Welcome back to the Eastern Edge column – week 17 of the season. The midseason guide is available here, thanks to the All-Star break it has not lost any relevance. This week I’m going to use some stats to guess where I think the player will end up at the end of the season. The caveat is I’m going to look at it in an 82-game pace and explain what that means for the player for the rest of the season. For example, if a player currently is on an 82-game pace through 50 games which would mean they are a point-per-game player. If I predict that they will drop to a 70-point pace, that means that for the remaining 32 games they will produce 27 points. I think it’s important to try and remove yourself from past production and looking at what the data is predicting.
Last week I incorporated IPP predictions into the rest of the season predictions, and some of you accurately pointed out that shooting percentage also effects a point pace, for this reason I am going to try and put shooting percentage, IPP, and on ice shooting percentage together to give my best guess for trade targets in the East.
Before we get there I wanted to talk about a trade I made last week in a 14 team league, that uses Yahoo position eligibility – 2 C, 2 LW, 2 RW, and 4 D – Categories – G, A, SOG, PPP, FW. I traded Matt Duchene, Max Pacioretty, and Victor Hedman for Auston Matthews and Rickard Rakell. On paper I’m the loser in this deal, the other owner made out with a top defender who is finally hitting his stride, Patches has been let loose now that he has settled into his new team, and Duchene who is streaking for a million different reasons into his UFA summer. Why did I throw all of these players away for Matthews and a struggling Rakell? I’m looking ahead – Rakell is shooting 7% about half of what you’d expect – maybe he won’t hit a point total that he was drafted for, but I think he has more to give the rest of the season, oh and his tri-eligibility isn’t too shabby either. With Matthews you’re getting arguably a top-5 forward in all of fantasy who just happens to have a very friendly playoff off night schedule. I increased my man game totals for all three weeks of the playoffs by 15 guys and opened up a roster spot for the return of Vincent Trochek. This was the type of deal that is beneficial for both owners.
So what can you take away from this deal? Go plan out your playoff schedule, see where your gaps are, if you have a player who’s never going to play through the first two weeks of the playoffs see if you can trade laterally or even take a step back so that you at least have a player on your team that can produce for you. Anaheim and Toronto have one of the friendliest playoff schedules, so go do your due diligence and scoop up some players off the waiver wire.
Ok moving on to my predictions for the rest of the season in the East:
Brayden Point – as amazing as Point has been his 109 point pace is fueled by a 23.6% shooting percentage. Maybe he’s getting enough tap home goals, but I’m guessing that’s not the case. His pace right now should drop by at least 7 goals placing him closer to 100 points. His on ice shooting percentage is also high at 12% – seeing this come down as a result his IPP should regress a little and we could see only 11 goals and 18 assists the rest of the way. This would make for a successful campaign but will it help your team appropriately down the stretch?
Matt Duchene, like Point, is riding a sky-high shooting percentage of 20%. From here on out he should score about 10 more goals. Fortunately, his 94-point pace through 41 games played should be supported with his healthy IPP of 70% compared to past career averages. When we account for likely on ice shooting percentage, I suspect Duchene settles in around an 87-point pace. For those who drafted Duchene late in drafts this production has given you unimaginable depth – expect less moving forward especially if this Ottawa team gets gutted at the trade deadline.
Frank Vatrano, since the middle of December, has scored 17 points in his last 19 games. His line with Barkov and Dadonov has been productive and has accounted for 20% of Vatrano’s 5v5 production. If he’s still available on you waiver wire his tri-eligibility should be able to find a place in your roster.
David Pastrnak has set his floor for the rest of the season at a 94-point pace. I think he has more to give especially if Marchand finds another level for the rest of the Bruins remaining games. Surprisingly the Bruins top line has not produce a 5v5 shooting percentage like many of the top lines they fit comfortably at 8%. If this raises to 9-10% like last year Pastrnak is going to be picking up the assists at a rate better than he has all season. A 100 point season wouldn’t surprise me.
John Tavares has an IPP through this point of the season season that is about 5% lower than his career; implying that his production will not slow down anytime soon. I think we’ll see an extra 5 points added to his season pace – especially as Toronto starts clicking back into gear.
Nick Leddy could be plagued by the defensive structure that Barry Trotz preaches; even still he has an IPP of 29% compared to the normal 45%. He has a lot of room for growth – I’d take the bet around 18 points his remaining 33 games – a 44 point clip.
Victor Hedman will see his IPP rise maybe 7-9% by the end of the season. I’ll peg him close to a point per game pace on this high flying Tampa team – giving him 7 goals and 26 points through the final 33 games.
Thanks for reading this week – if you have any of your own players you’d like questions answered about shooting me a message on Twitter @DH_jcameronmetz and I’ll add them to next week’s article.
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