Welcome to another edition of “Forum Buzz,” a column where I dissect posts from the DobberHockey Forums. Pretty much anything within the forums might be covered, other than trades (those usually will get their own separate write-ups on the site and are also covered in the next day’s Ramblings) and signings (those tend to be dissected in Alex MacLean’s weekly Capped column). With that out of the way, let’s get rolling!
Topic #1 – How can I convince another GM to trade me, Elias Pettersson and Rasmus Dahlin, but without me having to overpay for them?
In the forum thread, the poster had the luxury of owning the first overall pick in the upcoming draft, which is an enticing trade cog. Of course, as mentioned in the thread, Elias Pettersson and Rasmus Dahlin are likely to be recognized as among the most prized trade targets in keeper leagues. The question thus becomes how – if it’s indeed even possible – can one straddle the line between presenting a trade offer for them that’s both likely to be accepted yet won’t represent giving up too much.
First things first, if you want to get these players, you’re making a smart choice. With the exception of Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, no player had a better production rate for a worse scoring team during 2018-19 than Petterson– as a rookie – for Vancouver. Plus, despite missing 11 games, Pettersson hit six posts and two crossbars, so his goal total could have easily been much higher. Pettersson also scored at a 25 PPPts full season pace as a rookie, and only two wingers have finished a rookie season with 25+ PPPts since 2000-01. As for Dahlin, he became the first 18-year-old since Phil Housley (36 years ago!) to surpass the 40 point threshold as a rookie, which is something only Bobby Orr had also ever done. Dahlin also excelled with the man advantage, tallying 20 PPPts, making him just one of five rookie d-men who had 44+ points and 20+ PPPts as a first-year player since 2000-01, with all but one of the other four being age 20 or older when doing so.
The problem is nearly any GM who owns these two, even if not specifically aware of the select company their rookie season production puts them in, will still have a very high opinion of them. In terms of Petterson, you might have hope in that his scoring is a bit disguised due to missed games and he hit a rookie wall in the fourth quarter (12 points in his last 20 contests), factors you could use to “talk down” Pettersson. As for Dahlin, he didn’t suffer from a fourth-quarter swoon; but you could rightfully point out to his owner that the last 18-year-old defenseman to score nearly as high as Dahlin at age 18 was Aaron Ekblad, who posted 39 points and hasn’t even equalled that mark in his now five subsequent seasons. Hopefully, these factors will help you try to at least get the other GM to listen to offers.
Once you have the other GM’s ear, you have to talk up your first overall pick, pointing out how out of ten forwards picked first overall since 2000 and who is now age 22+, seven have scored 90+ points at least twice, and eight have two or more point per game seasons, making your first overall pick asset a lot less risky (and thus more valuable) than it might seem. Beyond that, you have to find a way to give up a key asset to take the place of Dahlin. The poster has Rielly, Karlsson, Klingberg, Morrissey, Heiskanen, Vatanen, Jokiharju, Valimaki, and Hughes as d-men. To get the deal done, probably you have to dangle Quinn Hughes – either him or Klingberg. Otherwise, the other GM likely won’t entertain the deal.
Remember – you can always start with an inferior offer and work your way up, and of course, can walk away if the price becomes too outrageous. Another option is aiming a bit lower, such as trying to get one of the two, rather than both. Good luck, and hopefully there’s a deal to be made.
Topic #2 – In a 12 team league that counts G, A, PPP, SOG, FOW, Hits, Blocks, how would these seven players – with their positional eligibility noted – rank as keepers (Ryan O’Reilly – C, Tyler Seguin – C, Ryan Johansen – C, Brad Marchand – LW, Jeff Skinner – LW, Patrick Kane, RW, Elias Lindholm, – C/RW)?
I think I’d put Ryan O’Reilly at the top, as he just finished a season with 234 SOG and 1086 FOW. That’s a big deal, as since the 2010-11 campaign there’ve been only four other instances of a player with 1000 FOW at all; and of the four, just one – Jonathan Toews this past season – had more SOG than ROR’s 234 when doing so. Couple that with ROR’s nearly point per game scoring, 1+ PPP per four games, and a bit less than one Hit plus Block per contest, and you get stat stuffing the likes of which is huge for your league.
