Real or Imagined: Forwards Part 2 – COL, DAL, EDM (2016)

by Doran Libin on December 19, 2016
  • The Wild West
  • Real or Imagined: Forwards Part 2 – COL, DAL, EDM (2016)

Digging deep on the forwards for COL, DAL, EDM – are the trends for real?

 

Real or Imagined: Forwards Part 2 (2016)

Having covered goalies and defensemen thus far in the series it is now time for the second of a four-part examination of the Western Conference forwards. For forwards it is important to look for high-shot and high scoring-chance rates, as shot rate in particular has been shown to be repeatable. Barring a high shot-rate, primary assists are important as those indicate skill whereas secondary assists indicate a little more luck. The variability of shot percentage and secondary assists is why looking at IPP, and significant changes in IPP, is also important. The aforementioned factors are all controllable by the player to a higher degree than ‘luck’ based factors such as shooting percentage and secondary assists. Therefore look for trends in player controllable factors but possible regression, positive or negative, in ‘luck’ based factors. Finally, general time on ice as well as share of power-play time, are also important factors. It is important to look for trends in these areas as well as it signifies coach usage, which is out of the control of the player but not a factor related to regression.

 

Part 1 – ANA, ARI, CGY, CHI

 

Colorado

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP%

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Nathan MacKinnon

29

20.05

56.7

8

13

6

7.7

6.4

3.6

1.14

Buy

Carl Soderberg

29

15.95

28.7

4

5

1

7.4

9.0

1.9

0.48

Hold

Jarome Iginla

29

15.17

45.5

3

4

7

5.1

6.4

2.0

0.69

Soft Buy/Hold

Andreas Martinsen

29

10.40

2.5

1

2

0

3.2

2.2

1.1

0.31

Hold

Mikhail Grigorenko

28

14.60

37.6

3

7

3

7.9

6.9

1.4

0.39

 

Rene Bourque

27

14.95

33.7

9

3

2

18.4

9.2

1.8

0.63

Hard Sell

Blake Comeau

25

15.99

17.3

5

2

2

13.2

5.8

1.5

0.44

Hold

Matt Duchene

25

18.65

52,4

12

9

5

20.3

10.0

2.4

0.84

Soft Sell

Mikko Rantanen

24

18.15

55.9

4

9

5

11.1

8.8

1.5

0.50

Hold

Joe Colborne

24

12.00

23.1

3

1

2

12.5

2.2

1.0

0.63

Hold

John Mitchell

24

13.33

6.1

1

0

0

3.4

2.4

1.2

0.29

Hold/Soft Buy

Gabriel Landeskog

19

18.10

37.6

4

5

2

10.0

5.8

2.1

0.74

Hold/ Soft Sell

Cody McLeod

19

5.99

0.1

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

0.5

0.16

Hold

 

Colorado makes Arizona’s offense look like a juggernaut. They have the worst expected goal and scoring-chance rates per 60 minutes, the second-worst goal rate and the third-worst shot rate. Colorado would not have a plus-minus problem if their goaltending was not sporting the worst save percentage in the league. There is hope for the Avs in that their goaltending has shown in the past the ability to be much better. Mackinnon may never have a great shooting percentage given the disparity between his high shot rate and his low scoring-chance rate. His even-strength shooting percentage has been below seven percent for the last three years. While his shooting percent is not necessarily due for some positive regression his low secondary-assist rate definitely is. If Rene Bourque had Nathan MacKinnon’s shooting luck this year he would only have two goals. This is especially dire given his scoring-chance rate is horribly low and there is very little explanation for his shooting percentage. Jarome Iginla is traditionally a slow starter but unlike past years he is not generating shots or scoring chances. While he still gets power-play time and his assist rate is ridiculously low so he should improve do not expect a major second-half rebound. There is nothing weird about Matt Duchene’s even-strength percentages but his overall percentages are very high at 20%. If there is reason to worry it is because his shot and scoring-chance rates have been trending down recently. Landeskog is in a similar boat as his rate stats are trending in the wrong direction, as such it is no surprise that his production continues to slip. Landeskog is redeemed a little by his multi-category value but it is unlikely he was drafted for that reason. Colorado has a couple of multi-category depth options, as Andreas Martinsen is on pace for more than 200 hits but little else. Blake Comeau provides more traditional production with 60% of Martinsen’s hits.

