Ramblings: Goalie Equipment Changes, More Rankings

Ian Gooding

2016-08-06

Goalie equipment changes and fantasy, more rankings, Kessel/Pacioretty, plus more…

I’m here for my usual Sunday spot, plus one more filling in for Dobber on the Monday Ramblings as well. So let’s do another mailbag, shall we?

In case you missed the last one, I will try to answer your question in the Monday Ramblings if you can either 1) post it in the comments section below, or 2) message me on Twitter, or 3) email me at goodsfantasyhockey “at” gmail “dot” com, if you prefer to keep your question private. If your question is extremely detail-oriented, I may prefer to answer it in the email rather than the Ramblings themselves.

Thanks to everyone who submitted during the last Ramblings. These questions help me generate content during a very slow time. Hopefully they help you with your important fantasy hockey decisions too.

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Hockey seems to be overshadowed by the Olympics, baseball, and other sports at the moment. But here are a few news bites:

You may recall that David Krejci underwent hip surgery after the season ended, and his recovery time was expected to be around five months. That was going to put his availability for the World Cup in question. Now according to a report out of the Czech Republic (via Today’s Slapshot), he has been told not to participate in the September tournament.

Krejci still appears on track to start the NHL season on time (remember, it doesn’t start until October 12). But keep in mind that Krejci has averaged only around 60 games played over the past three seasons, so there’s always that lingering doubt if you’re a Krejci owner.

The injury news appears to be better for Tyler Seguin, who appears to be on track to participate in the World Cup. Seguin played only one playoff game this past season because of an Achilles injury.

Look at these sweet uniforms below. I believe that the 1970s were the most interesting decade for sports uniforms. Maybe I’m partial because that was the decade I was born in.
 


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Here’s a follow-up to the piece I wrote in last Sunday’s Ramblings about the decreasing spread between goalies. One factor that could at least slightly reverse that trend (that I had forgotten to mention) was the goalie equipment changes. These changes will affect some goalies more than others, with the thought that the lower-skilled NHL goalies will be exposed more because of the decrease in size.

For us in the fantasy realm, is there any way for us to determine which goalies will be better off or worse off with the changes? Keep in mind that goaltending equipment measurements are not made transparent, like a player’s height or weight. Craig Anderson’s “I have no idea” to a question of whether his equipment is at the maximum limit speaks to the lack of information other than what a fan can see. But you probably also remember certain goalies who no doubt pushed the boundaries some time ago.
 


Cory Schneider, Braden Holtby, and Devan Dubnyk were goalies that were pushing for the changes in equipment, so there probably isn’t much to worry about if you own one of them. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee that the changes will be great for their numbers, but it likely means they have at least considered what impact the changes will have to their routine.

Canucks’ goaltenders could be negatively impacted by the changes. Ryan Miller, a slender goalie known for using a large chest protector, went on record last season to say that the NHL should take its time in making goaltending changes. Meanwhile, goaltending partner Jacob Markstrom is known for wearing loose-fitting pants and could stand to lose several inches at the waist. Keep in mind that the Canucks yielded more shots per game (32.5) than any other team except for Ottawa (32.8) in 2015-16, which could further hurt the fantasy value of a pair that should most likely be involved in a timeshare.

That shots on goal total also brings us back to Ottawa. Anderson is already used to facing a ton of shots, as the Senators have finished in the top 10 in most shots allowed dating back to the 2011-12 season. In fact, the Senators have one of the two highest shots allowed totals over two of the past three seasons. Yet in an interview with TSN 1200 in Ottawa, new Senators’ goaltending coach Pierre Groulx didn’t seem to think Anderson would be hurt by the equipment changes because he is a “react” goalie who doesn’t rely on blocking. In fact, Groulx believes that the size reduction may also help goalies.

Finally, there were a couple of interesting points from Cat Silverman of Today’s Slapshot, who hypothesized that the Leafs should sign Jhonas Enroth as a backup goalie. Enroth is a throwback of sorts, as he is one of the few NHL goalies listed as under six feet tall. So there is some thought that the equipment changes would negatively impact a smaller goalie such as Enroth. However, Silverman also pointed out that the equipment changes had not been finalized yet, leaving open the possibility that they would not take effect until 2017-18.

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A second followup to last Sunday’s Ramblings, where I discovered how the rankings of top defensemen had increased and the rankings of top goalies had decreased on both ESPN and NHL.com. As I was setting up for offseason activity in my keeper league, I discovered that CBS had its own rankings as well. How did defensemen and goalies fare over at CBS? Listed are players that made the top 30.

Defensemen: Erik Karlsson – 8, Brent Burns – 14, Kris Letang – 21

Goalies: Braden Holtby – 7, Carey Price – 10, Corey Crawford – 19, Jonathan Quick – 20, Ben Bishop – 28

So compared to ESPN and NHL.com, CBS seems to be using a more traditional ranking system that still undervalues defensemen. One could argue that CBS has missed the curve. But perhaps the rankers over there are simply taking into account that goaltending supply, particularly starting goalies, is far more limited than the vast pool of defensemen. Miss the top defensemen, and you could still dig deep to find a few first-unit power-play options that were overlooked (not that they’ll come close to matching Karlsson, though). Miss the goalies, and you could be entering the season with Ondrej Pavelec or Cam Ward as your best option.

Either way, you may want to tweak your default rankings if you are in a CBS league. You should be doing this anyway if you play in a format that is even the slightest bit different from the default one used by the system. Of course and as always, check your league settings to determine how you should rank your players.

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While answering a question in the Forum, something grabbed my attention: How similar Phil Kessel and Max Pacioretty are, at least from a fantasy perspective. Compare last season’s stats:

Kessel: 82 GP, 26 G, 33 A, 59 PTS, +9, 17 PPP, 274 SOG

Pacioretty: 82 GP, 30 G, 34 A, 64 PTS, -10, 17 PPP, 303 SOG

Both players have almost identical assist totals to go with high goal totals that come from very high (top 10) shot totals. As well, both players had good but not great (outside top 50) power-play point totals in 2015-16.

Going back further, Pacioretty’s point totals have been in the 60-70 point range in each of the last four full seasons. On the other hand, Kessel’s point totals have spanned a larger range, averaging 60 points over the last two seasons after recording 80+ points in the previous two full seasons.

As I pointed out in the forum post, Pacioretty is better in leagues that count hits and blocked shots because Kessel’s totals are abysmal in those categories (9 hits, 13 blocked shots last season). To put it into perspective, I think I’d bump into more players and get hit by more pucks than Kessel if I somehow made it onto an NHL roster and played a full 82-game season.

Maybe this is one for Rick to consider one day for a Cage Match article, if he’s ever having trouble finding two players to compare.

Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

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 NYI Players
29.3% MATHEW BARZAL JORDAN EBERLE ANDERS LEE
29.3% JOSH BAILEY ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER BROCK NELSON
12.8% DERICK BRASSARD LEO KOMAROV JEAN-GABRIEL PAGEAU

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