Geek of the Week – Braden Holtby

Terry Campkin

2015-01-18

Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby’s stellar season as a reminder: never draft a goalie in the 1st round.

Goalies are a strange animal in fantasy hockey because they are incredibly important to your team's success but they are also extremely volatile and hard to predict. Today, I am going to try to help show the value of goaltenders and decide how we should proceed trying to acquire them with my latest Geek of the Week: Braden Holtby.

 

In the Geek of the Week series, I have historically avoided goalies like the plague because they're just so hard to predict and place a value on, but Holtby really stood out to me this week. I was running my league on Fantasy Hockey Geek from December 1st onwards to try to get an idea of who's hot and who's up and coming. I was interested to see that TJ Oshie is finally heating up, Dustin Byfuglien is a beast again and Mathieu Perrault might actually be for real. What really stood out to me though was Holtby:

 

Rank Player W SO SV% GAA G A +/- SOG PPP SHP HITS
1 Dustin Byfuglien         7 12 8 61 6 1 69
2 Alex Ovechkin         10 6 12 97 6 0 71
3 Braden Holtby 14 3 0.917 2.40              

 

Since Dec 1st, Holtby has been the most valuable goalie in my league and the third most valuable player overall. Looking at his numbers, I realized a couple things. First of all, Holtby is getting a lot of games (first amongst all tenders in this time period) which is key in any league that includes cumulative stats for goalies (wins, shutouts, saves). Secondly, I was surprised to see that his value was so high given that his GAA and SV% are good but not great. What this tells me is that the math shows that the more important factor to a goalie's value is my league is his Win and Shutout totals. Holtby's 14(!) wins and three shutouts since December first is head and shoulders above all other goalies in the league. Compare Holtby to Price who had a .924 SV% and 2.37 GAA, both of which are better than Holtby. With five less wins and three less shutouts though, Price is only the 10th best goalie in this timeframe though while Holtby is #1. Let's take a look at where Holtby sits amongst all tenders since Dec 1: 

 

Goalie Rank Overall Rank Player FHG Value Games Played W SO SV% GAA
1 3 Braden Holtby 143 20 14 3 0.917 2.40
2 7 Pekka Rinne 128 17 13 1 0.93 1.96
3 15 Marc-Andre Fleury 102 16 9 2 0.925 2.27
4 38 Frederik Andersen 78 16 13 1 0.917 2.32
5 42 Jaroslav Halak 77 15 11 1 0.9215 2.28
6 52 Roberto Luongo 70 17 10 1 0.925 2.45
7 63 Antti Niemi 64 15 10 2 0.913 2.67
8 72 Craig Anderson 59 15 7 1 0.930 2.51
9 138 Tuukka Rask 36 17 8 1 0.916 2.49
10 141 Carey Price 35 15 9 0 0.924 2.37
11 144 Semyon Varlamov 34 12 7 2 0.92 2.95
12 145 Jonathan Quick 34 17 6 1 0.920 2.44
13 155 Henrik Lundqvist 32 13 11 1 0.911 2.61
14 196 Jonathan Bernier 23 15 8 1 0.916 2.77
15 266 Ben Bishop 11 14 7 1 0.913 2.45
16 269 Kari Lehtonen 10 16 8 2 0.904 3.12
17 271 Martin Jones 10 5 2 2 0.923 2.03
18 289 Sergei Bobrovsky 6 15 9 1 0.911 3.04
19 308 Ryan Miller 4 12 6 1 0.913 2.52
20 336 Antti Raanta 0 7 5 1 0.933 1.99
21 337 Devan Dubnyk 0 12 5 1 0.920 2.50
22 392 Michael Hutchinson -10 11 8 0 0.939 1.78

 

Looking at the goalie rankings that I generated through FHG, it is very evident that wins and shutouts are key. This is a huge eye opener to me. In the past, I would have put way too much value on a guy with Hutchison type numbers (great averages and low wins and SOs) but thanks to FHG I really learned something here. How can Holtby be worth that much more than Price over this time period when Price is better at two categories and Holtby is better at two?

 

The reason is that what Holtby has been better at, he has been A LOT better at: His 14 wins are 55% better than Price's and he has three shutouts to Price's 0. One single shutout can often win you that category for the week so each of those three shutouts could potentially represent a point right in the standings. On the flipside, when you compare Price's stronger stats we are talking about a difference of .07 SV% and .03 GAA which is miniscule. This is by far the biggest learning for me this week. The difference between a 38 win goalie and a 30 win goalie may not seem huge, but it is a 27% improvement. The difference between six shutouts or four (for example) is also big. I will be paying much more attention to wins and shutouts going forward.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency FLA Players
22.9% ERIK HAULA MIKE HOFFMAN JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
20.1% NOEL ACCIARI COLTON SCEVIOUR
19.2% BRETT CONNOLLY ALEKSI SAARELA LUCAS WALLMARK

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