 

Dallas

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP%

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Tyler Seguin

33

18.90

61.2

10

22

13

8.8

7.7

3.4

0.84

Soft Buy

Antoine Roussel

33

15.70

26.2

5

12

3

12.2

10.2

1.2

0.81

Soft Sell

Devin Shore

33

12.90

37.5

5

8

3

11.6

9.1

1.3

0.81

Soft Buy

Radek Faksa

33

16.30

10.7

4

8

0

7.4

6.8

1.6

0.81

Soft Buy

Brett Ritchie

33

12.80

33.5

7

3

1

9.3

6.7

2.3

0.88

Soft Buy

Jamie Benn

33

20.05

59.2

9

19

10

12.2

6.5

2.2

1.09

Soft Buy

Patrick Eaves

32

16.70

55.3

11

8

8

14.3

7.5

2.4

1.16

Hold/Soft Sell

Lauri Korpikoski

32

13.95

9.0

4

5

0

7.4

7.7

1.7

0.55

Sell

Adam Cracknell

32

10.30

1.8

4

2

0

9.1

5.3

1.4

0.33

Hold

Jason Spezza

26

16.30

54.3

5

10

8

8.5

6.3

2.3

0.84

Hold

Curtis McKenzie

22

10.10

1.1

3

4

0

9.7

7.2

1.4

0.67

Hold

Cody Eakin

14

14.30

4.7

0

1

0

0.0

4.4

0.9

0.21

Hold

Gemel Smith

12

13.08

1.5

2

1

0

14.3

1.6

1.2

0.50

Hold

Patrick Sharp

11

16.55

37.6

1

1

0

4.0

2.8

2.3

0.18

Soft Buy

Jiri Hudler

8

13.95

43.4

0

1

0

0.0

6.1

0.4

0.29

Soft Buy

 

The Stars’ injuries this season have definitely hit their offense hard as they take two fewer shots per 60, 1.25 fewer scoring chances per 60, 0.3 fewer expected goals per 60 and half a goal fewer per 60. The result is that Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are not quite as valuable as they have been in years past but they are both still averaging close to a point per game. Benn has been hurt by the injuries more than Seguin but given that it is really only their scoring-chance rate stats that have dropped significantly they have more upside than usual. Roussel has some intriguing numbers such as nearly three penalty minutes per games, 1.3 hits per game and nearly a block per game to go with a 40-point pace. The hits and blocks are in line with his career norms but his penalty minutes and points are inflated. His points come from playing with Seguin early on and his penalty minutes largely from two 15+ penalty minute games. His current line with Radek Faksa and Brett Ritchie is on a tear dominating in shots, scoring chances and expected goals. If anything the line is under producing at 2.3 goals per 60 minutes given the 10 scoring chances per 60 that they generate. Faksa and Roussel had similar success last season during an extended run with Ales Hemsky. In this case each player brings potential points and multi-cat value. Patrick Eaves has played a lot with Seguin this year and has certainly benefitted in terms of shots and scoring chances. The big win has been his inherited spot on the power play due to all the injuries. The question is how long he holds on to the spot on the power play as the Stars get healthier. Devin Shore’s numbers this year look a lot like Cody Eakin’s numbers two years ago. With Shore generating nearly four scoring chances per 60 he is able to provide value despite his limited minutes. Eakin on the other hand is struggling to provide any offense, as such regression is not a huge factor. That leaves the three veterans Spezza, Sharp and Hudler. Spezza seems to be approaching the end of his road as other than last year his rates have generally been trending downwards. The key to Spezza is that as long as he is still on the Stars top power play unit he will have some value. With Sharp and Hudler the sample size makes it unclear where they will end up in the lineup, especially with Sharp injured again. With both putting up dismal numbers thus far it is as good a time as any to buy low.

