Trevor Daley vs. Anton Stralman

by Rick Roos on April 15, 2015
TrevorDaley

 

Keeper leaguers! Which late-blooming rearguard is the better fantasy own: Trevor Daley or Anton Stralman?

It’s back to defensemen this week, with a battle between Trevor Daley and Anton Stralman. Both quite unexpectedly set career highs in points in 2014-15, so the question is whether we should expect more of the same going forward, or are either or both at risk of crashing back down to earth in 2015-16. Time to find out – Cage Match starts now!

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

Daley was a second round draft pick back in 2002; and hopes were high when he ended up playing in 27 games for the Stars in 2003-04 at age 20. But things didn’t work out well, as he posted just 32 points in his first 182 NHL games.

Starting in the 2007-08 season, Daley embarked upon an astonishingly consistent run of seven straight campaigns where he posted 22 to 27 points (including a 24 point pace in lockout-shortened 2012-13). So you can imagine the surprise of poolies to have seen Daley post 38 points this season, and in just 68 games (46 point full season pace) to boot!

Stralman, who turns 29 in August, went from being the 216th pick by Toronto back in 2005 to landing in the NHL by 2007. But Toronto dished Stralman to Calgary in the 2009 offseason after he’d put up 22 points in 88 games stretched over two seasons. And even before taking the ice for the Flames, Stralman was on the move again, this time to Columbus in exchange for a 3rd round pick.

In his first season with Columbus, Stralman came out of nowhere to post 34 points in 73 games. But upon following that with 18 points in 51 games, Stralman found himself a man without a team. And after a tryout with the Devils didn’t pan out, he landed with the Rangers, where he slowly emerged as a strong shut down d-man who could get points here and there. But he too sent shockwaves throughout fantasy circles in 2014-15 by tallying 39 points with Tampa Bay, especially since it came after he inked his first UFA deal, which is often a time when players (cough cough..Matt Niskanen) see their production go down rather than rise.

Daley has two more years on a deal that brings with it a $3.3M annual cap hit, while Stralman’s 2014 UFA contract with the Lightning counts $4.5M per year against the cap and runs through 2018-19.

 

Ice Time

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game (rank among team’s defensemen)

PP Ice Time per game (rank among team’s defensemen)

SH Ice Time per game (rank among team’s defensemen

2014-15

22:56 (T.D.) – 2nd

21:52 (A.S.) – 2nd

2:44 (T.D.) – 2nd

2:28 (A.S.) – 2nd

2:54 (T.D.) – 2nd

2:34 (A.S.) – 1st

2013-14

21:08 (T.D.) – 2nd

19:24 (A.S.) – 3rd

1:10 (T.D.) – 3rd

0:16 (A.S.) – 7th

2:24 (T.D.) – 2nd

1:37 (A.S.) – 4th

2012-13

21:24 (T.D.) – 3rd

18:02 (A.S.) – 5th

2:11 (T.D.) – 2nd

1:04 (A.S.) – 3rd

2:35 (T.D.) – 2nd

0:57 (A.S.) – 5th

2011-12

21:38 (T.D.) – 3rd

17:05 (A.S.) – 6th

2:10 (T.D.) – 3rd

1:12 (A.S.) – 3rd

2:29 (T.D.) – 2nd

0:36 (A.S.) – 7th

 

Stralman’s 2011-12 and 2012-13 data (Ice Time and otherwise) should be disregarded almost entirely, other than to show he overcame a previous role as a fringe defenseman to be seemingly locked into a top spot. When considering Stralman’s 2014-15 Ice Time and how it might forecast what will happen next season and beyond, the temptation would be to assume things will get worse. After all, while he played 82 games, most of the other top Lightning d-men more than ten (Victor Hedman and Matthew Carle each missed 23; Jason Garrison 12, and deadline add Braydon Coburn missed 14 of a possible 18).

