Eastern Edge: Draft Strategy and the Boston Bruins

by Cam Metz on August 7, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Draft Strategy and the Boston Bruins

 

The interweb is filled with draft prep advice, some of the best advice I’ve ever read fell in this article by Steve Laidlaw.  I’ve tried drafting goalie / goalie to start and have placed well in 14 team leagues, I’ve tried the early D approach through the first four rounds, and I’ve loaded up on offense and ended up with dregs between the pipes.  Which one has worked better? Technically the Early D landed a championship, but the heavy offense early in the draft seemed to produce the most formidable lineup. The reason I bring this up is I’m starting to wonder that just like drafting D incorrectly, if I’m drafting incorrectly for season long leagues.  Is it best to set the lineup and swing for homeruns late – there is plenty of time to fix the mistakes.  In the past I’ve always gone with the more stable draft picks in late rounds that are likely to produce value, but limit the required roster moves throughout the season.  Seems like it would be more fun to swing for the fences this year, I’ll let you know how that works out.

It has been said by all in the Dobber community already, but the Dobber’s 2018-2019 Fantasy Guide is officially here.  As always there is amazing content – the point predications and the sleeper potentials for players will get you foaming for all of your drafts.  Get your copy now!

Sticking with the Atlantic and let’s look at the second place last year Boston Bruins.

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 B’s had a successful campaign last year culminating in a second place finish in the division and fourth place finish in the league for total points.  Leading the way was Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak– what really stands out though is the secondary scoring that was able to be fantasy relevant last year at specific times. 

Bottom line – the Bruins are and will be a fantasy goldmine this season.

There are youngsters coming through the pipeline in Boston – three names that you need to look out for are: Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, and Anders Bjork.  To find out more about them you’re going to need to purchase the Dobber Guide.

The team ranked fourth overall in power play conversion and given the pieces that will be returning next year, it is unlikely that this team will have anything but a top ten power play unit again.  This will help pad the stats of the big guns on the Bruins for this season, plan accordingly.

 

Overvalued

 

David Pastrnak – This pains me to write that Pasta technically did not perform to his ADP, but this was the case as the 24th skater taken in leagues last year.  However the 35 goals scored are nothing to take lightly.  Pastrnak ended up as the 45th ranked skater in a points-focused league and 33rd overall in a league that counts hits and blocks.  The problem with Pastrnak was a slight dip in his shot volume that blocked him from reaching the draft capital invested in him.  Overall I don’t think there are many owners who drafted Pastrnak that would say they wasted a pick on him.  Next year Pastrnak is probably going to fall somewhere in line with his previous point totals.  It would be nice if he could find a way to pick up a couple more assists, especially on the power play.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

82

35

45

80

0.98

239

14.6%

55

25

31

 

Brad Marchand – With Pasta above I can’t in good faith conclude that Marchand was overvalued as the ninth overall pick but because he placed as only the 55th best overall skater.  See next section to find out why.

Zdeno Chara – it appears that 41 year old Zdeno Chara’s days of fantasy relevance are all but over.  He was drafted 160th (I’d love to play in leagues where that was going on) and returned as the 250th ranked skater in a points focused league.  Do yourself a favor and don’t get an itchy finger for a fifth D named Chara.

 

Undervalued

 

Brad Marchand was an absolute monster last year when he was on the ice.  Unfortunately for those who drafted him, between suspensions and injuries Marchand always poses a danger to not play for your squad. Marchy put up his best statistical season on a per game basis last year and did so without a healthy Patrice Bergeron for many of those games.  Marchand will be drafted in the first round this year, and given his suspension risk I wouldn’t begrudge passing on him, I’d like a little more certainty of out of my number one overall.   Since I like to play the regression game it is worth noting that Marchand also shot 18.7% which it is entirely repeatable given his historical shooting percentage, it’s just also the highest he’s ever converted; a trend I wouldn’t bet on.

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

66

34

49

83

1.26

182

18.7%

36

22

24

 

Patrice Bergeron – One of the things that make fantasy fun is when you get to watch your favorite players who are also on your fantasy squad – and love watching Bergeron.  Bergeron blew his ADP (50th overall) out of the water if you look at the point per game basis, but otherwise he failed to make good on the draft equity.  Given how well he performed and the huge expectations for the Bruins it is likely that Bergeron is going to be a tad too ADP rich for me this year, especially when there are so many more centers available in the later rounds. 

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

63

30

32

62

0.98

217

13.8%

48

20

42

 

Torey Krug– Just how good was Krug for teams last year? He put up 59 points in 75 games! For the first half of the season Krug as making a lot of owners regret their decision with 22 points through 35 games.  He exploded with .9 pts/game through the final 41 games!  Drafted at 67th overall he was able to finish as the 35th overall player in fantasy hockey.  Talk about a mid-round pick returning value.  To coincide with the point production, Krug also saw his shot rate increase during the second half of the season.  Given how deadly the Bruins should be again this year, if Krug can stay healthy he should be in for a bear of a season. Sorry.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

75

14

45

59

0.79

197

7.1%

79

24

73

 

Tuukka Rask – I took some heat over labelling Rask as a hindrance to his team, especially after others have him ranked as a top tier goalie. 

For this I need to explain: I’m not willing to invest early round picks on goalies that may not pan out; what is the difference between seven shutouts from a goalie and eight in your league? I’ll bet not much.  41 wins does seem a lot better than 34, but not my much.  You know where you can really make a difference?  SV% and Quality Starts and use that data to help stock pile cheap efficient goaltenders.

Tuukka is no longer providing the SV% coverage and has been basically league average for the past three years in that category.  Over the past four years he has been able to produce only one season of positive Goals Saved Above Average.  These just are not signs of a goaltender I want to waste an important pick on.   That being said given his win totals Tuukka did exceed his draft positions in both formats – just think twice before you hit draft, especially when you notice that he greatly exceeded his HD save percentage on the power play (green box below). For his sake hopefully he can counteract the likely regression with a regression on medium danger save percentage (red box).

 

 

 

The Bruins should be a force next year, grab them early and you won’t be disappointed.  I’d challenge you to look into more goaltending metrics and give your point of view on Rask. 

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

 

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