 

Edmonton

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP%

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Connor McDavid

33

21.04

58.8

12

27

12

12.8

9.5

2.8

1.59

Hold

Jordan Eberle

33

17.60

53.2

8

15

8

9.3

6.5

2.6

1.16

Hold

Milan Lucic

33

18.10

55.9

9

14

10

11.1

8.2

2.5

1.53

Hold

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

33

17.83

41.4

5

10

6

5.4

5.0

2.8

1.19

Hard Buy

Patrick Maroon

33

15.40

38.0

8

6

1

12.3

7.4

2.0

1.16

Hold

Leon Draisaitl

33

17.60

52.9

14

14

12

18.7

7.9

2.3

1.53

Hold/Soft Sell

Zack Kassian

30

11.99

1.7

2

5

0

4.3

8.9

1.6

0.66

Hold

Tyler Pitlick

30

9.95

1.7

7

3

0

13.7

9.9

1.7

0.59

Hold

Mark Letestu

30

13.80

32.8

6

8

4

14.3

8.7

1.4

0.59

Hold

Benoit Pouliot

28

15.10

28.3

5

2

0

12.8

6.5

1.4

0.43

Hold

Jesse Puljujarvi

23

11.85

17.2

1

7

1

2.6

8.8

1.7

0.52

Soft Buy

Anton Lander

16

10.25

2.1

1

2

0

14.3

9.1

0.4

0.13

Hold

Drake Caggiula

15

13.99

31.3

1

4

3

7.1

6.4

0.9

0.64

Soft Buy

Anton Slepyshev

15

11.20

1.3

2

2

0

9.1

6.4

1.5

0.20

Sell

 

Four of the Oilers top six line combinations that have played more than 40 minutes together feature Connor McDavid. McDavid is also featured in five of the Oilers top six producing lines. The point being that lucking into a player on McDavid’s line is a huge fantasy hockey boon. Other than Lucic and Eberle, with whom McDavid has played 60% and 50% of his minutes respectively, it really is luck as no one else has played even 150 minutes. Below are the Oiler forwards that have played more than 50 minutes with McDavid all but one have a higher percentage of their even strength points with McDavid than the percent of even strength ice time they played with him. The intent is to show how McDavid can impact production.

 

Player

% EV TOI W/McDavid

% EV Points W/ McDavid

Milan Lucic

73%

80%

Jordan Eberle

55%

64%

Patrick Maroon

28%

55%

Leon Draisaitl

19%

15%

Jesse Puljujarvi

32%

67%

Drake Caggiula

29%

50%

 

The Oilers are top 10 in each of shot, scoring chance, expected goal and goal rate. Meaning there are lots of decent options for all types of leagues. The Oilers have one of the best power plays in the league and anyone on that power play, especially the first unit, will get some decent production. For some proof of that look no further than Mark Letestu. The Oilers have four players (Lucic, Kassian, Maroon, Pitlick) with more than 50 hits, all but Pitlick have at least 18 penalty minutes and all but Kassian have at least 10 points. Nugent-Hopkins (RNH) has picked up his offensive game as he is averaging nearly 10 shots per 60 and nearly four scoring chances per 60. Despite the improvement his even strength shooting improvement of three percent and on-ice shooting percentage of five percent is a recipe for a regression boost. Lately RNH has been playing with Jordan Eberle and Patrick Maroon, opening up a spot on McDavid’s line. That spot initially has gone to Drake Caggiula which could be a big boon in concert with his power play time. A couple thoughts to round out the Oilers: Pitlick’s shooting percentage is probably for real, Letestu’s power play time makes up for the shooting percentage and Puljujarvi has very similar, if not better, shot rates to Draisaitl but has yet to score at even strength, and makes a good regression pick.

 

Statistics for this week’s column come from Dobberhockey.com, Stats.hockeyanalysis.com and Corsica.hockey

 

Part 1 – ANA, ARI, CGY, CHI

 

Part 2 – COL, DAL, EDM