Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Top 25 Under 25 Chart

As Broad Street Hockey's Top 25 Under 25 countdown rolls on - today's entry is Robert Hagg - the conversation seems to focus more on the debate between future potential and immediate impact.

Take Hagg, for example: he'll likely play in the NHL this season, but his upside is decidedly lower than Philippe Myers (who is more of a longshot to make the big club this year). Myers will finish higher in the rankings, as he has not appeared in the countdown yet, but there is something to be said for the fact that Hagg is already NHL-ready.

In my initial Top 25 Under 25 list, I generally favored NHL-readiness over long-term potential. I think the best representation of this fact was my placement of Mike Vecchione and Taylor Leier above first-round picks German Rubtsov and Morgan Frost. The latter pair will almost certainly leave the former pair in the dust if they reach their potential, but Vecchione and Leier will likely contribute (at least sparingly) this season.

So, because I have all the time in the world to kill, I'm going to try to reconcile my less-than-concrete logic and place everyone together in a two-dimensional chart.

Basic Framework

I'm going to rank each side of the chart on a scale of 1-5. Here is how I intend those to work (but I haven't started ranking yet, so this is all subject to change).

2017-18 Contributions

  • 5 - Cornerstone player for the Flyers
  • 4 - Will make the team and play the entire season in the NHL
  • 3 - Not a lock to make the team, but probably will spend the year with the Flyers
  • 2 - Probably will only see time as an injury fill-in
  • 1 - I'll be shocked if he plays a game in the NHL
Future Potential
  • 5 - Perennial All-Star
  • 4 - Key contributor at the NHL level for a decade
  • 3 - Solid contributor for a long time
  • 2 - Journeyman
  • 1 - Might have a few good seasons
  • 0 - Zac Rinaldo
And, with that in mind, let's rank some guys. 

There is a lot of grouping, because I am just one person and my general thought process was something along the lines of "there are going to be a lot of guys who are either in juniors or on the Phantoms this season."

It's a little easier to compare when I add in diagonal gridlines:

Here's how that translates into my revised Top 25 Under 25:
  1. Ivan Provorov
  2. Sean Couturier
  3. Shayne Gostisbehere
  4. Nolan Patrick
  5. Travis Konecny
  6. Oskar Lindblom
  7. Travis Sanheim
  8. Sam Morin
  9. Robert Hagg
  10. Philippe Myers
  11. Scott Laughton
  12. Carter Hart
  13. Felix Sandstrom
  14. Taylor Leier
  15. Mike Vecchione
  16. Wade Allison
  17. Isaac Ratcliffe
  18. German Rubtsov
  19. Nicolas Aube-Kubel
  20. Anthony Stolarz
  21. Pascal Laberge
  22. Mikhail Vorobyov
  23. Morgan Frost
  24. Matt Strome
  25. Alex Lyon
And my honorable mentions would be Mark Friedman, Radel Fazleev, and Connor Bunnaman. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Flyers Top 25 Under 25 Ballot

Two weeks ago, I tweeted that Development Camp is my favorite part of the hockey season. That might have just been an exaggeration due to the mid-July sports lull, but the ability to watch the future of the organization is always interesting and rewarding. Rookie camp in September (and then actual training camp after that) are also must-views for any Flyers fan. 

A related semi-annual must-view for Flyers fans is Broad Street Hockey's Top 25 Under 25 feature. At every offseason and midseason, the site's writers and readers rank the Flyers young talent and prospect pool. It's been an especially interesting ride over the past three years, where the organization has improved from a dready prospect pool to arguably the best in the entire NHL. They have high-end prospects and deep pools of lottery tickets across all three positions.

