Eastern Edge: Goals and Expected Goals from Atlantic Centres
Last week we talked about the value that will likely be had at the draft next season for the center position in the Metro. This week we have a few players that also will present a nice value option, but really there are a few more players that I personally would avoid next season.
This highlights center goal scoring abilities this year in the Atlantic. 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 realizes 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 Colin White 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.
The below player visuals show how a player performed in the 2018-2019 compared to their previous three year average. Let’s first dig through the details – I plotted Assists/GP, Goal/GP, and Points/GP for each player. The red bar is the pace the player would have ended up with in an 82-game season. 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. 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.
The writing was on the wall all of last summer for the increased role that Larkin would play in the Red Wings’ plans. He increased his time on ice almost two minutes per game and added an additional 50 SOG compared to the previous season. This led to a career high in points (73) for an 82-game pace of 79 points. As written earlier, an increased presence of Anthony Mantha could help propel Larkin into the high 80s in points this coming season. Interestingly last year Larkin shot 11%, which was actually a four year high for him. A player of his skill likely has another gear to reach with shooting accuracy so this could be one area that he takes another step forward next season. Larkin at 5v5 ended up in the plus for ixGF – G suggesting that as often occurs with top end talent and their goal scoring that he really does have the opportunity to reach the 40 goal plateau in a career season. His healthy IPP of 75% lends credit to his involvement in the play and with the Red Wings hopefully getting better over the coming years – Larkin is a good bet to be a player you’ll want on your team for years to come.
It’s tough to try and figure out Eichel, his shot volume is truly elite, but he’s never broken the 30-goal plateau. Sure, he’s been injured, but he had more than ample opportunity to do it this year. In the first and third quarter of the season he had a combined 8 goals in 38 games; that’s not good enough to be considered truly elite. Last year was his year four season and given all of the injury he’s experienced maybe this coming season will be the first time Eichel hits the 100-point level. I’d imagine Eichel is going to get drafted somewhere between the 3rd and 4th round again this season – I think he’s probably worth a pick in that range given his upside. I don’t think he’s worth gambling your second round pick on if there is a stalwart blueliner or a 90-point winger available. Next season will be interesting for the Sabres and Eichel – it’s time to put up the points.
Raise your hand if you knew that Stamkos put up his highest point total pace in his career last season? I’m guessing not too many people raised their hands. Did you know that he shot almost 20% last season for close to the 4th time in his career? So his 45 goals were extremely impressive given that his shot volume didn’t show any large improvements. At this point we know who Stamkos is as a player – if you’re lucky enough to have him on one of the 20% seasons you’re making good on your draft investment. If you get the 12.7% shooter from 2017-2018 you’re probably going to be wishing you looked elsewhere. The vaunted Tampa Bay power play helps keep his assist totals inflated so assuming he’s healthy next season there really isn’t a reason to see him slip past the second round. I’m thinking that recency bias is going to have Stamkos picked in the late first or early second, which for those of your waiting for your second pick will leave some juicy options on the board.
Tavares set a career high in goals with 47 on the season. He almost undoubtedly was drafted in the first round of most leagues last year. That likely paid off thanks to his career year in goals. He was a stable option and likely will continue to be a stable option next season. I’m not one to draft the center position in the first round unless there is tremendous upside; for me Tavares hit his ceiling this season and I don’t really see him pushing to even 95 points. In Toronto he has lost almost 30 seconds of power play time and a minute of playing time. Maybe if Babcock shifts his minutes around 95 points is a possibility but there isn’t any indication that is going to happen. Tavares also ended up on the wrong side of the ixGF-G equation and without an uptick in assists will assuredly be seeing a decline in his overall points. All told the lack of premium minutes reduces his superstar level upside – if those things change he’ll prove me wrong – I’m looking elsewhere in the first round next season regardless of my draft position.
Alright for the next couple week we will shift gears and look at blueliners – there is a lot to dig into.
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