Frozen Pool Forensics: Slow Starters (2016-17)

by Cam Robinson on October 28, 2016

Panic or patience? What to do with some of the league's slow starters.

 

Two weeks into the NHL season and the trends are beginning to show themselves. Has there been enough time to fully and completely judge a player, team or entire organization? Of course not, but there are some tell tale signs that can be gleaned from such a wee sample size which can help you determine if a player’s icy start is foreshadowing for a down season or just a sputter that can be alleviated with some time and patience.

 

To contrast last week’s look at some Early Returns, this edition of Frozen Pool will take a look at a handful of players who are a little water logged to begin 2016-17 and tell you whether they’re destined shake the cobwebs or continue to disappoint their owners.

 

 

Robby Fabbri

 

Entering into his sophomore campaign, expectations were quite high for the former Guelph Storm standout. After a perfectly natural slow start to his rookie season, Fabbri got his sea legs under him and produced at a 56-point pace in the back half of 2015-16. He followed that up by scoring 15 points in 20 playoff contests and was often times the most dangerous player on the ice for a deep Blues’ squad.

NHL Stats – Last 5 Years

 

SEASON

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

+/-

PIM

Shots

SH%

HITS

PPG

PPP

SHG

BLKS

FOW

FO%

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

2016-2017

7

0

3

3

0.43

-4

4

11

0.0

7

0

1

0

6

1

100.0

02:36

38.9

0.0

17:13

28.6

2015-2016

72

18

19

37

0.51

-2

25

114

15.8

51

2

8

0

9

6

40.0

01:26

32.4

0.2

13:19

21.8

Average

82

21

22

42

0.51

-2

28

130

15.8

58

2

9

0

10

7

40.0

01:26

32.4

0.2

13:19

21.8

 

So far in 2016-17, things haven’t gone as smoothly for the 21st overall selection from the 2014 entry draft. He’s recorded just three assists through seven games and while he’s known as more of a distributor, his 1.57 shots per game aren’t thrilling for those who own him. 

 

Skating primarily next to Paul Stastny at even strength and seeing time on the second power play unit, Fabbri sits eighth on the team in points behind newcomer and fellow left-winger, Nail Yakupov.

 

Even Strength Line Combinations

Freq

Line Combination

53.2%

FABBRI,ROBBY – STASTNY,PAUL – STEEN,ALEXANDER

17.3%

FABBRI,ROBBY – PERRON,DAVID – STASTNY,PAUL

11.2%

FABBRI,ROBBY – STASTNY,PAUL – TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

9.4%

FABBRI,ROBBY – STASTNY,PAUL – YAKUPOV,NAIL

8.8%

FABBRI,ROBBY – STEEN,ALEXANDER – TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

 

 

 

 

Some positives are that his ice time remains high at 17:13 per contest with 2:36 coming with the man advantage, so it’s evident that the coaching staff are appearing to remain patient with the skilled sophomore and so should fantasy owners. Fabbri remains a player capable of scoring 50 points this season and a much higher ceiling yet to be seen.

 

Remain calm and sit tight, Fabbri will find his way soon.

 

 

Boone Jenner

 

Oh to play for John Tortorella… After scoring 30 goals and 49 points as a sophomore on one of the league’s worst offensive teams a season ago, Jenner looked poised to take another step forward in year number three. However, his coach apparently has had other ideas.

 

Here’s a look at the line combinations from CBJ’s Tueday night contest:
 

CBJ Last Game Line Combinations

 

LINES FOR 2016-10-25

EVEN STRENGTH

     

FORWARDS

     

#1

28.5%

ATKINSON,CAM – CALVERT,MATTHEW – DUBINSKY,BRANDON

#2

19.4%

FOLIGNO,NICK – SAAD,BRANDON – WENNBERG,ALEXANDER

#3

18.6%

ANDERSON,JOSH – HARTNELL,SCOTT – KARLSSON,WILLIAM

#4

17.8%

GAGNER,SAM – JENNER,BOONE – SEDLAK,LUKAS

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the last three games, the former Oshawa Generals’ captain has received just over 11 minutes of ice time on the fourth line, with no power play time. Not exactly conducive for production.

 

Taking a deeper look at his numbers, outside of a five-shot night against the Dallas Stars where he recorded his only point of the season, Jenner has produced just three shots in the other four games. This is after her averaged just under three shots per game in 2015-16.