Here is how I ranked my T25U25 in February, about halfway through last season:
  1. Sean Couturier
  2. Ivan Provorov
  3. Travis Konecny
  4. Shayne Gostisbehere
  5. Travis Sanheim
  6. Nick Cousins
  7. Oskar Lindblom
  8. Sam Morin
  9. Phil Myers
  10. Scott Laughton
  11. Taylor Leier
  12. Jordan Weal
  13. Anthony Stolarz
  14. Robert Hagg
  15. German Rubtsov
  16. Nicolas Aube-Kubel
  17. Davis Kase
  18. Mikhail Vorobyov
  19. Pascal Laberge
  20. Wade Allison
  21. Radel Fazleev
  22. Carter Hart
  23. Alex Lyon
  24. Felix Sandstrom
  25. Tyrell Goulbourne
Cousins was traded, Weal is no longer under 25, and there were nine draftees added to the mix last month. This list will likely get shaken up quite a bit. 

Without further adieu, here's my preseason list for 2017-18.

1. Sean Couturier
2. Ivan Provorov
3. Shayne Gostisbehere
4. Travis Konecny

We all know (and love) these four, and it's never a bad thing to have a young core like this featuring a stud defensive center, a stud defenseman, an electric offensive defenseman, and an electric playmaking winger. 

5. Scott Laughton

Laughton, in the final BSH rankings, is probably going to have the widest range of any of the players who have NHL games under their belt. He was protected in the expansion draft, demonstrating the organization's opinion of him, but he's never really had a breakout at the NHL level. Personally, I think the flexibility to move between center and wing combined with his all-around type of skillset means it's going to happen at some point. 

6. Travis Sanheim
7. Sam Morin
8. Phil Myers
9. Robert Hagg

You can mix these four up any way you'd like. For me, the order at this point in time is not indicative of how likely I think they are to make the team this season. I expect Sanheim to return to the Phantoms and play top-pair minutes (plus a ton of power play minutes). I expect Myers to join him on the Phantoms and take an intermediate step between juniors and the NHL. I expect Morin and Hagg to make the Flyers, and (of course) I expect Flyers Twitter to melt down every time either one of them makes a mistake. 

10. Oskar Lindblom
11. Nolan Patrick

If both of these two contribute in any significant way this season, the Flyers will be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. If one of them does, they'll be a playoff team. If neither Lindblom nor Patrick is able to make the team or they perform at a lower level than we expect of them, then it might be another long season in Philadelphia. 

12. Mike Vecchione

I'll like Charlie O'Connor take this one, via his Development Camp Observations
Considering the fact that Mike Vecchione is six years older than the youngest players at this development camp, it’s fair to say that he should appear head-and-shoulders above his peers. But a player still has to go out there and legitimately look that good, which Vecchione did with ease this weekend. He was one of the best skaters at the camp, and also had one of the better shots. As for physicality, despite not being an especially big player, his functional strength was obvious. This is a polished hockey player who knows the tricks of the trade, from disguising his intentions pre-shot, to getting off decent chances even with a defenseman hanging all over him. I’m not sure what his ceiling truly is, but it was clear that Vecchione was too good for this camp.
13. Taylor Leier
14. Mikhail Vorobyov
15. Radel Fazleev
16. German Rubtsov
17. Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Of these five who project to probably be Phantoms (sans Rubtsov, who is too young), Leier's probably the most likely to see NHL minutes this season. But I was very impressed by the Russians at development camp, and I would not have any problem with plugging any of these five into a Flyers lineup this season. That's impressive, considering we're now at 17 players under the age of 25 who could be considered NHL-ready. 

18. Mark Friedman

I'll defer to Charlie again:
This was Mark Friedman’s fourth development camp, and the fourth time that saw him treat every drill as if it would decide the fate of his career. The 21-year old blueliner was a menace, showcasing expert pokechecking to disrupt forwards and surprising strength to separate them from the puck.Every year, Friedman dominates in these drills. It’s tough to know if it’s just because he takes them more seriously than anyone else at camp, or if he’s simply that good. My guess is that he approaches these camps with a major chip on his shoulder, trying to ward off the “he’s too small!” tag and to make a name for himself in an organization that has at least six defensemen under the age of 25 above him on the depth chart. All I know is that his compete level always stands out, and yet again, he looked the part of a blue chip prospect in the on-ice portion of development camp. I’m excited that now I will finally be able to watch him play meaningful hockey this year with the Phantoms and determine how much of his dominance in drills translates to games.
He's finished at Bowling Green now, and it will be interesting to see how he compares to Sanheim, Myers, TJ Brennan, and the rest of the Phantoms defensemen. 

