Johan Franzen vs. Mike Cammalleri

by Rick Roos on September 24, 2014
Franzen

Fantasy Hockey Cage Match (Band-Aid Boy edition). Johan Franzen or Mike Cammalleri?

 

Again this week’s Cage Match features a battle between players with similar (in this case, identical) point projections in the DobberHockey 2014 Fantasy Hockey Guide. But if you want to find out what their exact point projection is you’ll need to order the Guide, which remains far and away the best fantasy hockey resource you can find.

Our combatants are Johan Franzen and Mike Cammalleri – two certified band-aid boy wingers who produce quite well….when they’re in the line-up. And although no one has a crystal ball that will reveal how many games they’ll miss in 2014-15 (the Guide says 13 each), Cage Match can tell you who should be more productive and useful to your team while he’s healthy.

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

 

Franzen was drafted 97th overall by Detroit in 2004 at the ripe age of 24, and has gone on to play his entire 567 game career with the Wings. And although he’s well deserving of his band-aid boy status (having not managed an 80+ game season since he was a rookie and missing 10+ games in more seasons than not), he’s also tallied 27+ goals four times, including each of the last four seasons where he played 70+ games, and he’s managed to score 72 points in his last 95 games (62 point full season pace).

Cammalleri will be 32 and suiting up for his fourth team come October, having spent 3+ campaigns with each of his other squads and producing an 80+ point season twice (2006-07 Kings, 2008-09 Flames). And although Cammalleri has managed more completely healthy seasons than Franzen (three 80+ game campaigns vs. just one for Franzen), he’s also interestingly never finished a season with between 68 and 79 games played (versus five times for Franzen). And despite the fact that Cammalleri has averaged 35 goals per 100 games over his career (compared to Franzen’s 31), last season was the first time he posted more than 25 goals since 2009-10.

Franzen has reached the midpoint of an 11 year, $43.5M contract ($3.954M yearly AAV/Cap Hit), while Cammalleri just inked a five year deal with the Devils that brings with it a $5M AAV/Cap Hit.

 

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Ice Time

 

We won’t have the benefit of seeing any past Ice Time for Cammalleri on his current team (the Devils); however, we’ll be able to assess one full season for each of his of his two most recent teams (2010-11 Canadiens, 2013-14 Flames).

 

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

2013-14

17:39 (J.F.) – 3rd

19:50 (M.C.) – 1st

2:55 (J.F.) – 5th

3:02 (M.C.) – 2nd

0:18 (J.F.) – 12th

0:23 (M.C.) – 9th (tie)

2012-13

18:05 (J.F.) – 3rd

18:03 (M.C.) – 4th

3:30 (J.F.) – 3rd

2:51 (M.C.) – 3rd

0:24 (J.F.) – 10th

0:40 (M.C.) – 9th

2011-12

17:42 (J.F.) – 4th

17:49 (M.C. – MTL) – 7th

18:30 (M.C. – CAL) – 4th

2:56 (J.F.) – 4th

3:05 (M.C. – MTL) – 4th (tie)

2:56 (M.C. – CAL) – 5th

0:01 (J.F.) – 10th

1:03 (M.C. – MTL) – 9th

0:00 (M.C. – CAL)

2010-11

17:26 (J.F.) – 3rd

18:28 (M.C.) – 4th

2:49 (J.F.) – 4th

3:06 (M.C.) – 1st

0:03 (J.F.) – 10th

0:45 (M.C.) – 9th

 

There’s a lot of similarity here, as each’s overall Ice Time was within 1:02 of the other’s in three of the four seasons and each’s PP Ice Time was within 39 seconds of the other’s for every season (less than 10 seconds apart in two of the four). In general, that means we can feel fairly confident in the other data from their past years forming a solid basis upon which to draw future conclusions.

