Ramblings: Assist-Heavy Forwards – O’Reilly, Duchene, Dzingel (Mar 21)
In yesterday's Ramblings, I ran a report on Frozen Tools on players who had scored at least 15 goals, then downloaded it to Excel to add a column that would allow me to determine the players who had highest number of goals per assist. I called this Cy Young award winners because of how the statline resembles that of a star baseball pitcher.
Today I'm going to do the opposite in which I'm looking for players with assist-heavy point totals. For the sake of this exercise, I'm going to ignore defensemen, since they naturally have high assist totals. I'll set the minimum number of assists as 20, which will surprisingly omit Alex Ovechkin, who checks in with just 19 assists in 2019-20. If the regular season were to end, this would be his lowest assist total of his entire career. Not that he's a candidate for this list or anything, though.
This time, the stat I'm generating through an Excel calculation is assists per goal (A/G). Below are the 25 players with the highest assist per goal totals, or conversely, the lowest goal per assist totals in 2019-20.
|JOEL ERIKSSON EK||C||62||8||21||29||2.63|
In terms of players that I'll discuss from this list, I'll be looking for players with a low shooting percentage. These are players that may be due for a goal uptick when hockey resumes. Many, however, are players who are traditionally on this list as assist-heavy options. Nicklas Backstrom is a prime example.
After back-to-back near-50 assist seasons and a Stanley Cup, it might be fair to say that these past two seasons have been the best of O'Reilly's career. The one downside, though, is that O'Reilly was down to just 12 goals this season, which would be his lowest total since 2010-11. Just something that would make ROR a good option instead of a great one in multicategory leagues.
The surprise here? O'Reilly's 5-on-5 shooting percentage is actually a bit HIGHER than normal. So the downside of his matching last season's career-high assist total (49) is that he has taken far fewer shots this season (118). O'Reilly has taken over one fewer shot per game in 2019-20 as opposed to 2018-19, when he totaled 234 shots. Digging deeper, O'Reilly's 5-on-5 S/60 has dipped considerably from 8.32 last season (one of the highest on the Blues) to 4.37 this season (one of the lowest on the Blues).
That low shot total might be temporary, though. O'Reilly spent a considerable portion of 2018-19 with Vladimir Tarasenko, a player who has been absent for most of this season. If the 2019-20 season does continue in some form, Tarasenko may even be ready to return, as he was targeting a return for around this time (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). If O'Reilly is matched with Tarasenko instead of David Perron, then the shot totals could return. Then so could the goals.
Among the bottom group listed here are forwards that are considered top 100 fantasy options in spite of sub-20-goal totals this season, which has resulted from low overall shooting percentage. This group includes Nicklas Backstrom, Teuvo Teravainen, Taylor Hall, and Johnny Gaudreau. Backstrom and Teravainen in particular tend to have very assist-heavy point totals. I'll focus on Duchene here, though, since his goal dropoff seems more pronounced that the others.
Even though it seems like a matter of when and not if Duchene would be traded out of Ottawa, he was able to focus on his game and score a career-high 31 goals with his second career 70-point season split between the Senators and Blue Jackets. Unfortunately, both the goals and points have regressed in his new home in Nashville. In particular, Duchene's goal total has plummeted to just 13 goals in 66 games as opposed to 31 goals in 73 games.
Duchene's shot total has decreased slightly in Nashville, but it's the shooting percentage that has taken a real hit. After shooting a career high 18.0% overall last season, Duchene has been shooting a career low 9.6% for the Predators. Duchene was on about a 50-point pace, which would have been much lower than the 70 points the season before. So if his shooting percentage averages somewhere in between next season, he could finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 points. Now that he is 29 years of age, don't expect any major gains beyond that projection, though.
You could call Dzingel "Duchene-lite", since there have been numerous parallels between the two players over the past two seasons. Dzingel was able to turn career highs in both goals (26) and points (56) last season split between Ottawa and Columbus into a two-year contract worth over $3 million with Carolina. However, Dzingel hasn't even come close to reaching those totals in his first season with the Hurricanes, as his points-per-game total is down from 0.72 to 0.45. In addition, his total icetime is down nearly three minutes per game while he's even been healthy scratched twice during February.
Fantasy owners should have ranked Dzingel with the expectation that he would score fewer points in 2019-20. His 5-on-5 SH% was 10.44% to go with a 66.7 IPP, both career highs. Conversely, he is shooting 8.2% overall this season, which is a career low. While 26 goals in 78 games was a tad lucky, 8 goals in 64 games has been unlucky.
As it stands now, Dzingel had not recorded a point in 11 games. Carolina seems to have a deeper offensive attack than Columbus or Ottawa (especially Ottawa, where Dzingel has played most of his games). So it's possible that he's not a great fit there and may not see any icetime with the big guns anytime soon once games resume. However, a lengthy break might provide a necessary reset for Dzingel.
Chat with you tomorrow. In the meantime, here's the classic game that just came up on my YouTube, so I'm going to watch it shortly.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
No data at this moment.