2018 NHL Draft: Prospect Volatility Index

The Prospect Volatility Index, shortened to PVI, was created in 2015 in an attempt to quantify a prospect’s growth potential, and more specifically, probability of personal change and development at the time of their NHL Draft. The index is a composite ranking designed to combat relative age effect as well as balance dynamic physical development amongst prospects.

This index attempts only to give some objective framework for viewing a prospect’s long-term upside – it doesn’t replace a ranking nor guarantee certain development curve. It was constructed by using the 2018 NHL Draft Combine attendees, NHL CS top 62 skaters for NA, and NHL CS top 31 skaters for EUR. An age and size “position” were calculated for each prospect and combined to establish a composite PVI score.

Essentially, the learnings from this exercise come from the extreme ends of the spectrum. It can split out the younger, more physically underdeveloped players from the older, more physically mature ones. This index is meant to be combined with many other metrics to create a wholistic picture on a given prospect. Very generally, it’s a supremely positive indicator if a ‘subjectively’ elite prospect shows up with a top rank in PVI. Conversely, if a prospect is not billed as a top pick and he shows up with a low PVI rank, odds are said prospect has probably seen his development curve spike already and is much closer to being a finished product. It can be very good for projected top 5-10 picks, as it may mean they are more NHL ready than their peers.

Take a look at historical top PVI prospects***:

2015: #2 Troy Terry @1.90; #3 Anthony Cirelli @1.89; #15 Mitchell Marner @1.67; #16 Sebastian Aho @1.66; #27 Brendan Guhle @1.50; #30 Mathew Barzal @1.44

2016: #6 Jordan Kyrou @1.82; #9 Clayton Keller @1.74; #22 Samuel Girard @1.55; #29 Jesper Bratt @1.51

2017: #1 Alex Formenton @1.94; #27 Filip Chytil @1.55

Here’s the 2018 NHL Draft Top Ten in DraftBuzz PVI:

1 Olivier Rodrigue NA1G QMJHL G 1.98
2 Kevin Mandolese NA2G QMJHL G 1.94
3 Jan Jenik EUR16 CZE2 RW 1.91
4 Jackson Perbix NA96 USHS RW 1.77
5 Adam Boqvist EUR2 SUPERELIT D 1.76
6 Lukas Dostal EUR1G CZE2 G 1.75
7 Ruslan Ishakov EUR31 MHL C 1.73
8 Ryan Merkley NA45 OHL D 1.72
9 Luke Henman NA83 QMJHL C 1.71
T10 Jesperi Kotkaniemi EUR6 LIIGA C 1.70
T10 Filip Hallander EUR13 ALLSVENSKAN C 1.70

Here’s the 2018 NHL Draft Bottom Ten in DraftBuzz PVI:

111 Riley Sutter NA80 WHL RW 0.44
112 Kyle Topping NA59 WHL C 0.42
113 Jachym Kondelik NA48 USHL C 0.41
114 Krystof Hrabik EUR29 CZE2 C 0.33
115 Filip Zadina NA3 QMJHL RW 0.33
116 Jack Gorniak NA87 USHS LW 0.32
117 Philipp Kurashev NA61 QMJHL C 0.28
118 Sean Durzi  NA37 OHL D 0.27
119 Milos Roman NA41 WHL C 0.25
120 Ryan McLeod NA16 OHL C 0.18

Download the full DraftBuzz 2018 NHL Draft Prospect Volatility Index


*combine data pulled from here –> @markscheig

**non-combine attendees data as well as did not test attendees pulled from here

***please note, historical ranks and scores from 2015-2017 were against the final DraftBuzz NHL Draft Rankings



Dear DraftBuzz readers,

With diminished published content this year, I unfortunately have to give you all confirmation of the bad news things have been trending towards: sadly, I will not be able to produce a 2018 NHL Draft Guide this June.

After 4 years of working extremely hard individually to give a detailed and comprehensive look at the game’s brightest talent pre-draft, I do not have the ability to create something similar this year despite scouting the class and future draft years. There are a lot of great prospect outlets out there right now, and I am not afraid to say that for a fee my stuff would not be competitive at the moment due to lack of time.

I do plan on releasing some free content leading up to the draft; I will want to keep a timestamped ranking going as well as I will not be able to resist the urge to compile the same proprietary metrics that I have spent so much time investing in over the last few years.

In spirit of the draft, consider this a rebuilding year! Scouting is in my blood and I do not plan to let DraftBuzz go…I want to thank all of my followers who have supported me over the years and hope to build DB up again in the coming months/years!

