Ramblings: FanDuel Partnership; Senators; Updates on Arvidsson, Schenn, JvR; Shot Rates – November 6

Michael Clifford



A week after the MGM partnership announcement, the NHL has announced another partnership, this one with FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports site. Beyond advertising, the partnership will include things like contests for ‘experiences’ like the Winter Classic.

From someone who plays a lot of DFS, all I have to say is, “lol.” FanDuel is horrific for NHL contests. No site is perfect, but their problems over the years have run from things like egregious mis-pricing of players, incorrect positions for players, players missing from the player pool for games on end, and there was one night they listed Jamie Benn as his brother Jordie and vice versa. This isn’t ancient history, either, as this happened on Sunday night for the Columbus/Anaheim game:



Maybe an official partnership will force to get FanDuel to fix their myriad problems with the NHL offerings. Then again, we’re talking about the NHL, and accurate numbers is not something we’ve grown accustomed to from them, either.  

Good on the NHL for realizing they need to get into the DFS and gambling spheres but choosing FanDuel as an official partner is like deciding to go on a diet and getting all your salads from Wendy’s.


Washington moved Jakub Vrana to the fourth line and Dmitrij Jaskin to the top line for their game Monday night. The Tom Wilson Shuffle continues.


The Flyers are going to have Brian Elliott examined to see exactly what is wrong with him when they return from the road trip. For now, it’s Calvin Pickard or bust, I guess.


The Rangers have called up prospect Lias Andersson:



Where he slots remains to be seen, or if he even gets in the lineup. We shall see.


It looks like James van Riemsdyk should be back in the next couple weeks.


Viktor Arvidsson was placed on the injured reserve by the Predators on Monday afternoon with a lower-body injury. We have nothing further right now. Kevin Fiala remained on the top line for most of the last game with Calle Jarnkrok taking Arvidsson’s spot on the top PP unit.


Brayden Schenn is dealing with what Mike Yeo called “soreness” but that “soreness” caused him to miss the end of St. Louis’s last game and practice on Monday. Something tells me that’s more than just soreness. Here were the lines without him:



Just as a small aside here: if you’re a Thomas Chabot owner in a one-year league, now would be the time to explore a trade. He’s currently sitting with 11 secondary assists, which is three more than any player in the league. His pace for the season is 64.4 secondary assists. For a reference on how absurd that is, Claude Giroux led the league in this regard last year with 35 and Shayne Gostisbehere led all defencemen with 27. If you can trade Chabot as if he’s a top-10 or top-15 defenceman, do it.


Speaking of the Senators, this is easily the funniest thing I’ve seen in the NHL this year. Probably in the last couple years:



There’s going to be some fallout from this one.


Tim Thompson (@b0undless on Twitter) made a wonderful homage to the Montreal Canadiens. Tim used to do the opening montages for Hockey Night in Canada (you remember how good those used to be? That’s who did them). It’s as good as anything he’s done, and that’s saying a lot considering the person who made it.


Sometimes, things work out perfectly.

New Jersey was in Pittsburgh for a Monday night tilt and it was Pittsburgh’s ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ night. Not only did Brian Boyle score, he scored twice… and then a third time. Brian Boyle, cancer survivor, scored a natural hat trick on that night in Pittsburgh. Truly a special moment for a genuinely good man.

Will Butcher scored his first of the season and added a pair of assists helping the Devils to a 5-1 win. Keith Kinkaid started this one, stopping 34 of 35 shots, so it looks like Cory Schneider will go on Tuesday in Ottawa.


The fourth line did most of the damage for Washington in their 4-2 win over Edmonton as Jakub Vrana and Devante Smith-Pelly both scored in the first six minutes of the game. TJ Oshie and Alex Ovechkin added the others.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl replied for the Oilers.

Not for nothing, but the Oilers third line of Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi looked pretty good. If they had a left winger who could score, it’d probably be a dangerous line.


Max Domi continued his solid start for the Canadiens, posting a goal and an assist in the team’s 4-3 shootout win over the Islanders. He now has 8 goals and 15 points in 14 games in the Bleu, Rouge, et Blanc. Jonathan Drouin had the same stat line and now has 10 points on the year.

Drouin had six shots on goal as well, only the third time he’s managed that many in a game in a Habs uniform. He’s now averaging nearly 2.5 shots per game, which is about where he should be.


Boston skated away with a 2-1 overtime win against Dallas. The first two goals of the game came on the same power play as Radek Faksa scored short handed while David Pastrnak tallied with the man advantage. More on Pastrnak later.

Brad Marchand scored the overtime goal, his fifth goal of the year.

Jake DeBrusk, by the way, is now on the top PP unit for Boston. He assisted on Pastrnak’s goal. My dreams are coming true!


Philadelphia's top line came through in Arizona on Monday night with Claude Giroux posting a pair of goals and Sean Couturier added another en route to a 5-2 win. Both added an assist, as did Travis Konecny. Shayne Gostisbehere also tallied one of each. Let's hope this is the start of Ghost's points push. 