19. Wade Allison
20. Pascal Laberge
21. Isaac Ratcliffe
These three will almost certainly not see NHL time until next year (at the very earliest) or the following (more likely, for Laberge in particular). However, you know what they've done at the college/junior level and we can project ranges for them to turn into NHL players. I rank them in this order because I think Allison's shooting ability is more valuable to the team than Laberge's balanced skill set (without any single dominant trait) and Ratcliffe's obvious need for improvement. 

22. Anthony Stolarz
23. Alex Lyon

I would have liked to see more faith in Stolarz from the front office this summer, for three reasons. First, committing 25-30 NHL games to him would have been a good way to ease him into a full-time workload. Second, I think I'm going to really hate the Elliot-Neuvirth tandem. And third, by keeping Stolarz in the AHL, it's also taking away from Alex Lyon's workload. For an organization that always seems ultra concerned with prospect development, paying a 32 year old and The Worst Goalie In The NHL Last Season to stand in the way of a 23-year-old kid just seems like bad asset management. 

24. Carter Hart
25. Felix Sandstrom

Many people are saying that Sandstrom has overtaken Hart as a prospect. But I've had Hart ranked higher since the beginning of time, and I'm certainly not going to flip-flop them now. They're at least two years away from contributing to the NHL club, so we can cross that bridge when we get to it. 

26. David Kase

He's hurt by the fact that he didn't attend development camp, and by the fact that he plays in Europe, and by the fact that he's Czech so his international teams always kind of stink. But I think he's going to be a fine player, similar to the 13-17 group, who will probably be an NHL-AHL tweener. 

27. Kirill Ustimenko

He's the Rinaldo pick. He's probably ranked too low at 27, I should have put him in the top ten. 

28. Morgan Frost

Brayden Schenn is going to score 80 points on his way to a Stanley Cup run this season, and Morgan Frost is going to turn into a bust. #ShouldOfKept

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sean Couturier Is Very Good

If you haven't been following Charlie O'Connor's season reviews on Broad Street Hockey this Spring, you absolutely should be. Today's edition was probably the most interesting yet:
In case you have never interacted with me in person or online before, I am of the belief that Sean Couturier is severely underrated by the Flyers, their fans, and the NHL community as a whole. I believe he should already be in the annual conversation for the Selke  Trophy, and it's laughable that his two highest finishes were 8th and 9th.

Charlie's post from this morning provided the underlying reason for the discrepancy between the wrong opinion (that he's overrated) and the correct opinion (underrated): Couturier excels at even strength and on the penalty kill, but lacks the raw scoring numbers that come with success on the power play.

My counter to that would be about 80-85% of hockey is played at even strength, and another 5-10% is on the penalty kill. Couturier, at worst, is an incredibly useful player for the vast majority of a hockey game.

And at best? He's among the best even-strength players in the entire NHL. Please allow me to do the professorial thing and direct you to my own work as a source:
Those numbers come from Corsica (of course). The guys ahead of Couturier in terms of xGF% are exactly who you'd expect: Hornqvist, Bergeron, Niederreiter, Marchand, Hertl, Koivu, Toffoli, Thornton, Pominville, McDavid, Hagelin, Malkin.

