Eastern Edge: Expected Goals from Centres in the Metro
It was certainly an interesting season in the Metro for the center position, more so than any other division the Metro looks like it has a few players ripe to rebound next season. The crazy stat of the week for this division is that Sebastian Aho, Evgeni Malkin, and Evgeny Kuznetsov all shot below their career averages and also had a positive ixGF compared to their actual goal total. If any of these guys fall into the third round of next year’s draft your team’s going to be looking to get a player likely to surpass their output from last season.
Per usual the graph below highlights center goal scoring abilities this year in the Metro. The graph can help you visualize where a player falls with regards to their actual goal totals and the difference between actual and expected goals scored (X-Axis), and their individual shooting percentage from this year (Y-Axis). Given that the league average shooting percentage is around 11% you can see if there are any big names on the list that fall in the category of having a below average shooting percentage and room to grow in the actual goals scored. More than anything I think that this graph can find you a couple extra goals and make sure you realize that 40 goals by one player may mean that they could fall back to 32 next year. Player skill/opportunity is still something to remember – just because Ondrej Palat ends up in quadrant that tends to be a BUY area doesn’t mean he’s a 40-goal scorer. Please note that all the data used to create this graph is for a 5v5 situation and was obtained via Corsica.Hockey.
Matt Duchene certainly lived up to his UFA season expectations for poolies last season. This year it’s unlikely that his ADP will produce value as the 79-point pace he put up last season was a career year in all aspects. With only 172 shots on goal Duchene managed 31 goals, good for a 18% shooting percentage; compared to a career norm of 14.6%. Duchene did most of his damage in the first quarter of last season with 24 points in 20 games; then as he was adjusting to the new scenery in Columbus he managed just 10 points in 21 games. His G – ixGF indicates that he scored almost eight more goals than was expected of him throughout the season. Putting all of this together – buyer beware – your draft capital can be more optimally distributed to another player in a similar round to Duchene.
Sebastian Aho could have potted another 3-4 goals based on his ixGF model. Interestingly the run the Hurricanes have been on in the playoffs coincides with an advanced stat community rallying behind their ixGF model. Even though Aho had a remarkable season in route to collecting 83 points, it does seem like there is another gear to reach for him. The good news is next year is his Year Four season – expect some more goals based on his ixGF from last season, and it seems safe to predict this when his shooting percentage of 12% has room to grow just a tad given his skill level. If the Hurricanes can avoid a season-long rut it would not be surprising to see Aho pick up more assists and push towards 95 points. Hopefully the playoff run doesn’t bring Aho more recognition and inflate next year’s ADP.
Evgeny Kuznetsov finished below a point per games pace with a deflating 72 points in 76 games. The previous season he had a managed 86 points in 79 games. The good news is that there really isn’t anything to indicate that Kuznetsov isn’t capable or was lucky two seasons ago. That bodes well for poolies next season, when the Capitals return a dynamic and rested power play. Kuznetsov actually picked up an additional 25 seconds of ice time on the power play time per game this year which is a trend that supports future results. Kuznetsov probably shouldn’t be counted on to reach the 14% career high shooting percentage he had two seasons ago but either way his shot volume and a minimum 10% shooting percentage is a lock for 20 goals. His IPP fell dramatically this last season from an average of 73% to 65%, this difference led to his decline in total points. Even with 21 goals last season his ixGF indicates he left a few on the table; look for Kuznetsov to pay dividends on his draft ADP this season, if you can get him in the fifth round it would be an absolute steal.
I’ll save Malkin and Crosby for another time.
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