Cage Match: Tyler Seguin vs. Mark Scheifele

by Rick Roos on September 5, 2018


Just like two weeks ago I’m using the Fantasy Guide (available for order here) to help select this week’s battle, which is between Tyler Seguin and Mark Scheifele. The guide has them separated in scoring by just one point, but let’s delve more deeply into the numbers to see if one player has a wider advantage over the other for this season and/or down the road. Cage Match starts now!

Career Path and Contract Status

Seguin, 26, was selected second overall in 2010 after a 106-point OHL campaign. He went straight to the NHL, where he looked unimpressive in posting only 22 points in 74 games. But he made significant strides as a sophomore, more than tripling his points total to 67. His scoring pace fell a bit to 32 points in 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, and then, due at least in part of supposed off-ice issues, was dealt to Dallas in the offseason. There he paid immediate dividends in scoring 84 points in 80 games, marking the first of three consecutive point per game seasons in which each saw him tally 33+ goals and 40+ assists. He stumbled a bit in 2016-17, dropping to only 72 points but was back up to 78 last season.

Scheifele, 25, was drafted seventh overall in 2011, but unlike Seguin returned to play most of his age 18 and 19 seasons back in juniors, where he excelled to the tune of 142 total points in 92 games. Once with the Jets though, all Scheifele did up his scoring rate for three straight seasons, culminating in 82 points in 79 games in 2016-17. And although he once again met the point-per-game threshold in 2017-18, that came in only 60 games, marking his third season (of five) where he’s had injury issues, missing an average of 17 games in those campaigns.

This season is the last on Seguin’s six-year deal that carried with it a cap hit of $5.75M, while 2018-19 is the third for Scheifele on a deal that runs through 2023-24 and dings the cap at $6.125M per campaign.

Ice Time

Season

Total Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

2017-18

20:55 (T.S.) – 1st

20:41 (M.S.) – 1st

3:09 (T.S.) – 2nd

3:07 (M.S.) – 2nd

1:33 (T.S.) – 4th

1:10 (M.S.) – 7th

2016-17

18:28 (T.S.) – 2nd

20:34 (M.S.) – 1st

3:10 (T.S.) – 2nd

3:06 (M.S.) – 1st

0:02 (T.S.) – 15th

0:42 (M.S.) – 9th

2015-16

19:27 (T.S.) – 2nd

18:33 (M.S.) – 4th

3:19 (T.S.) – 1st

2:41 (M.S.) – 5th

0:01 (T.S.) – 12th

0:18 (M.S.) – 11th

2015-16

19:33 (T.S.) – 2nd

18:35 (M.S.) – 5th

3:52 (T.S.) – 1st

2:25 (M.S.) – 5th

0:03 (T.S.) – 13th

0:30 (M.S.) – 10th


Sometimes the numbers make things simple, as is seemingly the case here with Scheifele, who saw his ice time rise by 2:00 in 2016-17 plus added power-play ice time, and responded with point-per-game output. Although some of that added time was syphoned away in the form of 0:28 of unproductive shorthanded duty in 2017-18, he still had deployment which, on paper, makes his point per game numbers seem legit.

As for Seguin, at first glance his 20:55 per game (7th best among all NHL forwards last season – Scheifele was 10th) looks superb; but roughly 60% of his newfound ice time was unproductive shorthanded duty. So in reality Seguin took the ice for a few non-shorthanded seconds less than Scheifele last season. Beyond that, last season was the lone one in which Ken Hitchcock was at the helm for Dallas, so it’s not clear whether new coach Jim Montgomery, who’s spoken of a more balanced offense, will opt to have Seguin play as many minutes. Of course in doing so Montgomery also might dial back Seguin’s shorthanded ice time, which could be a net positive. Moreover, it’s not like Seguin can’t produce top numbers with fewer minutes, as he’s done so several times. Long story short – Scheifele’s situation in Winnipeg is seemingly more ground in stone; however, should Seguin see less ice time it might not diminish his production, especially based on results from past seasons and if he sheds shorthanded duty along the way.

