Geek of the Week: Goals Aren’t Everything

by Scott Maran on October 15, 2017

Alex Ovechkin is on a goal-scoring binge, but has he added much in other categories?

It’s only been about two weeks but Alex Ovechkin has already been making waves. With a hat trick in his first game of the season against Ottawa and a four-goal night in the next game against Montreal, Ovechkin became the first player since the NHL’s inaugural season to open the season with back-to-back hat tricks. Combine that with another two goals against the Penguins and the Devils and Ovechkin’s nine goals are by far the most in the league. His offensive outburst seems to have already shattered people’s concerns that he would only further decline as he gets older and people are rightly praising Ovechkin’s hot start.

Along with Ovechkin’s impact throughout the NHL, he has also had an immense impact throughout fantasy circles. The fantasy owners who were lucky enough to snag Ovechkin reaped the rewards as he tallied seven goals in only his first two games, likely being a huge factor for the week’s matchup (in H2H leagues). It also only helped that Ovechkin was a solid +6 and managed to put up 14 shots.

However, for all the hype he’s been getting, you might be surprised to see that he hasn’t been the most valuable fantasy player this so far (in most leagues). In fact, he isn’t even as high as you would think. Using our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, we can see that Ovechkin doesn’t even crack the top 20 most valuable skaters (using an average 12-team H2H Yahoo league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, and SO in our rankings).

*Note: stats are through 10/10/17*
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

Hits

Brandon Saad

21

53

6

6

2

26

1

4

Rasmus Ristolainen

22

51

5

0

2

13

1

16

Alex Ovechkin

23

50

4

7

0

24

1

6

Sean Couturier

24

49

5

3

3

15

0

12

Jamie Benn

25

47

5

2

2

18

3

11


Despite all the notoriety Ovechkin has gotten so far, he doesn’t rank as well as you’d expect, coming in at only 23rd overall. And yes, 23rd overall is still very good, but you’d think Ovechkin would at least be in the top 10 in skaters. As impressive as his goal totals are (which make no mistake are very, very impressive), the fact is that there are plenty of other categories that are accounted for in fantasy hockey. Ovechkin only has one assist and his +5 rating is bested by many other players, such as Bobby Ryan, Erik Johnson, and Nikita Zaitsev. And despite usually being a beast on the power play, Ovechkin’s power play point totals so far are lacking. His shots are great (tied for first) but in leagues that account for other stats like hits and penalty minutes, Ovechkin’s low totals hurt his overall value immensely. His six total hits are a lot lower than what we usually expect from Ovechkin and his zero penalty minutes so far pales in comparison to players who can score but also put up penalty minutes like Scott Hartnell and Brayden Schenn.

All of this isn’t supposed to be about bashing Ovechkin though. His scoring binge this early in the season is beyond impressive and deserves praise. But it’s interesting to notice how Ovechkin’s fantasy value isn’t as incredible as his recent goal totals. There’s obviously nothing wrong with being a top-25 fantasy option but for all the attention Ovechkin’s goals are getting, there are still plenty of players who are outperforming him in different fantasy league setups. It’s still very early in the season, but it’s an important reminder to consider the other categories that your league counts other than goals and assists because they can be just as important. Goals and assists are the most popular, but it’s just as important to be able to score well in the other categories too.