Jakub Zboril spent the 2013-14 season playing U-18 and U-20 hockey in the Czech Republic. He was a solid player there, but his move to the QMJHL for the 2014-15 season makes him much easier to compare to his peers. That said, it's important to remember that this is his rookie year because rookies often have understated offense, something that we'll keep in mind as we look at Zboril's comparables.
In this case, a comparable player was someone who played his draft year in the CHL, had an adjusted points per game rate between 0.65 and 0.79 (90% to 110% of Zboril's offensive production), and was selected somewhere between 9th and 19th overall. A player with similar goal-scoring is highlighted in blue and rookies are highlighted in orange.
Many of these players are just at the beginning of their professional careers, which is both a good and a bad thing for the purposes of projection. On the one hand, we have several recent examples and fresh data is a useful thing; on the other hand, many of these players can only help us to project the next few seasons of Zboril's development rather than giving a good sense of what we might expect in terms of an entire career. That said, let's look at how these players have done. In the chart below I've listed each player's number of regular season games, his time on ice per game (if the NHL was recording TOI for more than half of the games he played), his points per game, and the first season he played in at least forty games:
This isn't a particularly encouraging group today, but there are a lot of players with a fair amount of promise still looking to establish themselves in the NHL, and if a couple of those make it as top four defenders, this list of comparables suddenly looks a whole lot better. For now? A few busts, a few third pairing guys, and fellow CHL rookie, Derek Morris. Is that similar rookie status enough to make me comfortable with Zboril for the Oilers at sixteenth overall? Probably not. Even if his offense is being understated by his rookie status, the 12.0% shooting percentage seems awfully high for a defenseman and probably makes up for it.
Zboril's a good bet somewhere in the first round, but I expect to have a few guys I like better still around when the Oilers are set to pick sixteenth, even if this is the player that our staff picked in the SBN Mock Draft.
Next up tomorrow morning: Mitch Marner
Introduction to Comparables
Connor McDavid - Comparables
Jack Eichel - Comparables
Dylan Strome - Comparables
Ivan Provorov - Comparables
Noah Hanifin - Comparables
Timo Meier - Comparables
Lawson Crouse - Comparables