Real or Imagined: Forwards Part 4 (2015)

by Doran Libin on January 4, 2016

Taking a look at the Western Conference forwards. Buy, sell or hold? (Part 4 – Blues, Canucks, Jets)

 

Real or Imagined: Forwards Part 4 (2015)

 

In the final part of the Real or Imagined series and the fourth forward-centric section St Louis, Vancouver and Winnipeg will be featured. For forwards just like defensemen getting put on the right line can pay big dividends. A great example of this is Keith Jones going to Philly from Colorado during the 1998/99 season and ending up playing with Lindros and Leclair. He went from four points in 12 games in Colorado to 49 points in 66 games in Philly. Jones set a career high for points that season and was out of the league two years later. Jonathan Cheechoo experienced a much more pronounced effect when he scored 50 goals in San Jose playing alongside Joe Thornton. There are two good examples of within this column of players, Jannik Hansen and Jori Lehtera, benefitting or suffering from getting moved up or down the line up. It is always something to keep an eye and always consider whether the player is driving the line or more of a passenger.

 

As always the recommendations contained within are only for this year.

 

St Louis

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

David Backes

41

19:37

2:25

10

13

7

12.35

9.69

1.98

1.78

Hold

Troy Brouwer

41

16:57

1:37

6

8

3

8.96

7.19

1.63

1.59

Hold

Jori Lehtera

41

16:06

1:49

4

11

2

7.84

8.74

1.24

1.44

Soft Buy

Alex Steen

41

20:55

2:49

13

22

14

10.83

10.17

2.93

2.00

Sell

Vladimir Tarasenko

39

19:25

2:44

23

17

13

15.75

10.75

3.74

4.03

Hold / Buy

Dmitrij Jaskin

37

12:23

0:02

7

9

0

3.51

5.46

1.54

1.70

Buy

Kyle Brodziak

36

11:11

0:23

2

1

0

9.09

5.04

0.61

0.78

Sell

 

Robby Fabbri

35

12:37

1:06

9

4

1

16.07

9.05

1.60

1.80

Sell

Ryan Reaves

32

8:28

0:01

1

0

0

6.25

2.15

0.50

0.53

Hold

Scottie Upshall

32

11:04

0:04

4

1

0

8.16

5.46

1.53

1.56

Hold

Magnus Paajarvi

28

13:28

0:10

2

3

0

4.08

3.38

1.75

1.79

Hold

Paul Stastny

25

19:36

2:17

3

13

6

6.82

10.63

1.76

2.40

Buy

Scott Gomez

21

11:22

1:38

1

7

4

10.00

7.41

0.48

0.52

Sell

Steve Ott

21

10:52

0:01

0

2

0

0

6.41

1.00

0.95

Sell

Jaden Schwartz

7

17:37

2:08

0

4

0

0

11.48

2.14

1.86

Buy

Ty Rattie

5

8:48

0:24

0

2

0

0

9.09

0.80

0.80

Waive

Jordan Caron

4

7:57

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

0.25

0.25

Waive

Martin Havlat

2

10:59

0:38

1

0

0

33.33

10.00

1.50

1.50

Waive

Jeremy Welsh

2

8:06

0:02

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Waive

Patrik Berglund

1

15:30

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

2.00

0

Hold

 

Alex Steen is having a great year on the power play where he is averaging seven points per 60 minutes. The danger there is that the Blues are scoring on 20% of their shots when he is on the ice, a very unsustainable rate. Given that the power play accounts for 40% of Steen’s points thus far in the season so a significant decline in power-play points would have disproportionate effect on Steen. Despite playing with Tarasenko on the Blues’ first line Steen still is not producing a lot of points at even strength as his production has fallen below two points per 60 minutes at even strength for the second time in seven years. Stastny has been similarly ineffective at even strength as his production rate has fallen to 1.4 points per 60 minutes. The driver of the top line has unsurprisingly been Vladimir Tarasenko as he has been involved in 82% of the goals scored at even strength with him on the ice. He actually has room to grow as his power play production has been somewhat lacking.

