Wild West: Mining for Multi-Category Defencemen

by chriskane on November 26, 2018

 

In part two of our mini-series I wanted to take a look at multi-cat defensemen. Again, like with forwards, I started with guys that are typically valued very highly in those formats. We are of course talking about guys like Brent Burns, Dustin Byfuglien, Shea Weber etc. It turns out those three guys don’t exactly have the same production profile, or at least did not in 2017-18. Burns is significantly higher in shots, but quite a bit lower in hits. (As with last week I started league-wide and narrowed to the West when talking about this season. West guys are bolded though for your convenience.)

 

Player

Position

Games Played

Points/G

Shots/G

Hits/G

Blocks/G

Brent Burns

D

82

0.82

4.05

0.96

1.66

Dustin Byfuglien

D

69

0.65

2.80

2.13

1.45

Shea Weber

D

26

0.62

2.88

2.54

2.27

 

We can’t really use their averages across the board either as there are no players who averaged over three shots a game, more than 1.5 hits per game, and 1.5 blocks per game. The guy that came the closest was Seth Jones.

 

Player

Position

Games Played

Points/G

Shots/G

Hits/G

Blocks/G

Seth Jones

D

78

0.73

3.19

1.18

1.59


If the lower the threshold to the 2.8 shots of Byfuglien, still the only one who actually meets the full criteria is Shea Weber – which is great if you have him, but not helpful otherwise.

The point of this exercise is to find value in guys who might not already highly owned. To that end if we take our shot criteria down to around 2.5 and (like we did for forwards) combine the Hits and Blocks numbers (at least 2.5 a game) we get a nice grouping of options.

 

Player

Position

Games Played

Points/G

Shots/G

Hits/G

Blocks/G

H+B/Game

Brent Burns

D

82

0.82

4.05

0.96

1.66

2.62

Victor Hedman

D

77

0.82

2.81

1.81

1.43

3.23

Seth Jones

D

78

0.73

3.19

1.18

1.59

2.77

Drew Doughty

D

82

0.73

2.50

1.55

1.56

3.11

Rasmus Ristolainen

D

73

0.56

2.49

2.82

1.52

4.34

Roman Josi

D

75

0.71

3.37

1.07

1.60

2.67

Alexander Edler

D

70

0.49

2.46

2.24

2.90

5.14

Kris Letang

D

79

0.65

2.81

1.38

1.37

2.75

Dustin Byfuglien

D

69

0.65

2.80

2.13

1.45

3.58

Erik Karlsson

D

71

0.87

2.76

0.82

1.69

2.51

Ivan Provorov

D

82

0.50

2.48

1.80

2.06

3.87

Alex Pietrangelo

D

78

0.69

2.77

0.62

2.10

2.72

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

D

82

0.51

2.46

1.95

0.96

2.91

Mark Giordano

D

82

0.46

2.61

1.13

1.96

3.10

Colton Parayko

D

82

0.43

2.59

1.46

1.72

3.18

Justin Faulk

D

76

0.41

2.78

1.68

1.18

2.87

Ryan Pulock

D

68

0.47

2.71

1.66

1.26

2.93

Erik Johnson

D

62

0.40

2.71

1.84

2.18

4.02

Oscar Klefbom

D

66

0.32

3.08

0.74

2.06

2.80

Jacob Trouba

D

55

0.44

2.62

1.53

1.82

3.35

Ryan Ellis

D

44

0.73

2.50

0.61

1.91

2.52

Shea Weber

D

26

0.62

2.88

2.54

2.27

4.81

 

How about those numbers for Alex Edler? Averaging over five hits/blocks a game. Too bad even Connor McDavid can’t improve those point per game numbers. That search criteria game us a decent looking sample, though unless your league is pretty shallow many of those players will be drafted for their point potential alone.

So, for 2018-19 how are players shaping up? The landscape is surprisingly different. Running the numbers returned only 10 players, versus 21 from 17-18, and only four of the players are the same. (There would have been 11 total players this year, but I instituted a minimum game threshold. Sorry Alex Biega.)

 

Player

Position

Games Played

Points/G

Shots/G

Hits/G

Blocks/G

H+B/G

John Carlson

D

19

1.11

2.47

0.79

2.05

2.84

Matt Dumba

D

21

0.62

3.19

1.90

1.43

3.33

Kris Letang

D

18

0.78

3.22

1.78

1.89

3.67

Dustin Byfuglien

D

17

0.82

2.88

1.88

1.18

3.06

Brent Seabrook

D

20

0.45

2.55

1.35

2.15

3.50

Dougie Hamilton

D

20

0.35

3.70

1.65

1.15

2.80

Justin Faulk

D

20

0.40

3.00

1.55

1.30

2.85

Sami Vatanen

D

17

0.41

2.59

1.59

1.82

3.41

Seth Jones

D

14

0.64

2.50

0.93

2.14

3.07

Travis Hamonic

D

13

0.38

2.46

1.15

1.77

2.92

 

A significant portion of players are missing the shots threshold. It is an open question whether that is due to the smaller sample size of this year and those players will turn it around or if it is part of a larger trend.

