Max Pacioretty vs. Andrew Ladd

by Rick Roos on October 15, 2014

 

MaxPacioretty

 

Why Max Pacioretty is the better own in points-only leagues than Andrew Ladd

 

Again this week’s Cage Match features a battle between players with similar point projections in the DobberHockey 2014 Fantasy Hockey Guide. Yes – I’m still talking about the Guide, and that’s because although the regular season has started what you do with your team during these first couple of weeks is arguably as important as the preparation you put into your draft; and with that, the Guide is still a valuable resource.

Facing off this week are Max Pacioretty and Andrew Ladd. Conventional wisdom suggests that MaxPac is the clear choice in formats where goals are at a premium, just as Ladd would be favored where Hits are at a premium. But what about straight points – who makes the better own? Time to find out – Cage Match starts now!

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

 

Many might not realize that Ladd, now 28, just started his tenth NHL campaign, and likewise may have forgotten he was a former 4th overall pick. Also, he’s one of a select group of current NHLers who’ve had their names engraved on the Stanley Cup twice while on different teams – in his case, as a Hurricane (playing 137 games as a semi-regular during three campaigns) and then as a Blackhawk (playing more often, but still only scoring at a 44 point full season pace over three seasons there).

But what Ladd learned with those teams has paid dividends in terms of leadership, as the Jets (then the Thrashers) named him captain in 2010 despite him being only 24. It also set the table for an offensive uptick, as although he’s never had a 60+ point season, he tallied 100 in his past 126 contests (translating to a 65 point full season pace), thanks mainly to posting 46 points in 48 games during 2012-13, tieing him for 18th in league scoring.

Pacioretty also was a first rounder, going 22nd overall in 2007. And although it seems like he’s been around forever, 2013-14 was just his second full NHL campaign, as he hadn’t played more than 52 games in any single season prior to 2011-12.

But clearly the results were worth the wait. Pacioretty potted 33 and 39 goals in his two full seasons, with only Alexander Ovechkin having scored more than him in each. And like Ladd, Pacioretty’s recent scoring pace is better than it would appear on paper, since although he’s never topped 65 points in a single season he managed 39 in 44 games during 2012-13, which – along with some missed games (more on that below) – translates to just under a 69 points per 82 games scoring rate covering the past three campaigns.

 

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Pacioretty is signed through 2018-19 at the now bargain rate of $4.5M per year (Cap Hit and AAV). Ladd makes nearly the same - $4.4M per campaign – but is in line for a raise much sooner, as he’s set to be a UFA after 2015-16.

 

Ice Time

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards

2013-14

19:43 (A.L.) – 3rd

18:29 (M.P.) – 2nd

2:43 (A.L.) – 1st

3:01 (M.P.) – 2nd

2:03 (A.L.) – 3rd

1:03 (M.P.) – 7th

2012-13

19:40 (A.L.) – 3rd

16:30 (M.P.) – 3rd

2:39 (A.L.) – 1st

3:05 (M.P.) – 1st

1:24 (A.L.) – 5th

0:06 (M.P.) – 12th

2011-12

19:33 (A.L.) – 2nd

18:15 (M.P.) – 6th

2:36 (A.L.) – 3rd

3:10 (M.P.) – 3rd

1:32 (A.L.) – 5th

0:05 (M.P.) – 16th

2010-11

20:04 (A.L.) – 1st

15:53 (M.P.) – 5th (tied)

3:02 (A.L.) – 2nd

2:26 (M.P.) – 5th

1:52 (A.L.) – 1st

0:00 (M.P.)

 

Ladd has among the steadiest Ice Times I’ve seen in any Cage Match. And because in three of these four seasons his production ranged from 50 to 59 points it does raise some concern that his 46 points in 48 games during 2012-13 may have been an outlying by-product of unsustainable good luck, so I’ll be sure to focus on that below. Also concerning is his spike to 2:03 of SH Ice Time in 2013-14, because in the last two full seasons (2011-12, 2013-14) no NHL forward scored who averaged 2:15 or more of SH Ice Time per game managed to score even 45 points!

