Last week we used the cost-per-point feature of our very own FrozenTools report generator, to look at some Early Point-Per-Dollar Leaders. This week, we sift through the opposite end of the point/dollar performers, seeing who the most expensive strugglers are to start the year. Most of these players will get every opportunity to live up to their deals, and as a result they will all bounce back to some extent, but who will come out worth their contract, and who is going to turn out to just be a sunk cost at this point?
Patrick Hornqvist (RW) – Pittsburgh Penguins
Cost per point: $1325000 (points:4)
We do have to be aware that we are dealing with very small sample sizes, but there are a few concerning stats that crop up when looking at Hornqvist’s player page. First off, you need to be on the ice in order to produce, and higher ice time correlates to higher production. Unfortunately for Hornqvist owners, his ice time is cratering, down to 12:42 in the game against Vancouver last weekend. Last year, Hornqvist saw fewer than 14 minutes of ice time in a game only four times. He has already missed the 14-minute mark twice this season, in only six games.
The other concerning stat for Hornqvist is his shot rate. It has gone down over the last few games, matching his ice time. Hornqvist thrives in fantasy based on volume. He has surpassed 200 shots in every season of 30+ GP since his career started back in 2008. If the trend continues of being shuffled out of the top minutes in favour of other wingers like Bryan Rust and Daniel Sprong, Hornqvist’s bargain contract in fantasy may flip right over on its head. Keep an eye on those minutes over the next week or two so you can get ahead of the game on this one.
I had written the above before the Tuesday night game, where he scored three points. The big game helps, but it is a long season, and the ice time is still concerning. Only 15:12 in a lengthened overtime game on Tuesday.
Max Pacioretty (LW) – Vegas Golden Knights
Cost per point: $4,500,000 (Points:1)
This case is fairly open and shut. Looking at Pacioretty’s first eight games, there are no real red flags tossed up. He is seeing steady line-two usage alongside Erik Haula and a variety of right-wingers, his PP time (on the first unit) peaked at five minutes on Saturday against Anaheim, and his shot/hit rates are where we want to see them. He just appears snake-bitten to start the season and may just be suffering a little from the Vegas-flu. Be patient here, as he should still be a solid bet for 25-30 goals, if not more.
(Article written before Vegas’ Wednesday night game.)
Anze Kopitar (C) – Los Angeles Kings
Cost per point: $3,333,333 (Points: 3)
The above two names, Hornqvist and Pacioretty, I had a feeling that there would be some red flags with Hornqvist and Patches would be a buy-low, but with Kopitar I had no such feeling. He is someone that I have never owned in fantasy, as I have always found he gets drafted too early for there to be a likely return on investment. Last season he blew past his career high, posting 92 points, good for a top-10 finish in league scoring. He did so on the strength of a 17% shooting percentage (above his career average of 12.5), and a career high 28 powerplay points. To this point in the season though, the LA powerplay has looked anemic, struggling even to gain the zone, let alone getting shots. If there is no quick change, that could really hinder the production of a handful of the top players, Kopitar included.
The bottom line here is, don’t expect another 90+ point season, meaning the $10 million price tag is tough to swallow. On the other hand, Kopitar is about as reliable as they come, and another solid season should be in the cards, especially once Dustin Brown returns from injury, and they get on the same page as new addition Ilya Kovalchuk.
Kopitar’s write up was also written before his Tuesday game, where he also scored (I should know better than to write these too early). However, the LA powerplay continued to put up zeroes, going zero for three in the game.
Jordan Eberle (RW) – New York Islanders
Cost per point: $2,000,000 (Points: 3)
Eberle’s stats thus far this season are all over the map. Five shots one game, zero the next. Playing a minute on the penalty kill one game, playing a season high 77% of the power play minutes available the next game. Over 21 total minutes of ice time two games in a row, two games later he is down under 15 minutes. With only four wins for the Islanders through eight games, this tinkering by the coach is likely to continue as long as the losing record does (which should be the full season). Eberle is likely to produce in streaks, but for the season on the whole he will probably disappoint. Wait for one of those hot streaks and try to sell high.
Note this was also written Tuesday, and Eberle also scored Wednesday night. I should have warned you all.
Oscar Klefbom (D) – Edmonton Oilers
Cost per point: $1,389,000 (Points: 3)
If you have read my articles enough, you may have noticed that over the last year, I think I have featured Klefbom more than any other player. Usually I try to spread the love around, but KlefBOMB is a breakout waiting to explode.
In the meantime, Klefbom has been playing massive minutes, powerplay, penalty kill, even strength, you name it. McLellan is leaning on Klefbom to be the anchor of the blueline. Two years ago, Klefbom put up 201 shots in 82 games. Last year, he put up the same 201 shots in an injury shortened season. With a surgically repaired shoulder, and a market correction on his low shooting percentages, Klefbom shows signs that a wave of production is coming.
In his last four games, Klefbom has put up three assists and 14 shots. The clock is ticking for you to get on board with this.
There’s only so many times we can tell you to get the DobberHockey 2018-2019 Fantasy guide. It can still give you an edge over your competition. If you’re getting left behind in your league at this point, you have to wonder if it’s because your league leaders are reading. Keep up!
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean, where next time I’ll let you know who I’m writing about on a Tuesday afternoon, so you can plug them into your lineup before they rack up points.
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- Fantasy Impact: Derick Brassard Signs With Islanders
- Capped: Team by team buy and sell, part 3
- Frozen Tools Forensics: Impending contract years, part 2
- Fantasy Hockey Podcast: NHL Audio Almanac and projections preview: Carolina Hurricanes