Alex Galchenyuk replied for the Coyotes, giving him five points in six games with the 'Yotes. Michael Grabner marked the other. 


We’re a little over a month into the NHL season. As this point, fantasy owners should be looking at year-to-date stats to help us with our roster decisions. Everything from trades to waiver claims to which player to drop should now be informed, at least in part, by stats accumulated this year.

For these Ramblings specifically, we will be looking at changes in shot rates. Remember that last week I wrote in a Ramblings that the overall shot rate league-wide had changed very little from last year to this year. Any changes to a specific player, then, should not be attributed to some sort of league-wide increase. That is just not the case.

Let’s start at the top of the spectrum. Here are the top-20 shot rate increase from last year to this year. The cut off for this season is 125 minutes played and the rates are expressed at all strengths, not just five-on-five.

Data from Natural Stat Trick.



Micheal Ferland

The former Calgary Flame has been skating almost all year on the top line with the Hurricanes. In fact, he’s only played about 35 of his 232 minutes of ice time away from Sebastian Aho. But that doesn’t really explain the entire reason his shots per game have nearly doubled from last year despite just over 90 extra seconds of ice time per game. The Hurricanes are an absolute buzzsaw offensively.

As of Monday afternoon, Ferland is on pace for 65 points this year, which would be by far a career high. Most people would assume there’s something unsustainable going on. About that…

On the season, Ferland’s all-strengths shooting percentage is just under 13 percent after posting consecutive seasons over 14 percent, so that’s in a normal range for him. His individual points percentage (IPP) is 61.1 percent, posting 59.4 percent last year and 67.6 percent the year before, so his IPP is also normal. His on-ice shooting percentage (the rate at which the team scores with him on the ice) is 9.8 percent, a year after a 10 percent season and two years after 8.8 percent. Again, that’s well within his norms. Given that his personal shooting percentage, on-ice shooting percentage, and IPP are all completely normal, this 65-point pace is for real.

Of course, “for real” assumes constant line mates and role. Were the Hurricanes to hit a skid and he’s moved down to the third line or something, this would change. As long as he’s skating with Aho and is getting power play time, I wouldn’t expect much to change. Ferland is a true 60-point potential player.


David Pastrnak

I won’t dig into this too much. He’s just worth a mention because he was a guy whose shot rate declined a fair amount last year compared to 2016-17 and it was difficult to gauge exactly where he would land this year. Well, that question has been answered as he’s among the leaders in shot rate (fifth in the league) and his shots per game are well over 4.00. Consider all shot concerns squashed.


Alexander Kerfoot

The now-24-year old Kerfoot had a solid rookie campaign, posting 19 goals and 43 points in 79 games. The problem was he managed just 81 shots in those 79 games. That’s very poor and really hurt his value in roto leagues. He’s managed to turn that around a bit with 25 shots in 14 games this year. Not where we’d want a top-end fantasy option to be, but an improvement nonetheless.

What makes hit shots/game mark look a little better is that he’s still earning just over 14 minutes per game. His shot attempt rate (12.39) isn’t very far off from teammate Gabriel Landeskog (12.37) to give you an idea of how much more he’s shooting this year compared to last.

There is one area of concern with Kerfoot and that is his IPP. Not that it’s outlandish, but it sits just under 77 percent right now. Last year it was 71.7 percent. The question is what his true talent level for involvement is. Elite players are always involved in scoring and guys between 75 and 80 percent in 2017-18 are mostly elite players like Benn, Stamkos, Kuznetsov, Giroux, Duchene, Marner, Pastrnak, Gaudreau, and Malkin. Kerfoot could be having a one-off year or establishing himself as a top-tier playmaker.

I suspect that Kerfoot’s assist rate will slow down. Don’t expect a 45-50 assist season. On the other hand, Kerfoot’s zone entry/exit numbers in 2017-18 were excellent:

That graphic from CJ Turtoro's viz site

Fantasy owners shouldn’t dismiss out of hand that Kerfoot can’t have a season similar to what Ryan Johansen did in 2017-18 – somewhere around 15 goals and 40 assists. But there won’t be much for peripherals and fantasy owners need to decide what their specific team needs are.


Filip Forsberg

Forsberg, like Pastrnak, will only get a brief mention here because of his shot rate decline last year. In fact, he had declined in consecutive seasons going into 2018-19. He’s seen a huge ice time boost, though, as he’s clocking in at 19:17 per game, a career high and nearly two full minutes more than last year (17:28, but to be fair, about half that increase has come on the penalty kill). But he’s also taking a career-high in shots per 60 minutes, landing a career-high in shots per 60 minutes, and that, in conjunction with the added ice time, has led to his 10-goal start to the season. I mean, shooting 20.8 percent doesn’t hurt either, but even if that declines to his career norms around 13-14 percent, he’d still be on a 40-goal pace for the year. As long as the ice time doesn’t decline, and he keeps shooting as he is, he is a true threat for 40 goals this year. Let’s just hope he stays healthy.




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