Western Conference Real or Imagined: Forwards, Part Three

by Doran Libin on December 28, 2015
  • The Wild West
  • Western Conference Real or Imagined: Forwards, Part Three

Buy low on Pominville and other stock reports on Western Conference forwards.

In the third forward-centric installment features four teams: Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville and San Jose. These teams feature great examples of why scoring chances are an important factor when looking at a player’s shooting percentage. Scoring chances are a good indicator of the quality of shot a player is taking, whether distance or type of shot. If a player is getting a lot of shots from the slot, shots off the rush, shots off rebounds or cross-ice one timers it would validate them having a higher than average shooting percentage as those are higher percentage shots. Scoring chances are more accurately grouped within shot attempts as a blocked or missed shot can still be a scoring chance but the important thing is where and how players are getting their shots. Tyler Toffoli is a good example of this as he averages 2.5 shots per game but 3.3 scoring chances per game. A player with that shot rate who is getting more scoring chances than shots per game is a player who is getting lots of high percentage opportunities and thus the high shooting percentage starts to make a little more sense.

 

This section also includes Mike Ribeiro, Joe Thornton and Mikael Granlund, players who are very pass heavy with very low shot volumes. As important as shots are as an indicator of how many points a player is capable of generating it does not translate nearly as well for players with high assist to goal ratios. Last year in his passing project Ryan Stimson found that players who generate shots for others can be looked at based on the shots and type of shots they generate for their linemates. In these cases it is not the individual’s shots that matter but the shots that the player creates for others.

 

As always the recommendations made below are for this year only.

 

Los Angeles

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Dustin Brown

34

16:23

1:20

3

8

2

2.91

4.36

3.03

3.03

Hold

Jeff Carter

34

18:38

2:25

11

17

5

10.68

11.38

3.03

2.91

Hold

Marian Gaborik

34

15:16

1:51

7

6

1

7.69

6.67

2.68

3.21

Buy

Anze Kopitar

34

21:09

2:50

10

12

3

15.62

10.13

1.88

2.24

Hold

Milan Lucic

34

17:00

2:18

10

11

4

18.18

10.64

1.62

2.06

Soft Sell

Tanner Pearson

34

15:32

0:58

5

12

2

7.94

8.01

1.85

2.09

Hold

Nick Shore

34

13:32

0:25

2

4

2

4.00

3.33

1.47

1.32

Hold

Tyler Toffoli

34

17:25

2:02

14

11

6

15.73

11.11

2.62

3.38

Soft Sell

Jordan Nolan

33

8:48

0

0

2

0

0

3.81

0.76

0.94

Hold

Andy Andreoff

32

9:13

0:06

2

0

0

9.52

3.45

0.66

1.03

Hold

Trevor Lewis

27

15:13

0:18

3

2

0

4.41

3.81

2.52

2.56

Hold

Kyle Clifford

26

8:58

0:01

0

3

0

0

4.26

0.69

0.85

Hold

Jordan Weal

9

7:32

0:16

0

0

0

0

3.33

0.11

0.33

Waive

Michael Mersch

7

11:34

0:47

0

0

0

0

7.41

1.14

0.43

Waive

 

The Kings, as a team, are a shot generating machine, as eight King forwards average two or more shots per game. When Dustin Brown plays on the third line with Shore and Lewis they have a higher Corsi For per 60 minutes than Benn, Seguin and Sharp. Unlike the Stars’ line top the Kings’ line scores on an incredibly low percentage of their shots. Normally these low shooting percentages would be a sign that a player is due for a scoring uptick but Brown’s scoring has been trending down and Lewis has rarely scored on more than five percent of his shots. Milan Lucic is the flip side of that coin as he routinely has a higher shooting percentage so 18% is high but ridiculous for a guy with a career shooting percentage of 15%. Furthermore, with the way Lucic is racking up hits, just under four per game, and penalty minutes, just under one per game, he would have to go into a complete tailspin for his value to tank. Toffoli is the more interesting case of a King with an elevated shooting percentage because while his shot rate has remained constant for the last three years his scoring chance rate has rocketed up this year, making a higher shooting percentage somewhat valid.

