This week we are starting a two part dive into players in the West who are helping owners out in a wider variety of categories. The focus is on players (forwards this week – defense next) who are maintaining useful levels of shots and points, but are also contributing in hits and blocks. We will not include PIMS in this article.

 

In order to generate this list we needed a couple of criteria. Players were initially ranked by how many blocks and hits combined they contribute on average each game. They also had to maintain a two shot per game average or higher, and have a 50 point pace or higher – which further whittled the numbers. The list below then is the top ten in this category in the west.

 

 

Player

Team

Position

B+H/G

SOG/G

Ryan Getzlaf

ANA

C

2.9

2.4

Gabriel Landeskog

COL

LW

2.8

2.3

Evander Kane

SJS

LW

2.8

3.4

Blake Wheeler

WPG

RW

2.4

2.6

Matthew Tkachuk

CGY

LW

2.3

2.7

JT Miller

VAN

LW/RW

2.2

2.5

Patrik Laine

WPG

LW/RW

2.1

3.1

Elias Lindholm

CGY

C/RW

1.9

2.3

Tanner Pearson

VAN

LW

1.9

2.6

 

Ryan Getzlaf:

Getzlaf is unfortunately a bit cold at the moment. He has no points in his last six games, and is only on a 55 point pace this season. He tops our list though, not because of his point pace but because of what he adds in peripheral categories. While he has a history of putting up excellent block numbers for a forward (and he has several four block games earlier this year), he seems to have hit a bit of a rut. We have to go back 13 games to find an instance where he put up more than on block. His total ice time seems to be fine, so we may have to check back in on this one to see if this is just a fluke or if he is changing his style of play as he ages.  His hits are fine during this period though with just about two per game.

 

Elias Lindholm:

Another surprising name who just made the cut. Lindholm has had decreasing hit totals since 2015-16, with a low of 82 in 2018-19. His block numbers have never been exceedingly helpful at less than half a block per game through most of his career. In 2019-20 though he is on pace to essentially tie his second highest career hit totals and out up a career high in blocks. He is doing this all while playing about 30 seconds less per night than he did in 2018-19. He is doing well recently as well with five blocks and six hits in his last five games (oh and he has eight points). While he (and most of the guys on this list) is not a hit specialist getting hit and block support from a guy on a 62 point pace is certainly going to be helpful.

 

Wild West Weekly Streamers:

 

Calle Jarnkrok:

Jarnkrok has three games coming up this week and if he is still available in your league now is a good time to give him a try. He has been lining up with Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen and has 13 shots and five points in his last six games.

 

Kevin Labanc:

The shine has definitely worn off of Labanc this season. He came in with some hype, but a 40-point pace will do that. All that being said, now may be a time to take a chance on him. San Jose is the only West Coast team to play four times this week and Labanc has been playing with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. He also has 16 shots over his last four games. If there were a time for a Labanc breakout it would be now.

 

Last Week’s Streamers:

 

Christian Dvorak:

Dvorak finished the week with one assist and seven shots over three games. It is not exactly the response we might have hoped he would have had playing with Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall. He played almost 18 minutes a night on average and spent about 75% of his shifts with either Kessel or Hall (or both). If it is any consolation, he got a point on the only goal scored by either Hall or Kessel. Kessel had no points over the week, and Hall only the one goal.

 

Drop or Not:

 

Phil Kessel:

This one comes up as I have now seen Kessel dropped in my leagues and thought it might be worth a check in and see what is up. Overall the season has been a huge bust. He has put up 21 points in 41 games, so on pace for a lovely 42 point season. That would be a 40 point drop from his 2018-19 season in Pittsburgh. I had Kessel pegged for a 60-65ish point pace coming into the season as so many of his points were coming off of that loaded Pittsburgh power-play, and felt that was a fairly conservative estimate. His current pace makes that estimate wildly optimistic.

 

First things first, his deployment hasn’t really changed (other than, you know, his deployment completely changing). He is getting about the same amount of total time on ice, and about the same amount of power-play time. His shot rate is down a bit (from 2.6 shots per game to 2.4 – about a 20 shot difference over the course of the season.) He is on pace for 22 power-play points (down from 36 in 2018-19).

 

Diving into a few of his stats we see a couple of things. The first is that he does not appear to be as dangerous at even strength or on the power play. He is shooting less sure, but he also appears to be doing less with those shots. That is to be expected. He is moving from a high caliber offense and power-play to a…less so. Based on those expected goals numbers alone, it looks like Kessel should be down 10-15 power-play points (which he is) and then maybe a few at even strength. That still leaves a 60ish point pace potential. A big reason he is not meeting that potential is shooting percentages. His personal shooting percentage is the lowest of his career. Rebounding that percentage adds a few points to his totals (though not enough to make the difference). The big change would be in his team five-on-five shooting percentage. His 4.6% is about half of what we would expect on average, meaning that his teammates are scoring about half as often as they should – or that there should be about twice as many goals for Kessel to get in on. Now we could look at that as a Coyotes thing (there offense is just going to score fewer goals), but over the last two years Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz would have averaged 7+ team shooting percentage (low for sure, but still way higher than Kessel).

 

So what to do? If I have him and have hung on this long I am holding if I can. Indications are that this level of deprivation isn’t entirely sustainable. Taylor Hall is now also on the team and having another high quality linemate at even strength or on the power-play will certainly help. If he is a free agent and you can tolerate the lack of production he is worth a speculative add, though a 60 point pace seems to be the upside at this point (and it is not entirely clear if he will reach that). If you need to make a move and 50-60 point wingers are on your waiver wire, then cut bait. Overall it is rough days for anyone who grabbed him hoping for anything close to a point-per-game player. 

 

Thanks for reading.