But if we dig deeper, we see Stralman responded pretty well to his PP Ice Time (more on that below); plus, three of the top five PP Ice Time recipients for the Lightning in 2013-14 (Eric Brewer, Sami Salo, Radko Gudas) are no longer with the team and have been replaced by only two comparables (Garrison, Coburn). Also, Hedman and Carle had two of the highest three SH Ice Time per game averages for the team in 2013-14, which means that when they’re healthy for a full season the net effect is more likely to be a reduction in Stralman’s SH Ice Time duty, rather than an increase.

Daley also saw across the board gains in 2014-15. But because his SH Ice Time was perilously close to the 3:00 level that I’ve warned about in past columns, we have to be concerned not only that it could go up even further and wreak havoc on his production, but also that his excellent production for 2014-15 was perhaps a by-product of unsustainable good luck. We’ll check on that below.

Moreover, it’s hard to ignore that Daley’s Ice Time numbers – and his production – were better prior to the arrival of John Klingberg in November. How much better? For one, Daley stood at ten points in 14 games prior to Kilngberg entering the line-up, which means thereafter his production was 28 points in 54 games, which is far less remarkable. But also, in those first 14 games there were nine where Daley skated for 25:00 or more, compared to only five in the 54 he played thereafter. Also, only once in the seven games after Daley returned from injury in March did he get more than 2:00 of PP Ice Time in a game, with John Klingberg having at least double the PP Ice Time of Daley in each. And three of Daleys’ final five games saw him receive less than 20:00 Total Ice Time, after having that occur only twice in his previous 63 games, one of which saw him leave due to injury. Not good.

 

Secondary Categories

 

Season

PIMs

(per game)

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points

(per game)

2014-15

0.50 (T.D.)

0.31 (A.S.)

0.42 (T.D.)

1.27 (A.S.)

1.81 (T.D.)

0.94 (A.S.)

1.66 (T.D.)

1.68 (A.S.)

0.17 (T.D.)

0.17 (A.S.)

2013-14

0.56 (T.D.)

0.32 (A.S.)

0.62 (T.D.)

0.92 (A.S.)

1.46 (T.D.)

0.79 (A.S.)

1.59 (T.D.)

1.28 (A.S.)

0.06 (T.D.)

0.00 (A.S.)

2012-13

0.32 (T.D.)

0.33 (A.S.)

0.61 (T.D.)

1.56 (A.S.)

1.57 (T.D.)

0.87 (A.S.)

1.32 (T.D.)

1.37 (A.S.)

0.07 (T.D.)

0.00 (A.S.)

2011-12

0.53 (T.D.)

0.37 (A.S.)

0.57 (T.D.)

1.43 (A.S.)

1.45 (T.D.)

1.34 (A.S.)

1.69 (T.D.)

1.03 (A.S.)

0.07 (T.D.)

0.07 (A.S.)

 

Stralman holds a large edge in Hits, but one that’s essentially mirrored by Daley in Blocked Shots, which means they’ll give a fantasy squad comparable production in leagues that count both. And we can see their Shots and PP Points for 2014-15 were remarkably similar, and that Daley’s PIM edge is small enough to be almost of no consequence. All in all, if your leagues count these five categories things are shaping up for both to offer similar overall production in them going forward, provided Daley’s PP Ice Time doesn’t continue its downward post-Kilngberg trend.

One area of note is Shots, as among the 19 defensemen who tallied 45 points or more in 2014-15, only one (Andrei Markov) had fewer than Stralman’s 138 Shots (Daley’s 82 game average would’ve projected as 136). Thus, even assuming Daley and Stralman didn’t benefit from unsustainable luck in 2014-15 (we’ll check on that next), it might be unrealistic to expect either to be able to post 45 points in 2015-16 or beyond, except in what would appear to be the unlikely event they up their Shots per game rate.

 

Luck-Based Metrics

 

Season

PDO (5×5)

Offensive Zone Starting % (5×5)

IPP (5×5)

IPP (5×4)

2014-15

998 (T.D.)

1012 (A.S.)