If we just accept that Bergeron, Marchand, Thornton, McDavid, and Malkin are five of the twenty best forwards in the league, there are two Penguins, three Wild, a Shark, and a King that are maybe scoring a bit higher than we'd expect here. Let's take a look at the HockeyViz forward networks:

  • Hornqvist plays almost all of his time with either and/or both of Crosby and Malkin
  • Hagelin either plays with Bonino and Kessel or one of Crosby/Malkin
  • Niederreiter, Koivu, and Pominville are part of Minnesota's stacked top nine, which cycles forwards around but almost always has two good-if-not-great players per line
  • Hertl plays with Thornton or Pavelski
  • Toffoli plays with Carter or Kopitar
Which leads me to where I went next after that basic tweet about Couturier's Corsica-generated stats. As good as 13th/233 in terms of Expected Goals For Percentage makes him look, I'm sure he'll look even better when we account for his usual linemates. And when we also factor in the fact that he almost always gets stuck defending the opponent's top line, he'll look like maybe the best center in the entire NHL. 

But first, here's how I accounted for teammates and competition. Corsica actually has three metrics for these already - based on ice time, Corsi, and xG. I threw out Corsi because I think it stinks, and I took averages of each player's quality of teammates and competition relative to the league averages for QoT/QoC based on ice time and expected goals. 

High Quality of Teammates

Here's the top of the list of players with the highest jQoT (or, in English, the best on-ice linemates):

Player Team  jQOT 
1 ZACH.PARISE MIN      2.696
3 PHIL.KESSEL PIT      2.536
4 ANZE.KOPITAR L.A      2.381
5 CHRIS.KUNITZ PIT      2.356
6 SIDNEY.CROSBY PIT      2.311
7 CHARLIE.COYLE MIN      2.221
8 JEFF.CARTER L.A      2.216
9 JOE.PAVELSKI S.J      2.206
10 JASON.ZUCKER MIN      2.191
11 DUSTIN.BROWN L.A      2.111
12 T.J..OSHIE WSH      2.076
13 TYLER.TOFFOLI L.A      2.076
14 DWIGHT.KING L.A/MTL      2.071
15 DAVID.PASTRNAK BOS      2.001
17 TANNER.PEARSON L.A      1.886
19 MIKE.RIBEIRO NSH      1.851
20 ALEX.STEEN STL      1.786
21 FILIP.FORSBERG NSH      1.776
23 MILAN.LUCIC L.A/EDM      1.761
24 MIKKO.KOIVU MIN      1.691
25 DAVID.KREJCI BOS      1.681
26 JAMES.NEAL NSH      1.656
27 COREY.PERRY ANA      1.631
28 NIKOLAJ.EHLERS WPG      1.626
29 TOMAS.PLEKANEC MTL      1.606
30 LEO.KOMAROV TOR      1.591

Low Quality of Teammates

And, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the guys who get stuck playing with the shittiest teammates:
Player Team  jQOT 
1 SHANE.DOAN ARI     (3.479)
2 BO.HORVAT VAN     (3.384)
3 HENRIK.SEDIN VAN     (3.354)
4 JOHN.MITCHELL COL     (3.324)
7 BLAKE.COMEAU COL     (2.839)
8 SVEN.BAERTSCHI VAN     (2.834)
9 DANIEL.SEDIN VAN     (2.764)
13 RADIM.VRBATA VAN/ARI     (2.519)
14 MATT.DUCHENE COL     (2.414)
15 TOBIAS.RIEDER ARI     (2.319)
16 MAX.DOMI ARI     (2.309)
18 TAYLOR.HALL EDM/N.J     (2.139)
19 ALEX.BURROWS VAN/OTT     (2.139)
20 CARL.SODERBERG COL     (2.119)
21 MATT.STAJAN CGY     (2.094)
23 MARK.LETESTU EDM     (2.044)
25 JOHNNY.GAUDREAU CGY     (2.039)
26 MARTIN.HANZAL ARI/MIN     (1.954)
28 JAROMIR.JAGR FLA     (1.839)
29 MICHAEL.FROLIK CGY     (1.804)
30 JAROME.IGINLA COL/L.A     (1.739)
31 JOHN.TAVARES NYI     (1.699)
It's very hard not to feel bad for Tavares and Gaudreau. At least they'll be in Toronto and Philadelphia (respectively) soon enough. 

