Geek of the Week: Monster Late-Round Value at Right Wing

Logan Doyle

2021-01-03

Most one-year leagues consist of 10 to 14 teams and start three players at each forward position. Due to the depth and quality of players available at each position most players are already well known. Unlike defenceman there is less need or requirement to dig really deep for hidden gems.

Part of draft research consists of identifying players that are falling deeper in drafts than their value warrants. Late-round drafting is where a GM can really separate themselves from the other teams in their pool.

One observation of this year's positional rankings is how many players have held onto dual wing eligibility during the off-season. Normally there is an update that strips dual eligibility from a significant portion of players. Because this did not occur there is a plethora of wingers qualifying for both left and right wing to start the season.

There's no shortage of quality right wingers this year.

Oliver Bjorkstrand – RW (LW) – Columbus Blue Jackets

Yahoo ranking – 153 (47th ranked RW)

Yahoo draft – average pick – 172 (15.3 round)

FHG ranking – 101 (24th ranked RW)

"If not for injuries." That's the line that follows Bjorkstrand into this season like an early-morning shadow. When healthy he was absolutely lights out with 15 goals and six assists in his last 23 games. He had just begun to build real excitement in December before going down with the first injury. The hype really blew up when he returned with back-to-back two-goal games before going down with another injury. He returned again without missing a beat and put up nine points in 11 games before the league shut down. 

The stat that really stands out is his 162 shots on goal over those 49 games. That translates to 271 shots over an 82-game schedule and would likely have pushed him into the top 20 for shots on goal. If you really want put last season in perspective, he had 161 shots in 77 games in 2018-19. He eclipsed his entire shot total of 2018-19 in 28 less games. 

His was on a 35 goal pace while maintaining a stable 13% shooting-percentage. His shooting percentage was 1.7% lower than it was in 2018-19. There should be no real red flags that his goal totals will regress going forward.

He also saw his ice time shoot up a whopping 5:36 ice time from 2018-19 and 1:15 in power play ice time. Any hopes of his ice-time increasing much more should be tempered. Only 3 forwards averaged over 18:00 per game or more for Columbus: