Ramblings: Pastrnak vs. Wheeler, Giordano, Panthers’ Goalies (Sept 2)

Ian Gooding


Pastrnak vs. Wheeler, Giordano, Panthers’ Goalies

I usually leave the player comparison articles to Rick, where he breaks it down in every which way with his weekly Cage Match. But I couldn’t help getting into one player comparison that I encountered during my weeks-long auction bidding league. That would be the choice I had to make between David Pastrnak and Blake Wheeler.

My keeper league allows each team to sign one free agent to a five-year contract. I could choose between Pastrnak, Wheeler, and a whole host of other players. Actually, it wasn’t much of a decision. I was able to match any offer on Pastrnak since I owned him last season, plus it makes a whole lot more sense to lock up a 22-year-old player for five years than it does a 32-year-old player. So Pasta was my guy, and I was willing to pay more for him.

I will predict that sometime over the next 12 months, Dobber will definitely move Wheeler down from his #8 ranking and probably move Pastrnak up from his #23 ranking in his Top 300 Keepers. Okay, so the first prediction isn’t exactly going out on a limb, but it tells where things are headed as opposed to where they are right now.

What the ranking does say is that the season that carries the most weight in any keeper league is the one that’s right in front of you. Wheeler scored 91 points last season. Pastrnak scored “just” 80. But if I want to win more championships, I feel like I need more David Pastrnaks than Blake Wheelers on my team.

But what about single-season leagues? Currently Yahoo has Pastrnak at 12 and Wheeler at 18, while ESPN has Wheeler at 8 and Pasta at 11. Aside from his recent 68-assist, 91-point campaign, Wheeler’s career high is 78 points from two seasons before. So there is quite a bit of variance as to where his point total could end up. If you’re wondering where the spike in points came from, look no further than the power-play totals. Wheeler finished second in the NHL with 40 PPP; before that, his career high was 21 PPP.

One stat where Wheeler is a known commodity is goals, where he has ranged between 23 and 28 goals over the past five seasons. This may come as a surprise to you, but Wheeler has never scored 30 goals in a season. Remember, he was a late starter for a first-round pick, as his rookie season didn’t happen until he was 22. But the magical fourth season happened right on cue (64 points in 80 games, his first season in Winnipeg). So in a way, he’s taken on a different curve from other high first-round picks, which should make his age a little less concerning.

In spite of the Jets’ elite-level offense and top-level power play (23.4% success rate, 5th in NHL), I wouldn’t expect Wheeler to hit 90 points again. However, 25 goals and 80 points are very rea