Eastern Conference Real or Imagined: Forwards (Part One)

by Eric Daoust on December 15, 2015
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Conference Real or Imagined: Forwards (Part One)

Why Bergeron is a sell and other buy, sell or hold recommendations for Eastern Conference forwards.

After spending the last two weeks covering Eastern Conference defensemen, the “Real or Imagined” series continues with the focus on forwards from Boston to Columbus. Forwards will be given a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or waive based on a number of factors and there will be additional comments about players of interest. 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 forwards that fall short in offensive production offer multi-category appeal. In those cases they will get a “hold” recommendation.

Boston

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Patrice Bergeron

28

9

19

91

15

2:48

19:59

9.9

7.2

SELL

David Krejci

28

9

19

58

10

3:02

20:21

15.5

10.8

HOLD

Loui Eriksson

28

11

14

49

9

2:49

19:59

22.4

7.6

SELL

Brad Marchand

26

14

7

78

4

1:13

18:25

17.9

7.5

HOLD

Ryan Spooner

28

7

9

46

8

2:45

13:38

15.2

7.6

HOLD

Matt Beleskey

26

3

11

51

0

0:24

15:45

5.9

10.2

BUY

Jimmy Hayes

26

4

8

50

3

1:17

14:11

8.0

5.8

HOLD

Brett Connolly

27

5

7

32

4

1:13

14:09

15.6

7.9

HOLD

Landon Ferraro

19

3

2

22

0

0:00

10:30

9.5

10.9

WAIVE

Tyler Randell

15

4

0

11

0

0:00

6:35

36.4

18.9

WAIVE

David Pastrnak

10

2

2

24

1

0:30

13:48

8.3

7.1

SELL

Frank Vatrano

14

2

1

38

0

0:07

12:19

7.7

6.1

WAIVE

Joonas Kemppainen

24

1

2

18

0

0:07

12:04

5.6

6.7

WAIVE

Zac Rinaldo

25

1

1

15

0

0:02

7:53

6.7

8.3

HOLD

 

 

Patrice Bergeron – Bergeron is off to a great start and has not shot pucks on net this frequently since his sophomore season back in 2005-06. However, more than half of his points have come on the team’s red-hot power play. Any cool down on the man-advantage could leave a pretty severe cut into Bergeron’s production down the stretch.  This is a good time to sell but only if you can get a proven (maybe underperforming) point-per-game forward in return.

Matt Beleskey – Beleskey started the year very cold but has since corrected course in a big way. Over his last 13 games he has a goal and eight total points along with 35 shots-on-goal to get his shooting rate back on track. Given his shot total, Beleskey has been quite unlucky scoring just three times this year. His assist total is quite high and is likely to slow down but he is due to a goal-scoring surge. His current scoring pace is mediocre for points-only leagues but his physical style make him a strong option in multi-category leagues.

David Pastrnak – Unfortunately, Pastrnak’s second year has not gotten off to a good start as the young winger has been out since the end of October with a foot injury. While it is possible he returns to his rookie form upon his return, his role with the team is unclear at this point. After all, the current group is scoring a lot of goals which could leave the 19-year-old on a lower line.  

Buffalo

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Ryan O'Reilly

30

10

17

74

14

2:58

21:52

13.5

6.3

SELL

Jack Eichel

30

9

5

97

4

2:20

18:59

9.3

6.6

HOLD

Jamie McGinn

30

6

8

49

5

1:47

11:12

12.2

9.0

BUY

Sam Reinhart

30

8

4

57

4

2:16

15:20

14.0

6.2

HOLD

Matt Moulson

30

4

8

51

4

2:24

14:33

7.8

6.0

SELL

Tyler Ennis

19

3

7

51

5

3:01

18:54

5.9

3.8

HOLD

Evander Kane

20

6

4

72

3

2:50

21:10

8.3

3.3

BUY

Brian Gionta

27

3

7

55

4

2:17

18:54

5.5

5.1

BUY

David Legwand

27

2

6

23

1

0:03

9:31

8.7

9.9

WAIVE

Marcus Foligno

29

2

5

19

2

0:23

11:44

10.5

7.3

WAIVE

Nicolas Deslauriers

29

3

3

23

0

0:02

9:54

13.0

7.6

WAIVE

Zemgus Girgensons

26

2

3

47

1

0:59

16:00

4.3

3.2

BUY

Johan Larsson

27

0

3

33

1

0:41

13:06

0.0

3.1

WAIVE

 

 

Ryan O’Reilly – The move to Buffalo has done wonders for O’Reilly as he has become the focal point of the team’s offense while producing at a 74-point pace. However, he has been very reliant on power-play points as he leads all Buffalo forwards in that regard.  Like Bergeron, sell only if you can land a more proven offensive star in return as even a less proficient O’Reilly will be a difference-maker in the coming months.

Jamie McGinn – As mentioned in the December 14 ramblings, McGinn is in a great position to have a career year. The Sabres have openings on the wing so there is room for him to stick alongside O’Reilly or Eichel. His overall ice time has been underwhelming but in his last seven outings is up around 14 minutes. As an added bonus, McGinn typically gets you roughly two hits per game.

Matt Moulson – Moulson is generally productive when paired with skilled centers and while he has seen time next to O’Reilly and Eichel, he has bounced around the lineup. As a result, his average ice time is down by more than three minutes from where it was a year ago and his production has suffered. There is room for improvement (shooting percentage of just 7.8 percent) but unless his utilization changes significantly Moulson’s upside is very limited.

Evander Kane – Many people are down on Kane because of off-ice reasons and his tendency to get injured. With that said, he is still a productive winger with the potential to be much better given his high shot volume, underwhelming shooting percentage and average ice time which is north of 21 minutes. When healthy, Kane is one of the best in per-game production in multi-category leagues. He is well worth the gamble in leagues that allow you to replace him easily when he hits the sidelines.

