In fantasy, there’s nothing quite like obtaining a skater cheaply – via draft or trade – and then watching him break out. By the same token, paying a high price for a skater who then proceeds to play poorly can mean the difference between winning or losing your league. But lurking out there is yet another type of skater, a rarer breed who year in and year outputs up predictable numbers such that when you draft or trade for him you know pretty much what you’ll get in terms of his output. I call these skaters fantasy hockey’s “steady eddies” and this poll is about deciding which current NHL skaters are the steadiest eddies of all.
What makes a steady Eddie? Fairly consistent production year to year is the biggest key; but it does not necessarily mean he has to be a high scorer (although for what it’s worth I’ve limited the voting choices to skaters productive enough to be on the radar for most leagues), only that if you draft a steady eddie expecting him to get you X points, then when the dust settles on a season he’ll likely have scored within 10-15% of X. The other key factor is steady eddies should not be certified, band-aid boys. Sure, perhaps an injury might put them on the sidelines for a chunk of games every few years; but by and large, they miss no more than a handful of games in any given season.
With that out of the way, here’s the list – in alphabetical order – of what I see as the 20 steadiest eddie skaters in today’s NHL. I’ll put a link at the end of the column to access the poll where you can cast your votes on who you, my fateful readers, believe is the steadiest of these steady eddies.
Nicklas Backstrom – Since 2013-14 Backstrom has posted 71-79 points in all but one season, and in those seasons had 18-23 goals and 50-63 assists. Even his SOG has been pretty constant, ranging from 153 to 169 in four of those seasons.
Brent Burns – Since switching to defense full time in 2014-15, Burns has become as elite a rearguard as there is. But he’s also been extremely consistent in terms of his outputs, as after posting 60 points in that first season his production has ranged from 67-83 with the two other seasons being 75 points and 76 points, or right at the average of the past four seasons. And he also fired 300+ SOG and racked up 25-30 PPPts in each of those four seasons as well.
Evgeni Dadonov – This is only Dadonov’s third season back in the NHL; however, in his two completed seasons since returning his scoring only differed by five points (65 and 70) and his scoring pace thus far for 2019-20 is on track to be just below that small range. And with 13 and 17 PPPts (on pace for 13 again this season), as well as 188 and 195 SOG, it wasn’t just his point total that was consistent.
Drew Doughty – In this decade, Doughty had two big seasons (51 and 60 points) and two subpar seasons (36 and 37 points); otherwise, his point total has ranged from 40 to 46, with three of those campaigns being 44, 45 and 46 points. And although his SOG rate has varied a decent amount, his PPPTs in the past six seasons has ranged from 16-24, and from 19 to 24 in the past four.
Aaron Ekblad – Although we might be witnessing Ekblad breaking out this season, and he’s still just 23 years old until now he’s been a poster child for consistency, with 36-39 points in all four of his seasons where he played 78+ games. On top of that, his SOG rate in those four seasons was 170-189 and he’s never had fewer than eight or more than 13 PPPts in a campaign.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson –Amazingly, OEL has finished with 39 to 44 points in five of his last six seasons, with a 55 point blip in the radar in 2015-16. He also had 19-22 PPPts in four of those seasons, with 15 and 27 in the other two.
Mike Hoffman – For his final three seasons as a Senator, Hoffman landed at 56-61 points with 224-257 SOG. Last season he climbed to 70 points but still fell within that SOG rang. For 2019-20, as I write this, he’s back at 59 point scoring rate and on pace to yet again finish within the same SOG span.
Ryan Johansen – After RyJo had 71 points in 2014-15 at age 22, most assumed it would be a stepping stone to the former fourth overall pick becoming a major star. But it looks like that won’t happen, as he’s settled into a pattern of 54-64 point-scoring. Plus, after years of shedding SOG, that too has somewhat stabilized to be within 129-154 in these past three seasons. Moreover, his PPPts have also held fairly steady at 15-23 over those same three seasons, with him on pace to fall within that PPPt range yet again.
Seth Jones – Although he’s only 25 and thus might have better production still to come, Jones is on pace to finish with a 43-50 point output for the third season out of the last four.
