Eastern Conference, Real or Imagined: Defensemen – Part Two

by Eric Daoust on December 8, 2015
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Conference, Real or Imagined: Defensemen – Part Two

Why Nick Leddy makes a good buy and other stock reports on Eastern Conference defensemen.

As a continuation of the “Real or Imagined” series, this week we will cover defensemen in the Eastern Conference from the New York Islanders to Washington. Defensemen will be given a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or waive based on a number of factors. First, what they have done so far will be taken into account along with how things might play out in the coming months, both statistically and in terms of opportunity. But more importantly, the analysis will put everything in the context of each player’s value in one-year fantasy leagues with a primary focus on points-only settings but with an eye on the world of multi-category formats.

Note: There are instances where the line between “hold” and “waive” can be blurry. Sometimes defensemen that fall short in terms of offensive production offer multi-category appeal. In those cases they will get a “hold” recommendation.

New York Islanders

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Johnny Boychuk

28

3

8

65

3

1:14

21:51

4.6

6.5

HOLD

Marek Zidlicky

25

1

7

16

2

2:00

15:16

6.3

8.9

HOLD

Nick Leddy

28

0

6

32

4

2:23

22:19

0.0

7.1

BUY

Travis Hamonic

28

1

5

55

0

0:48

23:51

1.8

7.7

HOLD

Calvin de Haan

28

1

3

41

0

0:06

20:50

2.4

7.3

BUY

Thomas Hickey

9

2

1

11

0

0:03

15:51

18.2

9.4

HOLD

Brian Strait

20

0

2

16

0

0:02

15:20

0.0

5.5

WAIVE

 

 

Nick Leddy – Seen as a sleeper pick by many heading into this year, Leddy has been a massive disappointment thus far. A big red flag is his lack of shots on goal – just 32 through 28 games after hitting the net 120 times last year. More pucks on net would help him end his goal-scoring drought and would create opportunities for deflections. As of right now it appears as though Leddy’s final point total will not look pretty but he cannot possibly underachieve this badly all year. If you need a guy to produce at a 30-point pace down the stretch Leddy could be your guy.

Calvin de Haan – Despite lacking in offensive output, de Haan is a multi-category stud due to his peripheral contriutions. He gets a lot of pucks on net and is outstanding in hits and blocks. Not to mention, being on a strong team helps in the plus/minus department. Chances are his lackluster point totals make him overlooked among more casual fans.

New York Rangers

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Keith Yandle

28

1

13

61

8

2:08

18:59

1.6

6.7

HOLD

Ryan McDonagh

28

4

9

49

5

1:57

22:34

8.2

12.4

SELL

Marc Staal

28

1

8

24

0

0:03

19:40

4.2

9.1

HOLD

Dan Girardi

28

2

7

22

0

0:04

20:28

9.1

12.3

HOLD

Kevin Klein

25

3

3

24

1

0:30

20:18

12.5

8.2

HOLD

Dan Boyle

22

0

5

22

4

2:07

18:32

0.0

11.0

SELL

Dylan McIlrath

9

0

0

10

0

0:00

14:16

0.0

3.0

WAIVE

 

 

Ryan McDonagh – Fresh off a three-point night, McDonagh’s point total looks promising and on pace to fall close to his career-high of 43 points set in 2013-14. Unfortunately, his output this year does not look sustainable. For starters, his ice time is the lowest of his career and his power-play minutes are down from when he has been most effective. His numbers at even strength are also a bit inflated as evidenced by his five-on-five on-ice shooting percentage above 12 percent. In some multi-category leagues he is producing like a star – sell him now before his offensive numbers come back down to earth and make him look human.

Dan Boyle – Clearly, Boyle is running out of gas this late in his career. While he has seen a lot of time with the man advantage and has been productive in that area, he has been a total non-factor at even strength which severely cuts into his upside. Additionally, he has been a healthy scratch six times this year so he cannot even be trusted to suit up. If someone out there thinks Boyle still has something to offer as a depth defenseman, find a way to make a trade happen.

