Geek of the Week: Blake Goalman

Ben Burnett

2020-01-19


Blake Coleman is not your prototypical fantasy stud. He doesn’t play on a top line. He’s 28 and he’s never cracked 40 points in a season. In 2019-20 he is averaging only 6 seconds of PPTOI per game, and in fact he has more shorthanded points this year than he has power-play points over the first 227 games of his NHL career. Having said all that, over the past four weeks, Coleman has become one of the most productive players in the fantasy hockey world.

Over New Jersey’s past 14 games, Coleman has amassed 10 goals on 68 shots, while adding 43 hits. Over an 82-game pace, those numbers would be 59 goals, 398 shots, and 252 hits. Obviously the goals total is inflated, but that’s on 15 percent shooting. Coleman’s career average is just north of 10 percent, so he’s been a little lucky the past few weeks, but not ridiculously so. If he maintained that shot pace and hit his career average shooting percentage over a full season, he’d pace for a very respectable 35 goals. 

From a season-long perspective, Coleman may be pacing for only 47 points, but his 33 goals would make him fantasy-relevant. Where he really makes his hay is multi-category leagues. Currently, Coleman is pacing for 255 shots and 249 hits over a full season. To put those totals in context, we haven’t seen a player come close to putting up a 250/250 season since Alex Ovechkin in 2014-15.

Given Coleman’s lack of power-play ice time, you’d be correct in assuming he’s been incredible at 5-on-5. In fact, Coleman is tied for eighth in 5-on-5 goals with Nikita Kucherov, Jack Eichel, and Dominik Kubalik. He’s one goal ahead of Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, and Patrick Kane

One factor that’s really helped Coleman is the emergence of his line with Travis Zajac and Nikita Gusev. With 284 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time together, the Devils’ resurgent second line has put up an expected-goals-for percentage of 54.2. That number would look good on any squad, but on a Devils team that is 29th in the league with 43.65 percent xGF this year that number is much-needed.

One element that has buoyed Coleman’s scoring so far is shorthanded scoring. Three of the ten goals he’s scored over the past 14 have been while New Jersey is down a man. Coleman’s no slouch when it comes to scoring on the penalty kill, as his nine shorthanded goals over the past three campaigns are tied for first in the league with Michael Grabner. In fact, Coleman leads the entire league in shots on the PK with 64 over the past three years. That goes a long way to making his shorthanded production look a little more repeatable.

So given he’s running a little hot right now, let’s consider to what extent Coleman’s production is sustainable. Scoring 33 goals and posting fewer than 50 points on the season would be an extremely rare feat. Viktor Arvidsson did that last year (34 goals, 14 assists), but he played only 58 games. Before that, the last player to not top 50 points while scoring 33 or more goals was Peter Bondra in 1994-95 (34 goals, 9 assists). 

To figure out a reasonable expectation for Coleman, we’ll look at his assist, shot, and hit rates over the past few seasons. Then, we’ll project his goal totals based on his historical shooting percentages. While we typically factor power-play scoring in to these projections, Coleman is playing so little on the man advantage that we’ll disregard those rates. The numbers below represent a full-season expected pace, assuming maintains his current ice time and linemates.

 

GP

ATOI

G

A

Pts

SOG

PIMS

Hits

Blocks

ES

82

13:25

22

13

35

227

50

224

44

PK

82

2:57

4

1

5

28

12

21

14

Totals

82

16:22

26

14

40

255

62

245

58

19-20 Pace

82

16:30

33

14

47

255

52

247

63


So while Coleman remains a useful piece in peripheral-heavy leagues, we are still talking about a player who is likely only a 40-45 point performer over a full season. Short of an uptick in ice time on the power play, I think this is what we should expect of Coleman long-term. Of course, there is value in consistency. Few expected Coleman, who ranked 77th in Yahoo leagues counting the above categories to repeat his excellent 2018-19 season.

Obviously Coleman is outperforming his expected totals, and if someone wants to buy him as an offensive contributor in addition to his gaudy peripheral numbers, then you have a good opportunity to sell high. But make sure you’re not cashing in Coleman’s ridiculous peripherals without getting the proper uptick in points in return. 

The more likely scenario for selling Coleman is in a points league, where he’s attributed a quantifiable point total for each statistic he accumulates. If that’s the case, see if you can sell him while he’s one of the NHL’s top goal scorers over the past few months at around the average fantasy points he’s putting up over the full season. If not, hang on and enjoy the ride.

If you have questions on possible trades for Blake Goalman shoot me a message @burnett_hockey. Check out my twice-weekly fantasy hockey podcast @avgtimeonice.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency NYI Players
24.5% ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER LEO KOMAROV JEAN-GABRIEL PAGEAU
23.4% MATHEW BARZAL JORDAN EBERLE ANDERS LEE
8.8% DERICK BRASSARD ANDREW LADD BROCK NELSON

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