 

Jori Lehtera has been replaced as Tarasenko’s center despite the Blues scoring more when Lehtera plays with Tarasenko than when Stastny does. Being relegated to the third between Robby Fabbri and Dmitrij Jaskin has been very detrimental to Lehtera’s point totals this year. The Blues are still very successful with Lehtera on the ice he just has not been involved in the offense as much as he was last year. The return of Jaden Schwartz could help Lehtera significantly as they had some chemistry early this year, as well as part of the ‘STL’ line last year. This year in the seven games Schwartz played Lehtera had six points and Schwartz had three points when they played together. The Blues also scored four goals per 60 minutes at even strength when they were on the ice. Pairing Schwartz with Lehtera upon his return could pay off big for both players. Keep an eye on Jaskin and Fabbri as they are likely candidates to lose significant ice time with the return of Schwartz and Berglund. For example Jaskin played less than nine minutes in Berglund’s return this weekend.

 

The Blues are stacked with multi-category options in David Backes, Troy Brouwer, Dmitrij Jaskin and Ryan Reaves. Troy Brouwer has lots some of the value he had coming out of Washington as he has lost significant ice time as the Blues are much deeper than Washington was last year. The biggest hit for Brouwer is the lost power-play time.

 

Vancouver

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Derek Dorsett

39

12:49

0:13

3

4

0

5.36

5.39

1.44

1.23

Hold

Jannik Hansen

39

15:49

0:19

12

10

0

16.67

11.93

1.85

1.46

Soft Sell

Bo Horvat

39

16:54

1:41

2

8

2

3.57

6.99

1.44

1.79

Sell

Daniel Sedin

39

18:48

3:41

16

21

13

11.76

10.80

3.49

3.26

Hold

Alex Burrows

37

15:53

2:40

5

7

4

7.46

7.04

1.81

1.95

Hold

Henrik Sedin

37

18:50

3:43

9

24

11

20.00

10.87

1.22

1.19

Hold

Radim Vrbata

37

16:40

3:11

10

8

6

7.30

6.36

3.70

3.09

Buy

Jared McCann

36

12:13

0:58

7

4

1

11.86

6.52

1.64

1.50

Sell

Sven Baertschi

32

11:09

0:52

5

6

1

12.82

6.74

1.22

1.28

Sell

Adam Cracknell

32

12:52

0:08

3

4

0

7.69

5.56

1.22

1.00

Hold

Brandon Prust

28

12:43

0:08

1

6

0

5.56

5.93

0.64

0.79

Hold

Chris Higgins

23

13:52

0:43

2

1

0

5.71

4.86

1.52

1.73

Sell

Jake Virtanen

19

10:11

0:11

1

3

0

4.00

8.75

1.32

1.47

Waive

Brandon Sutter

16

18:13

2:16

4

4

1

11.11

9.86

2.25

2.38

Soft Buy

Ronalds Kenins

5

11:30

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

0.40

0.40

Waive

Linden Vey

5

12:35

1:01

0

1

0

0

3.33

0.40

0.60

Waive

Brendan Gaunce

2

10:55

0:00

1

0

0

50.00

11.11

1.00

1.00

Waive

Alexandre Grenier

1

8:50

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

4.00

3.00

Waive

Hunter Shinkaruk

1

10:37

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Waive

 

This is not a team that provides a lot of high level fantasy hockey options. There are only four forwards on this team to average more than two shots per game and one of them has missed more than half the season thus far. The Sedins carry the bulk of the offense and are really the only productive forward line on the team. Whomever gets the third spot on that team, Jannik Hansen for the time being, gains immediate relevance. The Sedins are also the only two forwards to really gain value from being on the power play as they and Edler are the ones who consistently produce power play points. The vast chasm between the rate at which the Sedins score at even strength is a huge problem for this team as well as for any potentially fantasy relevant depth options.

