An offseason trade to Manhattan did wonders for Jacob Trouba’s pre-draft fantasy stock. The 25-year-old blueliner was coming off a career year in Winnipeg, after putting up 50 points, including 18 on the power-play after injuries left Dustin Byfuglien on the shelf. Upon arriving in New York, the thought was Trouba would become the de facto anchor on the top power-play unit, a notion that was reinforced when he signed an $8 million per year long-term contract extension.

Things haven’t exactly worked out the way Trouba owners would have hoped, as the Rangers defenseman is once again seeing a sub-40 percent share in the team’s power-play deployment. Many believed Trouba would be able to build on his career year in 2018-19, but that just hasn’t been the case. Through 48 games, he’s pacing for only 39 points.

In points-heavy formats, there’s no doubt that Trouba has been a bust. With an average draft position on Yahoo of 117 overall, Trouba was the 27th defenseman coming off the board on average. As of the All-Star break, he’s actually ranked 42nd in points among d-men. He needed a PP1 role to pay-off in those formats, and unfortunately for Trouba’s owners, Tony DeAngelo has taken up the mantle of the Rangers’ top offensive option. Trouba hasn’t even been the second option in New York, as rookie Adam Fox has seen a higher share of the team’s power-play time. While the offensive numbers don’t look great, Trouba has continued to be a great value in multi-category formats.

Players like Trouba represent immense value in peripherals leagues, because their back-end statistic floor is so high. His owners in such leagues may be disappointed by his meager first-half point totals, but honestly, they’ve gotten fair value for his contributions in most multi-cat formats. In 2019-20, Trouba is on pace to break his personal best mark in shots, hits and penalty minutes.

Using Dobber’s Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, I’ve ranked all skaters based on their season-to-date value in leagues that count the following categories: goals, assists, shots on goal, hits, penalty minutes, power-play points, and blocks. Here are the top ten defensemen based on the FHG algorithm:
 

Rank

Player

POS

FHG Value

1

John Carlson

D

131

2

Roman Josi

D

131

3

Dougie Hamilton

D

114

4

Neal Pionk

D

105

5

Shea Weber

D

104

6

Jacob Trouba

D

103

7

Victor Hedman

D

102

8

Oscar Klefbom

D

100

9

Mark Borowiecki

D

99

10

Alex Pietrangelo

D

99


Looking at the above table, a few names stand out. Senators enforcer Mark Borowiecki has been having an amazing season in multi-cat leagues thanks to out-sized hit and penalty minute contributions. You’ll also note Neal Pionk, part of the Trouba trade who has played his way onto the Jets’ top power play, who was the subject of an early-October GotW column before his breakout.

These values don’t mean you should necessarily go out and draft Borowiecki and Trouba back-to-back in the 3rd and 4th round of your draft next year. Basically, what FHG tells us about Trouba is despite his mediocre point totals, he’s been extremely valuable in multi-category leagues. In fact, if you look at all skaters regardless of position, Trouba ranks 20th in this format, just between the NHL’s second leading goal-scorer Auston Matthews, and perpetual assist machine Jonathan Huberdeau.

These players represent incredible mid-to-late-round value in bangers league drafts. When other owners are taking 55-point forwards, you can be giving your team a weekly advantage in the back-end categories by targeting these players. A comparable option from recent years would be someone like Alex Edler. Edler locked down a solid PP1 role the past few years when he was healthy, but he didn’t need that offensive production to remain fantasy relevant. His gaudy hit, block and penalty-minute totals made him an elite defenseman even if he was often borderline unownable in points-only leagues.

Unfortunately for Trouba’s owners, I don’t think he’s likely to steal back prime power-play deployment. Short of the Rangers deciding they want to move on from DeAngelo, as opposed to giving him a long-term deal this off-season, I don’t see Trouba getting back on the top unit. Until then, he’s likely a 35-45-point defenseman depending shooting percentage variation.

While it’s disappointing to see Trouba not get the deployment his owners may have hoped for pre-draft, it’s hard to complain too much when he’s pacing for over 200 shots, 200 hits, and 150 blocks. No fantasy player has hit all three of those marks over the past couple of years. The only thing that’s missing for him to be an elite fantasy option is that power-play time. A guy can dream, right?

If you have questions involving Trouba send me a message @burnett_hockey or @avgtimeonice.