Ottawa

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Erik Karlsson

27

6

26

67

13

4:39

27:33

9.0

11.8

HOLD

Cody Ceci

26

2

4

37

0

0:27

19:02

5.4

7.8

HOLD

Marc Methot

24

2

3

30

0

0:01

21:33

6.7

10.3

HOLD

Patrick Wiercioch

19

0

3

21

2

0:34

16:55

0.0

6.8

WAIVE

Chris Wideman

16

3

0

27

1

0:53

14:17

11.1

6.9

WAIVE

Jared Cowen

24

0

3

17

0

0:02

17:58

0.0

9.7

HOLD

Mark Borowiecki

27

0

1

10

0

0:03

15:40

0.0

4.2

BUY

 

 

Mark Borowiecki – Despite Borowiecki’s obvious contributions in the physical categories, player of his ilk are still undervalued in leagues that play to their strengths. While grabbing someone like Derek Dorsett or Cody McLeod could be problematic if doing so hurts your team offensively, adding a blueliner like Borowiecki can be done with less of a sacrifice in point production.

Philadelphia

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Mark Streit

16

3

6

33

4

3:34

22:46

9.1

5.8

HOLD

Shayne Gostisbehere

11

4

4

27

5

3:05

18:19

14.8

8.5

SELL

Michael Del Zotto

27

1

6

56

2

1:51

23:58

1.8

2.3

BUY

Luke Schenn

23

2

3

18

0

0:04

17:50

11.1

6.9

HOLD

Evgeny Medvedev

16

1

3

26

2

2:03

18:34

3.8

8.7

WAIVE

Brandon Manning

21

0

2

28

0

0:30

16:36

0.0

4.4

WAIVE

Radko Gudas

22

0

1

37

0

0:07

20:44

0.0

4.0

BUY

Nick Schultz

26

0

1

16

0

0:02

17:47

0.0

6.9

WAIVE

 

 

Shayne Gostisbehere – Off to a great start at the NHL level, Gostisbehere has arrived as an immediate fantasy contributor. With that said, his current pace is incredible and is due for some market correction. Not only is his personal shooting percentage very high, he will be battling a proven commodity in Mark Streit (still out for a couple weeks) for the single spot for a defenseman on the Flyers’ top power-play unit. There is still great value in owning Gostisbehere but if someone comes calling giving him the star treatment you should try to get your hands on a more proven producer for the second half.

Michael Del Zotto – At this point it is pretty safe to assume Del Zotto will not repeat last year’s impressive scoring rate of 0.5 points per game. The addition of Gostisbehere to the mix solidifies Del Zotto as a secondary producer for the Flyers. However, he is capable of more than he has shown thus far as his five-on-five on-ice shooting percentage is very low. This could make him a nice depth defenseman in deeper leagues down the stretch. Additionally, he ranks quite well in multi-category leagues by producing shots, hits and blocks in large quantities.

Radko Gudas – Like Borowiecki, Gudas is often undervalued in fantasy land even when the league suits his style. This year has been more of the same for him as he has been a solid contributor in PIM, hits, blocks and shots on goal. The offense has not come yet but he is due for a few points as he has been very unlucky to date. He is unlikely to hit 20 points like he did in Tampa Bay unless he sees more power play time but any additional points will put Gudas back in the upper echelon of multi-category defensemen.

Pittsburgh

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Kris Letang

24

1

13

71

8

4:27

26:24

1.4

2.3

BUY

Olli Maatta

20

4

2

21

0

0:45

16:48

19.0

13.2

SELL

Brian Dumoulin

26

0

5

29

0

0:42

17:26

0.0

5.7

WAIVE

Ben Lovejoy

26

2

3

33

0

0:09

19:18

6.1

7.7

HOLD

Ian Cole

26

0

4

29

1

0:55

19:44

0.0

3.1

HOLD

Rob Scuderi

24

0

4

9

0

0:01

17:11

0.0

8.8

WAIVE

 

 

Kris Letang – Letang has been productive on the power play but the team’s gross underachieving from an offensive standpoint has really cut into his numbers at even strength. He is always going to be a gamble due to his history with injuries but when he plays he is usually a difference-maker. Look for an uptick in production as the team finds a way to put more goals on the board and finally start living up to some of their potential as a unit.

