could be equals in skating and hockey sense, but the (1L) brings more offense.

When building out a team it's impossible to have an entire roster of (1L's) due to salary cap constraints. At the same time, it's not competitive to have a roster with only (4L's). It's a scout's job to compare the top 1L's vs 1L's, 2L's vs 2L's, etc. The ranking takes into consideration the players role on a roster and compares his value to players who take on the same role with another organization.

For example:
-An NHL General Manager will ask his scouting staff for the top five third line right wingers to target in free agency.
-The scouting staff will present `Player (A)` with an overall rating of (79) , compared to `Player (B)` with an overall rating of (75).
-The GM will ask what makes the one player more attractive to acquire?

The answer lies in the evaluation process. One player has a higher hockey IQ rating than the other, and hockey IQ is weighted as one of the most important elements in the evaluation process. It's not that Player (B) would be a poor choice. He simply has less structure in his game compared to Player (A), despite the rest of their game being close to the same.

What’s the difference between an “NHL Report Rating” and an “Amateur Report Rating”?

  • Players signed to NHL contracts are evaluated compared to full-time NHL players. Some players are still developing in the “AHL” or a pro circuit in Europe. All players signed to NHL contracts – whether they are in the league or outside the league – are compared the same way due to their contract status – “Under NHL Contract”

    Montreal Canadiens prospect “David Reinbacher” signed his entry-level contract with the club. He attended training camp but was ultimately re-assigned to his European club team in the Swiss National League – “EHC Kloten”.

    Since he is under NHL contract, he will be evaluated compared to the NHL standard. His projection numbers will fall in line with what he is expected to be at the NHL level.

  • Draft eligible prospects are compared to each other in that specific cycle for the draft. Scouting potential prospects is an entirely different process than players who have already been signed to NHL contracts.

    The top-rated prospect for the entry draft should have the highest marks in relation to his peers. That’s not to say he is the best in every category. It means his overall weighted average will be the highest for that specific draft class.
  • Free agents from the CHL, NCAA, USHL, and Europe (for example) fall into a category of their own. They are compared to each other. The result is a list of “free agent” prospects, in descending order, based on their weighted averages.

    Note: Most NHL clubs will create free agent “target” lists dividing the different leagues into territories. Meaning CHL players will be compared to CHL players, NCAA to NCAA etc. Teams will strategize based on top players from each territory, and decide whether or not they have interest in signing the prospect to an entry-level contract)
  • Summary:
    Players, under NHL contract, are evaluated compared to current NHL players.
    Draft eligible players are evaluated compared to other draft eligible prospects.
    Amateur Free Agents are also evaluated compared to the rest of their free agent class.

How are prospects, who haven’t signed entry-level contracts, rated?

There are many moving parts with still developing prospects. Every player develops at his own pace. It’s for that reason previously drafted players are evaluated in comparison to other previously drafted prospects. A prospect who was drafted in the sixth round could conceivably develop into a better prospect than a player drafted in the third round.

Do the evaluation numbers change throughout the course of the season?

Yes. But the player has to evolve in a category, or fall off in a category, for the evaluation number to change.

A player starts the year with a penalty killing rating of 55. He doesn’t have a history of penalty killing and, despite being deployed in the role for one viewing, has not proven he is consistently capable in the role.
Fast-forward to the next viewing (perhaps one month later) and the player remains in the role and he has started to excel. His rating will be adjusted to reflect his growth in the category. In this instance, he might go from a rating of 55 to a rating of 75. The player has proven he is a capable penalty-killer.

Why are the categories weighted / valued differently?

The simple answer is hockey is a very fast, competitive game that requires a great deal of athleticism and skill. Players have to be able to think and execute at top speeds. All NHL players play fast, think fast, and compete to play in the top league in the world.

  • 20%: Compete/Consistency, Hockey IQ, Skating
  • 12%: Puck Moving/Passing
  • 8%: Shot
  • 4%: Defensive Zone Starts, Offensive Zone Starts, Penalty Kill, Power Play, Physicality

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Jason Bukala
Founder - The Pro Hockey Group –

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