Frozen Pool Forensics: Evaluating Predictions From Last Year
Lately I have been revisiting players covered over the summer of 2017 one by one and that can easily get redundant, so let’s group some of the remainders together in this article. For the most part each and every player I featured went on to do what was predicted and produce status quo or career years (Vincent Trocheck, Brayden Schenn). Whilst I cannot say I got it right with everyone, especially Oscar Klefbom, I will say my intuition was on point coming into 2017-18. Let’s start it off with a forward who found himself shipped out west unexpectedly only to put forth a monstrous fantasy campaign. Links to the articles from the summer are beneath each name.
FPF Article on Schenn
With Jori Lehtera being the only roster ready player in return, the Philadelphia Flyers Ron Hextall can only take solace in Claude Giroux’s 100-point campaign to forget about dealing away Brayden Schenn. A year after locking him up to a lucrative extension, out of nowhere the Flyers dealt the center in exchange for potential in first-round picks. Only 26 years of age, Schenn went on to post a 70-point season (28 G, 42A) along with 660 FOW, 56 PIM. 210 SOG, 154 HIT, and 8 GWG while averaging well over 19 minutes per night. As expected, Schenn found himself riding shotgun with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko and the highly underrated Jaden Schwartz. Seeing them with frequency at even strength directly correlates to the career season but unlike last season in Philadelphia where 28 of his 55 points came on the man advantage, only 19 of the 70 weren’t even strength. Schenn is only out produced by Vincent Trocheck in forward value for multi-category settings
FPF Article on Getzlaf
Business as usual in 2017-18 for the Ducks top center albeit in limited fashion only appearing in 56 games due to injury. In that time the pivot posted an astounding 50 assists solidifying his vision among the best across the league along with 11 goals. Getzlaf has long been harped on for lack of shooting but such was not the case as he put the rubber to the net 117 times making for an average of two plus shots per game. Beyond standard scoring cats, he averaged an impressive 21 plus minutes per night while posting a plus-20 and 42 PIM. The production is impressive even for a player who saw 82 games. Do not devalue Getzlaf like everyone else seemingly does, nor fear his advancing age. There’s plenty of game left in the big man and next season projects to bear more fantasy fruit.
FPF Article on van Riemsdyk
Happy 29th birthday today to van Riemsdyk. The underrated forward posted a career high 36 goals in 2017-18 and though the assist totals were meager with only 18, nobody can complain about his production in a non-featured role. Averaging fewer than 15 minutes per game and primarily finding himself on the third line alongside Connor Brown and Tyler Bozak at even strength, it is impressive that van Riemsdyk paced the team in goal scoring. His season highlights the importance of recognizing players in contract years going into drafts and securing them on your squad. Wherever he finds himself next season he is going to be paid handsomely for his goal-scoring abilities and net-front presence. Be wary of where he finds himself in the next campaign as him being on an offensively loaded Toronto squad allowed him to be further down the depth chart. This allowed for him to be matched up against easier defensive assignments. On a new team he will assuredly be looked to as a go to scorer in the top six, hence more difficult defensive presence when he’s on the ice. Therefore, a decrease in production could be plausible for the New Jersey native. Nevertheless, bank on a 25-goal, 200-shot floor for van Riemsdyk entering 2018-19.
FPF Article on Hamilton
Yet another season where Hamilton ascended beyond the 40-point plateau with 44. The 2017-18 campaign saw him post a career high with an impressive 270 shots while also matching last season’s career high 64 PIM. Finding himself fused to the hip of Mark Giordano at even strength and on the power play really balanced Hamilton’s game. Long known for being an extremely slow starter who turns it on big time in the second half, this year saw him post points in a more consistent fashion. Going into next season at age 25, it is seemingly time for Hamilton to start taking the reins from the aging Giordano. Hamilton has established himself as a consistent threat for 40 points with him hitting the mark every year since 2014-15. Do not reach on Hamilton before Round 7 but if he is still on the board do consider him heavily as part of your fantasy blue line.
FPF Article on Orlov
FPF Article on Klefbom
Not all of my picks blew everyone away with their production. In the case of Klefbom it was downright disappointing. With the departures of Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency last summer, I expected Orlov to hit the ground running and blossom offensively. Possessing a booming slap shot and already ascending past 30 points in a season, the hope was that the increased responsibility would lead to a 40-point season. Such a performance did not occur though with him only posting 31 points. Outside of points though, he did have a career-high in shots (125), hits (128), and blocks (116). For those of you in multi-category settings there is real value in a player who covers the spread in this fashion. Though he may never score at John Carlson-esque levels, Orlov still makes for a great depth option to support your more premier defenders in the fantasy realm.
Klefbom and the Edmonton Oilers in general were just a disaster in 2017-18. Only appearing in 66 games total, Klefbom only produced 21 points shooting a dastardly-low 2.5 percent. After his 38-point season in 2016-17 anchoring the primary power play unit with Connor McDavid, the expectation was that he would crush it offensively going into 2017-18. The Oilers looked poised to finally become a major contender after making the playoffs last season but this year showcased their lack of NHL-caliber depth. Peter Chiarelli should be mocked relentlessly for the Jordan Eberle–Ryan Strome swap, plain and simple. Going into next year, there’s really no way to forecast how Klefbom will produce. One side of the brain says injuries hampered his abilities and he’ll rebound. The other side says outside of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Milan Lucic, he has mediocre talent to feed the puck to. Reserve him for a late-round gamble if anything and look elsewhere for more proven options as outside of 2016-17 Klefbom has never been anything to take notice of.
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