Entering week nine of the fantasy hockey season and you’re league has probably seen the trade activity pickup. I hit on some trade targets last week and I ran the data again this week, unfortunately not too many changes occurred, which I suppose leaves the window open for most of the guys that were talked about last week.
Returning to the theme of valuing players, I took a look at a bunch of players using a nice little visualizer I came up with last week to give you an idea of where a player is trending. Let’s first dig through the details – I plotted Assists/GP, Goal/GP, and Points/GP for each player. The red bar is the current pace at which that player is producing as of 12/2/2018. The greenish bar is the three year mean of the player. Obviously the three year mean can be a little tricky to use as a baseline for newer players but using some data captured from expert predictions and career averages I made some guesses on who might be fun to talk about in the East. One last observation – the smaller numbers at the top of each bar represent the per game pace, and the bolded blue numbers inside of the bar are the 82 game pace extrapolated out for both data series.
So let’s walk together through the first one – Nikita Kucherov has gone absolutely ballistic in the last nine games with 20 points. He is on pace for 82 assists, gaining on average 1 assist per game. Over his last three years, he has averaged 50 assists total at 0.61 assists per game. Needless to say Kucherov has been driving play and getting a lot of the points that have been scored by the TB; his IPP is 85% which, crazily enough, is only 5% higher than the last three years. With two seasons above 90 total points, this could be the season Kucherov sets career highs – as he is currently on pace for 116. He’s shooting 16.4%, which is not outrageous, given his ability. As I have mentioned before his shot volume is down a little (Next week I’ll incorporate that into the visual, have another item you want to see? Find me on twitter at @DH_jcameronmetz), so the lack of shot volume is dipping his overall goal output, something I had predicted earlier this summer was a drop to lower 30 in goals, but it’s really being fueled by his shot generation and not his conversion. A slide in his 16% shooting percentage is going to attack his goals scored. Regardless unless you’re in the bottom 3rd of your league – it would be tough to stomach selling Kucherov for anything less than two – top five picks.
Aleksander Barkov – ok so you get the point now – he’s on pace to score more this year! Why? He’s back into the upper tier of his shooting percentage at 14.3%. The interesting thing is that his torrid 246 shots on goal last season is not continuing in this year’s campaign. The goal scoring growth has been supported by converting more often – overall his numbers look pretty consistent. The one underlying stat that is certainly interesting is that he is sporting an IPP of 53% rather than something around 65+ – this says to me that he has even more growth in the assist department and that Barkov at the very least is just middling around the lower end of his floor. I’d start sniffing around the Barkov owner and see if you can grab a quick couple points just by swapping a similar Center.
Yandle owners couldn’t be happier with their selection this year. I know I stayed away just at the last moment when they were experimenting with five forwards in the preseason. Yandle is on another level right now: he’s shooting at 6%, which surprisingly is not that out of whack with career percentages. I’m a bit amazed by this but somehow his 5v5 on ice shooting percentage is only 6.6% (room for growth) and his IPP isn’t unreasonably inflated. I’d try and go acquire Yandle right now if I was you. Chabot owners should be flooding Yandle owner timelines with trade offers – just in case that rookie wall comes around eventually.
Most people with some knowledge of hockey realized Mark Stone can play at a very high level. Given the deployment in Ottawa, it seems like this will be the year that Stone really shows us what he is made of with his 88 point pace. First problem is that he’s shooting at 18.8% right now – so we’re going to see that come down soon. His on ice shooting percentage is also high at 11% so we should see the assists pull back as well. What we could be missing if we finished the analysis there is that his IPP is depressed, so even if he can get a greater share of the assists on a lower volume of goals scored his assist total should be sustainable. Goal scoring is the biggest concern – his shot volume has only picked up about enough to cover one maybe two goals when the regression hits the goal scoring. Selling Stone now is advisable, see if you can pick up a nice RW who has the same outlook at as Stone. Treat it like the stock market – if you are constantly selling high by the end of the season you should have the best team in the league.
John Tavares must have known it was going to be fun being the golden boy in Toronto, I’m not sure how he could ever realize it would be this good for him. He’s on pace to meet his career high in points thanks to a very high shooting percentage of 17.5%. With that being said it is fairly hard to capture the number of tap in goals he has scored thanks to the unbelievable PP in Toronto. Last year Tavares had an average shot distance of 27 feet, this year it is closer to 23 feet. I’m sure his percentage will come down, but maybe not as much as one would expect? It’s interesting that he has not picked up as many assists as the last couple of years, when you look at his IPP it is low at 62% compared to his career. If he can get his hand in more of the goals – it will more than offset any reduction in goals scored. The 91-point pace seems like it has room to grow. I’d probably pay up for Tavares thinking you could get more from him at some point this year.
I have to admit I had no idea just how good of a season Ovechkin was having this year, on pace for 101 points! Ok now the bad news – he’s shooting at 19% – far above any season of his for his entire career. His IPP has some room to grow at only 61% but his on ice shooting percentage will surely come down from the 13% it is at right now. All told Ovechkin really is having a great year, when you couple in shots and hits he is still untouchable in most leagues. For what it is worth, if I was an Ovie owner and I could sniff out a dual player upgrade especially in goal on the blueline it might be worth the look. Ovie for Bob and sounds pretty appetizing if you ask me.