clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Frank Vatrano is putting up an AHL year for the ages

New, comments

Just how well is the undrafted free agent doing in the AHL just a year after signing his first professional contract?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that Frank Vatrano has been tearing up the AHL. Having just taken over the AHL goal scoring lead in half the games of second place Mike Sislo. It seems every game we see tweets like this about Vatrano:

Or reading about how he is the AHL player of the week (For just the second time, first since winning it the first week of the season)

With 30 goals and 43 points in 30 games this year, Vatrano has shot up the Bruins prospect ranks since signing his contract on March 13, 2015. Amongst AHL rookies, he is 8th in points, just 7 off of the leader Mikko Rantanen, who was drafted 10th overall in last year's draft. Vatrano is the only player in the top 25 of rookie scoring to have less than 40 games, with Rantanen having played 41, with the rest averaging over 50 games

These numbers he's putting up don't happen very often: The five closest comparables to Vatrano goal wise (Adjusted for era) range from 75 years ago to 7 years ago, with an average of 34 years.

I pulled all under 24 year old AHL seasons with 35+ points from Elite Prospects (there are 6576 in total) to see where he would rank in goals and points per game, and then looked at adjusting for era based on the number of goals per game of that AHL season. Vatrano is tied for the fourth most goals per game, behind Louis Trudel, Camille "The Eel" Henry, and Mike Millar, tying Brad Smyth and Len Hachborn. After adjusting for era, Vatrano trails only Trudel - who had 22 goals and 35 points in 22 games, just sneaking in on my admittedly arbitrary cutoff point. Points wise, Vatrano fares extremely well, finishing in the top .4 percentile of all seasons in terms of points per game, 25th all time adjusted for era. Even unadjusted, Vatrano is in the top 3 percentile, 188th overall in points per game.

Using the 35+ point seasons as a benchmark, here are the top 10 non Vatrano years for goals per game, and how those players fared in the NHL. I did not include Derek Grant or Teemu Pulkkinen in these, as they are still playing  in the NHL, where the rest of the players have retired, or are not in the NHL, like Bochenski, who finished third in the KHL in points this year.

Name - Year Years ago Games Goals Points Pts/gm Pts/82
Louis Trudel - 1940 75 305 49 118 0.387 31.72
Frank Vatrano - 2015 0 30 6 7 0.233 19.13
Brandon Bochenski - 2006 9 156 28 68 0.436 35.74
Alexandre Giroux - 2008 7 48 6 12 0.250 20.50
Camille Henry - 1956 59 727 279 528 0.726 59.55
Brad Smyth - 1995 20 88 15 28 0.318 26.09
Miroslav Satan - 1994 21 1050 363 735 0.700 57.40
Fred Thurier - 1941 74 80 25 52 0.650 53.30
Teemu Pulkkinen - 2014 1 Too early to tell
Mike Millar - 1987 28 78 18 36 0.462 37.85
Derek Grant - 2015 0 Too early to tell
TOTALS 293 2562 426 1584 0.62 51.07
AVERAGES 36.63 316.5 97.88 197.13 0.62 51.07

Looking at his season totals, with 20, 10, and 5 game averages to start to see some trends in his game.

One trend that should shock nobody: Frank Vatrano likes to shoot. A lot. He has been putting up his best shot totals of late, averaging 8 shots on net in each of the last 5 games, including reaching double digit shot totals twice.

When will we see Vatrano back in the NHL? Barring injury, he is blocked at left wing by Marchand, Eriksson, and Beleskey, as well as right wing by Stempniak, Pastrnak, and Hayes, so it could not happen until next season. Vatrano understands that "It's something I can't control. I've just gotta keep doing my thing down here. When the time is right for me to go up, the time is right."

For now, AHL goalies will have to dread facing him.

Here are the AHL era adjustment numbers used, for future reference

Year Games Goals Goals/gm Era Adjustment
1940 504 1505 2.99 0.963
1941 504 1684 3.34 0.860
1942 424 1493 3.52 0.816
1943 320 1028 3.21 0.895
1944 420 1487 3.54 0.812
1945 496 1918 3.87 0.743
1946 576 2165 3.76 0.765
1947 612 2421 3.96 0.727
1948 612 2343 3.83 0.751
1949 630 2261 3.59 0.801
1950 590 2167 3.67 0.783
1951 612 1952 3.19 0.901
1952 448 1479 3.30 0.871
1953 420 1502 3.58 0.804
1954 384 1351 3.52 0.817
1955 384 1428 3.72 0.773
1956 384 1358 3.54 0.813
1957 420 1370 3.26 0.881
1958 420 1411 3.36 0.856
1959 504 1738 3.45 0.834
1960 504 1755 3.48 0.826
1961 560 1910 3.41 0.843
1962 648 2163 3.34 0.861
1963 648 2111 3.26 0.883
1964 648 2258 3.48 0.825
1965 648 2190 3.38 0.851
1966 648 2350 3.63 0.793
1967 576 2019 3.51 0.820
1968 592 2039 3.44 0.835
1969 648 2285 3.53 0.815
1970 576 1922 3.34 0.862
1971 684 2326 3.40 0.845
1972 684 2502 3.66 0.786
1973 684 2573 3.76 0.764
1974 678 2513 3.71 0.776
1975 608 2256 3.71 0.775
1976 480 1827 3.81 0.755
1977 692 2606 3.77 0.763
1978 718 2743 3.82 0.753
1979 798 3022 3.79 0.759
1980 720 2831 3.93 0.731
1981 880 3424 3.89 0.739
1982 1040 4327 4.16 0.691
1983 1040 4322 4.16 0.692
1984 1040 4042 3.89 0.740
1985 1040 4078 3.92 0.733
1986 1040 3960 3.81 0.755
1987 1120 4358 3.89 0.739
1988 1120 4502 4.02 0.715
1989 1120 4249 3.79 0.758
1990 1200 4561 3.80 0.756
1991 1200 4523 3.77 0.763
1992 1280 5147 4.02 0.715
1993 1280 4909 3.84 0.750
1994 1280 4491 3.51 0.819
1995 1440 5084 3.53 0.814
1996 1440 4732 3.29 0.875
1997 1440 4579 3.18 0.904
1998 1520 4670 3.07 0.936
1999 1520 4737 3.12 0.923
2000 1600 4864 3.04 0.946
2001 2160 6047 2.80 1.027
2002 2240 6389 2.85 1.008
2003 2240 5721 2.55 1.126
2004 2240 5993 2.68 1.075
2005 2160 6692 3.10 0.928
2006 2160 6471 3.00 0.960
2007 2320 6667 2.87 1.000
2008 2320 6634 2.86 1.005
2009 2320 6782 2.92 0.983
2010 2400 6937 2.89 0.995
2011 2280 6459 2.83 1.015
2012 2280 6338 2.78 1.034
2013 2280 6566 2.88 0.998
2014 2280 6362 2.79 1.030
2015 1780 5143 2.89 1.000

* 2015 season continues to change based on games played