Ramblings: Spezza Strikes Back, Sizzling Saros (Jan 17)

Ian Gooding

2018-01-17

Spezza Strikes Back, Sizzling Saros (Jan 17)

Usually Tuesdays are busier, but many teams on bye week resulted in only six games played. But there were still a few talking points from the day’s action.

*

Coaches such as Ken Hitchcock last as long as they do because they know how to get the most out of their players. Their motivational techniques may not work on every player every time, but they know which buttons to press more often than not. So with Jason Spezza scoring two power-play goals on Tuesday, you can’t question Hitch’s decision to healthy scratch Spezza the day before.

Smart fantasy owners have stayed well away from Spezza this season. He’s currently owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues and 36 percent of CBS leagues, and that should be considered an inflated number based on his results. His ADP at Yahoo was 115, so somehow he’s still managed to hang around on a few teams. But imagine how wrong you were if you drafted Spezza ahead of Eric Staal, Tyler Toffoli, or even MVP candidate Nathan MacKinnon. Yet that’s what happened in over half of drafts out there. 

Should we have seen this coming? Absolutely. Spezza dropped from 33 goals in 2015-16 to just 15 goals last season while taking 25 percent fewer shots. Yes, he played in seven fewer games in 2016-17, but that doesn’t make up for the difference in shots. An abnormally high 16 percent shooting percentage had much to do with his 2015-16 success, with last season’s shooting percentage much closer to his career average of 11 percent.

This season, the numbers have dipped even further. Spezza is averaging just 13:30 in icetime per game, which isn’t enough if you were drafted to be a top-6 forward. Prior to Tuesday he had also failed to score a goal in 14 consecutive games, which dates back over a month. The four shots he took on Tuesday was his highest total since November 28. So you won’t be surprised that his shot total per game is nearly one shot lower than it was two seasons ago.

The Stars’ lack of secondary scoring factors in as well. The only forwards worth owning from this team right now are