Frozen Pool Forensics: Quick Starters

by Cam Robinson on October 14, 2016

Looking at five players primed to get you off to a good start in your fantasy hockey pool.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a box, rotisserie, points-only, keeper or one-year league; you want a quick start. Finding players primed to get off on the right foot and locking them into your lineup early is key in your quest for a championship and lasting glory amongst your ramshackle group of friends. This week on Frozen Pool, we’ll dig into some players set for a hot start in 2016-17. (Yes, most of these players got nice and warm at the WCoH).

 

**This was written before puck drop on Wednesday. All line combos are from the pre season***

 

Filip Forsberg

 

I have a hard time finding enough space to write good things about the Nashville sniper. He was stolen from Washington for a fistful of magic beans and has done nothing but ascend the ranks towards super stardom.

 

The Swedish product has just turned 22 years old and is already amongst the leagues deadliest finishers as his 33 goals last season illustrate. In the past two campaigns he’s scored 59 total goals and 127 points in 164 games – a 0.77 point-per-game output. We haven’t even got close to his ‘fourth year breakout’ either.

 

Heading into 2016-17, Forsberg has had a nice tune-up against the best in the world lining up on Sweden’s second line at the World Cup of Hockey next to should’ve-been-teammate, Nicklas Backstrom and Patric Hornqvist. While the Tre Kroner were somewhat held back offensively throughout the tourney, Forsberg still dazzled with his skill and produced a couple points in four games. His 34 points in the final 30 games of 2015-16 are a nice taster of what’s to come as well.

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

66.67%

EV

FIALA,KEVIN – FORSBERG,FILIP – JOHANSEN,RYAN

14.29%

EV

FORSBERG,FILIP – JOHANSEN,RYAN

9.52%

EV

FIALA,KEVIN – FORSBERG,FILIP

4.76%

EV

BASS,CODY – FORSBERG,FILIP – GAUDREAU,FREDERICK

2.38%

EV

FIALA,KEVIN – FISHER,MIKE – FORSBERG,FILIP

2.38%

EV

FORSBERG,FILIP – NEAL,JAMES – RIBEIRO,MIKE

 

 

After spending the last two seasons being centred by Mike Ribeiro, Forsberg has spent almost all his pre-season even-strength time next to top-line centre, Ryan Johansen. The two also hook up together on what appears to be a formidable top power play unit.

 

Advanced Stats

 

Year

PDO

5 on 5 SH%

Off. Zone Start %

PTS/60

2015-16

1006

8.72

76.86

2.5

2014-15

1021

9.44

68.67

2.7

2013-14

894

2.08

50

2.0

2012-13

938

2.7

38.89

0.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving away from Ribeiro may mean he doesn’t get quite the ridiculous offensive zone start times he got used to last season, but his perchance for offense and tantalizing skillset means he’s a fantastic bet to push into the 40 goal conversation this season.

 

 

Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson

 

We may as well lump these three Swedish veterans into one grouping as they’ll be starting the season as a trio and are all set to jump out to the races.

 

All three are historically quick starters. Last season Henrik and Daniel were right in the mix of the top 10 scorers by Christmas and Eriksson had 34 points in his first 38 games before slipping in the back half of the season. Nothing suggests that will change this season, in fact you could make an argument that all three are in a better position now that they are aligned.

 

The trio looked fantastic at the World Cup of Hockey as the top line for a surprising offensively enigmatic Team Sweden. While the points didn’t come in bushels they had plenty of opportunities and will see almost all the prime ice for the Canucks to begin the season.

 

Despite their age, the Sedin twins have shown capable of maintaining their magic and Eriksson proved that his mid-career slump is firmly in the rear-view mirror by scoring 30 goals and 63 points a year ago.