Brian Gionta – Gionta is a gamble and better-suited for deeper leagues if he is fantasy-relevant at all. Even while his production has declined over the years he has been a decent option in multi-category leagues that count goals, shots and power-play points. This year Gionta’s numbers have been underwhelming but he has been seeing a lot of power-play time and is averaging two shots per game. Keep him on you radar and pick him up if he heats up.

Carolina

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Victor Rask

30

9

13

64

10

2:56

17:46

14.1

6.8

SELL

Eric Staal

30

5

13

73

6

3:08

19:43

6.8

7.8

HOLD

Kris Versteeg

29

4

13

54

5

2:27

16:46

7.4

6.8

HOLD

Jeff Skinner

30

11

3

87

2

2:00

16:03

12.6

7.0

BUY

Elias Lindholm

30

4

9

67

4

2:33

17:05

6.0

5.5

BUY

Jordan Staal

30

6

6

56

2

1:02

17:10

10.7

5.0

HOLD

Andrej Nestrasil

23

3

7

32

2

0:35

12:31

9.4

7.1

BUY

Jay McClement

30

1

5

28

0

0:07

11:28

3.6

6.6

WAIVE

Joakim Nordstrom

19

1

4

14

0

0:03

13:29

7.1

7.4

WAIVE

Riley Nash

21

1

3

27

0

1:08

15:35

3.7

6.0

WAIVE

Nathan Gerbe

20

1

2

29

1

1:27

15:02

3.4

3.4

WAIVE

Brock McGinn

14

2

1

18

0

0:14

11:17

11.1

7.4

WAIVE

Phillip Di Giuseppe

5

2

1

5

0

0:00

13:25

40.0

22.7

BUY

 

 

Victor Rask – Rask has been a great success story on a Hurricanes’ team that has not been up to much over the last several years. Just 30 games into his second year he is well on his way to beating his rookie total of 33 points. Just do not expect his current pace to continue. For starters, his shooting percentage is rather high and his 10 power-play points represent a likely unsustainable rate considering the team ranks 25th in power-play efficiency.

Jeff Skinner – Skinner has been through many ups and downs over the years and has often disappointed fantasy owners. This year he is showing some signs of life and in leagues that favor goals and shots may be a viable option for the foreseeable future. At the very least, Skinner is a good short-term pickup as he has seven points in his last five contests.

Andrej Nestrasil – Another forward on a hot streak is Nestrasil who has nine points in his last nine games. As a result, he has seen an uptick in ice time recently – an average of 15 minutes over his last four outings. It is difficult to envision the production keeping up over the long haul but the Hurricanes need scorers badly so if he is up to the task there are openings. For now, consider him a short-term buy as he rides out his stretch of good play.

Phillip Di Giuseppe – A total gamble, Di Giuseppe is a former second-round pick who has found early success at the NHL level in his second pro season. The 22-year-old has three points through five games but even more impressive is his 18 hits. Like Nestrasil, part of Di Giuseppe’s appeal is the organization’s need for offensive contributors. If he continues to show promise the team will not hold him back.

Columbus

Player

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

SH%

5on5SH%

Status

Scott Hartnell

30

12

10

62

6

2:49

16:05

19.4

8.5

SELL

Ryan Johansen

29

6

16

77

10

3:08

17:42

7.8

7.2

BUY

Boone Jenner

31

12

6

83

6

2:00

16:05

14.5

7.4

HOLD

Brandon Saad

30

10

8

80

6

2:21

17:04

12.5

9.3

HOLD

Cam Atkinson

30

9

9

78

2

2:08

16:47

11.5

8.1

HOLD

Nick Foligno

31

4

11

73

5

2:19

17:05

5.5

6.1

BUY

Brandon Dubinsky

24

4

9

39

3

2:23

18:48

10.3

7.7

HOLD

Gregory Campbell

31

2

4

19

0

0:02

10:29

10.5

8.0

WAIVE

Alexander Wennberg

19

1

5

23

2

1:24

13:16

4.3

6.6

HOLD

William Karlsson

30

3

2

40

0

0:08

14:37

7.5

4.2

WAIVE

Matt Calvert

31

4

0

45

0

0:10

14:52

8.9

4.4

WAIVE

Kerby Rychel

11

0

3

8

0

0:00

7:44

0.0

14.8

WAIVE

David Clarkson

10

0

1

9

0

0:21

9:25

0.0

3.7

WAIVE

 

 

Scott Hartnell – Even though Hartnell is currently on pace to repeat last year’s 60 points, it will be very difficult for him to continue this pace. His 12 goals on just 62 shots represent a shooting percentage well above his career average of 11.6 percent. Unless you are in a multi-category league that takes advantage of Hartnell’s physical game, now would be a great time to sell before his goal-scoring slows down significantly.

Ryan Johansen – While it is not certain how Johansen’s year will ultimately play out under coach John Tortorella, he has to be labeled a buy-low candidate. With just six goals and scoring on just 7.8 percent of his shots, he is still producing at a 62-point pace. With a bit of puck luck he could hit the 70-point mark again when it is all said and done. His ice time concerns appear to be in the past – he has averaged just under 19 minutes over his last eight games.

Nick Foligno – Most people would agree that a repeat of last year’s 73 points in a contract year would be nearly impossible but Foligno has been performing well below expectations this year. He has been very unlucky shooting the puck. If he was scoring on 12 percent of shots (his career average) he would be doubling the four goals he has right now. Look for Foligno to start picking up the pace while re-establishing himself as a high-end multi-category player.

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