The issue is some could argue that Ice Time might be very different for both players in 2014-15, as for the first time since 2009 Cammalleri will be joining a new team where he’s never played previously and Franzen will finally have to contend with players (e.g., Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar) who are emerging as go to guys poised to eat into his previously untouchable Ice Time. But my sense is when push comes to shove both players more likely than not should receive similar Ice Time in 2014-15 as they did over these past four seasons.

My reasoning is that Franzen remains a productive player when healthy, and fills a unique role as a large body with a scoring touch, which is something no younger Red Wing is prepared to replicate. And Cammalleri provides goal scoring that the Devils sorely need, as his 26 tallies last season not only would’ve led the Devils in 2013-14 but also would’ve been tied for the highest goal total by any Devil not named Ilya Kovalchuk or Zach Parise since Patrick Elias potted 31 all the way back in 2008-09. Plus, there were five Devils forwards who received between 17:33 and 20:18 of overall Ice Time last season, so Cammalleri should be able to step in and receive his customary 18:00+ per game.

One area where Cammalleri likely will need to readjust is on the PP, as only Jaromir Jagr received more than 2:30 per game for the Devils in 2013-14. And even Jagr’s 2:53 would be lower than Cammalleri’s per game average in three of the past four seasons.

Meanwhile, Franzen stands to continue to occupy his traditional “mule” spot parked in front of the net on Detroit’s PP1 for several seasons to come, just as Tomas Holmstrom did for the Red Wings even into his late 30s. So we’ll have to pay particular attention to Cammalleri’s PP points output to see what effect there might be if his PP Ice Time minutes per game are decreased by 20%.

 

Secondary Categories

Season

PIMs

(per game)

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points

(per game)

2013-14

0.74 (J.F.)

0.41 (M.C.)

1.22 (J.F.)

0.25 (M.C.)

0.42 (J.F.)

0.28 (M.C.)

2.76 (J.F.)

3.03 (M.C.)

0.31 (J.F.)

0.22 (M.C.)

2012-13

1.00 (J.F.)

0.57 (M.C.)

1.05 (J.F.)

0.25 (M.C.)

0.41 (J.F.)

0.28 (M.C.)

2.83 (J.F.)

2.32 (M.C.)

0.29 (J.F.)

0.34 (M.C.)

2011-12

0.52 (J.F.)

0.39 (M.C.)

0.78 (J.F.)

0.45 (M.C.)

0.39 (J.F.)

0.20 (M.C.)

2.74 (J.F.)

2.65 (M.C.)

0.17 (J.F.)

0.18 (M.C.)

2010-11

0.76 (J.F.)

0.49 (M.C.)

1.88 (J.F.)

0.41 (M.C.)

0.38 (J.F.)

0.46 (M.C.)

3.26 (J.F.)

2.88 (M.C.)

0.22 (J.F.)

0.31 (M.C.)

 

Both players have been fairly consistent in terms of PIM, Hits, and Blocked Shots output, which is bad news for Cammalleri owners since consistent in his case means bad. Only once in these four seasons did Cammalleri average more than one PIM per two games, and in none did his total Hits plus Blocked Shots add up to one per game. Meanwhile, Franzen not only has put up far better numbers than Cammalleri in each category, but his averages for the past two seasons have been either greater than (PIM) or comparable to (Blocked Shots, Hits) what he posted in the previous two, so he’s trending well.

It’s a similar situation for Franzen in PP points, where he’s upped his production from one per every five games or so to three every ten games. And the fact that he did so in two successive seasons cuts against it being a by-product of unsustainable luck, although of course we’ll examine that below.

Cammalleri has put up similar total PP production as Franzen over these four seasons, although unlike Franzen he’s been very up and down (up in 2010-11 and 2012-13, down in 2011-12 and 2013-14). By digging deeper we can see that the up years corresponded to his teams having a top ten power play overall, which is good news since the Devils somehow managed the league’s ninth best power play conversion percentage in 2013-14 despite finishing way down at 27th in goals per game.

