This week on the Eastern Edge I’m going to follow Chris Kane’s format and look at some of the vizzes from Sean Tierney. As most of you have probably seen, Tierney is leading the charge in awesome NHL visuals. I have used my time at Dobber Hockey trying to teach myself R and have immediately seen it dump into my daily work. There are some really good tools out there from Evan Oppenheimer (@OppenheimerEvan) on Medium that can help you start attacking R. The great news is that if you become partially proficient in R – it helps manipulating data repeatable which is awesome for looking at weekly trends for fantasy hockey. The moral of the story is that these powerful tools help poolies visually understand where player value might be trending, are also transferrable to your daily work life, provided you are not an artist.
Before we move on to the visuals – it’s worth pointing that the data has been captured by Corsica. The xG model finds its roots with Manny @ Corisca. On to xG for those players that have been snake bitten so far this season.
First thing you will notice is that Erik Karlsson is in my list, sure he’s not in the East been when Erik Karlsson shows up in the unlucky column it’s worth pointing out that you should be throwing trade offers to the Karlsson owner in your league seeing how cheap you can get him.
There is one large theme above – there are a lot of Carolina Hurricanes in the list. Carolina feels like the team that is about to rattle off a 10-game win streak once the pucks start finally going in the net. I’d imagine the pucks have hit just about every square inch of the goalposts.
With talented rookie Andrei Svenchnikov sitting at almost -6 goals expected off his goal total, I’m sure there are a couple wins that the Hurricanes could have picked up in there if the pucks had hit the twine. Svechnikov is shooting 7.8% right now but he has been tossing pucks at the net with 2.75 SOG/GP. This is a player with the pedigree that could become a valuable toss in player in a trade if you were able to acquire him as a secondary piece. The team is only shooting 4.7% at 5v5 this year, things are going to turn around soon, when they do you’ll want him on your team.
Jordan Staal has never been known to be a goal scorer in his many years in the league; his highest total was 25 goals. This year Staal has five goals and based on the xG model is missing another six goals. Staal like Svenchnikov is shooting around 2.75 SOG/GP with a 6.7% shooting percentage. Staal has averaged 10% over the last three seasons. For those of you that do not play in faceoff leagues, Staal will likely not be rostered. If you do count FW; Staal looks like he could be another secondary piece that has room to improve on his current pace. It’s worth noting that Staal is out with a concussion right now.
Sebastian Aho remarkably makes this list as well even though he is currently on a 79-point pace. In just a few short weeks he’s lost his point per game status, but the numbers as visualized paint the picture that like the rest of the Hurricane’s Aho is also not getting any puck luck. It probably doesn’t help that the wrecking ball Michel Ferland has been injured and it’s difficult to replace the responsibilities that Jordan Staal assumes when he’s also in the lineup. When the team gets healthy, Aho should see an uptick in his point pace.
Keeping with the Hurricane theme Justin Faulk continues to do his typical high volume shot output with little to show for it on the scoresheet. However even for Faulk’s standards his goal total is low and off by almost four goals in the xG model. Faulk has only scored one time and has an abysmal 1.2% shooting percentage. If history has taught us anything Faulk will probably score all four goals that are predicted in the same game. Faulk continues to see top power play minutes, when the pucks do finally start going in it will be interesting to see if Faulk can pick up a few apples here and there.
At this moment Taylor Hall has the lowest shooting percentage of his career at 8.3% (3-year average 10.9%). Hall’s underlying numbers for assists and 5v5 on ice shooting percentage are all within career norms making it likely that his 88-point pace can continue. The bad news is that last year’s career season is likely not going to repeat itself with a shooting percentage of 14%. The reality, at least though my lens is that he will end right around the low 90s due to some of those expected goals going in sooner or later.
In an attempt to put my money where my mouth is, I am going to recommend picking up Petr Mrazek. With McElhinney injured the net should in theory belong to Mrazek. He has one good year in Detroit where he posted quality starts in 61% of his games in 2015-2016. He’s an UFA with plenty to prove. I know Scott Darling was called back up, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking Darling is ever going to live up to that contract. I am on the second year of hoping Darling would be good – yep that’s right second year. Mrazek has played on terrible defensive teams in Philadelphia and Detriot over the last few seasons. There are not a lot of homerun swings you can take at the waiver wire as we are now in the second quarter of the season. This is one that demands taking – I will be picking Mrazek up today and so should you. I should mention that my goalies are terrible.
Ryan Pulock has quietly putting up points – three points in his last five games. At lot was expected of Pulock this year, so much so that when he hit the wire earlier this year, I burned my number one waiver priority on him. Pulock still sits on the wire in most leagues – it’s probably worth another crack at him. Every year some lucky poolie grabs a blueliner that started slow and ends with a formidable point total when everything is said and done. Why can’t it be Pulock?
Thanks for reading.
Last week's Eastern Edge: Production Against Career Norms
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