What do the historical comparisons say about David Krejci for the 2105-16 season?
By Matt Cane (with Rob Vollman)
Matt Cane and Rob Vollman have devised a system to project a player's future performance by finding players with common statistics historically (Vollman, on the left) and in the modern day (Cane, on the right). This article is part of a series to introduce readers to their system, and to demonstrate how it can give you an edge in fantasy hockey.
Looking to add a playmaker to your fantasy hockey team? Boston's David Krejci is one of the league's best, but there are some tough questions. Is he fully recovered from his knee and hip injuries? How will he fare without his wingman, Milan Lucic? Will he be transitioned into a secondary role?
The fact that he's coming off such a disappointing season could cause your opponents to overlook the fact that the 29yearold Czech has finished within one assist of 50 assists three times in his eight NHL seasons, twice leading the league in plus/minus while he was at it. He also twice led the NHL postseason in scoring! However, drafting Krejci doesn't come without significant risk, as the following results demonstrate.
Even though the historical projection system does not take games played into account, and compares all statistics on a pergame basis, Krejci's list still includes several highly skilled playmakers who also struggled with injuries – two of whom actually left the NHL entirely. Last year, Krejci was limited to just 47 games, and had no goals and just five assists after coming back. That has to be concern number one with making Krejci an early pick.
There may be an almost irresistible upside to Krejci's scoring totals, but remember that most of these superstars had incredible snipers on their wings, like Brett Hull, Dino Ciccarelli, and Luc Robitaille. With whom will Krejci play this year? If he's on the right side of the top twoway line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, then he may have to focus on defensive responsibilities more than ever before. If he's centering a scoring line, it will either be with young, unknown commodities like David Pastrnak, Jimmy Hayes and Ryan Spooner, or offensively mediocre veterans like Loui Eriksson and Matt Beleskey. There's a great deal of uncertainty here, and that's concern number two.
Finally, the more modern comparables (on the right) suggest that many players like Krejci are on the verge of being transitioned into more of a support role. So the third concern is how far his scoring totals could tumble if he does slip.
Drafting Krejci is a highrisk, highreward situation. You could wind up with someone in the center of Boston's new generation of highscoring talent, or you could be left with someone whose scoring plummets either from injury, poor linemates, or having been transitioned into more of a secondary situation.
Coming off an injuryshortened campaign in which he struggled to produce at his historical pace when he was in the lineup, it’s difficult to know what to expect of David Krejci, and the projections from both the modern and historical datasets show a similar level of confusion. While the Czech forward is viewed as having tremendous upside, with his best case scenario near a point per game in each system, there’s also a significant amount of uncertainty in who he is. The low end of his modern projection is more than 50 points lower than the high end, and the modern and historical estimates differ by 17 points on his average total.
Part of the problem appears to be that the systems disagree on what type of player Krejci is – while the historical dataset has him more closely linked to playmakers who racked up assists, such as Adam Oates or Jozef Stumpel, his projected assist totals are far lower when we look at his modern counterparts. Krejci’s comparables in recent years have skewed more towards finishing rather than creating opportunities for others, with Daymond Langkow coming up twice, and most players finishing below a 2:1 assists to goals ratio.
Beyond confusion about the style of player Krejci will end up being, there are causes for concern amongst Krejci’s historical comparables – three of his closest 10 matches didn’t play in the following season, and most of the players on the list came in over the age of 30. The post30 years are rarely kind to NHLers, and if Krejci is indeed heading towards the downward sloping half of the aging curve, then it could be bad news for the Bruins and fantasy owners. Nevertheless, the upside potential that the Gatineau Olympiques alumnus possesses has 20152016 looking like it will be either a boom or bust year for Krejci, and with the Bruins retooling for the coming year, it’s difficult to say with any certainty where the skilled forward will wind up.
For complete projections on over 700 active NHL players, Vollman and Cane Historical Projections 2015 is available exclusively through the Dobber store for just $4.99 – or it's free if you bought the Fantasy Guide using the coupon code found on page 151!