On March 22nd 2016 the Vancouver Canucks made their first big splash of the offseason by signing 53rd overall pick from 2009 Anton Rodin.
Despite playing only 33 games with Brynas IF Galve in the SEL (Swedish Hockey League). He was named MVP of the SEL by scoring 37 points in 33 games.
Ideally the expectation the Canucks managament has from Rodin is that he will play in the NHL. If everything goes as planned and Rodin does play in the NHL next season what should we expect from him?
Obviously the prospect of being deemed MVP of any pro league is enticing and is likely worthy of a sport in an NHL lineup. However in the 2014-15 season the St. Louis Blues signed Joakim Lindstrom who was the MVP of the SHL the year before while scoring 23 goals and 40 assists for 63 points in 55 games. With the Blues, he scored 6 points in 34 games. Furthermore, Lindstrom had a couple of brief NHL stints before being crowned SEL MVP. Lindstrom has played 150 NHL games and only scored 43 points.
So while being MVP of a pro league overseas is exciting and promising, it by no means guarantee NHL success.
Rodin has never played an NHL game and was 6 years younger than Lindstrom when he was MVP. So there is a possibility comparing Lindstrom and Rodin isn’t fair and the situations are different at least to some degree.
Obviously the best case scenario for the Canucks is that Rodin’s production in the SHL fully translates into the NHL, for all intents and purposes let’s assume that happens.
Behindthenet.com one of the most prominent advanced stats sites over the past couple of years did a study on projecting players who come from other leagues production in the NHL.
They determined that the SHL to NHL scoring ratio is 0.54
This means that if Rodin’s production were to fully translate to NHL play, if he played in the NHL last season he would have scored 24 goals 26 assists for 50 points (assuming in 82 games).
All of this data is based on previous examples so it’s a useful tool and a pretty good indicator but it’s also not a crystal ball.
Something to take into account is the injury bug. Rodin only played 33 games in the SHL due to needing shoulder surgery. Rodin will be coming off his recovery when he steps into the NHL next year which might not be a great thing especially he will have to adjust to the NHL game anyway. If he has recurrent injury troubles this season he might never be able to get his game going. It’s also highly unlikely that Rodin gets higher than 3rd line minutes or power play time in the early stages of his career.
All of these factors could potenitally lead to Rodin not scoring 24 goals or 50+ points. But if his SEL scoring pace does translate to the NHL, incorporating all of these factors 10-20 goals and 25-40 points isn’t that unreasonable.
So don’t place a bet on Anton Rodin becoming this year’s Artemi Panarin. I would place a bet on him becoming this year’s Joonas Donskoi.
Donskoi was less than a point per game in the 2014-15 season in the Finnish SM-Liiga normally recognized as a less difficult league than the NHL and the SEL. This past season, Donskoi put up 36 points in 76 NHL games with San Jose. Rodin was above a point per game in a more difficult league.
Conclusion: Based on previous knowledge of players transitioning from Sweden to the NHL and incorporating various factors that could contribute to Rodin’s play, something in the Range of 20-40 points (10-20 of those being goals) is a reasonable expectation from Rodin this season. However, as is the case with players coming from overseas cautious optimism is the best way to go because nothing is a guarantee.