Eastern Edge: Expected Goals from Atlantic Centers

by Cam Metz on May 15, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Expected Goals from Atlantic Centers

The Atlantic produced some excellent seasons from the center position.  They may not have been true breakouts but the seasons put together by Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck led to some fantasy owners finding gold down the middle this year.

Here is how to interpret the below graph:

The X-axis is expected goals for centers minus their actual goal totals for the year, so a positive number would indicate that they left some goals out of the net and that we can reasonably expect them to improve on their goal total next year (Data source: Corsica Hockey).  Additionally I subtracted their previous two season average shooting percentage from this year’s shooting percentage.  A positive number on the Y-axis indicates that their shooting percentage should increase next year as well.  This makes players in the upper right more likely to positively regress next year in the goal scoring department.


Patrice Bergeron when healthy was a beast this year, but here’s the bad news: his numbers at 5v5 were slightly higher than his career.  Perhaps we can explain this deviation as a result of the explosive chemistry he and Brad Marchand have been able to put together.  However his PDO was almost 10 points higher than his last 3 seasons.  An area we tend to see as a predictor for future goal scoring in 5v5 sh% was about a whole percentage point higher as well.  We’ll see what he can string together next year, just be wary of his injury history. Does he get dinged a little for Marchand’s suspension risk based on chemistry too?



Jack Eichel shifts towards the “lucky” territory but given his skill level I wouldn’t put too much stock in where his data points are falling. As we’ve seen with other super stars his ability to convert and the sheer volume of shots can propel him towards the season we’ve all been waiting to see out of Buffalo.  More to come.



Henrik Zetterberg wasn’t able to put up the 68 points he produced in 2016-2017, instead he closed out the season with 56 points.  He was unfortunately not able to pot many goals as he barely passed 10 goals with 11 on the season.  At this point it’s more likely to expect less than 20 goals from Z moving forward.



What a season Vincent Trocheck was able to produce:

He found himself very close to scoring what his expected goal totals predicted and his shooting percentage in all situations was actually below his 3-year average.   The most impressive thing about his season is his zone starts of 41% in the offensive zone.   Typically we look for players who start in the offensive zone more, but it sure looks like Trocheck is able to consistently put up value from his own zone.  Trocheck also fired almost 300 shots on goal with 287 placing him amongst the very best in the league.  I’m buying Trocheck next year – I think he is bound to repeat and will slide under a lot of radars at next years draft.



It seems like it is only a matter of time before Alex Galchenyuk figures it all out.  His yearly numbers were off his career shooting percentage and he was expected to score more last year based on ixGF.  His cost at the draft table should be fairly low next year so this seems like an exceptional way to round out your roster.  The main concern is Montreal and who he will be playing with next year.  Otherwise I like his chances to improve on his goal totals through regression of his shooting percentage.



Matt Duchene got what he wished for… continue his streak of playoff-free hockey.  Duchene had an abysmal start in Colorado last year, but by the end of the year in Ottawa he found his way back to being a playmaking center who flashes the qualities of a superstar.  It’s impressive that given his play he was actually expected to score less last year and he found himself shooting above his three year career average shooting percentage.  Provided the cost is not too high this is a nice pick in the middle rounds especially if he has dual position eligibility like he did last year on Yahoo!



What a show Brayden Point was able to put on in Tampa Bay this year… check out his 5v5 stats:

I suppose the PDO and 5v5 SH% is due to come down a little next year but his zone starts and IPP are not outrageous.  Point benefits from being shielded from top line D pairs since Kucherov and Stamkos need to be covered.  Point will be drafted in the middle rounds next year and as much as his production seems repeatable, there is going to be more household names available that provide more secure value if I had to guess.  I like Point’s chances at repeating his season especially if he is able to grab some more power play time and improve on his 5 PPG.



Auston Matthews went number two overall in my 14 team league behind McDavid last year.  His potential to produce an enormous amount of points cannot be understated.  If he was healthier this year he surely would have challenged the 40 goals he put up in his rookie campaign.  Like other superstars his plot on the chart above shifts him into the category of being careful what you’re buying in terms of draft value, however you can throw wherever he lands in the plot out the window given his skill. I think it’s safe to say that if he’s able to put together some more assists we could be looking at a very special third year that produces a lot of championships.  I’d imagine his 18% 5v5 SH% will come down a little but 20 more healthy games should be able to compensate via his shot volume.  BUY BUY BUY.


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