Thank you all,



#14 Grigory Denisenko, C, Russia (12/10/2017)

vs. Canada East (WJAC)


2018 NHL Draft prospect Grigory Denisenko had 1G-2A-3PTS vs. Canada East (WJAC) and earned it through impressive displays shift after shift. On this play, he shows great speed through the neutral zone to spring a teammate in the O zone. Then, he shows tenacity to strip steal and re-enter the zone again. He doesn’t pick the best option, but he sure put in the work to not criticize him too much on this shift.


Here you can see him deke the pants off an opponent, register a scoring chance off the post, follow the play intently for a takeaway keeping play alive for extended possession, then caps off the shift by sneaking in behind the defense and showing how dangerous he is given a step. He scores driving to the net.


Denisenko provides support along the right wall defensively, breaks out, stays available, and then proceeds to enact a sweet backhand drop pass give and go for the assist through a crowd on the goal.

#11 Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)


2018 NHL Draft top prospect Filip Zadina has trouble opening himself up for a shot for most of the clip at the right circle, until Max Fortier finds him sneaking towards the crease. Zadina finishes off a beautiful backhand pass by Fortier by being ready with a sure shot.


Zadina doesn’t score on this effort, but he shows his possession ability on the perimeter and doesn’t stop there. Watch how he drives to the slot and goes after the play. With two Titan all over him, he’s relentless and won’t stop getting that second backhand shot off. A supremely skilled kid with that type of intense determination makes a star.


Zadina finishes off a play he started deep in the defensive zone. It wasn’t a clear solo push by Zadina in his own zone, but there’s no mistaking his posture when he first picks up the puck. He’s going to be an elite forward who can provide great defensive support over the year. A great play all around sees New York Islanders prospect Arnaud Durandeau thread a pretty tape-to-tape pass and sharp snipe on the go by Zadina.


More Zadina being a hound on the puck and causing a turnover with his effort and stickwork.


#17 Justin Brazeau, RW, North Bay (10/5/17)

vs. Barrie Colts (OHL)


Undrafted 98DOB Justin Brazeau has shown to be a threat on the PK with ample size at 6’5”, reach, a lot of effort, and a little bit of skill. On this PK break, he shows competency with the puck in open ice to drive to the middle and create a shot.


On this play, Brazeau accents all of his positive traits with excellent hockey sense. He opens this clip up by intercepting a pass and immediately translating it into a scoring chance. Then, he goes after his rebound and closes in on not one, but two Colts in the same sequence. Brazeau gets after the last Colt to have the puck and swiftly takes it from him. Surrounded by four Colts, he loses the war, but not after he drains about :20 from the other team’s PP. Look for further development from this overage prospect as he has some nice qualities, in a pro frame, and most important of all work-rate.

#4 Cam Dineen, D, North Bay (10/5/17)

vs. Barrie Colts (OHL)


Arizona Coyotes 2016 NHL Draft pick Cam Dineen is shown being chased down behind his net while on the PP by the Colts Andrei Svechnikov. The play ultimately gets progressed out of the zone, but that is not what you want to see out of a highly acclaimed puck mover.


Shown here is a fairly positive sequence where Dineen displays escapability from his own end, as well as being able to flip a play in the reverse direction fluidity with pressure on his back. Not the cleanest execution, but gets the job done.


In this clip, Dineen starts the play afraid to go after the puck with Colts monster forward Curtis Douglas bearing down on him, loses the battle, gains the puck back by luck, and then half asses it up the boards because of Douglas again. This resulted in extended possession by Barrie where we see Dineen completely dwarfed in front of the net and in the corners.

#19 K’Andre Miller, D, USA NTDP (9/30/17)

vs. Omaha Lancers (USHL)


On the PP, 2018 NHL Draft prospect K’Andre Miller shows some mobility with the puck and uses his long reach to keep a play from escaping the offensive zone.


Miller owns no shortage of confidence, as a massive blueliner who you don’t expect to lug the puck up ice. This play essentially doesn’t pan out, but his raw skating power and interest to drive the attack might point to future development in this area.

#15 Bode Wilde, D, USA NTDP (9/30/17)

vs. Omaha Lancers (USHL)


2018 NHL Draft prospect Bode Wilde shows poise at the point, and finishes the clip off drawing a penalty while breaking out of the zone. He’s an elusive dual pass/shot threat who likes to push the attack.


Here Wilde jumps up defensively to kill a potential opposing sequence and goes exit to entry. You can see him survey when he hits the line and has the presence of mind to change his angle of shot very quickly once he realizes he has no clear passing option.