Secondary Categories

Season

PIMs

(per game)

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points

(per game)

2017-18

0.52 (T.S.)

0.30 (M.S.)

0.90 (T.S.)

0.95 (M.S.)

0.53 (T.S.)

0.51 (M.S.)

4.08 (T.S.)

2.08 (M.S.)

0.30 (T.S.)

0.26 (M.S.)

2016-17

0.27 (T.S.)

0.48 (M.S.)

0.73 (T.S.)

0.62 (M.S.)

0.31 (T.S.)

0.43 (M.S.)

3.67 (T.S.)

2.02 (M.S.)

0.35 (T.S.)

0.20 (M.S.)

2015-16

0.22 (T.S.)

0.67 (M.S.)

1.11 (T.S.)

0.74 (M.S.)

0.37 (T.S.)

0.50 (M.S.)

3.86 (T.S.)

2.73 (M.S.)

0.36 (T.S.)

0.15 (M.S.)

2014-15

0.28 (T.S.)

0.29 (M.S.)

0.88 (T.S.)

1.22 (M.S.)

0.36 (T.S.)

0.74 (M.S.)

3.94 (T.S.)

2.07 (M.S.)

0.41 (T.S.)

0.17 (M.S.)


Before he morphed into a scorer, Scheifele was very solid in hits and blocks; however, his combined production in those categories is now down by about 25%. With Seguin, the opposite has happened in that just a few seasons ago he was barely above one Hit+Block per game and now he’s neck and neck with Scheifele. PIM for Scheifele has been all over the map, while Seguin had a big enough jump last season – as compared to his prior three campaigns – that we have to doubt its sustainability.

As for the all-important SOG and PPPts areas, Seguin, simply put, is a monster. Even though in two of the last five seasons he missed 10 and 11 games, he still had 24+ PPPts in each, making him one of just four forwards to meet that criteria (the others being Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Claude Giroux). Combine that with 275+ SOG per season and he and Ovechkin are the only two, with no other NHLer even having done it twice over the same five season period!

With Scheifele, we see a nice upward trend in PP scoring. He also showed he was capable of firing more pucks on net in 2015-16, with a 2.73 average; yet otherwise he has been consistently at two shots per game. The good news is both areas have realistic room to grow, even considerably; however, if Scheifele was going to be a high-volume shooter, chances are it would’ve already happened by now. As for PP scoring, the Jets ranked fifth last season in PP percentage and Scheifele was a staple on PP1, so circumstances existed for him to produce more on the PP than his one PPPt per every five games.

At age 25 and after 366 career NHL games, we have to wonder if Scheifele is capable of morphing into a higher volume shooter and/or a better producer on the power play. A higher shot total seems less likely, since of the 31 forwards who averaged 3+ SOG per game last season, none did so for the first time after age 25 and having already played more than four seasons in the NHL. But PPPts could be another story, since of the 23 players who tallied 25+ PPPts in 2017-18 there were two (Josh Bailey and Scheifele’s own teammate Blake Wheeler) who did so despite being older than Scheifele and having never previously posted 25 in a prior campaign. Therefore, even if Scheifele doesn’t raise his shot total, he could see scoring gains via more PPPts, even at his age.

Luck-Based Metrics

Season

Personal Shooting %

Team Shooting % (5×5)

Individual Points % (IPP)

Offensive Zone Starting % (5×5)

Average Shot Distance

Secondary Assists %

2017-18

11.9% (T.S.)

18.4% (M.S.)

9.19% (T.S.)

9.23% (M.S.)

63.4% (T.S.)

63.2% (M.S.)

47.1% (T.S.)

55.5% (M.S.)

30.6 (T.S.)

25.3 (M.S.)

31% (T.S.)

35% (M.S.)

2016-17

8.6% (T.S.)

20.0% (M.S.)

8.53% (T.S.)

11.69% (M.S.)

72.0% (T.S.)

68.3% (M.S.)

49.6% (T.S.)

52.7% (M.S.)

33.7 (T.S.)

22.9 (M.S.)

41% (T.S.)

48% (M.S.)

2015-16

11.9% (T.S.)

