Geek of the Week: Thomas Chabot Is Legit

by Scott Maran on November 18, 2018


With his huge start to the season seemingly coming out of nowhere, there are some people who are skeptical about Thomas Chabot’s true value. Through the first quarter of the season Chabot has been one of the top skaters in all of fantasy hockey after only being drafted on average 190th overall. More specifically, he has provided the fifth-most value according to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool (in an average 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, and hits).
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

Hits

David Pastrnak

3

81

18

17

8

74

12

9

Thomas Chabot

4

80

19

5

17

59

6

24

Patrice Bergeron

5

71

18

9

17

61

11

10


The same is true for Yahoo leagues that count plus/minus, as Chabot remains fifth overall with a plus/minus rating of zero.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

Alex Ovechkin

3

89

18

12

8

-3

68

10

53

Thomas Chabot

4

83

19

5

17

0

59

6

24

Nathan MacKinnon

5

82

18

12

14

6

77

7

10


So why might Chabot be due to crash back down to earth? The question of Chabot being talented enough to sustain a pace similar to this has merit, as no young defensemen in recent memory has started off his career with such a high rate of scoring. There’s also the concern that his production may be fueled by an unsustainably high rate of secondary assists, as 64% of his assists are secondary assists. Out of defenders who have skated in at least 300 minutes of 5v5 ice time, Chabot has the highest rate of secondary assists. Out of skaters with at least 100 5v5 minutes, he’s the fourth highest.

However, the few red flags are outweighed by the many positive underlying signs within Chabot’s game. To those thinking of selling high on Chabot, you shouldn’t be willing to trade him away so quickly. There are plenty of signs that Chabot might remain one of the star defensemen of the fantasy hockey world.

Context

To argue against the concern that Chabot’s point production is simply too high, take a look at the changing landscape across the league. Goal scoring in the league has been trending up over the last few seasons and has peaked at 3.04 goals per game this season. Previously it hasn’t been over three goals a game since the 2005-06 season.

More goals means more points available and we’re seeing plenty of other defensemen cash in on these opportunities. It would be one thing if Chabot was the only defender scoring at such a high rate but there are several defensemen following his lead. Morgan Rielly, John Carlson and Brent Burns are all over a point per game right now while Mark Giordano and Keith Yandle aren’t far behind (averaging .95 points-per-game). Compare that to the three seasons before, where only one defenseman was able to score at a rate higher than 0.95 points-per-game (Erik Karlsson in 2016).

Excellent Primary Point Production

Chabot also has excellent primary point production to go along with his high secondary production. His overall primary points/60 rating is the 9th highest among defenders with at least 300 minutes while his 5v5 P1/60 is the second highest out of all defensemen. Even if Chabot had recorded half as many secondary assists as he has throughout the season, he’d still be scoring at a 65-point pace, which would still put him at tied for the sixth-most points by a defenseman in the NHL.

Increased Role

Can we contribute this increase in scoring to luck though? A more likely scenario would be that Chabot is flourishing with his new role on the Ottawa Senators. With Erik Karlsson gone, Chabot has been averaging over 23 minutes of ice time per game (the 25th most in the NHL). He’s also been seeing an average of over three minutes of power-play time per game, compared to the 1:53 average power play time he saw last year.

Luck is undoubtedly playing some role in Chabot’s scoring. Along with his high secondary assist rate, Chabot’s 5v5 on-ice shooting percentage is the fourth highest in the NHL. However, it is promising that his individual shooting percentage looks much more sustainable and suggests that Chabot will be able to keep up his individual goal-scoring rate throughout the season. While a shooting percentage of 8.5% is normally a bit high for a defenseman, Chabot finished with a similarly high shooting percentage last year, suggesting that this is normal for him.

Excellent Peripherals

Finally, even if Chabot’s point production declined in the future, he could still fall back on his excellent peripherals. This season has seen an increase in almost every single fantasy category possible, most notably in shots on goal, power-play points, hits, and penalty minutes. Chabot has been shooting like crazy this year with 59 shots in 19 games (3.1 shots per game). Out of all skaters that’s tied for the 35th most in the NHL and out of all defensemen that’s the fifth most. In the last 10 years, only two other defensemen have scored over a point per game while averaging at least three shots a game (Erik Karlsson and Mike Green), making Chabot’s combination of points and shots an especially valuable skill.

But he’s also brought a physical presence that has helped him in the hits and penalty minutes department. While last season he only ended with 44 and 14 respectively, Chabot’s on pace to shatter those totals. His 24 hits aren’t as groundbreaking as his shot totals but they’re more than adequate for an offensive defenseman of his caliber, as he has the highest amount of hits out of all the defensemen in the top ten most valuable fantasy skaters. His penalty minutes are a nice plus too if you’re league counts them, as he won’t hurt you in that category with 10 in 14 games.