West: Real or Imagined – Defensemen Part 2 (2016)

by Doran Libin on December 12, 2016
  • The Wild West
  • West: Real or Imagined – Defensemen Part 2 (2016)

 

The third installment of the Real or Imagined series focuses on the defensemen of Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, St.Louis, San Jose, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

It is time to evaluate the second half of the Western Conference defensemen. As always the evaluation is based on their ability to generate shots, the amount of power-play time they are given, their assist rate and secondary factors like shooting percentage and team offense. The evaluation will largely look at data at even strength unless specifically stated otherwise.

 

 

Los Angeles

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Drew Doughty

27

26.85

65.9

5

10

5

2.3

7.9

Hold

Alec Martinez

27

22.85

43.9

6

9

5

2.1

10.3

Sell

Jake Muzzin

27

22.67

43.1

3

3

1

2.3

4.8

Hard Buy

Derek Forbort

27

17.95

2.2

1

7

0

0.9

4.2

Hold/Sell

Kevin Gravel

17

13.9

11.9

0

2

1

0.7

0.0

Hold/Sell

Matt Greene

16

13.25

0.0

1

1

0

0.6

11.1

Hold/Sell

Tom Gilbert

13

15.80

33.6

1

3

1

0.7

11.1

Waive

Brayden McNabb

8

20.25

4.1

2

0

0

0.8

33.3

Hold/Buy

 

In the previous three seasons Muzzin’s even strength individual points percentage (IPP) has never been lower than 39.0. The last time his IPP was below 30 was in 2012/13 when he played only 674 minutes in a lockout shortened season and his IPP was 28.1. This season his IPP sits at 18.8 nearly half of what his lowest IPP was over the last three years. Given that his on-ice rate stats are virtually identical to previous campaigns there is every reason to expect a rebound. As Jake Muzzin struggles, his most common partner, Alec Martinez, is on pace for 45 points. Martinez’s IPP is at 50, a career high, while his individual goal percentage is the highest it has been since 2013-14, the only other time it has been over 20. Similarly his individual assist percentage is also unusually high. As the number two and three defensemen are heading in opposite directions Drew Doughty been on his usual track. There are not a lot of traditional fantasy options after the top three but there are multi-category options such as Derek Forbort, who seems to have stolen Matt Greene’s role, and Brayden McNabb. Both get a lot of time with Doughty but they have not spent a lot of time in the lineup together this season, whichever one sticks with Doughty upon McNabb’s return from injury will make a solid depth option.

 

(Note – the DobberHockey player profiles now present a player’s IPP! Just click any player name in this article and see for yourself!)

 

 

Minnesota

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Ryan Suter

27

27.20

59.3

4

13

6

2.1

7.0

Hold/Sell

Matt Dumba

27

20.55

47.0

4

6

3

2.0

7.5

Hold/Sell

Jonas Brodin

27

20.25

21.7

2

8

3

1.4

5.1

Hard Sell

Jared Spurgeon

23

23.55

48.6

1

8

1

2.0

2.2

Hold

Christian Folin

19

16.70

1.5

0

2

0

0.9

0.0

Sell

Marco Scandella

16

16.60

16.9

0

2

0

1.5

0.0

Hold

Nate Prosser

14

13.25

0.0

0

2

0

0.7

0.0

Sell

Mike Reilly

9

12.95

38.9

0

0

0

1.0

0.0

Hold

 

Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin have all seen their even-strength goals-per-60-minutes spike by at least a quarter of a goal. Part of that is because the Wild were scoring on seemingly every shot at the beginning of the season, but this has since evened out. They still rank in the top seven in shooting percentage. They are doing that while producing scoring chances at one of the lowest rates in the NHL (bottom 10). That suggests that any defenseman with a career average IPP is due to see his production slow a little. Anyone with a massive spike in their IPP will see more of a drop. In this case that is Jonas Brodin who has been involved in 41% of the goals scored by the Wild with him on the ice. He is getting more power-play time than he has in either of the past two years and also shooting more so there is some logic behind his increased scoring but with his recent track record betting on it to continue seems like a bit of a reach. With Jonas Brodin’s increased role Marco Scandella’s role has decreased. As such his value is as low as it has ever been but it is difficult to see a road to redemption. One player to watch is Jared Spurgeon because his on-ice goals for rate has not spiked while his IPP has rebounded from last year’s low.

