Ramblings: More Draft Lottery Thoughts, Roto Ranking Nugent-Hopkins and Konecny (June 28)
So… that draft lottery was a lot of fun on Friday night, wasn't it? Regardless of your opinion on what happened, you have to admit that it got you talking about hockey again. And in a time when professional sports are hoping to grab casual fans whose usual favorite sport is on hold, this is the kind of buzz that helps the NHL's cause.
Whether you like the result of an unknown team obtaining the first overall pick, you have to admit that it could bring interest of the play-in round to a whole new level. I just hope it doesn't lead to fans cheering against their teams, as I think there's something fundamentally wrong with that. Pull for your team in the play-in round, but if it loses then cross your fingers for that first overall pick. The system wasn't perfect, but planning during a pandemic wasn't going to be anyway.
I wrote some more thoughts on the draft lottery while it was fresh in my mind in yesterday's Ramblings, in case you didn't get a chance to read. Elliotte Friedman also had some interesting words about it in his most recent 31 Thoughts, particularly on why the NHL needed to have the draft lottery in its current format.
Here's that moment one more time, complete with a result that we probably won't see again (unless the upcoming play-in tournament isn’t the last).
Just watching that video again:
If you're the San Jose Sharks, how relieved are you that Ottawa isn't picking #2 or #1 with your pick? Maybe the Senators were the only team that knew that the Sharks would take a serious nosedive in the standings when they made the Erik Karlsson trade. This was a pick that was expected at the time to be somewhere between 20 and 30.
Luc Robitaille seems to have this look of disbelief after losing the first overall pick to an unknown team. The Kings should not feel slighted at this result at all, though. They moved up two spots from the pre-draft order to pick their choice of prospect not named Alex Lafreniere. Their future forward group will consist of at least some of the following: the number 2 pick (maybe Quinton Byfield), Alex Turcotte, Gabriel Vilardi, Akil Thomas, Tyler Madden, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Rasmus Kupari, Arthur Kaliyev, and Samuel Fagemo. Not every one of these prospects will be a hit, but having all these irons in the fire means they are set up extremely well for the future.
Speaking of the draft and prospects, don't forget to obtain your copy of the Fantasy Prospects Report, if you haven't already.
I'm going to examine two players that I think might be worthy of inclusion in the Top 100 Roto Rankings in my never-ending quest to make these rankings better. If you think there are other players worthy of inclusion, please leave a comment either here or in the rankings themselves, or contact me on Twitter.
The Nuge ended the season on a hot streak, scoring 24 points over his last 17 games. Only Mika Zibanejad (1.52 PTS/GP over his last 29 games) and Nikita Kucherov (1.50 PTS/GP over his last 24 games) were hotter over a longer string of games than Nugent-Hopkins (1.41 PTS/GP). This major bump in production had much to do with a mutually beneficial line arrangement with Art Ross winner Leon Draisaitl and up-and-coming Kailer Yamamoto (26 points in 27 games).
When compared to all the forwards currently in the top 100, Nuge's 0.94 PTS/GP this season is somewhere in the middle of the list of forwards. That's ahead of the likes of Max Pacioretty, Patrik Laine, Teuvo Teravainen, Patrice Bergeron, and Blake Wheeler. Go back one season, and Nugent-Hopkins' 0.84 PTS/GP in 2018-19 places him a little lower down the list, but still ahead of names like David Perron, Kyle Connor, and Filip Forsberg.
I'll take this opportunity to compare Nugent-Hopkins to San Jose sniper Timo Meier, who is currently in the top 100. Let's start with the 2019-20 season, which was the most productive of Nugent-Hopkins' career, and a down season for Meier after a breakout the season before.
Meier has the much better hit total and the slightly better (when prorated over games played) shot total to Nugent-Hopkins. Yet Nuge comes out ahead in every other prorated category. There's a pronounced different in plus/minus and power-play points in particular.
Here are the last three seasons for each player.
It is worth mentioning that Meier didn't really hit his stride until 2018-19, and his shots and hits totals are both better than Nugent-Hopkins. Yet Nuge establishes himself as a better overall and power-play scorer over that stretch. For those reasons, I believe Nugent-Hopkins should be ranked ahead of Meier in the top 100. As well, Nugent-Hopkins meets all of the baselines to earn a spot on this list. Look for him in the July Roto Rankings.
My reason for considering Konecny for the Top 100 is simple. Konecny – not Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, or Jakub Voracek – led the Flyers in points this season. These three other Flyers are currently in the top 100, so what about Konecny? If you go with this season's stats alone, he deserves to be in there and could arguably be ranked higher than the other three Flyers. Yet if you go back three seasons (as I prefer to do when projecting players), he is well behind the other three in points.
You may be wondering if Konecny led the Flyers in scoring because he got lucky as opposed to being a player on the rise. Well, his shooting percentage of 17% is higher than it has been in previous years, but it has normally been high anyway (between 13-14%). It's probably better to think of Konecny as a player who is on the rise.
I'll compare Konecny to a current Top 100 player with a similar number of games played in Pierre-Luc Dubois. First, from the 2019-20 season.
Konecny easily had the more productive season. Yet as was the case with Nugent-Hopkins and Meier, the current Top 100 player has more shots and hits, while the challenger is ahead on everything else.
Now let's compare those last three seasons with the similar games played total.
Interestingly enough, Konecny and Dubois are practically identical in points, points per game, power-play points, and shots, even though their production curves have been different. Konecny might be boosted because he plays on one of the league's best offenses (3.29 GF/GP) while Dubois plays on one of the league's worst offenses (2.57 GF/GP). Yet at the very worst Konecny appears to be Dubois' equal, with Konecny taking the edge because of recent production. This is a swap that I could very well end up making for the July Roto Rankings.
For more on Flyers' scoring, check out this recent Keeping Karlsson episode with Flyers beat writer Charlie O'Connor.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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