Wild West Summer Series 2018: Anaheim

by chriskane on June 18, 2018

 

Now that the season is officially under wraps it is time for our summer series. This series is intended to take a look at the teams in the Western Conference one by one. We will do a short recap of what took place, but the deep dive here will be into the players that helped make it so, for better or worse. We will be taking a look at a few players who out or underperformed their expectations and be considering whether this performance might just be the new normal.

 

And now for the technical details. We will be using the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool to get a ranking that combines all of a player’s stats for the searched categories. Like for the previous series, the ranks are based on a 12 team, head-to-head league, using the categories of goals, assists, power play points, shots, hits and blocks for forwards/defensemen and wins, saves, save percentage and goals against average for goalies. The idea is to compare this ranking with an expected ranking based on the average draft positions from the start of the year. This process does not necessarily identify who was the most important player to each team but gives us not only an idea of who was a steal/bust on draft day, but where each player was valued going into this season. Player eligibility for this series is based on Yahoo, and draft ranks are based on average draft positions compiled from Yahoo, ESPN and CBS by FantasyPros.

 

First up: Anaheim

 

Recap

Anaheim finished the season in second place in the Pacific behind the upstart Vegas Golden Knights. Their respectable 101 points put them fifth overall in the west. They finished the season strong with an 8-1-1 record over their final ten games before being unceremoniously chewed through by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. 

 

Undervalued

 

Hampus Lindholm

Lindholm pulled down a rank of 175th overall given the above categories last year. He was certainly not drafted in that target area as he was taken with an average draft position of 277th.

 

Now if we consider team and league size we are talking about a bubble player here (a 12 team league that rosters 16 players uses 192 players), someone who might be a fourth defenseman or a weekly/monthly streamer. Even so I wanted to take a look at the players who ranked around him, many of which were owned for most of the season in my leagues.

 

Ryan McDonagh

TBL

D

165

Marc-Edouard Vlasic

SJS

D

166

Erik Johnson

COL

D

168

Hampus Lindholm

ANA

D

175

Adam Larsson

EDM

D

179

Kris Russell

EDM

D

180

 

Now we are certainly not talking about the cream of the offensive crop here, but many of these players provide solid peripheral numbers so are valuable pieces for a league that counts those categories. The above players have an average draft position of 227, compared to 277 from Lindholm, which certainly gives the value edge to Lindholm. But before we go too far down this path let’s take a look at what his stat line actually looks like.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

69

13

18

31

0.45

131

9.9

93

8

97

 

A couple of things jump out to me immediately. I see a reduced number of games played, a decent amount of shots and a 10% shooting percentage? His point total won’t blow anyone away, but he does also add a decent number of hits.

 

If we look back a career numbers part of this year’s jump in value is explained. Lindholm saw career highs in goals and his second most productive season in total points, shots, hits, power play points and blocks. Unfortunately the increases in point production also came with a likely unsustainable high in shooting percentage, and IPP (the percentage of goals scored while he on the ice that he gets a point on). If we adjust Lindholm back to his three year average shooting percentage (closer to 7%) he drops four of his thirteen goals.

 

One hope might be that another reason for this increase modest increase in scoring was due to an increase and time on ice and power play time, but unfortunately that is not the case. His power play time on ice was down for the third consecutive year. Anaheim still has a enough defensmen on the blue line at the moment to battle Lindholm for time, and the power play duties seem to be going to Brandon Montour.

 

Overall I see a relatively modest, but still potentially unsustainable increase in offensive production. His peripheral stats are fine, but frankly not amazing, so while I think he may be more valuable than his average draft position indicates if we are taking peripherals into consideration, I have a hard time seeing him increasing his value next year without significant gains in ice time, preferably power play time. Best case he keeps up the peripheral categories, but suffers a slight drop in offensive stats.

 

Rickard Rakell

Rakell is next on our Undervalued list with an overall rank of 60. He represents a player who is and has been much more valuable in fantasy than Lindholm. For reference, he compares very well in these categories to some ostensibly more established names.

 

Mikko Rantanen

COL

LW/RW

56

Brayden Schenn

STL

C/LW

57

Rickard Rakell

ANA

C/LW

60

Artemi Panarin

CBJ

C/LW

62

Alexander Radulov

DAL

RW

65

 

Of this group Mikko Rantanen definitely had the greatest overall value, since he was drafted very late, if at all, in leagues, but Rakell’s average draft position of 89 oddly lines up well with other players in this group like Brayden Schenn and Alexander Radulov who also could potentially also be featured in the Undervalued section their respective teams.

 

Rakell had a very successful season, and it is definitely worth digging into a few of the numbers.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

77

34

35

69

0.9

230

14.8

115

18

30

 

Rakell saw career highs in goals, assists, points, points per game, shots, and power play points. He also posted his second highest hit total. Unlike with Lindholm though there is a lot to like about his season. Rakell has seen steady growth in goals, points, shots, and power play points for the last four seasons. This season he increased his goal totals not because of an increased shooting percentage which, while still slightly high, is down from last year, but because he increased his shot volume, and because his 77 games is the most he has played in his career. His career high in power play points also correlates well with a career high in power play time on ice.

 

Frequent deployment with Ryan Getzlaf certainly has played a role in Rakell’s emergence over the last couple of seasons, and that might actually be one of the only slight knocks on Rakell. This year 85% of Rakells points came with Getzlaf on the ice and as Getzlaf ages, potentially declines, is injured, or if Patrick Eaves returns to that spot, it is unclear what that might mean for Rakell.

 

Overall though Rakell had an excellent season, and I do not see a reason why he should not be able to do something at least similar again and really 70+ points doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility so we may want to adjust our draft strategy accordingly.

 

Overvalued

 

Corey Perry

Perry leads our list of disappointments. He was drafted a pretty astonishing 65th overall considering how there have been some warning signs and declines over the last few seasons. For some player references, check out the players who ended up ranked around him.

 

Jakob Silfverberg

ANA

RW

266

Justin Abdelkader

DET

LW/RW

268

Corey Perry

ANA

RW

269

Colton Sissons

NSH

C/LW

270

Elias Lindholm

CAR

C/RW

271

 

Of the four players here two were not drafted and the average draft position of the remaining players is right around 170. If you drafted Corey Perry 65th overall you did not get your money’s worth.

 

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

71

17

32

49

0.69

168

10.1

59

11

36

 

Goals, points, shots and power play points all have declined for three straight years. In fact the only season since 2007-08 where Perry had fewer points was the lockout shortened season, where he played 44 games. The worse news is that Perry barely lost any power play time from the last two years and still saw 43% of his even strength shifts with Getzlaf and Rakell who both had excellent years.

 

To me this one is fairly simple. Perry is 33, and is seeing declines across the board even while maintaining decent deployment. Could he surprise us like Claude Giroux did this year? I suppose it is possible, but I certainly am not betting on it.

 

Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves

I put Kesler and Eaves together for this one, as they were by far the most disappointing players on Anaheim this year, for largely the same reason, injuries.

 

Kesler (overall rank of 558) did actually come back and get to play 44 games, but they certainly were not the type of games we had come to expect from him for the last several years. He managed to keep up a similar pace on hits and blocks, but his point totals plummeted.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

44

8

6

14

0.32

78

10.3

71

2

38

 

He spent the majority of his ice time with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg, but the magic that seemed to spur that group along last year was not at all in evidence this year. Kesler is also 33 soon to be 34, and there is a significant concern that his age, and injuries are catching up him. When you consider he was drafted 123rd overall he definitely burned his owners, and makes for a significant gamble next year. I for one will likely let someone else take the risk.

 

Patrick Eaves had high expectations after a great 2016-17 with Anaheim. He played only two games this year, so any data is essentially a wash. In the 2016-17 season he had the plum spot of playing with Getzlaf and Perry and had a career year. This year it was Rakell, who managed the same. Eaves may be available at a bit of a discount this year, because of the injury, but as he only has one season where he was able to put together more than 55 games, and only one season that topped a .6 point per game pace, and he has an emergent Rakell to compete with for that spot, the discount certainly comes with a risk.

 

 

Thanks for reading

 

Next week: Arizona