 

 

Nashville

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Mattias Ekholm

27

23.60

31.7

0

7

1

1.7

0.0

Hold/Buy

Roman Josi

27

25.00

56.0

5

12

8

3.1

6.0

Hold

PK Subban

27

23.15

50.1

7

10

7

2.7

9.7

Hold

Yannick Weber

26

11.50

3.7

0

3

0

1.0

0.0

Sell/Hold

Matt Irwin

21

15.10

0.0

3

3

0

1.3

10.7

Hold

Ryan Ellis

19

23.65

39.9

3

6

3

1.5

10.7

Hold/Sell

Petter Granberg

4

8.70

0.0

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

Waive

Anthony Bitetto

4

8.65

0.0

0

1

0

0.3

0.0

Waive

 

Mattias Ekholm saw his IPP spike last year, almost doubling his percentage from his either of his previous two years. At its current level it is back to where it was previously. Ekholm’s IPP drop can be in part attributed to his very low shooting percentage even though his shot rate is up and his power-play time is at a career high. It can also be partially attributed to his playing a more reserved role alongside Subban whereas he jumped up in the play more last year with Ryan Ellis. With a couple of goals he would be on a 30-point pace, which would be below expectations but a vast improvement over his current 20-point pace.  Where Ekholm picks up his game Ellis will slow down when he finally returns from his injury. His 10% shooting percentage is not realistic, whereas an IPP around 40% is in line with his career numbers. Much the same can be said for Roman Josi and PK Subban who each have high IPP’s but they are also both warranted. Both have raised their shot rates this year to levels which could conceivably see each of them score 20 goals this year. Keep an eye on Matt Irwin as he provides solid peripherals while chipping in the odd point making him a passable depth option in deep multi-category leagues.

 

 

San Jose

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Justin Braun

28

20.25

3.0

0

4

0

1.0

0.0

Hold/ Soft Buy

Marc-Edouard Vlasic

28

21.05

41.9

3

4

3

1.9

9.8

Soft Buy

Paul Martin

28

18.9

3.7

1

8

0

0.8

4.8

Sell

Brent Burns

28

24.20

63.2

12

13

7

4.3

10.0

Hold/Soft Sell

Brenden Dillon

27

16.10

1.6

0

1

0

1.0

0.0

Hold

David Schlemko

24

17.33

33.9

0

5

2

1.8

0.0

Hold

Dylan Demelo

5

14.80

18.1

1

1

0

1.8

11.1

Waive

 

Brent Burns may be playing even better than he did last year. He has somehow managed to up his shot rate from 9.2 shots per 60 at even strength to 9.8. There are a couple danger signs though as his shooting percentage is at a level he has not hit since he moved back to defense and his IPP is at 75%, which is nuts even for a player who has hung around 55% the last two years.  This has largely compensated for a struggling Sharks power play, which if it does not rebound could knock Burns’ end-of-season totals down by 10 points from last year. With his extreme goal scoring prowess even if he slows a little he may still be the second most valuable defenseman after Erik Karlsson. Beyond Burns there is not a ton of fantasy value on this team. Paul Martin is on pace for nearly 30 points largely because he plays with Burns. Marc-Edouard Vlasic has more fantasy value than he is currently showing but he is expected to play more of a defensive role to compensate for Burns’ heavily offensively slanted usage. Even then his sub-20 IPP will not remain that low but his shooting percentage will not stay over 10. The IPP hurts more than the shooting percentage helps, he will not finish with less than 30 points. Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon are interesting depth options but they only provide peripheral value through hits, blocks and penalty minutes to varying degrees. The most interesting depth play is David Schlemko as he takes nearly two shots per game while getting nearly two minutes of power-play time per game.

 

 

St Louis

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Jay Bouwmeester

29

22.75

3.8

1

5

0

1.3

2.6

Sell

Colton Parayko

29

21.05

38.3

0

14

4

2.6

0.0

Buy

Alex Pietrangelo

29

25.25

44.6

5

10

6

2.3

7.4

Hold

Kevin Shattenkirk

29

20.25

61.5

6

13

12

2.0

10.5

Hold

Carl Gunnarsson

23

14.00

0.1

0

2

0

0.5

0.0

Hold

Joel Edmundson

17

15.80

0.0

0

2

0

1.1

0.0

Hold

Robert Bortuzzo

11

13.80

1.0

1

1

0

1.4

6.7

Hold

Petteri Lindbohm

5

12.70

0.0

0

0

0

1.8

0.0

Hold

 

While the Sharks were basically a one-trick pony the Blues are a three-headed monster in terms of fantasy relevant defensemen. Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo are both on pace for right around 40 points while Kevin Shattenkirk is on pace for 50 points. Shattenkirk is once again a power-play maestro and until that changes he is money in the bank. Any concerns regarding Pietrangelo (low shot rate, abnormally high on-ice goals-for rate) should be balanced by his low IPP and low individual assist percentage. Colton Parayko is almost the inverse as he cannot buy a goal but also has a ridiculous assist rate at the moment. As long as he keeps taking more than six shots per 60 minutes there is no need to worry about him slowing as he has given himself ample cushion. After those three there are a bunch of borderline multi-cat options with Bortuzzo being the option if he played regularly.

