Last week I took a look at the predictive value of primary assists for total points scored (you can find that article here Primary Assist Rates to Monitor). Most of the time was spent discussing the value of a primary rate percentage and whether it is predictive of the total points scored for a player. It could be seen that the top 50 players in scoring for any given year are generally in the 60% primary assist. What I did not go over is some of the players in the East that look like their numbers clearly have some movement back their historical mean. I’m going to attempt to turn the percentage difference into actual points a player could see added or removed from their totals next year.
Here are some of the prime candidates to see their overall point total change based on their career primary point percentage:
I had mentioned before how appetizing Skinner looks for next year (ixGF) in the goal-scoring department. What is interesting about his primary point percentage of 52% vs a 70% three-year average is that his overall assist totals were not far out of line with previous totals from the last couple years. Taking that in for a moment it does appear that Skinner has more to give next year but usage is also important in putting together a successful campaign. Carolina as a whole did not have as much power play time last year so Skinner saw a drop in PPTOI by about 10 seconds per game. The real problem is that a perennial threat to score 30 goals is placed on the second power play unit. Rumors mention Skinners name for a possible trade candidate as a result of the ownership shakeup going on down in Carolina this summer; perhaps a trade could get Skinner back into a juicy PP1 spot. Either way the almost 20% swing there indicates he could reach as high as 65 total points if his numbers fell in line with an increase in goal scoring and a bump in his assist totals.
Couturier’s season was the aberration in terms of career stats, pickups like this win fantasy seasons. It’s still hard to wrap my head around how a career 35 point-ish guy busts through 6 seasons later with a 76 total points. Granted I know playing with Claude Giroux will help just about anyone but you get my point. He saw almost 3 additional minutes more per game this year which certainly helped increase his overall point totals and finally saw the rise in PP time (almost 1:30 min per game) to also assist his meteoric rise in points. Ok so here is where his point total gets a tad worrisome; almost 73% of his assists were primary! He averages around 60% even when he was back in the 35 point range. To put this in context Sidney Crosby over the last 4 years has never had a primary assist percentage over 63%. This makes Couturiers point total that much scarier, how is it possible he could sustain that primary assist rate next year? He probably can’t and as it has been shown last week this can also be an indicator that his overall point totals will collapse. Picking Couturier to be even a mid-65-point player next year smells a lot like whoever drafted Nick Folingo after his 70 point season in 14-15.
As a reminder for those that have forgotten here are some of Folingo’s career stats:
Those who forget history are bound to repeat it – check out Couturier:
For the true analytically inclined this is just terrible analysis but I find it funny because the point totals are eerily similar. Note to anyone in my fantasy leagues next year – you can have Sean Couturier.
Alright one last deep dive is Matt Duchene. It feels like the fate of the Senators hangs in the balance of sanity of their owner. Trading Erik Karlsson over an Uber ride and the lack of a hometown discount does not make someone a shrewd investor.
Duchene had a primary assist on 68% of his assists last year compared to….wait for it… the magic number 60% in the previous 3 years. So even in a fairly bad year he was above his career average in primary assist rates. So what if Karlsson leaves, what does that do the Sens as a whole? It doesn’t make me feel any better about Duchene. If Karlsson stays? Duchene and the Senators will probably not cost that much at the draft table but 8% swings in primary points could be like turning Duchene’s 59 points into 54 points. Sure he looked good over the last half of the season but the truth is his numbers are probably a nice average of the below quarters.
Have a nice week and follow me on twitter at @DH_jcameronmetz.