Eastern Edge: Expected and Actual Goals Among Atlantic Left Wingers

by Cam Metz on April 10, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Expected and Actual Goals Among Atlantic Left Wingers

After each round these playoffs I’ll recap the biggest surprises for players from the East. It will be a nice way to break up the deep dive into specific stats.  The way players perform in the playoffs often impacts next year’s draft boards, so I’ll make sure we sanity check all the hype that will develop in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to grab for Dobber’s playoff boxes (Dobber Playoff Boxes) before this week’s action starts.  

To develop this analysis on specific advanced stats, I hope to build a model this summer that can mine value for all of stats we’ll examine.  If we combine everything together, the hope is that we’ll be able to find a much better draft strategy compared to drafting the players from the best teams <– even a blind squirrel can find a nut.

There is much more value and optimism for the Atlantic LWs compared to the Metro. In particular from a goal-scoring proposition, I think we can build a quick case what the optimal draft strategy for obtaining value goal based picks from the LW. 

This week I’d like to take a look at Expected Individual Goals For (source: Corsica) and compare to Actual Individual Goals For Left Wingers in the Metro Division.  Using 1 year shooting percentage vs a 3 year average SH% of the player I think we can find players from a goal scoring proposition that can be flagged as Buy, Sell, and Hold.

The graph below can help you visualize where a player falls with regards to their actual goal total (the size of the dot), the difference between actual and expected goals scored (X-Axis), and their individual shooting percentage from this year (Y-Axis).  Given that the league average shooting percentage is around 11% you can see if there are any big names on the list that fall in the category of having a below average shooting percentage and room to grow in the actual goals scored.  More than anything I think that this graph can find you a couple extra goals and make sure you realizes that 40 goals by one player may mean that they could fall back to 32 next year.  Player skill/opportunity is still something to remember – just because Ondrej Palat ends up in quadrant that tends to be a BUY area doesn’t mean he’s a 40-goal scorer.



It’s tough to tell who is Batman and who is Robin in Boston – Marchand was able to hold his own without Bergeron in the lineup this year.  Additionally Marchand’s value across the normal stat categories is challenged by few.  However, his expected goals this year is much lower than actual totals (-12) that he finds himself at the bottom of the list in this comparison for LW from the east.  This large difference coupled with a career high 20% shooting percentage has him outside my risk tolerance.  To avoid drafting the 2016-17 Ovechkin – I’m thinking I am selling Marchand for next year and would draft him only if he falls – which given I’m writing a column all my fellow league mates will avoid him now (talk about a new way to influence a league). Also a suspension case needs to be considered here, it would be unfortunate to lose your top pick as your team heads into the playoffs because of a 3-game ban.  SELL



Sam Reinhart could have been luckier this year, hopefully with a few more nice Eichel passes his actual goal totals can rise to meeting his expected (+3).  With his shooting percentage being around league average I am thinking there is room to grow here and given the depth of your league Reinhart presents a possible late round 20 goal scorer with upside playing with a healthy Eichel. BUY



Detroit is the barren desert for LW’s – there isn’t much to look at mainly because players are listed at RW on most sites.  Tyler Bertuzzi look could have some room to grow but overall he’s not going to be fantasy relevant.  The other big guys in Detroit tend to be RW so we’ll cover those in another article. Detroit as a whole is firmly listed as a SELL for any LW.



Jonathan Huberdeau finally played most of the season after dealing with injuries for the last 2 seasons.  His shooting percentage of 13% is higher than his career average (11%) but given his skill level it is reasonable to expect this conversion rate moving forward.  Huberdeau’s goal differential could reasonably tail off next year so when you’re looking at next year’s rankings it might be worth bumping that goal total down a little and see if that moves the needle in terms of his ADP.  I would draft Huberdeau provided his ADP isn’t unreasonable after this seasons impressive point total.  BUY Huberdeau.



Max Pacioretty and the entire Hab's team didn’t live up to expectations this year. Pacioretty’s actual goals vs expected indicate there will be plenty of chances next year to redeem himself to fantasy owners.  This is looking like one of the biggest ADP value captures heading into next season.   His shooting percentage (8%) dipped this year (career 11%) which helped add fuel to the already raging tire fire that was MTL – I have Patches as a strong BUY next year. In fact, I’d say I will target him in every league and maybe even a round sooner than his ADP.



Mike Hoffman has an expected goal total below his actual total – given it was a disappointing season for his owners this has plenty of cause for concern for next year as well.  The hope is that this drives his ADP back a little and his shooting percentage picks back up a couple percentages – the lack of talent evaluation in the expected goals metric is always a reason to temper using this analysis as a hard rule – Hoffman’s shot volume, release, and likely regression has me anticipating a BUY.



J.T. Miller and his tri-eligibility on Yahoo! has value for capturing additional man games and if he is playing in the top line of Tampa next year has a lot of upside.  His numbers show that he was actually scoring more than expected and he had an inflated shooting percentage, any deviation from his ADP would be considered a leap of faith.  HOLD only because of his positional eligibility.



JVR would be the fun conversation to have on TOR, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait and see how his contract plays out this season.  Zach Hyman looks like he has room to grow from 15 actual goals to 19 expected goals this year.  Depending on your leagues category coverage Hyman might be a nice last round pick considering he tends to find himself with Auston Matthews, who is pretty good at hockey. BUY in large leagues. 

If you’re drafting next year without considering all the upcoming trades and player movement it looks like the best goal scoring value draft picks on the LW will come from Skinner (Last week's EE column) and Pacioretty.  It’ll also be worth looking into whether or not Rick Nash stays in the East – his shot volume coupled with a positive goal differential appears to have some value next year if his overall body of stats can apply to your league settings.  If you throw in a late round pick on Hyman or Reinhart you very well could be picking up a few extra goals to solidify that third or fourth LW spot next year.   

Do you have anything to critique or add to this analysis?

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