It is wheels up for the NHL season! How about the Auston Matthews toe-drag snipe in the first game of the season? Kyle Palmieri proved quite quickly why he was bound to produce value on his ADP – throttling the hapless Oilers for two goals in the first game of the season. Where was the defense has he came off the wall on that first goal?
Chris Kane covered the Western Conference yesterday, so we’ll try to recreate some of the magic he was able to put together for the Eastern Conference. I hope to produce a format this season that looks at potential value opportunities through pickups, but most importantly trades. Everyone loves a good two for one trade – but the real challenge is finding a partner to trade a hot player for a player that will surely be on the rise.
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Fantasy sports are all about opportunity – you want to buy shares in the players that are being put in a position to capture the most amount of points. If we look back against career averages we can see players through three games that MIGHT be getting an increase in their power play opportunity. Specifically I am looking at players who are being given a greater share of the team’s power play time. See the graph below to see who has been gaining thus far:
Some of these guys obviously are worth exploring- Chris Wideman and Bobby Ryan are seeing an increase compared to their previous three seasons. This makes sense as the Sens have gutted their lineup and the minutes had to go somewhere. Unfortunately the small sample size is not capturing the slick hands of Thomas Chabot that will hopefully will be taking over for Wideman in quick order– if you’re light on the blueline, pause and go pick Chabot up. Matt Duchene has picked up some more TOI, a trend that could surely boost Duchene’s value if it continues.
Riley Nash saw a significant increase in his teams PP TOI in Columbus and if nothing else could be utilized in a speculative DFS stream.
Jeff Petry sans Shea Weber has picked up the share of PP TOI and this will continue until Weber’s return. Just don’t get caught holding the bag with Petry on your team when Weber does get closer to returning. With Pacioretty gone, Brendan Gallagher has quickly capture some more of his teams TOI. I would put Gallagher in the potential trade targets through the first couple games. His 5v5 SOG generation at even strength is .5 SOG/G higher – a stat that surely needs a larger sample size, but not worth forgetting about this early. With more TOI and the team leaning on him – if he can stay healthy – should provide your team a boost at RW.
How would I attack a Gallagher trade? Take your elite RW, maybe a Radulov or Rantanen and try and grab Gally and an upgrade at D or LW. The overall value of your team might just increase given the deployment of Gallagher.
When talking about usage – it is important to also note the negative usage. Vladislav Namestnikov has lost about 20% of his PP TOI compared to his average and was a healthy scratch in favor of goon Cody McLeod, hopefully you’re not rostering either. Paul Byron and Jori Lehtera also found their way into a reduction of their teams PP TOI.
Another predictor of future value is shot generation. Thus far in the East the below names have been outpacing their previous career averages – some by a very large margin. Again sample size is important here, but the process on a weekly basis will help find those players that are providing incremental value so that even a trade that appears to be horizontal can be swung in your favor, if you understand the opportunity a player is receiving.
Josh Anderson has 10 SOG through two games. Anderson has been a volume shooter, it’ll be interesting to see if he can capture more ice time and increase his overall stats. Keep an eye on him.
Derick Brassard has picked up a couple more SOG thus far – his deployment on the third line will be capping his relevance but if he is moved up to the wings given his peripherals he could be relevant at times this season.
Morgan Rielly who I own in a 14-team league as my fifth defenseman (Positional scarcity!) has been lights out this year, so far he has also fired one more puck on net per game. Rielly is probably the only piece of the Leafs PP that you could potentially get without sacrificing the core of your team. It’s going to be a career year for Rielly, pull whatever levers you need to get him on your team. The experts all offseason had Rielly plugged in as a value play compared to his ADP and so far this season he’s exceeding all expectations.
Cam Atkinson and Anders Lee are firing at will compared to the last three years on the power play. Another player hyped for an increase in total points is no the PP SOG list – Dylan Larkin. It’s worth noting that the deployment in Detroit right now is very weird. Both Mantha and Vanek are away from Larkin, it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out there as the season progresses.
To reiterate Chris Kane’s important public service announcement. The sample size here is incredibly small – next week I’ll run all the same scripts and see if anyone else pops up and we can start talking goals and assists with a little more data.
If you have something you’d like me to run against career averages for you – find me on twitter at @DH_Jcameronmetz.
Source of data: Corsica.Hockey