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Eric O'Dell Analysis

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Atlanta acquired Eric O'Dell who was drafted by Anaheim very high in the 2nd round last year with the #39th overall pick. Presumably this was someone the Thrashers scouted and liked last year. I have to admit I'm pretty excited about this trade and I'll tell you why.

Age and Scoring

Let me begin with the disclaimer that I've never seen this guy skate in person, but his statistical profile is rather impressive. Here's the key thing. Many 20 year old forwards can manage a point-per-game by the time they read age 19 or 20 in the OHL and most of those guys become career minor league players. Forwards on the path to playing in the NHL hit the point-per-game pace at a younger age. Those who reach that level at age 17 or 18 are MUCH MORE LIKELY to become NHL players.

Eric O'Dell doesn't turn 19 until this summer. He managed to exceed the point-per-game threshold both at age 18 and age 17. That's very good company folks. Now I don't want to get too carried away based on just 1.5 seasons worth of OHL playing time, but his statistical profile is that of a NHL player.

Season Age Games Points PPG
2007-08 17 26 32 1.23
2008-09 18 59 59 1.00

Team Context

Another plus factor is that when I look at the Sudbury Wolves roster it doesn't look like he is being carried along by stronger teammates. For example, Thrashers prospect Paul Postma is putting up some unreal numbers with his WHL team this year (56-8-4). It is hard to tell if Postma is driving that bus or just riding on it. (I hope he's driving it, but there are many talented guys on that roster.) But  you have to keep in mind that his team is just rampaging through that league this year running up some big scores. The Sudbury Wolves are not loaded with big names or NHL draft picks, Jared Staal is the biggest forward name on that team and he was selected 10 slots BEHIND Eric O'Dell last year.


Here's another statistical thing that popped out at me. In his first season in the OHL most of O'Dell's teammates had brutal plus/minus numbers in the -20 to -30 range. But the OHL Official website has him as a +10 that year. The Wolves were terrible that year finishing 17-46-5. In his second season O'Dell is a -6 on a team where many other players are double digit minus numbers. (Sudbury is 25-31-6 this year) As a statistic plus/minus has some big flaws--but it is a useful means of comparing guys on the team--and it rates him as better than many of teammates.


Assuming O'Dell continues to develop when might we see him in Atlanta? Well elite 1st round OHL players often jump straight from the OHL to the NHL (Bryan Little for example) at around age 20. O'Dell fell just short of being a late 1st round pick. The Thrashers certainly have a need for additional scoring line players and O'Dell and Angelo Esposito will have their opportunity to show their talents next September, but it's probably unrealistic to expect him to make the NHL until he is in the 20-22 age range.


Thrashers did pretty well to exchange a guy who was not contributing in a significant way for a prospect with a legitimate shot a scoring line player.