High Quality of Competition

And now, we shift our focus to competition. Here's who has to face the toughest opponents:
Player Team jQOC
2 LEO.KOMAROV TOR      0.538
3 NAZEM.KADRI TOR      0.503
8 RYAN.KESLER ANA      0.433
10 PAUL.STASTNY STL      0.418
11 BLAKE.WHEELER WPG      0.413
12 DEREK.STEPAN NYR      0.408
14 PATRICK.KANE CHI      0.403
15 BRAD.MARCHAND BOS      0.403
16 MATT.DUCHENE COL      0.398
17 ARTEMI.PANARIN CHI      0.398
18 RYAN.O'REILLY BUF      0.393
19 JOHN.TAVARES NYI      0.378
20 SEAN.COUTURIER PHI      0.368
21 TRAVIS.ZAJAC N.J      0.363
23 DANIEL.SEDIN VAN      0.358
24 KYLE.PALMIERI N.J      0.353
26 MAX.PACIORETTY MTL      0.348
27 CLAUDE.GIROUX PHI      0.348
28 T.J..OSHIE WSH      0.338
29 ALEX.OVECHKIN WSH      0.338
30 ALEX.STEEN STL      0.328
31 HENRIK.SEDIN VAN      0.328
32 JAROMIR.JAGR FLA      0.328
33 CONNOR.MCDAVID EDM      0.323
34 JORDAN.STAAL CAR      0.318
35 MIKKO.KOIVU MIN      0.308
36 JOE.THORNTON S.J      0.303
38 RICK.NASH NYR      0.298
39 JAMIE.BENN DAL      0.288
41 SIDNEY.CROSBY PIT      0.283
Is it self-serving of me to include "Upcoming Annual Selke Finalist Sasha Barkov" and Crosby at the bottom of this list? Probably. But Couturier, if you'll notice, faces tougher competition than either of them. 

However, this certainly cements Toews, Bergeron, Backstrom, and Kesler as the guys in the "Yearly Selke Favorites Until Further Notice" group. 

Low Quality of Competition

Is anyone noteworthy going to pop up in the list of most sheltered players?

Player Team jQOC
1 CHRIS.TIERNEY S.J     (0.752)
2 MARK.LETESTU EDM     (0.702)
4 TOM.WILSON WSH     (0.672)
5 MATT.STAJAN CGY     (0.667)
7 RILEY.NASH CAR/BOS     (0.582)
8 MATT.CULLEN PIT     (0.552)
11 TREVOR.LEWIS L.A     (0.522)
12 RYAN.SPOONER BOS     (0.517)
14 NICK.BONINO PIT     (0.512)
15 BRIAN.BOYLE T.B/TOR     (0.507)
16 TORREY.MITCHELL MTL     (0.507)
18 LARS.ELLER MTL/WSH     (0.482)
21 SCOTT.HARTNELL CBJ     (0.457)
22 ERIK.HAULA MIN     (0.437)
23 DANIEL.WINNIK TOR/WSH     (0.432)
24 RILEY.SHEAHAN DET     (0.372)
25 MIKE.RIBEIRO NSH     (0.372)
26 DALE.WEISE CHI/MTL/PHI     (0.367)
27 DWIGHT.KING L.A/MTL     (0.367)
28 MATT.MOULSON BUF     (0.367)
29 JOHN.MITCHELL COL     (0.357)
NHL coaching these days seems like it's primarily just making sure your shitty players only get to play against other shitty players. 

Largest Difference Between Teammates and Competition

But what if we compare teammates and competition? Who gets stuck with easy matchups, or good teammates and bad opponents?

Player Team  jQOT  jQOC /\Qual
1 PHIL.KESSEL PIT      2.536     (0.117)      2.654
2 ZACH.PARISE MIN      2.696      0.153      2.544
3 DWIGHT.KING L.A/MTL      2.071     (0.367)      2.439
4 DUSTIN.BROWN L.A      2.111     (0.252)      2.364
5 CHRIS.KUNITZ PIT      2.356      0.043      2.314
6 CHARLIE.COYLE MIN      2.221     (0.052)      2.274
7 ANZE.KOPITAR L.A      2.381      0.128      2.254
8 MIKE.RIBEIRO NSH      1.851     (0.372)      2.224
9 NICKLAS.BACKSTROM WSH      2.631      0.448      2.184
10 JASON.ZUCKER MIN      2.191      0.028      2.164
11 JEFF.CARTER L.A      2.216      0.128      2.089
12 VIKTOR.ARVIDSSON NSH      1.926     (0.117)      2.044
13 SIDNEY.CROSBY PIT      2.311      0.283      2.029
14 NICK.BONINO PIT      1.451     (0.512)      1.964
15 TYLER.TOFFOLI L.A      2.076      0.118      1.959
16 JOE.PAVELSKI S.J      2.206      0.263      1.944
17 DAVID.PASTRNAK BOS      2.001      0.083      1.919
18 TANNER.PEARSON L.A      1.886     (0.007)      1.894
19 CALLE.JARNKROK NSH      1.521     (0.337)      1.859
20 COREY.PERRY ANA      1.631     (0.162)      1.794
21 T.J..OSHIE WSH      2.076      0.338      1.739
22 COLIN.WILSON NSH      1.426     (0.287)      1.714
23 FILIP.FORSBERG NSH      1.776      0.078      1.699
24 MILAN.LUCIC L.A/EDM      1.761      0.068      1.694
25 ANDRE.BURAKOVSKY WSH      1.151     (0.512)      1.664
26 TREVOR.LEWIS L.A      1.121     (0.522)      1.644
27 ALEX.GALCHENYUK MTL      1.446     (0.192)      1.639
28 ALEX.WENNBERG CBJ      1.566     (0.037)      1.604
29 JAMES.NEAL NSH      1.656      0.068      1.589
30 DAVID.KREJCI BOS      1.681      0.103      1.579
I have a few thoughts:
  • Good hockey players, as a function of coaching, play with good players more than they play against good players. The league averages for jQOT and jQOC are similar, even though they seem skewed in this table. Good coaches - and bad ones, I guess - play their best players in situations that will benefit the team. This chart does not mean that all of these players are actually bad. Just, you know, maybe some of them are a bit inflated by the situations in which they are placed. Like, for example...
  • Phil Kessel is probably overpaid and overrated but you are out of your goddamn mind if you think I'm ever going to go to war to defend that take.
  • Chris Kunitz is absolutely overrated and I will very happily preach that from the mountaintop. 
  • TJ Oshie is about to get paid like a man who plays with Backstrom and Ovechkin, and then he is not going to be playing with Backstrom and Ovechkin. 
  • Not a good look for David Krejci - he should be outperforming Bergeron comparatively, and I think it's safe to say that he rarely does. 
Largest Difference Between Competition and Teammates

Okay, here's the big payoff. We've worked all afternoon for this. Who gets boned the most overall?