 

 

Vancouver

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Erik Gudbranson

29

20.30

4.3

1

4

0

1.3

0.0

Hold

Ben Hutton

29

21.85

39.0

3

4

4

2.0

2.6

Hold

Luca Sbisa

29

17.55

0.6

0

7

0

0.9

5.1

Hold

Alex Edler

21

23.70

44.9

1

2

2

2.2

2.2

Hold

Troy Stecher

20

21.10

63.9

1

6

3

3.0

1.7

Gamble

Nikita Tryamkin

19

16.70

1.1

0

2

0

0.9

0.0

Sell

Philip Larsen

17

17.10

59.6

0

4

2

1.5

0.0

Waive

Chris Tanev

7

20.17

8.2

0

1

0

0.6

0.0

Hold

 

There is very little of interest here as the Canucks are amongst the worst in shots, scoring chances and goals. Erik Gudbranson and Luca Sbisa are only good for their peripheral value as they do little to nothing offensively. Nikita Tryamkin provides the same offense with none of the peripherals, which is disappointing for such a mobile big man. Philip Larsen was of interest but he showed the same inability to drive the offense as the first time he was in the league. Chris Tanev is much more valuable in real life than he is in fantasy, which leaves Ben Hutton, Alex Edler and Troy Stecher. The Canucks do not score enough for any of them to earn 30 points. For a Canuck defenseman to score 20 points at even strength at the current Canucks’ goal rate, 1.8 per 60 minutes, they would need an IPP of 55%. That is highly unlikely as none have shown the offensive ability to do so thus far in their careers. Troy Stecher makes an interesting gamble though given his style of play and shot rate.

 

 

Winnipeg

 

Player

GP

TOI/G

PP TOI %

G

A

PPP

SH/G

SH%

Status

Dustin Byfuglien

32

27.60

66.9

3

16

4

2.8

3.3

Hold

Josh Morrissey

32

18.60

8.4

1

4

1

1.0

3.0

Hold/Soft Buy

Ben Chiarot

31

14.70

0.6

0

6

0

0.7

0.0

Hold

Tobias Enstrom

29

22.75

34.3

1

7

4

0.9

4.0

Hold

Paul Postma

26

12.10

0.8

0

5

0

0.8

0.0

Hold

Jacob Trouba

17

22.60

32.8

1

4

1

1.9

3.1

Buy

Tyler Myers

11

22.20

33.6

2

3

0

1.5

12.5

Sell

Mark Stuart

10

12.05

20.1

0

0

0

0.6

0.0

Sell

 

The Jets continue to have one of the deepest defense corps in the NHL especially since Jacob Trouba signed on for two more years. Given enough ice time almost all of these defensemen can produce some sort of fantasy value. Mark Stuart used to be a multi-category beast but he has yet to play a game since the end of November. Ben Chiarot and Josh Morrissey each fill that role to a lesser extent except with more offensive potential, especially in Morrissey’s case. They both were used similarly but Morrissey takes more shots with an IPP of 20 whereas Chiarot has an IPP of 40 after never having previously been over 33. The problem for both of them is that they are buried behind four other offensive options (Byfuglien, Enstrom, Myers and Trouba) all of whom get more than 30% of the available power-play time. Three of the four average more than four shots per 60 minutes with Enstrom being the odd man out sitting at just over 2.5 shots per 60 minutes. Enstrom has a very low IPP but he is so dependent on the players around him for his points that his IPP likely will not change much. Another problem is that Myers and Trouba haven’t been in the lineup together so it is unclear how the power-play time will be distributed with a full defense corps. As it is the defensemen could start to cannibalize each other’s points with only Byfuglien being safe.

 

The statistics in this week’s column came from Dobberhockey.com, stats.hockeyanalysis.com and Corsica.hockey

 

(Note – the DobberHockey player profiles now present a player’s IPP! Just click any player name in this article and see for yourself!)