Wild West: Time on Ice Winners and Losers
The Wild West is back after a short hiatus to welcome my brand new baby boy to the family. In keeping with the column title, it has certainly been a wild two weeks, but I am glad to be back.
To jump back in this week I ran some numbers to try to find players who have been adding or dropping time on ice over the past several weeks. There will likely be more on this to come in the weeks ahead, but I wanted to highlight some players who stood out to me as they may be guys of interest especially in slightly deeper leagues. We will start this week with two players, one on the way up, and the other on the way down.
In the first few weeks of December, Compher was averaging almost 16.5 minutes of ice time all strengths per game and just shy of three minutes on the top power play. He had four points in that nine game span and was playing at even strength with Tyson Jost, and Sven Andrighetto.
Over the last four games, Compher’s time on ice has jumped. He is averaging almost 20 minutes of ice time (total) a night, with almost 4:45 coming on the top power play. A big jump in time on ice can often mean a change in lines, and that may be happening in Colorado. While he did spend the majority of the last four games with Jost, he added Alex Kerfoot instead of Sven Andrighetto. In addition, in Colorado’s most recent game the top line was broken up and Compher saw time with Gabriel Landeskog and Kerfoot. Also, during this time Compher put up four points, equaling the rest of his December output.
Drake Caggiula (Since traded to Chicago):
In November, Caggiula was seeing about 16.5 minutes of total ice time, and about a minute on the power play. He was seeing some plum even strength deployment, spending most of his time with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He managed eight points during these fourteen games.
Flash forward to December and it is a different game all together. His total time on ice has dropped to less that 11.5 minutes per game and he is seeing less than 30 seconds of time on the power play per game. As with Compher, big changes in time on ice can mean changes in linemates and sure enough, Caggiula lost his spot on the top line and has spent the majority of his shifts with Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Oh, and in these nine games he has managed just one point. (Editor's Note: Caggiula was traded to Chicago mere seconds after the article was sent in. Click here for the trade breakdown)
Potential Streaming Pickups:
Rattie hasn’t exactly been blowing the roof off lately, but deployment is king. In Edmonton’s most recent game, he was back on the top line with McDavid and Draisaitl, as well as on the top power play with them. Funny thing, he put up three assists in that game. This spot has been a carousel all year, but if Rattie is available in your league (3% owned in Yahoo) a four game week seems like as good a time as any to give the guy lining up with McDavid and Draisaitl a try.
Both of these guys are worth a look this week. Iafallo has been getting more time on ice at even strength (playing with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown), but Toffoli has been getting more time on the top power play (with Kopitar and Brown – seeing a theme?). Iafallo has been putting up more points in recent history, but Toffoli has been shooting more which could certainly suggest he is due for some puck luck. Either way, LA has won a few games recently, so it is a good opportunity to buy in and see what happens.
Last article’s recommendation:
Now if we reach way back to December 10th, you may remember I recommended two Chicago players for the week. How did they do?
Dylan Strome: Strome put up two goals on five shots, which is not exactly terrible, but I was hoping for a bit more. If you hung on though you have been rewarded. Playing with Patrick Kane clearly pays dividends; in the 10 games since December 19th, Strome has three goals, six assists, two power play points and 17 shots.
Artem Anisimov: Anisimov has also seen the majority of his shifts with Kane since he was recommended. Unfortunately, he was pulled out of his game on the 9th after this article was written and missed all four of the games the following week. He did make a return though and since then has one goals, two assists, and nine shots over six games.
Drop or Not:
All of a sudden the desert seems to be a good place for Galchenyuk as he is on a roll of late with seven points in five games. Given that it is a small sample, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that I don’t think this is the new Galchenyuk and that he is going to continue this point pace through the rest of the year.
In his last four games Galchenyuk is shooting at 18.2% (very high for him), and has an IPP of 100, meaning he got a point on every goal that was scored while he was on the ice (takeaway? unsustainable). He spent most of his time on ice (15:31 average per game) with Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz, which certainly seems like a good place to be and had 1:56 (per game) of time on the power play.
There are a couple of more red flags if we look at the rest of December though. The biggest of which is that Galchenyuk is trending down in time on ice. His most recent four games actually indicate a loss of almost a minute and a half of even strength time, and about 30 seconds on the power play per game per game. It isn’t like he suddenly got new linemates either. He spent the majority of these 15 games with Keller and Schmaltz so that isn’t the cause of all of these points. In the rest of December, Galchenyuk managed only three points. Some numbers do point to bad luck (shooting percentage of zero, and an IPP of 33.3), though so that might not be the best sample either.
At the end of the day I don’t expect either the 15-point full-season pace (most of December) or the 123-point full-season pace (last four games) to continue the rest of the season. His full season numbers look surprisingly similar to 2017-18 and that is about what I expect for Galchenyuk going forward. He is currently on pace for around 50 points and that sounds about right. Overall, his underlying numbers look good, and may even show potential for a small uptick in point pace, but I am not looking at his recent production and seeing any indication that he has suddenly morphed into point per game, or even 70-point player.
Thanks for reading.
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