Pacioretty had a puzzling dip to 16:30 in overall Ice Time in 2012-13, but actually responded by posting his highest points per game career pace. What likely helped was that his PP Ice Time held steady at just over 3:00 per game despite the drop in overall Ice Time, which, as we see above, was back well above 18:00 per game last season. But Pacioretty also went from virtually no SH Ice Time to 1:03 in 2013-14, making that a source of possible concern going forward.

In short, these are guys whose Ice Time should hold steady in 2014-15. That, in turn, doesn’t bode well for Ladd keeping pace with Pacioretty in scoring, unless somehow he wasn’t super lucky in 2012-13.

 

Secondary Categories

 

Season

PIMs

(per game)

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points

(per game)

2013-14

0.73 (A.L.)

0.46 (M.P.)

1.97 (A.L.)

0.94 (M.P.)

0.54 (A.L.)

0.45 (M.P.)

2.42 (A.L.)

3.70 (M.P.)

0.15 (A.L.)

0.23 (M.P.)

2012-13

0.46 (A.L.)

0.63 (M.P.)

2.04 (A.L.)

1.34 (M.P.)

0.54 (A.L.)

0.36 (M.P.)

2.52 (A.L.)

3.70 (M.P.)

0.12 (A.L.)

0.27 (M.P.)

2011-12

0.78 (A.L.)

0.71 (M.P.)

0.92 (A.L.)

1.31 (M.P.)

0.30 (A.L.)

0.49 (M.P.)

3.23 (A.L.)

3.62 (M.P.)

0.14 (A.L.)

0.16 (M.P.)

2010-11

0.48 (A.L.)

1.05 (M.P.)

0.84 (A.L.)

1.81 (M.P.)

0.55 (A.L.)

0.35 (M.P.)

2.40 (A.L.)

3.02 (M.P.)

0.22 (A.L.)

0.21 (M.P.)

 

As noted above, the focus this week is straight points leagues; however, since some readers own one or both players in multi-cat formats I’ve included those stats as well. And what’s interesting is MaxPac fared better in Hits than I’d imagined, although he’s trending down (and in PIM as well). Meanwhile, Ladd’s Hits excellence only emerged two seasons ago, which is interesting since that’s also when his production increased – a nice win-win.

Pacioretty’s Shots averages are well aligned with his production, and have held consistent enough to suggest we should expect more of the same from him in 2014-15. Meanwhile, Ladd’s best Shots average coincided with only his third highest career point total. On one hand it’s good that he’s produced so well over the past two seasons despite not shooting the puck a lot; but that also makes it harder to forecast his production for 2014-15 and beyond.

Ladd has fared poorly in PP points of late, although for what it’s worth that largely correlated with the team finishing 25th and 30th in the entire NHL in PP conversion % over these past two seasons, which in turn means there’s realistic room for his output to improve. And the fact that Pacioretty followed his 2012-13 jump in PP production with a similar average in 2013-14 bodes well going forward, although certainly we’ll look at his 5x4 IPP to make sure it wasn’t out of line.

 

Luck-Based Metrics

 

Season

Personal Shooting Percentage

PDO (5x5)

IPP (5x5)

IPP (5x4)

2013-14

12.2% (A.L.)

14.4% (M.P.)

1005 (A.L.)

1020 (M.P.)

72.0% (A.L.)

71.7% (M.P.)

47.6% (A.L.)

65.2% (M.P.)

2012-13

14.9% (A.L.)

9.2% (M.P.)

1021 (A.L.)

986 (M.P.)

77.5% (A.L.)

74.3% (M.P.)

50.0% (A.L.)

83.3% (M.P.)

2011-12

10.6% (A.L.)

11.5% (M.P.)

972 (A.L.)

1005 (M.P.)

70.8% (A.L.)

80.4% (M.P.)

55.6% (A.L.)

61.9% (M.P.)

2010-11

14.9% (A.L.)

12.5% (M.P.)

981 (A.L.)

968 (M.P.)

71.7% (A.L.)

