Brad Richards Is A Great Comparable For Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; It's Just That... Sean Couturier Is Better

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 09: Center Brad Richards #91 of the Dallas Stars skates in the shootout against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on March 9, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

In an effort to figure out a way around Scott's comparables list for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, commenters in three different commonly-traveled sites have determined that Brad Richards is, in fact, the best comparable for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins based on the need for a better class of comparable player.  They've used era effects and team effects and nailed their man because rather than starting out with a list of parameters, and working through that criteria, they started with a list of targets and worked backwards to get to that target.

So if Brad Richards is such a great comparable for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, we should probably compare Sean Couturier to Brad Richards and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, given that Couturier posted better per game numbers than Nugent-Hopkins in 2010-11.

First up, let's look at their raw numbers.


GP G A P G/G P/G
Brad Richards 68 33 82 115 0.485 1.691
Sean Couturier 58 36 60 96 0.621 1.655
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 69 31 75 106 0.449 1.536

 

Well, of course Nugent-Hopkins' numbers are going to be suppressed; he plays in the always-difficult WHL.  We need to normalize these numbers for league effects and then normalize for era effects.  Couturier plays in that crazy, wide-open, no-one-cares-about-defense QMJHL and Richards played in the days where goaltenders from the Q were drafted no matter what they did, so scoring was out of control.

League & Era Effects
League G/G
Brad Richards
7.4
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
6.7
Sean Couturier
6.7

 

Hm, that's odd.  That Richards' thing works out in favor of Nugent-Hopkins, but that darned Couturier is still hanging around.  Oh!  Oh!  I know!  Red Deer was a defense-first, defense-always team and their offense took a huge hit because of that.  If we compare him to those silly QMJHL offense-only kids, this will work out.

Team Effects
Team G/G
Brad Richards
4.229
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
3.722
Sean Couturier
3.691

 

Hm.  You mean Couturier's team wasn't a run-it-up team? Well, this isn't taking into account Nugent-Hopkins' playmaking ability.  Figure out the % of offense and we're there.

% of offense
Sean Couturier
0.448
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
0.413
Brad Richards
0.400

 

Oh.

See, the problem here is that you need to combine all of this to show exactly how Nugent-Hopkins is comparable to Brad Richards.

Normalized for League and Team

G G A P G/G P/G
Sean Couturier 58 41 68 109 0.703 1.874
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 69 35 84 119 0.504 1.725
Brad Richards 68 30 73 103 0.434 1.513


Oh.  Well, this doesn't take into account Nugent-Hopkins' vision.  I'll be right back with a different player that's better suited to what I believe.

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