Ramblings: Top Frozen Tools Searches – Roy, Cirelli, Hertl, Couture (May 16)
The Top 100 Roto Rankings for May are now here! Have a look, and use it as a reference if you play in a multicategory league.
Don't be shy about leaving feedback as well. You may notice something about player valuation that I don't, so I do take any comments into consideration as I rank for the following month. I may also discuss ranking decisions in a future Ramblings in an attempt to show my work, as your math teacher told you to do. It's all about making these rankings better.
On Friday, Ales Hemsky announced his retirement. I didn't know he was technically still active, as he had last played in 2017-18. According to The Athletic via Oilers Nation, Hemsky had hoped to resume his career in Europe after recovering from a concussion.
For the past couple weeks, I've posted the top 10 Frozen Tools searches for the past week while trying to explain why these players may be frequently searched. This week will be no different, with several new players for me to try to figure out. If there are reasons that I've missed as to why these players could be popular searches, feel free to let me know below. Let's try to share our knowledge.
Pulling in as the ninth-most searched player, Roy might be the most intriguing one to find out about. His Frozen Tools page shows a prospect upside of 4.0, which converts to a fantasy upside of 32 points. That's hardly a ringing endorsement, although is Roy still considered a prospect if he is now 25 years old? Roy's scoring hasn't really moved the needle fantasy wise. In his first full season, the Kings' defenseman scored 18 points (4g-14a) in 70 games while receiving very little power-play time. That scoring seems to be in line with his prospect upside, so you can ignore him in pure scoring leagues.
Where it gets interesting is in the peripheral categories. In his 70 games, Roy managed to squeeze in the following:
Plus-16 ranking – 1st on the Kings
132 hits – 3rd on the Kings
100 blocked shots – 1st on the Kings
In his most recent Top 10 list, Tom Collins mentioned that Roy was one of only 12 players to reach triple digits in all of hits, blocked shots, and shots on goal (112). If you need to fill out your deep multicategory roster with a player who can fill the non-scoring categories, then Roy might be a viable option for you as he establishes himself as a top-4 defenseman for the Kings.
Cirelli's name on the top 10 searches doesn't come as much of a surprise to me, as he seems to be a player on the rise. He ticked many of the boxes that are consistent with overall improvement over last season, including points (0.48 PTS/GP to 0.65 PTS/GP), power-play time (0:18 to 0:57 PPTOI), and overall icetime (14:51 to 18:28).
Cirelli is only 22, so there are potentially many solid years ahead. However, keep in mind that the Lightning may have Cirelli pegged for a two-way role, which may not provide him with the prime scoring opportunities that the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, or Brayden Point receive. That might change at some point, but at the moment Cirelli's SH% (51.3%) is much higher than his PP% (19.0%). In other words, he spends more than twice as much time killing penalties than he does on the power play. An OZ% of 45.2% is higher than last season, but he is still missing out on prime scoring opportunities.
Plus-minus is a flawed stat, but as I've been adamant about before, many leagues still count it. In Cirelli's case it might even reflect his abilities as a two-way player. Cirelli is a combined plus-53 over the past two seasons. Only teammate Brayden Point has a better plus-minus (plus-55) over that span. Cirelli has never had a season Corsi For of below 52% in any of his three seasons, while his giveaway to takeaway ratio is very good (53 TA vs. 24 GA).
Cirelli is turning into a very strong player and a potential Selke Trophy finalist. I could get deeper into the analytics of that here, but my focus is more geared toward what's going to help your fantasy team. Cirelli is no doubt a player that should get drafted in many leagues, but I have a feeling that his real-life value will exceed his fantasy value, at least in the short term.
Hertl suffered a torn ACL and MCL in late January and was given a timeline of six to eight months to recover. As mentioned in Brennan's latest Injury Report, Hertl is reportedly ahead of schedule, which might put him closer to the six months than the eight months in terms of being ready. That might place him within the window of being ready should the season resume; however, the pandemic might limit his access to full recovery facilities. So Hertl being ready for the start of the 2020-21 season is a safer assumption.
It's nearly impossible to find a Sharks player whose 2019-20 production is ahead of his 2018-19 production. In fact, no Sharks player at the pause had even reached the 50-point mark (Timo Meier was the closest with 49 points). The Sharks as a team were second in goals for per game played (3.52) in 2018-19, yet crashed to 27th in that category (2.57) this season. That's a loss of nearly a goal per game. Has the San Jose hockey team as currently constructed jumped the shark? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
Hertl scored a career-high 35 goals in 2018-19, but that was with a 19.9 SH%. In 2019-20, that dipped to 13.7 SH%. Not surprisingly, he scored only 16 goals, but that was in only 48 games. Yet even with decreased production, Hertl's 0.75 PTS/GP pace this season was still the second highest of his career. He's a potential rebound candidate for 2020-21 who could end up being the leading scorer for the Sharks.
Unlike Hertl, Couture is expected to be ready to play when play resumes. Couture had been struck in the head with a puck shortly before the pause. As well, he missed about a month and a half previous to that with an ankle injury. As you'd expect, Couture's scoring was down, as his 0.75 PTS/GP this season is his lowest production in three seasons.
One surprising stat (and not in a good way) was that Couture failed to score a single power-play goal this season. Even with the Sharks' decreased production, that seems odd considering that he's had at least 5 PPG in each of his previous five seasons. As you'd expect by now, the Sharks' power play dipped from the top third of the league in 2018-19 to the bottom third in 2019-20. Couture's shots total per game didn't decrease by much, so this is just a case of bad luck.
Couture has been on pace for between 55-70 points for nearly the past decade. At age 31, he should continue to be within that range in the short term, regardless of the Sharks' fortunes as a team.
For more Sharks talk, have a listen to Keeping Karlsson's 31 Beats interview with Fear the Fin writer Sheng Peng.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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