For the sake of digging a little deeper and finding some actionable players we can lower the threshold again to two shots a game. Our list then looks a lot like the 2017-18 with most of those players represented, and again likely owned. In terms of Western Conference options, here are a few to keep an eye on.

 

Player

Position

Games Played

Points/G

Shots/G

Hits/G

Blocks/G

H+B/G

Darnell Nurse

D

21

0.29

2.19

1.52

1.71

3.24

Hampus Lindholm

D

20

0.50

2.00

1.45

2.20

3.65

Colin Miller

D

22

0.41

2.14

1.50

1.55

3.05

Kevin Connauton

D

17

0.24

2.18

2.06

1.29

3.35

 

Darnell Nurse (36% owned in Yahoo): Nurse is definitely a known quantity in multi-cat leagues, but has a capped point potential unless he works his way onto the Edmonton power play (which has been known to happen). Even so his ownership is a little lower than I would have thought.

Hampus Lindholm (30% owned in Yahoo): The injury might have something to do with it, but Lindholm is seeing his highest point pace to date, has access to power play time and is seeing over 25 minutes of total ice time a game.  All things considered I would expect him to be owned in more leagues particularly leagues that values hits and blocks.

Colin Miller (32% owned in Yahoo): Miller started slow it is true, but now has seven points, 14 shots, three power play points, nine hits, and 13 blocks in his last seven games. Oh, and he is also manning the top power play with Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch, Max Pacioretty, and Reilly Smith. Maybe worth an own in your league?

Kevin Connauton (1% owned in Yahoo): Connauton certainly has the lowest point potential of these four, playing a shut down role with Niklas Hjalmarsson. He does play over 20 minutes a night though so has plenty of opportunity to rack up peripherals and seems to be taking advantage.

 

Western Conference Quick Hits

 

Potential Streaming Pickups:

Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, LA, San Jose and Winnipeg all play four times this week, and none have a game on Monday. That means if you play your cards right you could get a game tonight out of that slot and then a four-game week from one of the players below.

 

Ondrej Kase: Kase has 15 shots over his last four games and and 30 over his last seven. He has his only three points of the season in his last four games, all are goals. He had seeing time on the second power play, and on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell, though that shifted a bit last game. Given that Anaheim lost they could be do for another shifting and getting back with Getzlaf and Rakell would certainly be ideal.

 

Kevin Labanc: Labanc has been seeing time at even strength with Joe Thornton and on the power play with Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Tomas Hertl. He has 13 shots over his last five games, and four points (two on the power play). His time on ice is creeping up as well with more games up around 17 minutes of total ice time.

 

Last article’s recommendations:

 

Alex Tuch: Tuch had himself a week last week, so hopefully you grabbed him. Five points (two goals), six shots and a power play point. I will take that from a streamer anytime.

 

Craig Smith: Smith had a decent week. In four games, he put up one goal, one assist, nine shots, and one power play point. He did also add five hits if your league counts those.

 

 

Drop or Not:

 

Clayton Keller: We all had high expectations coming for Keller coming into the 18-19 season. Thus far he has fallen a bit short. I was hoping for a bit of a step forward in production, between 70-75 points (.9ish point pace) and maybe 240 shots (about three a game). He is currently on pace for about 51 points (.62 point pace) and is averaging 2.4 shots a game, which would amount to 197 shots.

On the troubling side, Keller’s low production comes with a normal shooting percentage, and an increase in both power play time and total time on ice from 17-18. With those increases in time on ice, we would hope to see increases in shot per game numbers as well, but unfortunately we don’t. He is in fact shooting at a lower rate than 17-18 where he averaged about 2.6 shots per game. He has no power play goals, which won’t continue, but as already mentioned his overall shooting percentage is fine so an increase in power play shooting percentage could coincide with a drop in five-on-five shooting percentage. He is also averaging about the same power play points per game as he did in 17-18, so we are unlikely to see a big shift there either.

On the plus side his IPP is a bit low (percent of points Keller gets a point on while he is one the ice). Unfortunately, it is not that low, but if it were to swing back to the 17-18 levels we would see a few extra points for Keller. He is also seeing about 30 more seconds on the power play, and almost an extra minute in total time on ice from 17-18. As mentioned above it hasn’t yet translated into more shots or points, but opportunity is certainly a huge indication of production.

At the end of the day I don’t expect Keller to end the season with 50 points. There is just too much talent there. The jury is still out though on whether this is the season he joins the 70-point club and indications aren’t great at the moment. I’m still hanging on a bit longer, but I may be adjusting my expectations slightly and hoping for a return to 65 points rather than a jump to 75.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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