 

NHL Stats – Last 5 Years – Loui Eriksson

 

SEASON

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

+/-

PIM

Shots

SH%

HITS

PPG

PPP

SHG

BLKS

FOW

FO%

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

2015-2016

82

30

33

63

0.77

13

12

184

16.3

22

10

17

2

34

12

57.1

02:55

63.2

33.2

19:29

32.1

2014-2015

81

22

25

47

0.58

0

14

168

13.1

29

6

11

0

23

4

33.3

02:24

53.4

31.8

18:27

30.1

2013-2014

61

10

27

37

0.61

14

6

115

8.7

12

2

11

0

13

0

 

01:58

41.4

26.9

16:32

27.2

2012-2013

48

12

17

29

0.60

-9

8

104

11.5

6

2

10

1

18

9

26.5

03:15

54.9

27.2

20:07

33.2

Average

82

22

31

53

0.65

5

12

172

13.0

21

6

15

1

27

8

37.3

02:36

53.9

30.2

18:38

30.6

 

While it may be unlikely that the newest Canuck can convert on over 16 percent of his shots as he did a year ago, receiving feeds from Henrik and Daniel should yield considerable opportunities for quick strikes and with it, 20-plus power-play points should be quite attainable.

The rub here is that Eriksson has bene known to be capable of driving offense on his own, so Willie Desjardin may be temped to move him around the lineup to spark a fire and let the twins do their thing alongside Jannik Hansen or Alex Burrows.

 

Until you hear otherwise however, expect the Swedish trio to start together and to produce immediately.

 

 

Ondrej Palat

 

The third and oft forgotten about Tampa Bay triplet is set up to begin the season on a high note. Palat witnessed a slight regression a year ago during his third season, dropping down from 63 points in 75 games to just 40 points in 62 games in 2015-16. Much of that can be attributed to nagging injuries and the loss of his usual centre, Tyler Johnson to lengthy stints on the IR.

 

This pre season has seen Palat spend a good deal of time skating on the ‘top line’ next to Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Drouin. While it’s difficult to imagine a better spot than next to Nikita Kucherov and Johnson, lining up next to Stamkos should ensure plenty of offensive opportunities.

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

51.79%

EV

DROUIN,JONATHAN – PALAT,ONDREJ – STAMKOS,STEVEN

41.07%

EV

JOHNSON,TYLER – KILLORN,ALEX – PALAT,ONDREJ

2.68%

EV

IKONEN,HENRI – PALAT,ONDREJ – RICHARD,TANNER

1.79%

EV

JOHNSON,TYLER – PALAT,ONDREJ

0.89%

EV

PALAT,ONDREJ – POINT,BRAYDEN – STAMKOS,STEVEN

0.89%

EV

BOURNIVAL,MICHAEL – PALAT,ONDREJ – POINT,BRAYDEN

0.89%

EV

KILLORN,ALEX – PALAT,ONDREJ – RICHARD,TANNER

 

Much has been made of the Lightning hiring Todd Richards to help their, somehow, enigmatic power play. With the excessive talent that bulges over the proverbial waistline in Tampa Bay, somehow the 2015-16 rendition managed to produce at just a 15.8 percent clip – good for 28th best in the league.

 

This is a team that should be in the top ten league wide and if/when that occurs you can expect Palat to see a great deal more production on the man-advantage than his previous career-high of 11 points.

 

Loading up the top unit with Stamkos, Johnson, Palat, Kucherov and Stralman would work wonders for the team’s production and Palat’s as well. That’s exactly what Tampa Bay has been toying with early on this fall. Here’s hoping it clicks and sticks and Palat can push back into the 60-65 -point range in this, his fourth full season in the league.

Quick Hits: A few more players looking to shine early on.

 

  • Tyler Toffoli: Has flown out of the gate the past two seasons and finally has a home on the top power play unit. Dark horse 40-goal threat.

 

  • Dmitry Orlov: Played huge minutes for Russia at WCoH and finds himself on a highly skilled second power play unit in Washington. Looking to build off career-high 29-point season.

 

  • Oscar Klefbom: QB on the top power play in Edmonton is looking like a pretty sweet place to be, and he has the inside track on that gig. Update: An assist and over six minutes of PPTOI in the first game. Good start!

 

  • John Klingberg: A historically fast-starter who put up a point-per-game through the first month of 2015-16. All set as the QB on Dallas’ ridiculous top power play unit.

 

 

***

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I often give unsolicited fantasy advice that I’m sure at least someone is listening to.