Roman Josi – Perhaps this is the season where Josi explodes, as he’s on pace to best his career-high in points. But ignoring 2019-20 we see a player whose 82 game scoring rate in the past five seasons has ranged from 56-61 points, for a remarkable run of consistency.
Chris Kreider – With a scoring rate of 52 or 53 points in each of the past three seasons, and a 45 and 46 point pace in the two campaigns before the last three, Kreider has been remarkably consistent. And it also shows with his PPPts, which have been eight to 13 in all five of those seasons, as well as with his SOG rate, which has been 180 to 201 in four of the past five campaigns.
Evgeni Kuznetsov – Placing aside an outlying 2016-17, Kuznetsov has three full seasons where his scoring rate has been 77-86 points, which is what it’s on track to be yet again in 2019-20. His SOG rate has been just as consistent, as it’s ranged from 193 to 208 in those three campaigns and is on track to fall just below that range again this season.
Sean Monahan – Like Jones, Monahan is just 25 so he might have better hockey to come, like what we saw last season when he posted 82 points in 78 games. But other than that campaign Monahan has had four seasons with a 58-70 point scoring rate, with a PPPt rate of 17-22 and a SOG rate of 192-211 in all but one of those four seasons and on track to fall within all those ranges for this season as well.
Alex Ovechkin – Dating back to the beginning of this decade, Ovi’s point total has landed in the 79-89 range in five of eight full seasons, with it being 65-71 in the other three. His SOG total has always been off the charts but varied more than his 82 game PPPt pace, which was 25-31 in all but one full season of the decade.
Joe Pavelski – Yes, Pavelski started this season slowly; but if the past five campaigns are any indication, he should ignite before all is said and done. After all, he scored at a 66-70 point pace in four of those past five seasons, with a barely outlying 78 point campaign mixed in. His PPPts have little variation too, ranging from 23-31 going back the past six seasons, with 224-261 SOG in four of the six seasons to boot.
Rasmus Ristolainen – Think Pavelski, except on defense. Placing aside his slow start to 2019-20, Risto has been as consistent as they come for the past four seasons, with a full season scoring rate of 41-46 to go along with PPPts of 18-25 and a SOG rate of 186 to 202.
Mark Scheifele – Every year poolies await the breakout of the former seventh overall pick. And while he’s still only 26, meaning better things might be to come, it looks instead like he’s settled into a pattern of almost exactly point per game scoring over the past three seasons and likely this season as well.
Tyler Seguin – Like his fellow Stars teammates, Seguin is producing below his usual pace; however, if we go by his track record, we should feel confident that he’ll end up with 72-84 points, which has been his scoring rate in each of the past six seasons. On top of that his PPPts rate has had a narrower range of 25 to 33 in those six campaigns and his SOG rate has spanned just 298 to 335.
Ryan Suter – When it comes to prolonged consistency, Suter might not impossible to beat, as going back to 2008-09 he’s finished with a 40-47 point scoring rate in all but three seasons, posting scoring rates of 37, 51 and 53 in those other full campaigns. And only four times did his PPPt rate drop below or rise above the 15-21 range, and even then by less than five PPPts. His SOG rate also has been stable for the most part, at 136-164 in four of his past five seasons.
Keith Yandle –Most think of his iron man streak when picturing Yandle; but he’s also been consistent when it comes to the scoresheet, with a 51 to 62 point scoring pace in all but three of this decade’s seasons, and finishing those with rates of 41, 43 and 47. While his PPPts has had variation, his SOG rate has stayed fairly consistent, ranging from 178 to 199 in six of the decade’s nine seasons.
Now that’s you’ve read the data for each player and had a chance to look up his stats of yourselves, it’s time to have your voice be heard on which of these 20 skaters you believe qualify as steady eddies. You can cast your ballots by clicking here, and I’m allowing you to vote for as many or as few players as you want, so any skaters you see as a “steady eddie” should get your vote.
Questions for Mailbag column
The next mailbag column will be delayed because on Christmas day and New Year’s Day DobberHockey writers, including yours truly, will be giving you “top ten of the decade” lists for your enjoyment. But that just gives you extra time to get me your questions, which you can do either by private messaging “rizzeedizzee” via the DobberHockey Forums or sending an email to [email protected] with “Roos Mailbag” as the subject line.