Ramblings: Players heading overseas; college free agents; Konecny, Hayes, and Provorov – September 8
Over at Dobber Prospects, Mason Black put together a list of players that have been loaned overseas. If all goes smoothly (which, you know), the NHL hopes to start the 2020-21 regular season in early December. Loaning players overseas would just give them a chance to continue to develop while waiting for NHL training camps to open.
Perusing that list can help give fantasy owners some insight into where their dynasty players may be playing in the fall (and some are already). There may not be NHL to watch, but could we interest you in some SHL or KHL?
In a similar vein, Dobber put together a list of players who did not sign with their draft team after becoming college free agents.
Tampa's stars came to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final as Brayden Point had two goals and three assists, Nikita Kucherov had one goal and four assists, and Victor Hedman had goal and two assists as the Lightning crushed the Islanders 8-2. Thomas Greiss started and was pulled after the third goal midway through the first.
Yanni Gourde scored his fourth and fifth goals of the playoffs while Kevin Shattenkirk had a trio of helpers.
I don't think the Islanders played particularly poorly, which may seem weird given the score, but Tampa just really dazzled on their chances. There is a lot of skill on this roster from top to bottom.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this great chip from Kucherov:
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) September 8, 2020
The Philadelphia Flyers were knocked out of the playoffs over the weekend and I wanted to take the time to review their season and their playoff performance a little bit.
What needs to be said first and foremost was the performance Carter Hart gave the Flyers. He posted a .926 save percentage across 14 games, and that included a league-leading .904 save percentage on high-danger shots (among goalies with 300 minutes played). He kept them in most of their games and there's not a lot to be asked from a goaltender beyond exactly that. A few stats (from Natural Stat Trick, all goalies with 100 minutes at all strengths that advanced to the first round):
- third-most rush attempts against/60 (all strengths)
- sixth-most expected goals against/60 (at 5-on-5)
- fifth in high-danger save percentage (at 5-on-5)
- first in total high-danger goals saved above average (at 5-on-5)
He wasn’t supernova, but he was pretty good. Scoring was a real problem for this team basically the entire postseason, though.
Tallying 27 goals in 13 games (post-round robin) usually isn't enough to win consistently. (It wasn't them being unlucky, either – they scored 2.04 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 based off 1.94 expected goals for/60 minutes.) Maybe their power play was a bit unlucky but they weren't a top-10 power play in the regular season, so expecting a big performance here wasn't realistic.
Keeper owners of Ivan Provorov should probably have any and all concerns quelled. He had a rough third year in the league last season but his 2019-20 campaign would have seen him probably get to 15 goals and 40 points with a full year, to go with triple-digit hits/blocks and over two shots per game. That's the guy we saw in 2017-18, and it's also the guy we saw in the 2020 postseason: he had three goals and seven points in 13 games, adding 19 blocks and 24 hits. He didn't shoot as much but it's the playoffs and the team wasn't good offensively anyway.
Provo still has a ways to go before he's truly among the elite fantasy options but he has a real good case to be a top-10 defenceman in multi-cat leagues next year.
Kevin Hayes was probably the best Flyers forward not named Couturier, and that's also good news for the Flyers. He has a big contract and he had some real struggles during the regular season, particularly on the defensive side of things. I found those defensive issues to persist into the postseason, though it's a wonder how much his line mates played into it. Travis Konecny looked generally poor all playoffs long and Scott Laughton was moved all around the lineup. Hayes didn't really have reliable line mates and that was reflected in some of the defensive issues, I believe. Things should look different next year.
I wanted to touch on one thing. It’s the job of analysts to find out what went wrong but I think in this particular moment in history, it's prudent to be even more measured than usual. These were exceptional circumstances in every sense of those words and we don't know how each player is reacting to the pandemic and being away from their families/friends. There were (and still are) civil rights issues that came to the forefront (twice) during the pause and this was anything but business as usual. There's no way to quantify that. It's why I'm generally going to give some leeway for player performance this postseason. Even under typical conditions, hockey is random. All this only added more and more layers.
Konecny had zero goals on 29 shots in 16 games (or 13 games, depending on each reader’s feeling on the round robin games). That's a serious cold streak. He managed seven assists along the way so even three or four goals would have seen a good playoff performance. This was anything but that. We can expect good players to go through cold streaks, but Konecny's longest goalless streak in the regular season over the last three years was 13 games, managing that twice, in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. He did have a 22-gamer back in 2016-17 as a rookie when he scored 11 goals. So, it's been a while since we've seen anything like this from him.
But is there reason to believe it's more than a cold streak? Here are some numbers (all at 5-on-5) on Konecny's individual regular season and postseason beginning with the first round:
- 0.72 individual expected goals per 60 / 0.70 individual expected goals per 60
- 12.8 shot attempts per 60 / 15.3 shot attempts per 60
- 7.9 shots per 60 / 7.2 shots per 60
Konecny was generating lower-quality shots, it seems, but there’s nothing wildly out of line. Again, these are crazy circumstances and we're still dealing with a small-ish sample. Maybe there's something going on under the hood, but there's not much on the surface as far as his shooting goes. Right now, given the lack of media access, stats on the surface is about as close as we're going to get. Just an FYI: Konecny was second among Flyers forwards in the first and second round in 5-on-5 TOI/game. Clearly, the coaching staff still thinks a lot of him.
Just wanted to mention Jakub Voracek. He finished second on the team in points (9) and managed 33 shots in 15 games played. Remember back to the regular season, and Voracek finished with fewer than two shots per game for the first time in a decade. He was never relied upon for big goal numbers, but he was usually good for 20 (he would have likely finished around 15 in the regular season). If he can maintain a little over two shots per game, he can get back to the 20-goal mark. But I think this is a case where the jump in shots would mean more in points-only leagues than multi-cat leagues, just because he brings so little elsewhere.
If the Flyers want to take the next step, their young guys really need to come through. Guys like Farabee, Frost, and Myers need to become important cogs in the machine. Getting a healthy Nolan Patrick back would help a lot here as well. If two out of three of Patrick/Farabee/Frost proves themselves a regular NHLer next year (Patrick is more a case of getting over his current health issues), with Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the mix, they have three lines they can run. Teams that can go three deep are real contenders.
On the flipside, if they don't come through, the bottom-half of their forward roster may be an issue for them again. Getting James van Riemsdyk back to his goal-scoring ways would help a lot in this regard.
All the pieces are here for them to have a Cup window for the next couple seasons. It's a matter of those pieces falling into place.
Bobby Ryan won the Bill Masterton Trophy for best exemplifying perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game. Ryan has been open about his alcohol addiction and subsequent rehab, returning in February. His home debut after completing his programs came on the 27th, and that was his magical hat trick night. Congratulations to Ryan and his family.
He also mentioned Oskar Lindblom and Stephen Johns, both deserving of the award as well. There were a lot of deserving winners this year. Having more than one winner would have been fine.
No data at this moment.