On the slip side, the two players I’m raking at the bottom are Jeff Skinner and Ryan Johansen. Yes, Skinner will get oodles of ice time wherever he ends up after inking what will be a huge UFA deal; but despite more ice time (both overall and on the PP) than he’d received in six seasons and starting with 41 points in his first 42 games Skinner didn’t even end up setting a career high in points, managing to only tie his previous best of 63. He’s also not particularly good in peripherals, other than SOG. As for RyJo, despite a minute more ice time than last season it was another campaign in the 60s, which, based on his shrinking SOG totals, seems like the most we can come to expect from him at this point. What’s more, despite his ice time going up, RyJo’s FOW shrank as compared to his previous two seasons. Yes, his hits crept up to more than one per game; but that’s not enough to lift him above the other names on this list.
Patrick Kane and Brad Marchand, although now on the other side of 30, are showing no signs of slowing down. Kane just set a career best in points and topped his previous high mark in SOG by nearly 20%. His Hits and Blocks are terrible, yet he’s rock solid in PPPts to help compensate. Meanwhile, Marchand nearly hit the three SOG mark for what would’ve been the second time in his career on his way to his first 100 point campaign. Were your league to count PIM Marchand might be ranked first, but Marchand’s Hits and Blocks are nothing to write home about, whereas his PPPts were nearly two per every five games, although that seems too high to be sustainable.
Elias Lindholm is the wild card among the seven. He became a fixture on one of the best lines in hockey and, perhaps most importantly, has dual position eligibility, making his 6-7 FOW per game a huge asset. Also, despite focusing more on scoring overall, he still kept up with one hit per contest and soared to nearly one PPP per three games, making him perhaps the second best overall stat stuffer among the group. The only question is whether he’s truly arrived, especially after he saw his production drop dramatically toward the end of the regular season.
That leaves Seguin, who had perhaps the quietest 80 points of any player this past season. He’s a lock for 25-30 PPPts per season, as he’s been in that range each of the last six campaigns and he topped the 300 SOG mark for the second straight season, virtually equaling his career best from 2017-18. Even his Hits and Blocks have inched upward from his past norms, making him an even more complete player in your league. If he has one weakness, it’s FOW; however, he’s made strides from previous years when he’d be below 500.
With all these factors having been considered, I’d rank them in this order (from best to worst): O’Reilly, then Kane and Seguin a notch below, then Lindholm and Marchand a bit below those two, then a bigger drop before reaching Johansen and Skinner. Good luck in your league next season.
Topic #3 – Based on his strong showing in the playoffs, is Mark Stone a better keeper than Evgeni Malkin in a 14 team H2H, 7 keeper league which starts 2C, 2RW, 2LW, 4D, 1 Util, 1IR and scores the following skater categories: G, A, PPP, Hits, PIM, +/-, GWG?
What a difference seven playoff games can make! That’s what happens when Mark Stone, who was exactly a point per game player collectively over the past two seasons, explodes for 12 points in just seven playoff contests. Is this his new normal, or did he just hit lightning in a bottle for one series? And either way, how does he compare with Evgeni Malkin, who we know is a star but also one who’s ageing and a certified Band-Aid Boy?
Let’s look more closely at Stone’s playoff run. First things first, he had a point on 12 of the 14 goals that were scored while he was on the ice, for an 85.7% IPP. And his team’s on-ice team shooting percentage was a staggering 15.91%. This from a player who only once had an IPP over 68% in his career and whose previous high for team shooting percentage was 10.98%. Stone also averaged 18:24 per game in only five of his 18 regular season contests with the Golden Knights, which is the same number of times he did so in the playoffs in 11 fewer contests. It was a similar story on the PP, as only six times in his 18 regular season games (i.e. 33% of those games) did Stone take the ice for over 60% of his team’s man advantage minutes, compared to four of the seven playoff contests (i.e., 57% of games).
Long story short, Stone was riding a scorching streak he’d be unable to replicate over the course of a regular season. This is especially the case given that Stone plays for a team like the Golden Knights, which beliefs in spreading out ice time quite evenly and not putting even its top players out there for more than 17-18 minutes per game or giving them heaps of PP time.
Another thing about Stone – he’s just as brittle as Malkin! It turns out Stone has missed 40 games over the course of the last three seasons, compared to Malkin’s 38. And although Stone has been a point per game player over the past two seasons, that amounted to exactly 135 points in 135 games. Malkin, on the other hand, has bested the point per game mark for a staggering eight consecutive seasons.
And although Malkin will be 33 years old when the puck drops for 2019-20, past comparables suggest he might not be due to seeing his production slow down in the near future. In the history of the NHL, just eight other forwards had point per game outputs every season from age 25-32 as Malkin has now done. Of them, six had at least one more point per game season from age 33 onward, and five had at least three more points per game campaigns. This bodes well for Malkin.