 

Minnesota

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Charlie Coyle

34

15:31

0:49

8

9

2

14.81

10.87

1.59

1.71

Sell

Mikael Granlund

34

19:04

2:59

3

18

6

4.76

8.63

1.85

2.03

Hold

Mikko Koivu

34

19:51

3:25

8

21

9

13.56

11.93

1.74

2.38

Hold

Nino Niederreiter

34

15:49

1:49

7

8

1

12.5

10.07

1.65

2.12

Hold

Jason Pominville

34

17:43

2:49

5

14

5

5.49

9.92

2.68

2.06

Buy

Thomas Vanek

34

16:15

2:50

11

14

8

15.49

11.76

2.09

2.03

Hold

Jason Zucker

34

16:56

1:43

9

8

2

9.78

10.22

2.71

3.09

Buy

Chris Porter

33

9:22

0:02

2

2

0

9.09

6.90

0.67

0.73

Sell

Ryan Carter

32

11:23

0:05

3

2

0

10.00

6.54

0.94

0.84

Hold

Erik Haula

30

11:11

0:04

2

2

0

9.09

6.38

0.73

0.57

Sell

Zach Parise

26

18:59

2:08

11

9

7

11.83

7.31

3.58

4.08

Hold

Justin Fontaine

21

11:54

0:07

2

6

0

13.33

7.14

0.71

1.14

Hold

Jordan Schroeder

11

9:05

0:01

1

0

0

9.09

9.17

1.00

0.73

Sell

Jarret Stoll

34

13:18

0

1

2

0

3.60

6.90

0.85

0.73

Sell

Christoph Bertschy

3

7:17

0

0

0

0

0

8.33

1.00

0.33

Waive

Brett Bulmer

3

6:33

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.67

0.33

Waive

Kurtis Gabriel

3

4:43

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.33

0.33

Waive

Tuler Graovac

1

14:43

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.00

2.00

Waive

Michael Keranen

1

6:23

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.00

0.00

Waive

 

Every year it seems as if Zach Parise takes all the shots for the Wild and it is happening again this year as he is averaging 3.5 shots per game as well as more than four scoring chances per game. That means he is averaging almost a shot and a scoring chance more per game than his closest teammate. That is just the status quo, the surprising part is that Jason Zucker is second behind him doing his best Parise-lite imitation. Zucker is putting up close to three shots per game in less than 17 minutes per game including less than two minutes per game on the power play. Zucker is a victim of the Wild’s depth but makes for a great depth option. Mikael Granlund is an example of a player who can succeed despite very low shot totals. Granlund gets the vast majority of his points through primary assists and this year has an IPP of over 70%, meaning that he is directly creating shots for his linemates. The ability of Granlund to help others get shots, and sacrifice his own shots, is part of why Parise is able to generate so many shots. The fact that Granlund is so pass-oriented makes him susceptible to occasional blips in IPP such as last year when he fell to 50%. The Wild are a great analytics team as their bottom six has more skilled players than bangers but it negates much of their value in leagues that count peripheral stats.

 

Nashville

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Filip Forsberg

35

19:17

2:59

9

15

11

8.57

10.08

3.00

3.29

Hold

Cody Hodgson

35

10:29

0:07

3

5

1

5.00

5.69

1.71

1.60

Hold

James Neal

35

18:53

2:56

13

9

7

12.15

10.95

3.06

3.23

Hold

Mike Ribeiro

35

18:05

2:35

4

17

4

13.79

8.56

0.83

0.97

Hold

Craig Smith

35

15:53

2:18

7

5

1

7.53

7.10

2.66

2.57

Buy

Calle Jarnkrok

34

15:50

1:13

6

6

3

10.71

8.19

1.65

1.53

Hold

Colin Wilson

30

15:30

2:19

2

10

1

3.39

7.81

1.97

2.67

Buy

Eric Nystrom

27

11:40

0:02

5

0

0

26.32

5.88

0.70

0.67

Sell

Austin Watson

27

9:52

0:02

2

3

0

6.67

6.96

1.11

0.81

Hold

Paul Gaustad

26

12:26

0:05

0

2

0

0

6.25

0.85

0.54

Hold

Mike Fisher

24

18:49

2:35

5

2

2

14.71

8.73

1.42

1.75

Buy

Gabriel Bourque

22

12:25

0:13

1

3

0

4.00

8.18

1.04

1.18

Hold

Colton Sissons

19

10:01

0:06

1

1

0

8.33

8.89

0.63

0.58

Sell

Viktor Arvidsson

17

12:10

0:26

3

2

0

8.82

5.41

2.00

2.00

Hold

Miikka Salomaki

17

12:27

0:06

2

0

0

11.11

5.26

1.06

1.35

Sell

Cody Bass

2

7:17

0:00

0

0

0

0.00

0

1.50

0.50

Waive

 

