Goldipucks and the Three Skaters: Josi, Vrana & Rust

Rick Roos


Welcome back to Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Here though, instead of there being three bowls of porridge I’m covering three skaters and declaring one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating just how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), or how cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or how “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.

On tap for this final installment for the calendar year are three players who set career highs in scoring rate this past season – Roman Josi, Jakub Vrana, and Bryan Rust. As usual, to test your fantasy instincts you should stop here and lock-in guesses as to which of the three was too hot, who was too cold, and whose output was just right, before determining if your predictions were indeed correct.


Roman Josi

In an era where all too often players ease off the gas pedal once they sign a big free-agent deal, Josi did the opposite, scoring at a 77 point full season pace the season after he inked an eight-year $72.4M deal. But considering his previous career-best full season scoring rate was 62 points back in 2015-16 and he'd scored at a full season rate between 56 and 58 points in all other campaigns from 2014-15 to 2018-19, is it safe to assume he'll come back to earth in 2020-21? Not from where I sit.

Despite his spike in scoring, Josi's luck metrics don't point to his total being unsustainable. Yes, his IPP marked a career-high at 58.0%; but it was 54.9% in 2018-19 and the 2019-20 campaign marked the third in a row of it climbing, suggesting it's an upward trending stat, not an outlier. And although his IPP on the PP was 85.2%, it had been above 70% in each of the last two seasons and he led the league among all defensemen in PPSOG with 69, or one per game, plus his PPTOI per game was 3:17, a career-high. What's more, his rate of one PPPt per every three games played might seem high