 

On a poor team, receiving poor opportunities and playing for a coach who fills his doghouse to the brim, it may be high-time to cut bait on the 23-year-old if there are better options on your waiver wire.

 

 

Torey Krug

 

Talk about a tough start… Seven games in and Krug has yet to record a point while posting a minus-four rating. After posting an average of 41 points the last three season, Krug is off to a snail’s pace, but it is not for lack of trying or opportunity.

 

Watching the slick puck mover play, you can see that he is still creating offensive situations but the bounces have yet to go his way. He’s averaging three shots and over 21 minutes of ice each night – 3:19 of which is coming via the power play; prime opportunities for any player.

2016-2017 Regular Season

 

player

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

+/-

PIM

Shots

HITS

PPG

PPP

SHG

BLKS

PPTOI

%PP

%PK

TOI/G

%TOI

KRUG, TOREY

7

0

0

0

0.00

-4

2

21

9

0

0

0

7

03:19

57.2

11.2

21:01

35.0

To Date

2016-10-26

Pace

82

       

-47

23

246

105

     

82


 

         

 

Not helping matters is that his team is floundering with the man-advantage to the tune of an 8.3 percent conversion rate – good for 29th overall. He could also see some greater assistance during five-on-five play as his team is converting on just 3.7 percent of their shots at even-strength.

 

Boston isn’t likely to be a powerhouse offensive team, but Krug remains the main weapon on the back end during all situations and with some patience and a little more luck, the production will begin to come.

 

Despite the slow-start, Krug is still quite capable of reaching the 40-point plateau for the third time in his young career.

 

 

John Klingberg

 

After leading the league in goals scored a season ago, the Dallas Stars have left a great deal of fantasy owners sad and wanting more. Through six games played, the Stars have scored just 17 goals en route to a 3-2-1 record. A big reason for that is injuries, as this Dallas team has seen an array of players hit the press box.

 

However, a lack of production from their top defender isn’t helping matters any either.  

 

We all know the Klingberg tale: coming from near obscurity to light the league on fire as a rookie and following that up with a 58-point sophomore campaign a year ago. He’s been trumpeted as the next potential Erik Karlsson and for good reason. The young Swede is wildly talented and plays on a dominant offensive team while receiving all the prime ice.

 

So far this season, however, the results have yet to come. At the time of this writing, Klingberg has produced just two assists and seven shots on goal through the first half dozen games. A far cry from the 23 points he produced in the first 21 games of 2015-16.

 Advanced Stats

 

Year

PDO

5 on 5 SH%

Off. Zone Start %

PTS/60

2016-17

1026

8.47

46.67

0.8

2015-16

1008

8.42

51.61

2.0

2014-15

1013

9.23

47.77

1.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While seeing more shifts begin in the defensive zone than he’s used to, the 24-year-old is also receiving a career-high 3:59 on ice with the man-advantage – good for 19th most in the league thus far. He isn’t shooting the puck nearly enough, and that needs to be the first step in his quest to hike back up the scoring lists.

 

 

 

Patience must be kept here, as Klingberg remains one of the most valuable defenders to own in fantasy hockey and has the potential to compete with the top blue line scorers for years to come. Both he and his super star teammates will get going soon.

 

 

Quick Hits

 

  • Loui Eriksson: Not looking nearly as comfortable on the Sedins’ line as expected. He needs to shoot the puck a lot more and look to create his own offense. A move next to Bo Horvat may help matters, but he’s not looking like a 30-goal threat early on.
  •  
  • David Krejci: He lost his running-mate in Eriksson. So far hasn’t been able to find chemistry with any of the many rotating wingers placed on his line. If he stays healthy (always a big ‘if’) he should still be able to find his way into the 55-point range. He’s too good not to.

 

  • Andrew Ladd: The question of whether he’d be a suitable replacement for Kyle Okposo is being answered and the results are not looking favourable. Ladd has not found chemistry with John Tavares despite Jack Capuano repeatedly putting the tandem out there together. He’s a depreciating asset that may find himself in the middle six sooner rather than later. Time to cut bait.

 

  • TJ Brodie: After an incredible 2015-16 campaign based on the back of some unsustainable even-strength production, Brodie has come back to earth. He’s still seeing time on the second power play unit, but expecting him to reach or summit the 40-point plateau again this season may be asking for too much.

 

***

 

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.