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.
A fantasy team's first round selection is always the toughest decision to make, especially if you already know it will fall more in the middle. The easy picks will have already been made, and most of your brilliant ideas are usually meant for later. Is Tyler Seguin the right player to target?
There's really no statistical area where Seguin doesn't appear to warrant a top-five pick (among forwards). Over the past two seasons combined, Seguin has 74 goals on 574 shots, and 161 points in 151 games. That's fifth in the NHL in goals (and power play goals), third in shots and points, and fourth in points per game. Furthermore, both the historical system (on the left) and the modern system (on the right) indicate the legitimate potential of leading the league with 96 to 98 points this year.
Rob's Take: I can absolutely green light Tyler Seguin as an early first round selection. Other than an unexpected injury, or an equally surprising shift into more of a defensive assignment, the downside risk of this pick is as low as it gets.
The only historical or modern comparable below 60 points is Zach Parise's 2010-11 season. However, that was the year he tore the meniscus in his right knee – the kind of unexpected injury that cost more than a few people their fantasy draft that year. The next year, Parise bounced right back, and even became Seguin's closest modern comparable (on the right).
The other thing that strikes me about his historical comparables is that all but one of Seguin's matches are on the upper limits of the age range – he doesn't turn 24 until the end of January! The modern comparables are far closer in age, and consequently resulted in a higher scoring projection. So, not only does his youth indicate a tremendous upside, but it makes him absolutely ideal for a keeper pool.
Some poolsters may be concerned about his low scoring in Boston. How did he jump from 0.6 points per game in Boston to well over a point-a-game in Dallas? Part of it is age, as players improve quite dramatically throughout their teens and through age 21, but mostly it was because he played on a tough minutes line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in Boston, while in Dallas he plays on a scoring-focused line with Jamie Benn and (when he's healthy) Valeri Nichushkin. Unless that changes, his current scoring pace should continue.
As an added bonus, Serguin is a great pick if your draft rules award points for shootout goals, since he's an incredible 18 for 38 in his career. And just remember, if you can't get Seguin in the first round, at least try to grab Nichushkin as a sleeper pick in the middle rounds.
Matt’s Take: For everything that’s gone on in Tyler Seguin’s career to date, it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 23 years old. After being run out of Boston following 3 short but productive years, the former #2 overall pick wasted no time in establishing himself as one of the game’s premier goal scorers, playing above a point-per-game pace in each of his first two seasons in the Lone Star state. While controversy has dogged Seguin off the ice, on the ice he’s been a consistent performer who is heading into the prime years of his career in an offence loaded with talent – all of which is to say that this could be a very big year for Tyler Seguin.
Seguin represents one of the safest plays out there from a fantasy point-of-view – he’s young, he’s established himself with multiple high point years, and he’s guaranteed to be given the minutes necessary to thrive both at even strength and on the powerplay. Looking at Seguin’s comparables simply serves to reinforce the notion that he’ll be near the front of the Art Ross race this year. Nearly every player on both the modern and historical list is or was a perennial All-Star, and his modern comparables paint the picture of a player entering his prime years of scoring domination. Whether Seguin turns out to be Phil Kessel, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin or Steven Stamkos over the coming year, I don’t think most fantasy owners will be disappointed with his output.
Seguin is also a fairly low risk investment as well – while his historical worst case would be a disappointing 36 points, that’s mostly driven by Zach Parise’s injury shortened 2010-2011 campaign. His modern worst case would be a respectable 64 points, and he actually rates at the top of all projected players using the modern system. Even more encouraging is the fact that of his 18 comparables we have stats for, 13 of them (or more than 70%) posted over 30 goals the following year. Considering only 15 players hit that mark in 2014-2015, it’s easy to see why the floor looks to be so high for the Brampton native in 2015-2016.
The other key factor that should work in Seguin’s favour is the terrific cast that Jim Nill has surrounded him with. The Stars have one of the deepest forward units in the league, and adding Patrick Sharp this offseason is likely to provide an additional boost to a club that finished second in goals for last year. If the Dallas offense is running at anywhere near the same pace that they did last season, Seguin looks like a solid bet to challenge for the league lead in points, but even a slight drop back will still have him near the top of the charts this year and for many to come after that.
Check out Vollman and Cane discuss Brandon Saad.
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 on page 151!