Player Team  jQOT  jQOC /\Qual
1 HENRIK.SEDIN VAN     (3.354)      0.328     (3.681)
2 SHANE.DOAN ARI     (3.479)     (0.077)     (3.401)
3 BO.HORVAT VAN     (3.384)     (0.157)     (3.226)
4 DANIEL.SEDIN VAN     (2.764)      0.358     (3.121)
5 ANTHONY.DUCLAIR ARI     (3.189)     (0.142)     (3.046)
6 NATHAN.MACKINNON COL     (2.524)      0.473     (2.996)
7 JOHN.MITCHELL COL     (3.324)     (0.357)     (2.966)
8 JORDAN.MARTINOOK ARI     (2.999)     (0.032)     (2.966)
9 MATT.DUCHENE COL     (2.414)      0.398     (2.811)
10 BLAKE.COMEAU COL     (2.839)     (0.067)     (2.771)
11 RADIM.VRBATA VAN/ARI     (2.519)      0.078     (2.596)
12 SVEN.BAERTSCHI VAN     (2.834)     (0.252)     (2.581)
13 TOBIAS.RIEDER ARI     (2.319)      0.238     (2.556)
14 MIKHAIL.GRIGORENKO COL     (2.649)     (0.127)     (2.521)
15 GABRIEL.LANDESKOG COL     (2.044)      0.428     (2.471)
16 TAYLOR.HALL EDM/N.J     (2.139)      0.268     (2.406)
17 MAX.DOMI ARI     (2.309)      0.088     (2.396)
18 JAROMIR.JAGR FLA     (1.839)      0.328     (2.166)
19 JOHNNY.GAUDREAU CGY     (2.039)      0.108     (2.146)
20 JAMIE.MCGINN ANA/BUF/ARI     (2.209)     (0.092)     (2.116)
21 MARTIN.HANZAL ARI/MIN     (1.954)      0.153     (2.106)
22 JOHN.TAVARES NYI     (1.699)      0.378     (2.076)
23 CARL.SODERBERG COL     (2.119)     (0.062)     (2.056)
24 VIKTOR.STALBERG NYR/CAR/OTT     (2.519)     (0.472)     (2.046)
25 ALEX.BURROWS VAN/OTT     (2.139)     (0.192)     (1.946)
26 MICHAEL.FROLIK CGY     (1.804)     (0.022)     (1.781)
27 JAROME.IGINLA COL/L.A     (1.739)     (0.057)     (1.681)
28 LOUI.ERIKSSON BOS/VAN     (1.599)     (0.012)     (1.586)
29 ARTEMI.PANARIN CHI     (1.084)      0.398     (1.481)
30 SAM.REINHART BUF     (1.384)      0.083     (1.466)
31 SEAN.COUTURIER PHI     (1.079)      0.368     (1.446)
32 MATT.STAJAN CGY     (2.094)     (0.667)     (1.426)
33 CHRIS.VANDEVELDE PHI     (2.069)     (0.672)     (1.396)
34 JEAN-GABRIEL.PAGEAU OTT     (1.164)      0.228     (1.391)
35 CONNOR.MCDAVID EDM     (1.049)      0.323     (1.371)
36 PIERRE-E.BELLEMARE PHI     (1.894)     (0.527)     (1.366)
37 JESPER.FAST NYR     (1.549)     (0.192)     (1.356)
38 MARK.LETESTU EDM     (2.044)     (0.702)     (1.341)
39 HENRIK.ZETTERBERG DET     (1.054)      0.283     (1.336)
40 JORDAN.STAAL CAR     (1.004)      0.318     (1.321)
You almost have to discount the Canucks, Coyotes, and Avalanche. They are all so bad that they're stacking the list. So let's cut them, and we'll go from 40 players down to 18 (and then bump it out to 25 just because):