Olli Maatta – A lot was expected of Maatta this year as the team decided to go thin on defense which created a great opportunity for the 21-year-old. Things have not gone well overall but he has heated up with two goals in his last two outings. Looking deeper, it seems Maatta is not destined to be a big point producer this year. He is only averaging one shot per game and scoring on 19 percent of his shots. His overall five-on-five on-ice shooting percentage is also very high. Simply put, he has to generate more scoring chances to produce at a fantasy-relevant level, let alone maintain his current pace. His recent outburst may have opened a bit of a sell-high window.

Tampa Bay

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Victor Hedman

27

2

12

60

3

2:24

22:07

3.3

9.4

HOLD

Anton Stralman

28

2

7

55

4

2:47

21:50

3.6

7.9

BUY

Braydon Coburn

28

1

4

33

0

0:04

16:47

3.0

6.2

WAIVE

Jason Garrison

28

2

2

43

0

0:57

19:13

4.7

6.3

BUY

Andrej Sustr

26

0

4

24

0

0:03

15:48

0.0

7.8

WAIVE

Matt Carle

26

0

0

28

0

0:12

17:52

0.0

5.9

WAIVE

Nikita Nesterov

8

0

0

3

0

1:07

13:32

0.0

5.9

WAIVE

 

 

Anton Stralman – Along with many Lightning players, Stralman has stumbled offensively out of the gate after a breakout campaign last year. There are reasons for optimism though – he is still getting top-pairing minutes and leads all team defensemen in power-play ice time. He is also shooting a lot which over time will help him add a few extra points. While the team figures to correct course as the season progresses, look for Stralman to see an uptick in point production. He should be able to push for 35 points.

Jason Garrison – Garrison is more of an asset in deeper leagues and his slow start has likely pushed him onto your league’s waiver wire. Keep in mind that he has a good history putting up points – he has eclipsed 30 points in each of his last three full campaigns. Plus, he does well in peripheral categories, and as the team’s third defenseman on the power-play depth chart he should be able to chip in with a few points there as well.

Toronto

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Dion Phaneuf

27

2

13

56

5

3:04

22:19

3.6

5.4

HOLD

Morgan Rielly

27

3

11

49

3

1:12

22:08

6.1

5.5

HOLD

Jake Gardiner

24

2

4

30

2

1:41

19:51

6.7

6.7

SELL

Roman Polak

25

0

5

21

0

0:03

18:46

0.0

7.1

HOLD

Scott Harrington

15

0

1

9

0

0:01

13:06

0.0

5.9

WAIVE

Matt Hunwick

27

0

1

35

1

0:14

22:21

0.0

4.9

WAIVE

Martin Marincin

17

0

0

12

0

0:03

13:26

0.0

5.3

WAIVE

 

 

Jake Gardiner – For the second year in a row, Gardiner is faltering offensively. The Leafs are a weak offensive club so it is very difficult for him to get points – both at even strength with lesser minutes and on the second power-play unit. Someone out there might see his “PPTOI” and think there could be better things to come for Gardiner. Sell him to that person as even a moderate uptick barely puts him on the fantasy radar.

Washington

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

John Carlson

25

4

15

56

10

3:32

24:23

7.1

6.2

HOLD

Matt Niskanen

25

2

11

41

5

1:49

23:42

4.9

8.1

HOLD

Dmitry Orlov

25

3

6

28

1

0:21

14:05

10.7

11.0

SELL

Karl Alzner

25

2

6

24

0

0:04

20:34

8.3

8.5

HOLD

Nate Schmidt

20

1

3

26

0

0:02

17:34

3.8

7.1

WAIVE

Brooks Orpik

14

1

2

12

0

0:01

19:15

8.3

8.1

HOLD

Taylor Chorney

16

0

2

8

0

0:04

13:06

0.0

12.7

WAIVE

 

Dmitry Orlov – Orlov has gotten off to a strong start but all signs point to his production being unsustainable. The main areas of concern are his extremely limited ice time and power-play opportunities. He has also been benefiting from luck as his personal shooting percentage and five-on-five on-ice shooting percentage are both very high. Until his situation changes he will not be able to maintain his current 30-point pace.

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