After a bit of a golatender break with the last three, we return to forwards for the Winnipeg Jets with late round pickup Ryan Olsen. Olsen was drafted in 2012, the same year and from the same team as Lukas Sutter who went 121 picks prior. Yet we find Olsen voted before Sutter in the Jets Top 25.
It will be interesting to see where the two fall next season. Will these opinions be confirmed? Will they be shown to be swayed too much by a one year sample? Only time will tell.
Previous Rank: NR
Buried under tough minutes
Ryan Olsen's rookie WHL rookie season begins in 2010 where he scored 14 points for a very deep Saskatoon Blades. Olsen's 0.22 pts/gp pace was 22nd best in the WHL for those under 17 with 10+ games played. He got to play for Canada Pacific's U17 team, and was the 5th leading scoring forward while taking the tougher minutes, to the benefit of top line Hunter Shinkaruk and company.
Olsen started to gain a reputation for being able to handily take tough assignments, which is what he was assigned to the next season, this time to the benefit of Lukas Sutter. Olsen bounced between the third and fourth line for minutes but his assignments predominately stayed the same. Olsen's pts/gp pace rose up to 0.48 although he fell to 34th for those under 18 due to younger offensive talents coming into the league, such as Jets own Joshua Morrissey and Nicolas Petan.
While not achieving so well offensively, many scouts recognized Olsen's usage and tools appropriately as he was speculated to go in the late second to third round throughout most of the season; however, near the end of the season Olsen had a dramatic drop in rankings without much explanation right after the season ended. To the Jets benefit Olsen remained in the sixth round to be selected.
With Saskatoon hosting the Memorial Cup and the Kelowna Rockets looking to rebuild around centre depth, the Rockets traded their leading scorer for Olsen and a pick over the offseason. Olsen moved up to the 2nd line in the Rockets depth and the first power play unit, although he was still being used predominately under tough minute situations. The added extra ice time caused Olsen's offensive production to nearly double, finishing with 0.81 pts/gp. The big difference was the power play time, which Olsen never really saw in Saskatoon, as Olsen scored 15 goals and 11 assists in the powerplay, only behind Mark Scheifele for Jets CHL prospects of that season (ie: not looking at new guys like Petan and company).
The never ending comparisons between Ryan Olsen and Lukas Sutter
Both Sutter and Olsen have been praised by some for their ability to play under tough minutes in their duration in the WHL. They were both draft eligible in the same season, started their WHL careers in Saskatoon and were drafted by the Winnipeg Jets. Also, they both have spent seasons being buried under poor minutes. Finally, both have been discussed by scouts as similar styled players with similar upside and projections.
Lukas Sutter's draft+1 production was very similar to Ryan Olsen's draft production, and interestingly enough the opposite is true as well.
While being very similar players they were selected very far apart, 121 picks apart in the same draft year. Where did this come from. The whole idea and concepts of reach, faller, riser, etc. has long been an interest of mine, as consensus is merely a single snap shot in time of very dynamic averages of a groups opinions (although they are "professionals").
Over at Copper and Blue, Derek Zona has taken a weighted average between different scouting lists (Bob McKenzie, Redline Report, Future Considerations, ISS, McKeens, Dan Sallows, Craig Button, Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report), with the weighting based off of historically accuracy.
Well let's compare the three forwards selected that year by the Jets are rated throughout the 2011-12 season:
Lukas Sutter often gets dumped on for being drafted in the 2nd round, which is unfair as Sutter is a decent prospect and where he was selected at was not his fault... BUT, it is fair to question the management and scouting in when, why and how they make their decisions, especially when their are particular trends or patterns.
Development is not perfectly linear and there are many variables that come into play with production and these lists, but they are very interesting to see the patterns in particular players. Both of these players will finish this season in the WHL playing similar prominent roles although I have a feeling this will not be the last year we are comparing the two.
One more year with the Rockets
Olsen was re-assigned to the Kelowna Rockets after a strong rookie camp with the Winnipeg Jets. While his production improved greatly last season, he has yet to surpass a point per game, although he did spend much of last season hovering around the region. He is likely to spend much of the year under similar usage and minutes as the last, so the major variable in any scoring improvement this season should come from his own individual development.
At any perspective, Olsen could bring solid value as a 6th round pick.