Last week we took a look at forwards in the Western Conference that were seeing a change in their ice time. The idea being that deployment; linemates, power-play time, even-strength time on ice – all of these things matter when figuring out which players we want to hang on to, particularly when we get to the bottoms of our rosters. We especially want to know when deployment changes as that is likely to lead to a change in performance. This week we are going to take a look at defensemen.

 

We are going to take a look at players’ deployment and see what has changed recently. Our baseline will be a months worth of data from November, and we will be comparing it to data over the last two weeks. This article will highlight a few of the defensemen who have gained the most time on ice, and the players who have lost the most.

 

Quick Explanation on stats: We are looking at the change in averages per game. So the difference in the percent of the team’s power-play time (Δ %PP) from the baseline compared to the last two weeks, the change in average power-play time per game (Δ PPTOI), even-strength time on ice (Δ EVTOI), and total time on ice (Δ TOI).

 

On D we are sorting by power-play time as general time on ice isn’t always a good indicator of an offensive contribution to a fantasy team.

 

Five Up

 

Name

Pos

Team

Δ %PP

Δ PPTOI

Δ EVTOI

Δ TOI

ERIK GUSTAFSSON

D

CHI

35.3

0:55

0:54

1:53

NEAL PIONK

D

WPG

24

1:21

-1:00

0:11

RASMUS ANDERSSON

D

CGY

22.1

1:06

-2:43

-2:21

CALE MAKAR

D

COL

21.4

-0:09

0:08

-1:10

HAMPUS LINDHOLM

D

ANA

20.8

0:34

0:19

-0:03

 

Erik Gustafsson:

Gustafsson has had a bit of a turbulent start to 2019-20. He came off an incredible breakout campaign in 2018-19 and dropped the ball. He was given the opportunity again and squandered it. He lost his top power-play spot for a chunk of time but now seems to be back in the saddle. He leads Dmen in power-play gains. He is seeing gains across the board as he is up about a minute of even-strength time as well.

 

Neal Pionk:

Coming into 2019-20 the consensus was that Josh Morrissey would inherit the top power play with Dustin Byfuglien undecided on his return. Morrissey has been unable to keep that job, to Pionk’s benefit. He has lost a little even-strength time over the last few weeks, but that has been made up for in more productive power-play time so at the moment the trade-off seems to be well worth it.

 

Rasmus Andersson:

If you aren’t a Calgary fan you might be less familiar with this name. Andersson is in just his second full season and is seeing career-high ice times. It looks like he is manning the second unit in Calgary at the moment, but occasionally seeing big minutes with almost 3.5 minutes of power-play time in his most recent game. His current point pace isn’t all that appealing, but he is putting about two shots on net per game and may be worth keeping an eye on as things continue to sort out in Calgary.   

 

Five Down

 

Name

Pos

Team

Δ %PP

Δ PPTOI

Δ EVTOI

Δ TOI

ESA LINDELL

D

DAL

-26.1

-1:04

0:27

-3:08

JOSH MORRISSEY

D

WPG

-20.3

-0:58

0:14

-1:06

CAM FOWLER

D

ANA

-12.6

-1:17

1:48

0:25

JAKOB CHYCHRUN

D

ARI

-11.6

-0:18

1:07

0:26

JUSTIN FAULK

D

STL

-10.9

-:33

0:10

-0:01

 

Josh Morrissey

As mentioned above, Morrissey seems to have lost out on his power-play spot for the moment. This has happened for periods already this year so it is definitely possible that he usurps Pionk again. At the moment though his deployment isn’t looking great and puts him in the droppable territory (depending on your league’s depth obviously).

 

Cam Fowler

As Hampus Lindholm is listed above it is not terribly surprising to see Fowler on this list. It looks like Anaheim is spreading out the power-play talent a bit. Ricard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf are on different units and the time is being distributed more evenly than in the past. On the one hand, that means a few other players get a crack at being relevant, but it certainly hurts those who would have been members of the top unit. 

 

Justin Faulk

Somehow Faulk is still showing up in power-play conversations. For a while, in October and November, he seemed to be sharing some top unit time with Alex Pietrangelo. Now he is firmly ensconced on a second unit with Vince Dunn – though in seven of his last nine games he has not seen any power-play time at all. For the moment it seems like the days of Faulk as a relevant power-play contributor are over.

 

Wild West Weekly Streamers:

Zack Kassian:

Any week where you can line up with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid for four games is a good week to stream. Kassian also adds hits if that is helpful in your league.

 

Joonas Donskoi:

Don’t look now, but Donskoi and Andre Burakovsky were back up with Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado’s last game. This one is a definite risk as Donskoi is not at all worth it if he isn’t playing with MacKinnon. But he was and Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen were on a second line with Nazem Kadri. If he is available take a chance and jump on him.

 

Last Week’s Streamers:

 

Dylan Strome: Strome put up a goal, two assists, seven shots, and two power-play points over the course of four games. He made a good stream and is making the case to stay on your roster for a bit.

 

Alex Tuch: Tuch was a little less successful last week after his masterclass the week before. He put up an assist and 12 shots over four games. Another point would have been nice, though he did add a few hits (4) and blocks (3) if those are helpful in your league.

 

 

Thanks for reading.