Eastern Edge: LW Draft Strategy and Eastern Conference Targets

by Cam Metz on September 25, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: LW Draft Strategy and Eastern Conference Targets

Based on the feedback from the readers the RW rank article last week was something everyone appreciated.  Excuse some of the redundancies in this article, but I think it is useful for people to understand the strategy that was used to generate the rankings below.

 

  1. The data below represents 56 players being drafted and rostered  at each position
  2. My blueline strategy is going to significantly differ from most experts – please read this for the reasoning. This strategy will affect the rankings of positional players.
  3. Positions matter more than most are willing to admit
  4. I don’t care about goalies and nor should you – I dare you to skip goalies
  5. Value over replacement is the primary method I use to rank players
  6. ADPs on Yahoo! Are significantly skewed by decimals – you could have ten players ranked at 162: 162.1, 162.2, 162.3 etc.  – You need to think critically.
  7. Whenever a player is given dual eligibility I take the wing as their position.   In a (LW,RW) case I shift them to RW since historically I’ve had a harder time finding value at that position.  Otherwise, a (C,LW) is classified as LW.

 

This week I’ll take a look at the LW and do some of the similar analysis. 

 

A brief overview of the data is as follows; I compiled five fantasy expert hockey predictions together and averaged the following stats: goals, assists, SOG, and PP.   I scored the players within their positional groups and then divided the total of each position by the stats that I felt were indicative of value.  If you’ve read the above link of the blue line you’ll know what I’m talking about.

 

Here is an explanation of the graph that will be generated using the above data:

 

 

 

The point to be had from all of this is that if you’re drafting Ovechkin in the first round and then you find yourself wondering if you should take Jamie Benn in the second you’re probably better off drafting Chris Kreider and allocating that draft capital to another position.  You can only have so many LW on your roster; drafting the best player available doesn’t allow you to maximize value.

 

Here is a link to the tweet that shows the graph in more detail.  When you look at the graph what do you see?

 

 

What I notice is the following:

 

  1. Guys like Sebastian Aho, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Jonathan Marchessault are being drafted right where experts expect them to fall after positional value is considered.
  2. Jaden Schwartz’s injury history is leaving him grossly undervalued.
  3. Chris Kreider, David Perron, and Anders Lee are shaping up to be great values for those willing to jump ahead of the pack.
  4. Evander Kane is being overvalued based on the expectation of Experts
  5. Jamie Benn’s fall from grace with experts has not resulted in a shift of his ADP. 
  6. William Karlsson’s shooting percentage has been talked about a lot but has not grossly changed his ADP.
  7. Zach Parise is going to be in his age 34 season this year.  Daniel Alfredsson put up 87 points in his age 34 season.  Martin St. Louis put up 94 in 2010. Joe Thornton and Henrik Sedin put up low 70s at that age. Is this the year we look back at ADP with a healthy Parise and say, man, I should have seen that one coming?
  8. Jeff Skinner looks like the definition of a LW dream.
  9. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Erik Haula are being underestimated.
  10. Jake DeBrusk is highly valued being drafted higher than the expected ranking of Experts. 
  11. If you want to see how these players look in projections I would point you towards the best in the business with the Dobber Fantasy guide.
  12. Alex Galchenyuk is expected to take off this year in the desert – he might just be the perfect piece to thrust your lineup ahead of the pack with a great bench option.

 

An important thing to remember is that this is not the rankings of the experts- this is the statistical breakdown of the rankings, which is more indicative of value than rankings.

 

There are three Eastern conference players that are getting LW eligibility worthy of examination. 

 

Pierre-Luc Dubois was touched on here,  as I mentioned previously my worry with Dubois is his reliance on Artemi Panarin.  He received only 41 percent of his team's power play time last season, a number that will surely increase as the number one center (nice to have the LW tag).  His shooting percentage of 9% is likely to increase given his pedigree.  His ixGF was higher than his goals scored at 5v5 which is also another signal that we’ll see an opportunity for growth.  There is basically then two red flags for me – Panarin factor and his primary assist rate was only 41%.  A number that indicates to me that he was reliant on his linemates more than you would expect.

 

Anthony Beauvillier is being drafted ahead of where the experts see him.  I think a nice run last year near the end of the season has propped up his ADP.  When you dig into some of his numbers he shot 14% which not grossly inflated certainly could come down.  He scored about 5 more goals than his ixGF, also giving credence to a downward regression.  Add in the ambiguity of his position in the lineup and I’m not sure this is a player you want to spend any draft capital on as a home run late round pick.  The numbers to me indicate looking to another player.

 

Jake Guentzel is also being overvalued compared to his ADP.  Guentzel is not guaranteed top power play time, he only received 35 percent of the PP TOI last season.  His shot volume doesn’t support him during a cold streak and even playing with a Crosby wasn’t enough to vault his primary assist rate into the 60% range (a stat that helps predict consistency).  That being said he has some upside that other players do not have and perhaps that’s the reason people are swinging for the fences.  The problem is there looks to be some homerun LW positional eligibility for players much later in the draft.

 

Obviously, there is a mess of players up near the top right hand of the graph so I figured I would break down the names for you and provide a stat that is ADP minus Ranking.  As an example, a player with a ranking of 19 and an ADP of 40 would provide a positive value of 21.

 

PLAYER

ADP

Rank

Delta (Rank – ADP)

PAT MAROON

168.4

200

-31.6

ALEX KILLORN

167.4

196

-28.6

FILIP ZADINA

167.9

190

-22.1

MILAN LUCIC

169.9

192

-22.1

ERIK HAULA

161.8

182

-20.2

ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER

172.9

193

-20.1

BOONE JENNER

169.1

188

-18.9

ROBBY FABBRI

169

186

-17

JAKE DEBRUSK

171.4

181

-9.6

TIMO MEIER

175.4

184

-8.6

MAX DOMI

174.7

183

-8.3

PATRICK MARLEAU

168.7

175

-6.3

DAVID PERRON

167.1

168

-0.9

ONDREJ PALAT

168.1

169

-0.9

NICK SCHMALTZ

166.8

164

2.8

BRANDON SAAD

168.1

163

5.1

PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS

147.8

116

31.8

ANDERS LEE

166.2

117

49.2

ZACH PARISE

176.5

125

51.5

JADEN SCHWARTZ

142.1

84

58.1

CHRIS KREIDER

171.4

110

61.4

ALEX GALCHENYUK

165.7

94

71.7

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS

148.6

75

73.6

 

 

In summary by maximizing the value of the LW position you can help create team value that significantly trumps your opponents.  Arbitrage is your friend.

 

Keep an eye on my twitter @DH_jcameronmetz – I’ll be running the same model all season long to help you pepper your league with trade offers.