The NHL Playoffs are in full swing – I’ve been laying low and trying to catch as many games as I can. This week I played around with the difference between expected goals and actuals for RWs in the Atlantic. However instead of analyzing one year shooting percentage I mutated the numbers to calculate the difference between averaged 3 years and 1 year shooting percentage for the player.
I probably should put a disclaimer out there for everyone that for the purpose of all my analysis l I do not look at +/-, I have zero patience for the stat and willingly draft players from bad teams knowing full well that +/- can’t be predicted. If someone is a buy you can safely assume I don’t care what team they play for or what they have posted in the +/- column historically.
There are some pretty eye catching plots on the Atlantic RW plot below that may cause you to take a step back from big name players at next year’s draft. Nailing your first round and second round picks lays the foundation for the rest of your team. So taking a player that has some irregularities in their numbers is not always advisable.
A negative shooting percentage on the below graph means that this year’s shooting percentage was higher than the average of the past 3 seasons (or the available data if the player does not have 3 seasons under their belt). Obviously in this situation it’s worth looking a little deeper at the numbers.
Nikita Kucherov set the league on fire this year; he will easily be one of the first RWs of the board and with good reason. I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on him in the top 5 picks, mainly because of the dramatic increase in his 5v5 goal scoring in 2017-2018 ( 27 goals this year vs 18 goals last year). He went from about 12% to 15% in that department and while he benefited from having Steven Stamkos back, his increase in this area helped inflate his goal total. His shooting percentage in all situations this year was 16% this year which given his skill level is understandable, but it was still aided by an increase in his 5v5 scoring.
So if we put those two observations together, what sort of goal scoring do we get out of Kucherov next year? Do we see less than 35 goals as his 5v5 iSh% comes back to earth and correspondingly a more consistent all situation iSh%? Unfortunately this percentage variance is only one of a couple things that having me wondering if the value of Kucherov can be maintained given how early he will be drafted (hint: eventually we will tackle primary assist rates). Some of the other measures that stick out to me are highlighted in red in the table below.
As Cam Robinson pointed out in the Ramblings last week (Tarasenko Value), the RW could be filled by someone like Vladamir Tarasenko who will cost a lot less and could ultimately bounce back next year. This is important to keep in mind when reviewing what happened the year prior, the ADP value of players is what allows you to skip on Kucherov knowing that you can pick more secure value early and then mop up the draft in later rounds. I’m selling Kucherov unless I’m sitting at number 10 on the draft board and he’s still there. Remember value is king. BOS
David Pastrnak potted 35 goals this year and did about the same the year prior, he had a slight increase in his shooting percentage to help him maintain that consistency but overall this seems to be a player who like Kucherov is able to maintain a favorable delta in their expected vs actual goals scored and maintaining a high shooting percentage. In my 14-team league Pasta went in the 4th round – I’m not sure I’d jump to get him in the 3rd next year but if he’s around in the 4th and I haven’t found a RW yet this seems like a safe option. HOLD
Kyle Okposo had a lot of fantasy owners thinking he might return to his days on the Island. With Jack Eichel playing just 67 games this year, the 65-point Okposo didn’t have much of chance of showing up. However his numbers indicate there is room to grow his shooting percentage back up to his 3 year average and also he was expected to score about 4 more goals. Okposo could be worth a late-round pick with a healthy Eichel, a stronger BUF power play, and increase in his individual stats. It seems like next year Okposo is poised to do what most of us were waiting for last year. BUY
Andreas Athanasiou had a rather large collapse of his shooting percentage; in 2017-18 he shot 9.4% compared to two seasons of 15% or higher. Given his pedigree this certainly looks like a player with a lot of room to grow. Throwing +/- out the window and hoping that he is able to take a step forward for what will likely be a tough year in the Motor City I think Athanasiou has a lot of value for goal scoring next year. BUY
My biggest concern for any Florida players is the health of Sasha Barkov, we saw this year what Barkov is able to do when healthy. However, if we get the band-aid Barkov, what do we find with Evgenii Dadonov? Dadonov was a revelation down in South Florida this year. He had a 14% shooting percentage that isn’t out of line with some of the percentages he produced in the KHL the last couple years. He was slightly lucky in his actual goals compared to expected but as we’ve seen with skilled players this isn’t that outrageous. To beat the value drum again – depending on where he’s being picked I think you can expect similar numbers next year. Fun Dadanov stat -> he was 9th in 5v5 scoring with 49 points. BUY
Brendan Gallagher rebounded in a big way this year. His shot volume and being able to stay healthy led him to his first 30-goal season. He started the year ice cold, where I am sure most poolies decided he was worth dropping. I imagine there are a lot of hands raised right now that wish they had not dropped him. His shooting percentage is 2% higher this year compared to three year averages, however this year it was only 11% so it is not drastically inflated. His delta goal expectation is also favorable so given another healthy season Gallagher presents himself as dependable with perhaps some room to grow. BUY
The Senators woefully underwhelmed this season, however Mark Stone, when healthy, had a fantastic season. Stone is going to be hard-pressed to reach 30 goals, but he will consistently provide 20 goals (as he has the last 4 seasons). Put a healthy Stone out on the ice next year and upper 20s is a real possibility. HOLD
Mitch Marner’s goal scoring stats fell right in line with his rookie year. Given the trajectory of this Toronto team it seems that Marner will be able to set a floor of 20 goals moving forward. Marner’s growth seems inevitable given his penchant for scoring with the London Knights, with two +35 goal season in the OHL. Given his skill level it’s not unreasonable to expect his SOG to increase especially if Toronto decides to load up on the power play rather than rolling two even units. BUY
Next week we’ll take a look at what has been happening in the playoffs and discuss positional replacement value for the East.
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