Ramblings: Forward Blocked Shot Leaders – Jenner, Getzlaf, Horvat (May 10)
In case you missed it, Dobber Prospects head of European scouting Jokke Nevalainen found this nugget on a Finnish website:
Of course, you can view Henrik Borgstrom's Dobber Prospects profile here.
Borgstrom has played in 58 career NHL games, posting just 19 points (9g-10a) while averaging about 12 minutes per game. He has spent most of the past two seasons in the AHL, where he appears to be regressing as opposed to progressing. Jokke mentioned that this could only be a 1-2 year stay in the K if he actually signs over there.
Development issues with the Panthers' AHL squad in Springfield have also been brought up. Aleksi Heponiemi, another top prospect, has been held to just three goals and 14 points in his first 49 AHL games this season. Should Grigori Denisenko keeper owners be worried, now that he is set to come over to North America? Maybe not so much, as Owen Tippett seemed to be doing all right in the A with 40 points in 46 games before undergoing wrist surgery at around the All-Star break.
Florida has been a tough place for a forward to crack the top-6; however, there could be openings as both Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov are set to be UFAs this offseason. Depending on who stays and who goes, Tippett and even Denisenko could push their way onto the NHL team next season. Borgstrom and Heponiemi seem a little iffier at this point.
For more on how these Panthers' forward prospects stack up with other forward prospects, see the Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards for April.
Had the rest of the regular season proceeded as normal, Mark Stone would have missed the remainder of it, and probably at least the first round of the playoffs as well. As things stand now, though, Stone says he'll be ready to play once the NHL returns (NHL.com). If the season resumes in July, we could have a scenario in which no key players are still sidelined. I could easily be overlooking someone, but we might not be hearing the "we would have won/fared better if Player X wasn't injured" line. That is, until the games resume and players get injured again…
Below are the blocked shots leaders among forwards. In Frozen Tools, shorthanded time on ice and percentage are also included when you press the blocked shots button. Although more shots are blocked during penalty killing, I haven't included them here because I don't believe it is a fantasy-relevant category (unless your league counts shorthanded goals or points, which I believe are fairly random).
Forward leader Noel Acciari was profiled way back in late March when I was discussing Cy Young candidates, so you can read more about him there.
Jenner is owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues, and I'd be willing to guess that many of those leagues are banger's leagues. Although he has scored just 11 goals and 24 points in 70 games, Jenner has also recorded over 100 hits for all seven of his NHL seasons. As well, he has been good for at least 70 blocked shots in each of the past five seasons. That's not a huge total if you're a defenseman, but it's near the top among forwards.
Another category that Jenner quietly holds value in is shots on goal. Jenner has taken at least 170 shots in each of the past five seasons, including a career-high 225 shots in his career season of 2015-16, when he scored 30 goals. That five-year shots total of 972 SOG places him within the top 50 among all forwards.
Deeper bangers leagues might want to have a look at Jenner for next season. Jenner's 5-on-5 SH% is just 5% in 2019-20, which is a bit lower than the 8-9% that he has produced throughout his career. Among Columbus forwards, only Nick Foligno had more overall icetime, so Jenner is going to get his minutes. Given his ability to block shots and defend, his OZ% will likely continue to be below 50%, as it has been throughout his career. That means we're not talking about a player with high upside in pure scoring leagues.
The Ducks captain's fantasy value can be best described as fading. A sure thing for at least 45 assists for a decade, Getzlaf will finish with below 30 assists for the first time in his career if the season is halted. Not only that, but Getzlaf's time in Anaheim could be coming to an end after the 2020-21 season when his contract expires, unless he's willing to take a major hometown discount.
Getzlaf has at least maintained consistency in blocking shots. In fact, he is blocking more shots now than he was during his first three NHL seasons, when he was a much more proficient scorer. His hits total has dipped slightly from what it was during seasons 3-5 (around 180 hits per season), but he is still reaching the triple digits in this category. He's also reached at least 50 penalty minutes over the last two seasons. No forward in the top 20 in blocked shots is older than Getzlaf, which speaks to his staying power.
An assist-heavy center who is about to turn 35 isn't going to be heavily in demand for fantasy teams going forward. The best-case scenario for Getzlaf is that he's able to sustain his career in the way that now-40-year-old Joe Thornton has. Thornton's scoring numbers from the past few seasons are likely what we should expect from Getzlaf going forward, but at least there will be additional contributions in the banger's categories.
I mentioned Horvat back when I was discussing top faceoff options. I specifically mentioned that Horvat has only a 39.4 OZ%, which seems particularly low for a player that is owned in as many fantasy leagues as he is (70% in Yahoo leagues). So it's a testament to his overall abilities as a hockey player that he's able to score as many points as he has (50+ point pace in each of the last four seasons) in spite of receiving a lack of offensive zone starts. No player that played a minimum of 40 games with a lower OZ% had a higher points/60 than Horvat (2.3 PTS/60).
From a fantasy perspective, the one silver lining of so many defensive zone starts is the opportunity to block shots. The Canucks' captain has done that with more frequency the past two seasons, blocking at least 60 shots each season. That makes him a solid top-10 option in that category. Unlike some of the options above him, he can also score, as we've described above.
You'd like to know then if Horvat can be used in more offensive situations. Part of the issue is that defensive specialists Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle have each missed at least 10 games this season. In fact, Sutter has played in just a combined 68 games over the last two seasons. Neither Sutter nor Beagle should be leaned on for scoring, which if both are healthy will take the pressure off Horvat to help defend. Both players being healthy next season will be key, although the Canucks may be looking to shed one of these well-paid players in the offseason to free up much-needed cap space.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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