With the Projectinator being recently revamped, we should use it for what it is designed for: projecting the future performance of draft-eligible players, rather than looking back at players who have already been drafted. North American (specifically Canadian major junior) skaters are almost always the most important, and largest, category of players in the Entry Draft, so we'll focus our attention on them.
There is frequently consensus number one pick heading into a draft (for instance, Sidney Crosby in 2005). But that's not always the case, such as in 2006. Sometimes there are a number of players who are being considered for the first overall pick. This year, there is a question as to who should be ranked number one in this group of major junior skaters. Although Drummondville's Sean Couturier and Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been included in the top spot discussion since the beginning of the season, lately Kitchener's Gabriel Landeskog has made his way into the conversation, making a Big Three (Adam Larsson also enters into the equation for the first overall pick of the draft, but since he's playing in Sweden, he won't be addressed here). So who of the Big Three deserves to be Number One?
Ask five scouts how these three should be ranked, and you'll get at least five answers (but no more than sixthat's mathematically impossible). So let's ask the Projectinator: how should we rank these young players? According to the system (using stats as of January 20), Landeskog (7.6 projected GVT) is only slightly behind Nugent-Hopkins (8.4 GVT). However, Couturier (11.6 PGVT) is a good distance ahead of both of them. So Sean Couturier should surely be the first New Brunswick native to be drafted first overall (leaving aside the possibility of Larsson, of course)?
Not necessarily. We shouldn't just assume that these three are necessarily the three best North American skaters, just because they're the ones getting the most attention by the pundits. The Projectinator actually sees smallish defenseman Ryan Murphy as a better prospect than the Swedish-born Landeskog, who happens to also be his teammate. Ultimately, Murphy will probably fall further down in the draft than he deserves, like Ryan Ellis did in 2009scouts have a strong distaste for defensemen under six feet tall. Murphy is projected to produce 8.1 GVT in his prime years, an estimate that could very well be low. Small defensemen with elite-level skill did not appear in the data set used to calibrate the Projectinator, so the amount of adjustment needed for his size is unclear (as it was for Ryan Ellis in 2009).