53.2% (T.D.)

54.7% (A.S.)

46.3% (T.D.)

30.9% (A.S.)

52.4% (T.D.)

63.6% (A.S.)

2013-14

1008 (T.D.)

991 (A.S.)

49.8% (T.D.)

50.9% (A.S.)

33.3% (T.D.)

25.5% (A.S.)

100% (T.D.)

0.0% (A.S.)

2012-13

1031 (T.D.)

1009 (A.S.)

49.5% (T.D.)

57.5% (A.S.)

25.0% (T.D.)

20.5% (A.S.)

42.9% (T.D.)

0.0% (A.S.)

2011-12

1004 (T.D.)

1024 (A.S.)

46.1% (T.D.)

51.6% (A.S.)

34.0% (T.D.)

36.7% (A.S.)

29.4% (T.D.)

66.7% (A.S.)

 

What appears to stick out is Stralman’s 63.6% 5×4 IPP for 2014-15. But not only did that put him just 26th out of the 76 d-men who played 100+ minutes of 5×4, but the 38th ranked d-man was 57.1%. Thus, Stralman was pretty close to average for someone in his shoes. Meanwhile, his 5×5 IPP ranked him 72nd (tied) out of the 120 rearguards who skated 1000+ minutes, with the 60th having a 33.3% IPP at 5×5. When considering that data, plus his OZ% and PDO that are both within the normal range, Stralman’s production doesn’t appear to have been greatly affected by good or bad luck in 2014-15.

And Daley appears to be in a similar boat regarding 2014-15; and unlike with Stralman, we can look upon Daley’s 2011-12 and 2012-13 data for meaningful comparison. It reveals that back when he was scoring in the 22-27 point range he seemed to be plagued by quite a bit of bad luck holding down his production. For example, his 2011-12 IPP at 5×4 ranked him 77th out of the 86 blueliners who skated at least 100 minutes at 5×4, while his 2012-13 IPP at 5×5 put him 71st out of the 95 rearguards who had 500+ minutes at 5×5. Thus, it seems safe to say that based on luck Daley is more likely to see his points stay at 35+ than to dip back below 30 in an 82 game season.

 

Ownership and Injuries

In Yahoo leagues, both were drafted in similar average spots among defensemen – 50th for Daley, and 55th for Stralman. But at the end of 2014-15 Daley ranked 54th, while Stralman had moved up to 23rd. And their final ownership percentages reflected their ratings, as Daley was owned in just 21% of Yahoo leagues, compared to 58% for Stralman. These discrepancies seem too wide, considering Daley’s points per game average put him 24th among defensemen who played 50+ games in 2014-15, compared to 38th for Stralman.

But Daley is trending in the wrong direction health-wise, as although he’s never missed more than 15 games in a campaign, this season and last represented his two least healthy campaigns, with him not reaching the 70 game total in either one. Conversely, Stralman has been a model of excellent health over the past three seasons, missing just one total game while putting to rest concerns that were borne from his previous injury history.

 

Who Wins?

All things considered, I’d forecast both players to finish around 35 points next season. In short, Daley should lose some production due to the above-noted “Kilingberg effect,” while Stralman should see his points diminish by the full season presence of other Lightning top six blueliners.

With that, I’ll give the narrow win to Daley, based largely on perceived value vs. actual value.  In one year leagues for 2015-16, you should resist the urge to draft Stralman, as at best you might get what you pay for, whereas Daley should exceed expectations that would come with a 21% owned d-man. But also, since I don’t see either player likely to match his point total from this season, there’s also some logic in just letting someone else from your league grab them, leaving you to focus on other rearguards with more realistic upside and/or who should fare better in terms of cost vs. value.

In keepers, neither player makes a particularly attractive target due to their ages and their team’s top prospects (including, of note, Anthony DeAngelo and Slater Koekkoek in Tampa Bay, and Julius Honka in Dallas). However, if you can land either one of them as a throw in, you could help plug a decent short term hole.