Ramblings: Vezina Finalists, Top Frozen Tools Searches Boeser, Gaudreau (July 18)

Ian Gooding

2020-07-18

The Vezina Trophy finalists were announced on Friday: Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tuukka Rask.

Here is the basic stats comparison of the three goalies using the Compare Goalies feature from Frozen Tools.

NameScoreGPWLOTLSOGASASVGAASV%
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK458312156140179616562.570.922
TUUKKA RASK4412686585118911042.120.929
ANDREI VASILEVSKIY252351433133160514722.560.917

And a partial extended stats comparison. I removed the last several columns on special teams save percentage, distance save percentage, and salary cap in case you’re trying to figure out the score. You can view it in its entirety here.

NameScoreGPQSQS%RBSRBS%GSAAEV SV%
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK6583662.1712.123.220.929
TUUKKA RASK6412868.337.322.510.937
ANDREI VASILEVSKIY3523159.6713.512.130.926

Based on both basic and advanced stats categories, this is a two-horse race between Rask and Hellebuyck. Rask's goals-against average stands out, so I think he is where the voters lean when deciding on this award. However, I would give this award to Hellebuyck based on a higher volume of starts (and more wins, which voters also like), and the fact that he is backstopping a team with a weaker defense. Rask is a great goalie, but he clearly benefits from playing in the Boston system.

You can vote and weigh in on the Vezina Trophy finalists on the Forum.

One other name that was being discussed as a potential finalist is Jacob Markstrom, whose quality start percentage (58.1 QS%), goals saved above average (11.40 GSAA), and even-strength save percentage (.924 EV SV%) were only slightly below Vasilevskiy's. Teaser alert: I'll be discussing Markstrom more tomorrow.

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We now know more about why David Pastrnak has been held out of training camp. According to his agent J.P. Barry, Pastrnak has tested negative for COVID-19, but he is in quarantine because he came into contact with someone who tested positive. Pasta will be a very high pick in playoff pools (third overall in mine), so this is a situation worth monitoring. Remember that the Bruins start in the round-robin seeding tournament, so there's no point in them rushing Pastrnak back anyway.

Caleb Jones admitted that he tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago. Fortunately, he has not experienced any symptoms.

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If you haven't already, purchase your DobberHockey 2020 Interactive Playoff Draft List today! As has been the case in previous seasons, you can customize the teams that advance, or if you're not sure you can go with Dobber's picks. There will also be updates, based on injuries and updated player news.

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Here are the top Frozen Tools searches for the past week.

We have a brand-new name at #1. It's kind of like that album that is so well-anticipated or well-received that it debuts at the top of the charts. Okay, maybe it's not like that, but that certain name has that wonderful flow that helps sell albums like a teen idol. I probably sound like an old guy talking, but you get the idea.

Brock Boeser

In case you haven't heard, Matt Sekeres of TSN 1040 radio reported last week that the Canucks had been discussing a potential Boeser trade. I understand that GMs discuss all kinds of trades involving all kinds of players, and it's only natural to inquire about another team's top players. Yet these rumors were far-enough reaching that even Boeser and his teammates were well aware of the situation.

For those asking why on earth the Canucks would trade Boeser, it all boils down to cap space. Jim Benning signed the likes of Loui Eriksson, Brandon Sutter, Jay Beagle, and Tyler Myers to far more than they're worth for far too long of a term. He also wants to sign UFAs Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Toffoli, and Chris Tanev. Out of all of this, Boeser could be the casualty, which is a complete mishandling of valuable cap space. If the Canucks acquire a top-4 defenseman with a reasonable cap hit in return, then it could soften the blow for Canucks fans.

Boeser's actual value is subject to debate. An optimist would view Boeser as a sniper who will one day make a serious run for 50 goals, with that day possibly coming sooner rather than later. A pessimist would view Boeser as a Band-Aid Boy who has yet to score 30 goals or play 70 games in three NHL seasons. So if the Canucks were to trade Boeser, would they be selling low, or is he only capable of what we've seen thus far?

The sobering truth for Boeser owners in the here and now is that Boeser finished the season ice cold. He did not record a point in his last five games, and he did not score a goal in his previous 12 games. That goal drought dates all the way back to January 12, as Boeser missed a month with a rib-cartilage injury, returning for the Canucks' final game before the shutdown. Boeser finished the season with 16 goals, which would have put him on pace for 20 goals if all of the Canucks' remaining games had been played and he was in the lineup for them.

There's reason that you may want to consider buying low, though. Boeser's overall shooting percentage of 9.5% is down from his career average of 12.7%, while his IPP of 55.6 this season is lower than his previous seasons of 63.6% and 72.4%. Even with the reduced goal total, Boeser was still on pace for a career high in assists, which are a result of having more scoring threats to pass the puck to now (eg. Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller) than when he started in Vancouver.

Boeser may still have a nagging wrist issue, which is why I can't be 100 percent that his goal scoring will rebound. It's also possible that the presence of Tyler Toffoli could push Boeser down the lineup during the play-in round. If Toffoli stays with the Canucks beyond this season, Boeser could also be negatively impacted if he is not traded. All in all, what happens in the Canucks' offseason will factor into Boeser's fantasy value.

Johnny Gaudreau

Maybe it's trade rumor week here at Dobber Hockey. That's probably not true, although Gaudreau is another player who has also been recently discussed with the word "trade" in the same sentence. The Flames are another team that are up against the cap. Gaudreau is coming off a down year, and he has a cap hit of $6.75 million for two more seasons.

Like with Boeser, Gaudreau's shooting percentage was down in 2019-20. After a 36-goal season with a SH% of 14.7%, Gaudreau scored just 18 goals while shooting at 8.6%. The Flames team scoring was down across the board, as the team fell from third in goals for per game played in 2018-19 to 20th in 2019-20. Look for a key player on the Flames, and his scoring probably fell from 2018-19.

Under new coach Geoff Ward, Gaudreau's icetime dropped from about 20 minutes per game to just over 18 minutes per game. In case you're wondering whether the reduced icetime negatively impacted Gaudreau's production, he actually ended the season on a high note with 20 points in his last 20 games. That after he started the season with 38 points in 50 games. That's a great sign for Johnny Hockey, who had been a point-per-game player over each of his previous two seasons.

Gaudreau was kept in a separate group from his regular linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm at the opening of camp, which fueled speculation in Calgary that the team was not happy with his conditioning (NHL.com). Playoff poolies who drafted Gaudreau shouldn't worry, as he should be back with his regular linemates for the play-in series against Winnipeg.

Since Gaudreau is from the eastern United States, there's going to be speculation that the Flames might accommodate a trade to a place like Philadelphia or New York as long as he's in Calgary. Whether he is traded or remains with the Flames, Gaudreau will remain a force that can drive offense on his own. He seems like a good bet to return to a point-per-game pace in 2020-21, regardless of team. 

For more on Gaudreau and the Flames, listen to Keeping Karlsson's 31 Beats interview with Flames reporter Kristen Anderson.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
BRAYDEN POINT T.B 5 5 3 8
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 5 1 7 8
VICTOR HEDMAN T.B 8 3 6 9
ONDREJ PALAT T.B 5 3 2 5
JOE PAVELSKI DAL 5 4 1 5
JOHN KLINGBERG DAL 8 1 7 8
MIRO HEISKANEN DAL 4 1 2 3

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency ANA Players
18.1% DAVID BACKES NICOLAS DESLAURIERS CARTER ROWNEY
16.9% ADAM HENRIQUE RICKARD RAKELL JAKOB SILFVERBERG
16% MAX JONES KIEFER SHERWOOD SAM STEEL

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