61.1% (M.P.)

60.0% (A.L.)

50.0% (M.P.)

 

It’s not reassuring that Ladd posted a higher than average Personal Shooting % in 2012-13, although as we can see he also had an identical percentage in 2010-11. What’s more, had he shot at his 12.2% career number in 2012-13, that would’ve meant only three fewer goals. On the other hand, here yet again there are no concerns with Pacioretty, as he’s been productive in seasons where he shot more than, similar to, and less than his 11.1% career average.

Although Ladd’s 1021 PDO for 2012-13 fell within what’s considered the “normal” range of 970-1030, it was 35 points higher than the average of his three other most recent seasons. What’s more, his 5x5 IPP has been consistently above 70%. And although that suggests he should be able to keep up a similar IPP pace, it also signifies there’s little room for improvement. Taken as a whole, his 2012-13 season does look more and more like at least somewhat of an outlier.

Meanwhile, there are no reasons for concern among Pacioretty’s PDO and IPP data either, as although he had a much higher than average PDO in 2013-14, it came with a comparatively low – for him – 5x4 IPP. And while his IPPs for 2012-13 were both quite high, his PDO was a modest 986. And in 2011-12 no numbers stuck out as unusually high.

 

Value vs. Cost/Injuries

Both players are LW-only eligible in Yahoo, with Pacioretty being owned in 99% of Yahoo leagues, compared to roughly 80% for Ladd. And although Pacioretty was being selected about 80 picks ahead of Ladd in Yahoo drafts, he went 35 picks earlier in the DobberHockey Experts League, which counts Hits as one of only six offensive (nine total) categories.

Also impacting value vs. cost is what I call the “Habs factor”, where players - like Pacioretty - on high profile teams (Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Rangers, etc.) often end up being picked earlier than they should, due to a combination of name recognition and dedicated, widespread fan support. Of course there’s no such issue for Ladd and other players on Winnipeg, which has a far more localized fan base.

Therefore, although Pacioretty is very likely to outpoint Ladd in 2014-15, Ladd might just end up giving your team better value in a points only league if you got him dozens of picks later in your draft. What’s more, injury history significantly favors Ladd due to him having missed fewer combined games (five total) in the past six seasons than Pacioretty has missed on average (six) in his past three seasons.

 

Who Wins?

Perhaps more so than in any other Cage Match I’ve done, I’m left feeling quite confident about the point totals each player should produce in 2014-15, with Ladd most likely tallying roughly 55 (in 82 games) and Pacioretty roughly 65 (in 75 or so games). Thus, the final points gap between them should be about ten, although it could be as low as a handful (maybe Pacioretty only gets 62 and Ladd climbs to 57) or as high as 15 (if Ladd dips to 52 and Pacioretty rises to 67)

Due to Pacioretty’s recognition from being on the Habs and his goal scoring notoriety (which I’ve found does affect value in points-only pools despite goals not being worth more than assists), his perceived value to his owner likely would be well more than ten or so points greater than Ladd’s. Thus, I would go so far as to recommend that Pacioretty owners look into moving him for Ladd in points only leagues on the condition that (a) they can get the Ladd owner to also throw in a useful asset, or (b) can turn it into a four player deal where it’s Pactioretty plus a throw in for Ladd and a solid player. On the flip side, because of the perceived value situation, crafting a beneficial deal to get Pacioretty by trading Ladd would likely be difficult.

For those in multi-cat leagues, Pacioretty’s actual value is more in line with his perceived value, as his Hits contributions are fairly well disguised and his goals are a premium. As for Ladd, his reputation for Hits is perhaps a bit overblown, and he’s not great in PP points or other secondary categories. Keep these things in mind if looking to involve either player in a trade. Lastly, Ladd’s value versus Pacioretty takes a hit in dynasty and cap leagues, due to being three years older and coming to unrestricted free agency sooner.

 

Cage Match: Mikkel Boedker vs. Craig Smith       
Torey Krug vs. Seth Jones       
Johan Franzen vs. Mike Cammalleri       

 

 

 

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