Player Team  jQOT  jQOC /\Qual
1 TAYLOR.HALL EDM/N.J     (2.407)      0.272     (2.680)
2 JAROMIR.JAGR FLA     (2.107)      0.332     (2.440)
3 JOHNNY.GAUDREAU CGY     (2.307)      0.112     (2.420)
4 JOHN.TAVARES NYI     (1.967)      0.382     (2.350)
5 VIKTOR.STALBERG NYR/CAR/OTT     (2.787)     (0.468)     (2.320)
6 MICHAEL.FROLIK CGY     (2.072)     (0.018)     (2.055)
7 ARTEMI.PANARIN CHI     (1.352)      0.402     (1.755)
8 SAM.REINHART BUF     (1.652)      0.087     (1.740)
9 SEAN.COUTURIER PHI     (1.347)      0.372     (1.720)
10 MATT.STAJAN CGY     (2.362)     (0.663)     (1.700)
11 CHRIS.VANDEVELDE PHI     (2.337)     (0.668)     (1.670)
12 JEAN-GABRIEL.PAGEAU OTT     (1.432)      0.232     (1.665)
13 CONNOR.MCDAVID EDM     (1.317)      0.327     (1.645)
14 PIERRE-E.BELLEMARE PHI     (2.162)     (0.523)     (1.640)
15 JESPER.FAST NYR     (1.817)     (0.188)     (1.630)
16 MARK.LETESTU EDM     (2.312)     (0.698)     (1.615)
17 HENRIK.ZETTERBERG DET     (1.322)      0.287     (1.610)
18 JORDAN.STAAL CAR     (1.272)      0.322     (1.595)
19 FRANS.NIELSEN NYI/DET     (1.527)      0.057     (1.585)
20 ALEX.CHIASSON OTT/CGY     (1.867)     (0.288)     (1.580)
21 SEAN.MONAHAN CGY     (1.387)      0.192     (1.580)
22 MATT.MOULSON BUF     (1.932)     (0.363)     (1.570)
23 ANDERS.LEE NYI     (1.522)      0.037     (1.560)
24 VINCENT.TROCHECK FLA     (1.362)      0.197     (1.560)
25 RYAN.O'REILLY BUF     (1.142)      0.397     (1.540)
These are the guys that you want on your team. Please ignore the inclusion of Vandevelde and Bellemare, as that's just a product of Dave Hakstol being a fucking goddamn idiot. 

(deep breath)

They are getting stuck with competition that is better than their teammates, which is a tough position to be put in considering they often play on the same team as guys in the previous category that are sheltered so much that their coaches basically feed them grapes on the bench. 

These are the workhorses, the grinders, the guys who make life easier for the Brayden Schenns and Alex Ovechkins and Jack Eichels of the world. (The Flames, Islanders, and Sabres are also all kind of bad.)

Players With jQOC > jQOT Who Produce The Most

Here's your money shot for the day. Of the 233 forwards that qualify (with 1500+ minutes at 5v5 in the past two seasons), 106 players face competition who are stronger via TOI and xG than their teammates. I'll include Brad Marchand to make 107 because his difference is just 0.004 on the positive side and I want to see where he stacks up. 

Of those 107 players, here are the top of the list in Expected Goals For Percentage:
Player Team xGF% GF%  jQOT   jQOC  /\Qual
1 PATRICE.BERGERON BOS 58.77 55.15      0.311      0.438     (0.126)
2 BRAD.MARCHAND BOS 57.76 57.59      0.406      0.403      0.004
3 CONNOR.MCDAVID EDM 56.39 57.58     (1.049)      0.323     (1.371)
4 SEAN.COUTURIER PHI 56.14 55.78     (1.079)      0.368     (1.446)
5 NIKITA.KUCHEROV T.B 55.56 59.88     (0.564)      0.108     (0.671)
6 JORDAN.STAAL CAR 55.5 51.92     (1.004)      0.318     (1.321)
7 BLAKE.WHEELER WPG 55.05 53.69     (0.224)      0.413     (0.636)
8 TAYLOR.HALL EDM/N.J 54.78 52.49     (2.139)      0.268     (2.406)
9 BRANDON.SAAD CBJ 54.53 59.43     (0.149)     (0.002)     (0.146)
10 RYAN.KESLER ANA 54.08 51.92      0.391      0.433     (0.041)

Especially impressive are McDavid, Couturier, Staal, and Hall - they're all buried in a really significant way, and they STILL manage to come out with a positive Expected Goals differential. 

In Conclusion

Sean Couturier is very good. Thank you for your time.