Most teams have forward usage charts that bunch up in trios indicating lines that often get used together. The Predators on the other hand have two duos and three forwards seemingly without a concrete line. Forsberg and Neal get high offensive zone starts but face the best competition whereas Ribeiro and Smith get high offensive zone starts against mid-level competition. The thirds tend to be Fisher with Neal and Forsberg while Wilson plays often with Ribeiro and Smith but much less consistency than the aforementioned duos. The Predators can do that with the depth they possess in Jarnkrok and Arvidsson. Arvidsson particularly brings nice offensive depth to the Predators’ lineup averaging two shots in only 12 minutes per game. Some vacillation in the Predators forwards lines should be of much concern from game to game. Wilson and Smith have both taken steps back this year after taking big strides forwards last season. Both are averaging fewer shots and scoring chances per game hence the lower point totals for each. Both have 20 goal potential but need to up there shot rate.

 

San Jose

Player

GP

TOI

PP

TOI

G

A

PPP

SH%

OSH%

S/G

SC/G

Status

Patrick Marleau

34

19:58

3:35

13

12

10

13.83

11.23

 

2.76

3.21

Hold

Joe Pavelski

34

20:12

3:38

18

18

15

18.00

11.63

2.94

3.65

Soft Sell

Joe Thornton

34

18:27

3:40

6

17

7

11.54

11.43

1.53

1.35

Buy

Tommy Wingels

34

14:54

1:08

3

6

2

4.69

6.06

1.88

1.91

Buy

Tomas Hertl

33

15:47

1:23

3

10

2

3.70

8.36

2.45

2.67

Buy

Chris Tierney

33

13:46

0:13

3

5

0

7.50

6.78

1.21

1.21

Hold

Joel Ward

32

17:52

2:23

10

13

6

17.86

10.86

1.75

2.00

Sell

Mike Brown

31

7:51

0:01

1

0

0

3.70

3.45

0.87

0.87

Hold

Matt Nieto

31

12:44

0:05

4

4

0

11.76

7.69

1.10

1.19

Hold

Joonas Donskoi

29

14:13

0:53

4

9

1

10.00

9.09

1.40

1.90

Hold

Melker Karlsson

19

15:43

1:07

3

1

0

7.89

7.20

2.00

2.63

Buy

Barclay Goodrow

14

10:40

0:04

0

3

0

0

8.47

0.50

0.43

Sell

Dainius Zubrus

13

12:42

0:00

1

3

0

8.33

9.46

0.92

1.00

Buy

Nikolay Goldobin

9

11:05

0:03

1

1

0

14.29

8.33

0.78

1.33

Waive

Micheal Haley

8

6:10

0:00

0

1

0

0

0

0.63

0.38

Waive

Bryan Lerg

6

8:53

0:00

0

0

0

0

5.88

0.67

0.33

Waive

Ben Smith

6

5:57

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

0.17

0.33

Waive

Logan Couture

5

15:08

3:16

0

2

1

0

7.55

1.80

1.80

Buy

Ryan Carpenter

1

8:05

0:00

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Waive

 

Joe Thornton is the epitome of a player who succeeds in putting up significant point totals without taking a high volume of shots. Thornton is one of those players who makes those around him significantly better, just ask Devin Setoguchi and Jonathan Cheechoo. For Thornton a stat like IPP is more important than his shot rate as IPP indicates how involved he is in the offense and the scoring plays that occur with him on the ice. Furthermore, because of the type of game Thornton plays, a slower puck possession game, age is not nearly as much of a factor as it would be for others. Think Jagr on a level that is not top five ever to play the game. This season Thornton’s IPP is down around 50% from his normal levels of around 70%. The recent big beneficiary of playing on a line with Jumbo Joe has been Joe Pavelski. That is probably part of the reason that he has a higher scoring chance rate than shot rate. The third member of that line has often been Melker Karlsson which makes him a player to keep an eye on, although his value drops off a cliff if he gets removed from the line. Look for the return of Logan Couture to help a number of players as Patrick Marleau will be able to go back to the wing and talent will be further dispersed throughout the lineup, although it would be next to impossible to boost Joel Ward’s value any higher than it already is.

 

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