Still only two full weeks into the Yahoo! Season – I’ve seen some pretty crazy moves made already that will surely not benefit the owner dropping potential 70 points guys. Moral of the story is stay patient and don’t be that poolie!
I ran the usual rate stats I’ve covered over the last couple of weeks and there really wasn’t many changes. So I figured I would take a look at some players in the East that are intriguing me thus far.
Jordan Staal has been off to a hot start this year, however he’s never cracked 55 points in his almost 10-year career. What is different this year is that he’s seeing an increasing number of zone starts in the offensive zone (60%). His IPP is actually lower than his career average and his line is driving possession against the opposition. One thing that is higher is that his on ice 5v5 shooting percentage is 9%. My gut tells me that Staal will come back to his 45 point pace – but if this goes on for a couple more weeks – package your worst center with a decent player and swing a 2 for 1 trade – then pick up Jordan Staal. Reader beware he has only 1 point in his last 4 games.
Paul Byron’s career high point total is 43 points, he’s shooting 23% thus far this season, but I’m sure most readers didn’t know that he’s averaged 20% over his NHL career. His IPP is 77% which again surprisingly isn’t that out skew with his career performance. The red flag however is that when he is on the ice the team is shooting 14%, something that will certainly decline. Even though Byron is receiving time with Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen, don’t expect his point rates to continue at their current pace.
Anyone that has read my articles over the last five months knows the soft spot I hold for Patrice Bergeron. So far this season Bergeron has been on an absolute tear of a pace scoring 1.6 points per game through eight games. He’s shooting 23% and because of his shot volume he is already up to six goals. I’m interested in his TOI as he is seeing so far about two minutes less per game. Perhaps they are trying to limit his minutes this year – he’ll probably be back up in the 19-minute range in the coming weeks. What is out of alignment is that his IPP is a lot higher than his career average and so is his 5v5 shooting percentage. Needless to say that given the health concerns with Bergeron it’s probably worth exploring selling high at this point and see if you can pick up a high scoring winger.
Micheal Ferland is off to a blazing start in Carolina, he’s on pace for 73 points with eight points in nine games. He is riding shotgun with Sebastian Aho (consider yourself lucky if you drafted Aho), and while the line is shooting at 12% at 5v5 there is enough talent on their line to assume that they can sustain a relatively high conversion rate. Ferland’s IPP as a result of his new line mates is not in line with career averages, so it really isn’t something to make rash decision on this far into the season. The two most interesting numbers about Ferland are that he is seeing almost 40 seconds more of power play ice time (that will help pad the stats), but if with this increase he’s only seeing 40% of his teams PP TOI! We want that number to be closer to 60%. Imagine what he can do if his PP TOI increases, pay attention over the next three weeks, a “Buy” high might still have room for growth.
Keith Yandle is coming off a career year in Florida after scoring 56 points – Yandle has been one of the bright spots of the Florida team this year. He’s seeing almost a 1:20 min more per night on the power play that is almost surely going to explode in the coming weeks given their talent. His IPP is much higher than his career average so his current pace will slow down, but still he’s clearly the guy to have in Florida. Maybe you can purchase him on the cheap from an owner concerned over Florida’s five forward experiments and the team’s overall slow start.
Tuukka Rask is doing his best to help prove my concerns about his reliability. In June I wrote the following:
“I’m sorry to break the news to Bruins fans but it feels like a coming back to earth party is in store this year, much like it was for the Rangers with Lundqvist last year. Each player greatly outplayed the league average in terms of High-Danger SV% shorthanded (Rask led the league 9 points higher than his peers). Any reversion to the mean for these goalies and they won’t even have a spot on their own teams let alone your fantasy team.”
I won’t say I told you so because many of you accurately responded that given the team in front of him this is a pretty “hot” take. However if Rask isn’t able to figure it out soon he’s going to continue to see his starts eaten up by Jaroslav Halak. If I am a Rask owner (Thankfully I’m not) I’m making sure that I have Rask on my bench because you simply can’t afford to lose/roster the draft capital you likely expended to put Rask on your team. 25% quality starts yikes!
Nikita Kucherov is somehow shooting almost shooting 0.7 shots per game less thus far – small sample size but certainly a concern. Almost all of his other key stats are in line with career averages. So if he really is going to slow his shot rate down you could be looking at a 30-goal season and not a 40-goal season. I’m not a Kucherov owner, but if I was I’d be taking a look at this every week to make sure I can escape a problem before others realize it has already started happening.