Ramblings –10 big player production cooldowns in the second half, and what that means (Apr 27)
The NHL is seriously considering holding the draft in June, which would significantly alter my plans for the release of the Fantasy Prospects Report. I have said on several occasions that this would go out some time in the first half of July and that I would nail down an exact date in early May. But if the NHL does indeed go ahead with this, I would expedite things so that the FPR is released in June (usually it's out June 1).
I can just imagine the petty crap that the league is going through as they try to set these things up. If the NHL tries to move ahead with the playoffs and no season, you have teams on the cusp (on the outside looking in) whining about how they deserve a shot to play in the playoffs. If the NHL tries to move ahead with the draft lottery, you have teams on the cusp (in the Top 16 playoff teams so not in the lottery) whining about how they deserve a shot at a lottery pick. The NHL is getting it from both ends! Everyone is looking out for numero uno. Sound like a job you want?
Some players have nice-looking stats, but in a few cases they had red-hot starts to the season. So a player may be 30th in scoring today, but without that Top 10 start he would probably be sitting 60th. It doesn't take away the end result (i.e. that of helping you), but it does give a bit of an illusion as to just how good the player is leading into next season (and/ the end portion of this one). This week I looked closely at where things stood heading into December, and compared them to where they stand now. Some real interesting stuff there. Did you know that on December 1, Connor McDavid was on pace for 193 points? Leon Draisaitl was on pace for 189? Brad Marchand was on pace for 179 and John Carlson had 37 points in 28 games, which is a 145-point pace! Nikita Kucherov was waaaay down in the scoring race because he was only on pace for a piddly 128 points.
Anyway, I pulled out 10 players of note. These guys had been cooling off more than others, and their last three months tell a different story versus their first two months. First, a caveat. I'm not going to tell you that McDavid cooled off. I mean, the guy was going at nearly two-points-per-game so of course he cooled off. Players who were elite in those first two months, and are still elite now (just not superhuman), I won't list here. So John Carlson (from 37 points in 28 games to 38 points in 41 games after that) cooled down, but we shouldn't be alarmed over it. Brad Marchand is another example. Marchand started with 43 points in 26 games (!) for a 1.65 points-per-game average. Since then he slid all the way down to a point-per-game (44 points in 44 games). Not alarming. Although in both cases you see them producing at numbers that are more realistic. Marchand is closer to an 85- or 90-point player than he is to a 110-point player, and Carlson is closer to his 76-point second-half pace than he was to that nutty pace that begun the season.
So without further ado, the Top 10 Cooldowns
(first set numbers represent October/November stats, second set of numbers are December onward)
BONUS Anze Kopitar 27 in 27 (1.00), 35 in 43 (0.81)
Didn't crack the Top 10 here but thought it worth noting. Kopitar turns 33 in the summer. For a top player like this, that's not the end of the road by any stretch. But I don't believe in his overall 0.89 points-per-game number and tend to believe in the 0.81 number that he's been doing since December 1. I know in the grand scheme of things this doesn't seem like much, but over 82 games this is actually seven points difference (0.89 versus 0.81).
10. Evgenii Dadonov 21 in 26 (0.81), 26 in 43 (0.60)
Proof positive that Dadonov's bigger numbers are tied at the hip with Barkov (below). Without Barkov on his line and rolling, Dadonov is closer to a 50-point player. Considering Dadonov is an unrestricted free agent soon, this should be concerning. Whatever contract he signs, it will be rather big. And that means he'll likely get paired with his new team's top center. But there are never guarantees that it works and in fact odds are probably against it.
9. Tyler Bertuzzi 23 in 29 (0.79), 25 in 42 (0.56)
Still young. Still on the rise. But his upside is probably close to that 0.79 number and at the time I thought it was a little early for him to get there. The Red Wings will get better, and quickly. And for all we know he'll be Alexis Lafreniere's sidekick next year, blowing that upside out of the water. Without the star linemate, his number really is closer to the second one. But I say that knowing full well that he'll mostly have sweet linemates over the next decade, making the point moot.