14.9% (M.S.)

9.42% (T.S.)

10.18% (M.S.)

65.8% (T.S.)

74.4% (M.S.)

56.2% (T.S.)

51.6% (M.S.)

32.4 (T.S.)

25.8 (M.S.)

35% (T.S.)

37% (M.S.)

2014-15

13.2% (T.S.)

8.8% (M.S.)

10.32% (T.S.)

8.67% (M.S.)

76.2% (T.S.)

60.5% (M.S.)

53.4% (T.S.)

48.3% (M.S.)

32.0 (T.S.)

26.4 (M.S.)

17% (T.S.)

56% (M.S.)


Both players have very high numbers for 5×5 team shooting percentage. Normally that’s a troublesome sign; however, they’ve exceeded the 9.0% threshold associated with scoring forwards so many times (including twice each in earlier seasons) and by so much, that the reasonable conclusion for one to draw is their presence on the ice beneficially – and consistently – leads to high volume scoring, making a strong case for each being an elite forward. From there, however, things differ.

In terms of IPP, Scheifele has one season above the 70% mark usually associated with top scorers and only two above 63%, whereas Seguin has only once been below the 63.4% he had last season and has been above 70% three times in the past five seasons. Clearly Seguin is either more focused on getting on the scoresheet as compared to Scheifele, or their playing styles differ to an extent that Seguin is more of a points magnet than Scheifele. As for the dip in Seguin’s IPP last season, that most likely came from playing with two very talented wingers for arguably the first time in his career, so they syphoned away some points he’d have otherwise had yet as a line they did well, as indicated by their Seguin’s 5×5 team shooting percentage, making the situation a net wash.

Meanwhile, Scheifele’s presence on his line led to an even higher team shooting percentage than Seguin last season, yet Scheifele’s IPP resulted in other players on the ice grabbing points that otherwise could have been his. And in fantasy, a sustainably elevated 5×5 team shooting percentage only great if it also translates into truly elite points production, and thus far his low IPPs have prevented, and could well continue to prevent, Scheifele from turning in a truly top level fantasy season.

Interestingly Seguin’s highest shot total among these four seasons came when he fired shots from the closest distance, meaning he wasn’t just shooting pucks willy nilly. And yet he also had a low secondary assists percentage for the third season out of these four, which means he’s both a scorer and playmaker, rather than someone who lucks into points. For what it’s worth, Scheifele is no slouch in these two areas either, but as noted above puts poolies who own him at a comparative disadvantage due to his far lower shot total than Seguin.

Who Wins?

Seguin in multi-cats because he gives poolies everything Scheifele does, plus more, which is enough to compensate for the added points Scheifele gets by playing on team that is poised to be an offensive powerhouse for many years. The reality is Scheifele is neither a true playmaker nor sniper; he does a little bit of everything, yet as a result doesn’t fit into the scoring picture enough to seemingly be able to take the next step into 85-90+ point territory, unless somehow he sees his PPPts scoring improve as has occurred with players older than him, but rarely.

In points only it’s closer; but I think I still like Seguin, who’ll have added motivation to succeed in order to help his UFA cause. That should put him in 85-point territory, which I believe will be above the point per game norm of Scheifele. Plus you get less injury risk.

Looking ahead, both players are holds in keeper leagues. On paper the Jets are stocked to be a great offensive team for many years, so it’s hard to see Scheifele doing any worse than point-per-game output. He might have had a chance at more if Blake Wheeler decided not to re-sign with the Jets, which could have resulted in Scheifele taking on a "the guy" role for the team as opposed to being one of two top dogs along with Wheeler.  But now that Wheeler has signed an extension, it should be largely status quo for the Winnipeg offense and for Scheifele for the coming years, that is until Wheeler loses a step, which does not seem to be a threat for at least the next couple of seasons. As for Seguin, if Dallas doesn’t extend him during the season, he’ll be every bit as hyped of a UFA as John Tavares was this summer, and could land on a team where he could do even better since Seguin has yet to play with both great linemates and for a high scoring team. If that occurs, he could hit the 90-point mark.