2017 CCM All-American Prospects Game Review

On September 21st, 42 top American prospects eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft took to the ice in the sixth annual CCM All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo, New York. In a matchup featuring marquee draft names such as USA NTDP’s Brady Tkachuk and Michigan’s Quinn Hughes, fans were also treated to the teams being led by former NHL stars Chris Chelios and Brian Leetch. Team Leetch eventually managed a 6-5 win over Team Chelios, after the latter team screamed back to tie the game up at five after being down three heading into the third period.

In a tough game for the goalie crop with so much skill on the ice, Omaha’s Jack Randl had the most points with 3, Fargo’s Ryan Savage had the most goals with 2, and USA NTDP’s Oliver Wahlstrom had the most SOG with 6. USA NTDP’s Brady Tkachuk was named player of the game scoring the GWG, adding an assist, and registering 5 SOG.

While it’s true a lot of lesser known’s made their impact on the scoresheet, such as Madison Capitol’s Ryan O’Reilly, Elk River’s Jack Perbix, and Eden Prairie’s Jack Jensen, it’s hard to say these kids will round out into significant draft day prospects as they own limitations.

Here are some impressions broken down by position:


As no netminder registered higher than .846SVS%, this is the type of event where you rely more on skillset evaluation and projection than actual statline as goalies are inevitably going to be peppered under less than usual TOI. USA NTDP’s Jonathan Mor stood out for a few noteworthy saves and looked the part of a blossoming prospect with the desired size and execution scouts look for. With legs for days, he was noticeable for his ability to stretch out flush to the ice and handle rapidly moving lateral plays.


All eyes were on Michigan’s Quinn Hughes, and he kinda did disappoint. On display was the usual elite skating and soft hands combination, with super agility and evasiveness at times. The issue was he didn’t showcase anything new in terms of offseason development, and didn’t look like a kid with underage WJSS experience. On top of that, there were instances of sloppy play and turnovers where he hogged the puck and skated himself into trouble.

Scouts yearn and often look for that moment of realization in a game where a player comes out of the blue and forces a new/first strong opinion on him. That player tonight for all skaters was Kimball Union’s Jordan Harris. This HS defender looked like a legit hybrid puck rusher – mover. Assisting on Jack Randl’s even strength goal in the 3rd period, he went coast-to-coast and managed to land a shot off the far pad that ended up being a perfectly placed rebound to the streaking Randl. With Dexter’s explosive Jack Rathbone going in the top 100 this past draft, keep your eyes on Harris. The kid is a smart gamer who has speed and skill.

USA NTDP’s Bode Wilde submitted the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde performance. Really shaky first, then a second and third period that showed off his super risky, skilled, and questionable style. There’s no debating this guy has very good lateral agility with the puck and is offensive, but his defensive attention and focus needs a ton of work. It’s typically okay for some laxity in a showcase coupled with more risk taking, but he did not scream elite prospect in the sense of understanding the play and being a step ahead of the rest. If the rest of the package comes around, he could very well be a top ten pick as he’s got game with the puck.

Most of the big name towers – hint the Samuelsson’s – were quiet with USA NTDP’s K’Andre Miller making a statement physically on a massive hit. Talk about a linebacker on skates, this defender is tall and thick with decent mobility. He picked up a primary assist on O’Reilly’s GTG, and more and more it looks like Miller has an understated touch as a passer. He will need to make quicker decisions on the puck and enhance his skill application over the year, but he has the powerful, raw physique of a player that can be drafted in the top 62.


Coming as advertised, it was the well known trio of USA NTDP’s Brady TkachukOliver Wahlstrom, and Joel Farabee flashing first round skill and pedigree. Farabee was the most noticeable, and active, taking over a few shifts and coming with high work rate, hockey sense, and ability to make plays on the puck. If you’re the type of scout who looks for a player with minimal chinks in the armor, Farabee is your guy. Tkachuk, well, the younger bro unquestionably stood out as a top 5 prospect with size, skating, and touch all night. Billed as a top pick, he jumped out at you while he was on the ice early and often. He brings a more explosive style, and is more impressive physically in open ice than Matt. Wahlstrom hit the next gear on a few shifts, and caused havoc offensively. He’s such a sturdy forward already and acquits himself well in a top line environment.

Outside of those top forwards, Des Moines’ Braden Costello played a high energy, semi-power forward style that shows long-term upside. He’s a bit raw, but is able to cut to the net and has good enough hands to keep up offensively. His trajectory will be something to watch and could round out into a mid round pick. On the flip side, USA NTDP’s Gavin Hain continues to disappoint after looking like a dagger sinking sniper last year in USHS. Gone is the offensive zone hawk we know and he looks unable to create anything on his own with and against better competition. Time is on his side as it’s only September, but he’s on notice to needing to adapt sooner rather than later. If he doesn’t, he will get lost on that stacked USA team ala the Pastujov’s.