8. Matt Duchene 20 in 25 (0.8), 22 in 41(0.54)
Nashville has a habit of bringing the worst out of a player's point totals. I don't really know what to make of this, other than that 0.8 number is probably not one he will get to again unless Nashville trades him. He'll be 35 in his next contract year, so the usual Duchene-contract-year 'pop' won't happen. Fun fact: Duchene's average ice time this season is his lowest in eight years.
7. Andrei Svechnikov 29 in 27 (1.07), 33 in 41 (0.80)
Svechnikov is so young that all this shows me is that he can produce at 1.07 points-per-game over a long period of time. And it makes me believe he will get there. Maybe next year he does it for half the season before slowing. But one of these years he's doing it for the full slate.
6. Ryan Strome 23 in 25 (0.92), 36 in 45 (0.65)
Obviously as Artemi Panarin goes, so goes Strome. But he consistently played with Panarin all season long, and his power-play time actually increased over time. And yet his numbers still slipped. At 0.65 his production is still very solid, but don't be under the illusion that Strome can be counted on for 69 points every season (i.e. his current pace).
5. Patrice Bergeron 24 in 21 (1.14), 32 in 40 (0.80)
Part of the Marchand/David Pastrnak crazy production spike to kick off the year, Bergeron has slowed just as they have. He started slower, so his fall from grace is more noticeable. His 64-point pace in the latter three months makes a lot more sense for Bergeron, regardless of linemates.
4. Aleksander Barkov 31 in 26 (1.19), 31 in 40 (0.78)
No real explanation for this, other than market correction, as I feel that Barkov is a 90-point player and can be counted on for such. The bulk of this decline is his past seven games, where he has just one point and has not been playing with Jonathan Huberdeau.
3. Tomas Hertl 23 in 24 (0.96), 13 in 24 (0.54)
While I think Hertl can be a steady 70- or even 75-point guy, what's concerning here is San Jose's future. If the team around him can't produce, then how can he? Logan Couture shockingly (to me) is already 31 years old. If Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier don't turn things around, Hertl's numbers could slip.
2. Kevin Shattenkirk 19 in 24 (0.79), 15 in 46 (0.33)
I stopped believing in Shattenkirk a couple of years ago, so I was shocked at his start. It had me questioning myself. It had me losing confidence. I had to be Dobber the Cautious instead of Dobber the Bold. But now the world is right. He really is being carried by his team, and his coach pampering his ice time. And I don't think we see the numbers we saw during that hot start ever again.
1. Joonas Donskoi 22 in 26 (0.85), 11 in 43 (0.26)
Oof. A new team and great linemates had myself and others thinking Donskoi found his niche. He's in his prime (just turned 28) so why not? But it turns out that he saw a lot of ice time with Nathan MacKinnon in the first half. Once that stopped, so did the numbers. It looks like he'll always be a boom-or-bust pick at the draft table. He could be getting 35 to 40 points per season. But then one year maybe he plays the entire slate with MacKinnon and gets 70. That kind of risk strikes me as more waiver-wire value than draft value.
I just had a look at the test website for the new DobberHockey. I know I said I would do this three (or was it four?) weeks ago, but we had a pretty big setback. Now we're rolling and I see this test site and I'm floored. Can't wait to show you. At this point we're fiddling with colors, fonts, and content pages. But future home page is looking pretty awesome. Shouldn't be long now, fingers crossed.
I took a look a couple of fantasy hockey websites, independent ones (not huge ones owned by NBC like Rotoworld, or TSN's ice chips) yesterday. In both cases their last article was announcing the season was on pause. Since that last article, DobberHockey has had about 70 articles. Seventy versus zero. The DobberHockey writers are here 24 – 7 – 365 because we're fanatical about it. Thank you for supporting us fanatics.
See you next Monday. Be safe. Thanks for continuing to support the website, and if you're bored and need a fantasy hockey fix – visit the gang in the forum here.
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