I know there are a lot of people who would have rather had Glass than Pettersson and I think that number is going to grow before Christmas next year. There is a very real possibility that Glass will score a ton of points next year in the WHL playing with Kieffer Bellows. So much so that he could be the most productive player in the WHL similar to Sam Steel this past season.
While this is happening Pettersson will be playing in Vaxjo against bigger, faster, stronger players that will take time for him to adjust too. He will probably have a transition period where he isn't scoring a ton, and is playing second or third line minutes in the SHL.
By christmas Pettersson might be around a half point per game in the SHL, while Glass is around 2 points per game in the WHL. That is going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fans, and rightfully so. Elite scoring centres don't come along every day in the CHL. What should we take away from the early season then?
The jump that Pettersson is going to make is nearly equivalent to going to the AHL for a North American player at 18-19. He will be learning how to defend and create against players that have many of the small details of the game figured out. This experience is going to be huge for him when he comes over to the AHL/NHL. Personally I think Pettersson has a skill set that is somewhat like a combination of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. He projects to be about the same size as them: 6'2 185-190, and thinks the game at an elite level. While he is learning how to play the pro game and Glass and the Winterhawks are picking on young players and goalies in the WHL we should not just focus on the points. What is Glass most likely to become?
Looking into comparable seasons, only 4 players with similar numbers and size to Glass have become first line players in the NHL. 4/20 That is a 20% chance of getting a first line Centre, and a 45% 9/20 of him becoming a second line centre. I realize there is totally the chance that he becomes the player everyone expects he could be like, but in reality there is no guarantee with any prospect. I actually think there is a very good chance that Suzuki will pass him with Vegas and become their first line Centre of the future as 36% 10/28 of his comparables became first line players. What is Pettersson most likely to become?
Short answer is we will have a much better idea by the end of next season. But some things to consider are players in their draft year that scored at a similar rate in the Allsvenskan. I don't factor in the 98 birthday for Pettersson since he is so undersized anyways. Normally I see the extra year of time is for players to fill out, and dominate physically, but that isn't the case for him. So let's get to it: Top u18 and u19 (late birthday same draft year) seasons in the Allsvenskan:
Elias Pettersson 19G 22A 41 Points in 43 games 0.95 pts per game (2.0 pts per game in the playoffs!!)
William Nylander 15G 12A 27 Points in 35 games 0.77 pts per game (played for 2 teams)
Alexander Wennberg 14G 18A 32 Points in 46 games 0.70 pts per game (late birthday)
David Pastrnak 8 G 16 A 24 Points in 36 games 0.67 pts per game
Jesper Boqvist 3G 9A 12 Points in 19 games 0.63 pts per game
Lucas Wallmark 5G 5A 10 Points in 16 games 0.63 pts per game
Jonathan Dahlen 15G 14A 29 Points in 51 games 0.57 pts per game
Mikhail Zhukov 9G 14A 23 Points in 41 games 0.56 pts per game
Robin Kovacs 17G 11A 28 Points in 52 games 0.54 pts per game
Par Backer 12G 10A 22 Points in 46 games 0.48 pts per game
Filip Forsberg 8G 9A 17 Points in 43 games 0.40 pts per game
Magnus Hedlund 6G 11A 17 Points in 44 games 0.39 pts per game
Elias Pettersson (D-1) 3G 6A 9 Points in 25 games 0.36 pts per game
Jesper Bratt 8G 9A 17 Points in 48 games 0.35 pts per game
Andre Burakovsky 4G 7A 11 Points in 43 games 0.26 pts per game
What does this mean for NHL Success?
Wennberg is most direct comparison, as both of them were late birthdays in their draft years. In his D+1 season Wennberg put up 21 points in 50 SHL games. Now he is a 60 points player in the NHL.
Nylander had 20 points in 21 games in the SHL for his D+1 and is now also a 60 NHL point player.
Pastrnak had 28 points in 25 games of AHL action in his D+1 and is now a 70 point player in the NHL.
Forsberg had 33 points in 38 games of Allsvenskan action 0.87 points per game (august birthday makes that season closer to Pettersson) in his D+1 and is now a 60 point player in the NHL.
Burakovsky went on to score 1.53 points per game in the OHL in his D+1 year after scoring 0.26 points per game in the Allsvenskan. Think about that for a sec. He's only a 35 point player in the NHL now, yet scored a massive amount in 2014 with Erie playing with McDavid, Connor Brown, Brendan Gaunce, Dylan Strome, and Dane Fox. Elite CHL teams inflate production, and there is much more parody in the SHL and Allsvenskan.
Pastrnak and Nylander are playing at 181 and 190 pounds respectively too.
Takeaways if you don't feel like reading the whole thing
Glass is going to score a lot next year, but don't over value CHL scoring. It's good to have a great team in the CHL, but it's just as good to be taking the next step and challenging yourself to compete against better competition. By the end of next year Pettersson will probably be closer to NHL ready than Glass in my opinion, but especially if he can put on about 15 pounds by next July. Pettersson might not score a lot in the SHL next year, but that doesn't mean he won't be a first line centre. He's already ahead of almost everyone who has ever been drafted out of the Allsvenskan, and I wouldn't put it past him to have a terrific second half in Sweden and then come over and play a few games in the AHL at the end of the year on a tryout basis.
Glass has some good first line comparables to live up to, but Pettersson is already better than some of his first line comparables in their draft years.
2017-2018 will be an exciting season for prospect fans to follow, and I hope everyone can go into it looking forward to seeing our players develop.