Eastern Edge – Detroit Red Wings Fantasy Spin

by Cam Metz on July 31, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge – Detroit Red Wings Fantasy Spin

 

Following up on the theme of draft prep for fantasy, I was reminded and thought it was worth forwarding on to the Dobber community that it is important to not get tied to one specific stat or even one specific player that you think will be prolific this season.   If you’ve been reading my columns this summer there is a handful of wingers that you’ll know I’m already targeting for mean reversion.  There are other contextual things to keep in mind though. For example, will the team the player plays for be of any value? What was the IPP of a player that met their career average shooting percentage but experienced and uptick in points?  In most cases the story is larger than just one stat, such as shooting percentage. 

This week I am staring down a nice 10-hour car ride with an infant – anyone have some tricks I need to know about?  The great news is that when I am not driving I’ll have some fresh reading material because TOMORROW we finally get to start the NHL season off with Dobber’s 2018-2019 Fantasy Guide.   The faster you read it the faster you can lay out your draft board plans. Wish me luck.

Returning to the summer series we’ll take a look at the undervalued and overvalued players on each team.  I hope to combine this commentary with some of my previous analysis on why a specific stat is relevant and what it could mean for the player this coming season. This is not to say a specific player is not valuable to their own team, it is an attempt to show how value can change our mindset on the draft positions for these players, so that you can make sure you pick valuable players throughout the entire draft. 

Sticking with the Atlantic and let’s take a look at the Detroit Red Wings.

Like for the Wild West series, the ranks are based on a 12-team, head-to-head league, using the categories of goals, assists, power play points, shots, hits and blocks for forwards/defensemen and wins, saves, save percentage and goals against average for goalies. Player eligibility for this series is based on Yahoo, and draft ranks are based on average draft positions compiled from Yahoo, ESPN and CBS by FantasyPros.  Once we can flip the switch and start getting 2018 ADPs we’ll be sure to cover you on the value plays for this season.

 

Recap

The Red Wings finished fifth in the division and 13th in the conference in 2017-2018.  Dylan Larkin added some polish to his NHL career thus far, but overall there was not a lot of value to be found in Motown.

The team was able to slightly improve their power play from the previous season, but not enough to provide the fantasy relevance that we all expect from a squad producing top tier fantasy talent. Below you’ll find Detroit’s power play performance the last two seasons.

 

Undervalued

Dylan Larkin – Larkin was involved in a trade in my favorite league this last year.  I wasn’t that impressed with the move at the time, but Larkin certainly made one owner look savvy in route to losing in our leagues finals (league note: when will said owner get the monkey off his back?). 

Use this article as ammunition to @ a fellow league mate who hasn’t been able to snag the championship in your league. Tag me @DH_jcameronmetz.

Larkin’s shot volume rebounded from his rookie campaign and it seems like there isn’t any reason for it to take a dive this year.  For a guy who scored 63 points, it is pretty jaw dropping that he only picked up 8 PPP, and he did it only receiving 45% of his team’s power play time.  Larkin also was only shooting at 6.9% so he’s a great mean reversion bet for the later middle rounds.  His PDO wasn’t lucky to grab 63 points and his primary assist rate was 53%, not enough to indicate that he’s an already an elite producer in the 60% range, but also not unusually lucky. 

The most jaw dropping stat – he shot 3.7% on the power play, it’s hard to imagine that would even be possible.  Worth mentioning because it does not entirely fit the narrative of Larkin reaching stardom this year; he only was expected to score around 3 goals on the power play given his ixGF, draw your own conclusions from that information.

Like last year, Larkin will return value on whoever is lucky enough to draft him.  I expect a floor of 66 points with 82 point upside this year – someone has to drive the bus in Detroit.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

81

16

47

63

0.67

230

6.9%

75

8

42

 

Henrik Zetterberg – Z has been a great addition to my team’s the past two seasons with a late round ADP, he’s been able to stuff assists and faceoff wins from the left wing spot.  Unfortunately for NHL fans, Zetterberg’s future is up in the air.  He had offseason back surgery and has not fully committed to returning for another season, at the age of 37 it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that he is going to stay home instead of returning to Detroit.  At this point in his career you shouldn’t expect a repeat of the 68 point season from two years ago.  I would expect him to maintain his .60 point per game pace if he does return for one more year.  Given his status I doubt he’ll be drafted in most leagues and he’ll be worth adding from the wire if he decides to return.   

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

81

10

45

55

0.67

179

6.2%

49

19

34

 

Overvalued

Anthony Mantha – Mantha was drafted around the 187 spot last year and was able to produce some value in a point focused league as the 145th ranked skater.  This year will be his third full season in the league, given his size and skill there is a lot to be excited about with what he can provide as a late round pick.  If you’re swinging for the fences this year with a boom or bust roster I could see Mantha being of value.  He’s consistently held a 12+% career shooting percentage. Unfortunately if you find yourself in league where you need to incorporate hits and blocks into you player evaluation Mantha is likely to come up short.  Keep your eye on Mantha though – he might just explode onto the scene this year especially if Larkin is about to take off.  Given his hot start (19 points in 20 games) last year it might just be the time for him to continue towards an elite scoring winger. 

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

79

24

24

48

0.61

187

12.83%

87

12

36

 

Gustav Nyquist – As much as I hate to admit it – I spent way too long waiting for Nyquist to turn it around last year.  In the process I am sure I missed out on quite a few waiver wire gems.  Nyquist was drafted around 230 and was not able to provide any return on his draft position.  With 20 goals on the year it’s tough to think Nyquist going to recapture his two seasons at 27+ goals.  Even if he is going to find a scoring touch with more usage this year it’s unlikely he will produce at a pt/game rate that will allow him to be reliable.   

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

81

20

18

38

0.47

211

9.48%

65

8

36

 

Fantasy Spin

A lot of power play opportunity will open up if Zetterberg is unable to play this year or decides on retiring.  My hunch is that given the way Detroit prefers to develop their players slowly that Mantha and Larkin will see the biggest percent increase in their power play time.  Mantha has more to give than his four power play points in the second half of last year – for this reason I think a 30 goal campaign followed by 17 power play points is entirely in his realm of outcomes.  

Larkin was not able to sustain a very high shooting percentage despite elite volume production.  Larkin will be focused on extensively by the competition so it’ll be interesting to see what he can produce given the up in air status of Zetterberg. 

Detroit isn’t likely to blow people away and this will be another rebuilding year, regardless there should be some ADP value that can be gained on Mantha and Larkin if they are able to continue their upward trend, and especially if Zetterberg decides to hang them up.

 

Sources: Hockey-reference.com, Naturalstattrick, Corsica.hockey