 

The best secondary option is Radim Vrbata, as he is top 10 in the league in shots, although his scoring chance rate low for a shooter of that volume. That explains his low shooting percentage to a degree however it would be very rare for a shooter of his volume not to put up 25 goals. Another potential depth option is Brandon Sutter, who is due to return shortly. He is the only other Canuck forward to average two shot per games and the best option of a bunch of poor options for a second line center. Sutter had some success early in the season with Alex Burrows as they were on the ice for more than two goals per 60 at even strength. That would not qualify as success on most teams but it fills the large gap in offense between the Sedins and the rest of the lines. The Canucks do have depth options for pools with peripheral categories as Dorsett, Cracknell and Prust all provide hits, penalty minutes and blocks to varying degrees.

 

Winnipeg

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Alex Burmistrov

39

15:40

0:28

3

6

0

6.98

7.02

1.10

1.33

Soft Buy

Nik Ehlers

39

14:29

1:50

6

7

3

6.25

6.60

2.46

2.15

Sell

Andrew Ladd

39

20:02

3:05

10

12

5

10.42

10.20

2.46

2.90

Buy

Bryan Little

39

19:41

3:03

14

19

9

15.56

11.14

2.31

2.64

Hold

Mathieu Perreault

39

16:37

2:59

5

21

9

7.69

9.78

1.67

2.18

Hold

Drew Stafford

39

17:16

1:54

12

8

3

12.37

7.84

2.49

2.23

Buy

Chris Thorburn

39

9:35

0:02

5

2

0

14.29

7.64

0.90

0.82

Hold

Blake Wheeler

39

19:20

3:09

10

30

10

9.52

11.21

2.69

2.67

Hold

Adam Lowry

36

13:38

0:06

3

7

0

9.38

7.14

0.89

0.94

Hold

Andrew Copp

35

7:10

0:01

1

3

0

4.76

9.00

0.60

0.54

Sell

Mark Scheifele

35

17:04

2:05

12

10

3

12.5

9.14

2.74

2.91

Buy

Anthony Peluso

20

6:52

0:05

1

3

0

8.33

12.73

0.60

0.70

Hold

Nic Petan

14

9:17

1:26

1

0

0

14.29

4.17

0.50

0.71

Waive

Joel Armia

8

8:33

0:00

1

0

0

16.67

6.67

0.75

1.13

Waive

Matt Halischuk

7

7:40

0:00

0

0

0

0

4.55

1.29

1.14

Waive

Patrice Cormier

1

3:35

0:44

0

0

0

0

0

1.00

2.00

Waive

 

The Jets provide a plethora of options for all sorts of pools. The Jets’ top line is made up of three multi-category studs who provide good value in points only pools as well as multi-category pools. Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler are both around a point per game this season. Andrew Ladd is lagging behind because he is not getting assists or power play points at his usual rate. The chances that he finishes with two power play assists for the season are slim and as such Ladd makes for a potentially valuable buy-low candidate. Little, Wheeler and Ladd are well-known quantities at this point and there are other options on the Jets that are almost as valuable. Nik Ehlers was one of those players early in the season but since getting removed from the second line his scoring chances have gone off a cliff. He has three points in the 20 games since his demotion and cannot be relied upon to contribute regularly.

 

Where Ehlers fell off the new second line picked more than picked up the slack. Drew Stafford was the replacement on the second line and the whole line benefitted. Scheifele and Perreault produced well with Ehlers on the line but have bettered their respective production since Stafford’s arrival. Scheifele is taking more shots, by a wide margin, than he ever has in his short career. Before his recent stint on the IR for a concussion he had 13 points in 15 games. Mathieu Perreault makes another great depth option both as part of the second line and as a member of the top power play unit. For other depth options in multi-category leagues Adam Lowry is a great play as he contributes blocks and penalty minutes while averaging three hits per game. Keep an eye on Alex Burmistrov as an under the radar depth option in multi-category leagues. He only has nine points but has a very low shooting percentage, Burmistrov also provides hits at an unexpected rate of almost two per game while getting half a PIM and half a block per game. 

 

 

 

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