Looking at peripherals, Malkin is very strong, having 160-180 PIM+Hits+PPPts in each of the past two seasons. In contrast, Stone’s 119 last season was just the second time he exceeded 100. Malkin also had 5-7 GWGs in each of the past three seasons, which was a notch better than Stone’s 3-5.
Of course, a wild card is what happens if (when?) Malkin is traded this summer. Were that to occur, he’d likely be walking into a spot where – given his salary, and unlike in Pittsburgh – he’d be the undisputed #1 center. How might he fare under those circumstances? Probably quite well, as if we look at the two seasons where Sidney Crosby played fewer than 60 games and Malkin played over 70, Malkin’s outputs were 106 points in 82 games and 109 points in 75 games. So clearly he can step up and be “the guy.”
In the end, Stone’s playoff performance was an unsustainable mirage, whereas Malkin is truly elite and should remain so for several more seasons. Malkin is the pick here.
Many a fantasy team was burned this past season by Ghost Bear, who went from 65 points in 78 games to a mere 37 in the same number of contests, raising questions of whether his 65 points was more of a fluke than the 37. How can we tell who the real Shayne Gostisbehere is? By looking at past comparables and digging deeper into Ghost’s numbers from his four NHL seasons.
By scoring 65 points at age 25 or younger, Ghost became just one of three d-men to do so since 2000-01 and prior to this season. The other three were Mike Green, Erik Karlsson, and John Klingberg. Say what you want about Green, but before injuries took their toll he was a fantasy force, and, more importantly, topped 65 points once again. Karlsson, of course, has been arguably the premier rearguard scorer of the past decade, having bested 65 points four more times since first doing so at age 21. As for Klingberg, he followed up his 67 points in 2017-18 with a more modest 45 in 67 contests this past season. So all in all, the odds are in Ghost’s favor that he’s not washed up, although Klingberg's similar drop in output is at least a back of the mind concern.
As for Ghost’s stats, one thing that’s immediately clear – beyond the drop in points – is his SOG rate also fell to the lowest per game rate of his career. There’s no reason for this to occur, as he was deployed for similar PP minutes as 2017-18 and similar overall minutes as 2016-17. Also, his 65 SOG on the PP was down by 25% as compared to 2018-19 despite a mere six seconds less PP time per game.
Looking at his advanced stats, they’re quite similar to his 2016-17 season when he posted 39 points in 76 games. For example, his 5×5 team shooting percentage this season was 6.82% (5.02% in 2016-17) and his IPP was 44.6% (46.4% in 2016-17. The big difference between 2016-17 and 2018-19 was his offensive zone starting percentage, which back then was 67.72% but in 2018-19 was 54.89%. We could look with a glass half full mentality by noting that despite similar metrics in 2016-17 Ghost rose to 65 points the next season, or with a glass half empty by noting it’s one thing to put up stats like that in one’s true first full NHL season (2016-17) and another to do so in one’s fourth after posting 65 points.
One concern is Philly also has Ivan Provorov and even Travis Sanheim, who was scoring a better than a point per every other game rate over the second half of the season, so it’s not like the team is forced to keep putting Ghost out there if his struggles continue. That being said, he remains their top option for blueline offense; and although his overall ice time dropped with each passing quarter amid his struggles, his PP Time remained steady, so the team clearly wants him to play his way out of this.
Yet another concern is the appointment of Alain Vigneault as head coach of the Flyers. In his six full seasons coaching the Canucks and five coaching the Rangers, no defenseman managed to score more than 50 points in a single campaign. Beyond that, although in Vancouver there were nine instances of a rearguard averaging more than the 3:29 per game with the man advantage than Ghost did last season, only once did a defenseman who played over 46 games average above 2:52 per game on the PP during Vigneault’s Rangers tenure, Not good news for Ghost or his fantasy owners.
Bearing all these factors in mind, I think Ghost is a keeper in leagues where 40 defensemen or more are kept, or in shallower leagues which start 4D. The reasoning is we likely saw the worst he can produce, and the reward potential -even with Vigneault as his coach – is too great to give up on him as a keeper except in the shallowest of leagues.
Questions needed for Mailbag column
As a reminder, I’m always seeking questions for my monthly mailbag column, where I answer your fantasy hockey questions. Please continue to send me your questions either by private messaging them to me (rizzeedizzee) via the DobberHockey Forums or by sending an email to [email protected] with “Roos Mailbag” as the subject line.
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