 

Luck-Based Metrics

 

Season

Personal Shooting Percentage

PDO (5×5)

IPP (5×5)

IPP (5×4)

2013-14

10.7% (J.F.)

13.6% (M.C.)

1014 (J.F.)

973 (M.C.)

64.3% (J.F.)

81.1% (M.C.)

75.0% (J.F.)

86.7% (M.C.)

2012-13

12.1% (J.F.)

12.8% (M.C.)

1042 (J.F.)

958 (M.C.)

65.2% (J.F.)

75.0% (M.C.)

50.0% (J.F.)

78.6% (M.C.)

2011-12

13.7% (J.F.)

11.4% (M.C.)

1025 (J.F.)

1000 (M.C.)

70.2% (J.F.)

74.4% (M.C.)

57.1% (J.F.)

66.7% (M.C.)

2010-11

11.3% (J.F.)

9.8% (M.C.)

1007 (J.F.)

1008 (M.C.)

66.7% (J.F.)

62.5% (M.C.)

57.1% (J.F.)

65.4% (M.C.)

 

Neither player had a season in which all his metrics suggested he was unsustainably lucky or unlucky. In all four seasons, each posted a personal shooting % close to his lifetime number (11.8% for Franzen, 12.2% for Cammalleri). But it is interesting to note that not only has Cammalleri’s shooting percentage risen in three straight seasons, but 2013-14 also saw him post his highest Shots per game average, which represents a very nice “best of both worlds” situation and bodes well for 2014-15 and beyond.

There’s also a logical explanation for Cammalleri’s 2012-13 and 2013-14 seemingly odd combination of terrible PDO but ultra-high IPP. Simply put, Calgary was a very poor team that relied heavily upon Cammalleri for offense. On a squad like New Jersey, one can expect his PDO to move back toward what’s normal for him, but, at the same time, for his IPP to decrease, as only Jagr had a 5×5 IPP greater than 61.2% in 2013-14 among Devils forwards with 1000+ minutes played at 5×5 and only Damien Brunner had a 5×4 IPP greater than 66.7% among forwards who played 100+ minutes at 5×4. Thus, when all is said and done the expectation would be for comparable overall production from Cammalleri.

As for Franzen, his IPP numbers have been steady at 5×5, while his higher PP point outputs in the past two seasons coincided with his highest and lowest 5×4 IPP numbers, which effectively cancels out good or bad luck as an explanation. And although his 1042 5×5 PDO is well above what’s generally considered the high end of normal (i.e., 1030), it did not result in abnormally high production during that season and he seems to be one of those players whose PDO simply runs high.

 

Who Wins?

Since their band-aid boy status is basically a wash, the decision here boils down to pure numbers. And in the end I’ll give Franzen a slight edge in points only leagues, and a larger margin of victory in multi-cat formats and cap leagues.

Franzen’s production has been steady (or, if anything, trending slightly up, and without benefitting from excess luck) and his situation in Detroit is unlikely to change much – if at all – in the coming few seasons. With that, it’s hard not to figure him for a 60+ point pace and, at the same time, almost zero chance of him dipping below a 55 point scoring pace, which, it’s worth noting, hasn’t occurred for him since back in 2007-08.

Meanwhile, Cammalleri has suffered through more slightly off years than Franzen, and hasn’t scored at a 60 point full season pace since back in 2009-10. But at the same time Cammalleri is more “front and center” in people’s minds entering 2014-15 due to having signed a big UFA deal in the offseason, whereas some might actually devalue Franzen due to the hype surrounding younger Red Wings like Nyquist and Tatar. Thus, Franzen appears to be the safer bet not only in terms of production downside, but also when factoring in perceived value and actual cost vs. actual value.

All this having been said Cammalleri, might be a guy to target if you’re trying a higher risk, higher reward strategy, as if everything truly lines up for him he could explode for 70+ points in New Jersey, especially since he’s a two time former 80+ point scorer, whereas Franzen has never scored above a 68 point pace.

 

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