Wild West Summer Series 2018: Arizona

by chriskane on June 25, 2018

 

We are back this week for round two of our summer series, this week featuring Arizona. The idea is to compare end of 2017-18 Fantasy Hockey Geek rankings for individual players with an expected ranking based on their 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. I will also be adding some thoughts on whether or not that is the new normal for the player in question and if we should be adjusting our draft positions. For a deeper dive on each team plus full projections make sure to get your copy of Dobber’s Fantasy Guide out soon. Also if you are hankering for some East Coast talk, check out Cam Metz’s thoughts on rebounds

 

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. 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.

 

Arizona

 

Recap:

Arizona finished their 2017-18 season with 70 points in the standings, good for last place in the Western Conference standings. In fact they managed to top only Buffalo and Ottawa league-wide. They also had the dubious honor of leading the west with a goal differential of -48. Things aren’t all doom and gloom though. From February 8th to the end of the season they managed a record of 20-8-3. If you are counting that is a similar winning percentage to Tampa’s year long percentage, and Tampa managed 113 points in 2017-18.

 

Now, on to the players.

 

Undervalued:

 

Antti Raanta

I would like to take a moment, to pause and admire if you will, the season the Raanta put together. According to our categories he was the fifth ranked goalie in 2017-18, 33rd overall. Just as a reminder he plays for the Coyotes who sported the fourth worst goal differential in the league. The only two goalies that placed better than Raanta that are not featured in the table below are Andrei Vasilevskiy and Sergei Bobrovsky.

 

Tuukka Rask

BOS

G

19

Frederik Andersen

TOR

G

20

Antti Raanta

ARI

G

33

Braden Holtby

WSH

G

75

Roberto Luongo

FLA

G

88

 

Notice the gap between him, Holtby and Luongo? It is impressive. So the question is, how did he manage it? Let’s take a look at his stat line.

 

Games Played

Wins

Saves

SV%

GAA

47

21

1291

0.93

2.24

 

These numbers tell part of the story. Raanta did not have the strongest start with only three wins and a quality start percentage of 50% over his first 18 starts. During that time he had more games with a GAA over 3.00 than under it. At some point though he flipped a switch and went on an incredible tear to finish the year. In his last 18 games he had two non-quality starts for a quality start percentage of 88.9%. He also managed 13 wins during that time period. His strong play really goes all of the way back until January. Anyone who managed to pick him up at the new year enjoyed quite the finish to the season.

 

Raanta was drafted with an average draft position of 155 and was the 14th goalie off the board. Just for a reference point the goalies drafted closest to him were Brian Elliot and Michael Neuvirth. With a final ranking of 33, and the fifth most valuable goalie it is safe to say he was underappreciated going into last last year. The question then is it sustainable? Will he be similarly valuable next year?

 

To answer those questions in short, likely no, but maybe. Next year won’t be the same as this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t have as much value. Most of Raanta’s value came with a fantastic run at the end of the year that saw Arizona put together an incredible string of wins and his personal save percentage rise to .93. The problem is I do not expect Arizona to suddenly morph into Tampa and continue winning at that pace. Now it is definitely still possible that Raanta still gets a similar number of wins, but he will need to play more games.

 

Raanta saw an increase in his workload in the 2017-18 season after his trade to Arizona, making roughly double the saves as he did in 2016-17 as a backup on the Rangers.  He still started only 47 games in 2017-18 though. Scott Wedgewood (20), Darcy Kuemper (10), and Louis Domingue (7) saw a significant chunk of games in his stead. Even with starting in Arizona and the increasing workload he was able to maintain GAA and SV% numbers that are fairly consistent with his career numbers as a backup. What happens if he gets another 20 games though? More wins and saves for sure, but it seems potentially likely that some of his personal numbers might suffer. Over the last three years no goalie (backup or starter) except Raanta has put up a save percentage higher than .916 or a GAA lower than 2.63. One of two things seems possible, either Raanta is a better goalie than anyone who has played for the Coyotes for the last three years (probably), or Arizona’s defense system is lacking to the point where goalies struggle to succeed (also possible, as evidenced by; league wide bottom third for shots allowed, even strength goals against, total goals against and Mike Smith having a late career resurgence after leaving Arizona’s system). My guess is the answer is a bit of both.

 

For Raanta I think it likely he is due for more games in 2018-19 which should result in more saves, potentially more wins (if this offense can keep on improving), and a potential decrease (though likely still respectable numbers) in GAA and SV%.

 

Alex Goligoski

Going in I assumed this section was going to feature Clayton Keller, but not only did that seem a bit obvious, according to this scoring metric Goligoski’s end of season rank (115) represented a much more significant draft day value than Keller’s. Goligoski was actually Arizona’s third ranked player behind Raanta and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and the 16th ranked defenseman in the league. Below you can see who Goligoski ended up ranking near.

 

Jake Gardiner

TOR

D

113

Keith Yandle

FLA

D

114

Alex Goligoski

ARI

D

115

Nick Leddy

NYI

D

117

Zach Werenski

CBJ

D

119

 

The defenseman in this chart have an average draft position of 150. Goligoski was drafted 248th, meaning he likely wasn’t even drafted in standard 12 team leagues. He isn’t exactly known as a prolific scorer, so how did he manage to outperform his draft placement so spectacularly?

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

78

12

23

35

0.45

119

10.1

114

11

154

 

One thing jumps out right away. Goligoski is a defenseman who isn’t known for scoring and yet he has a 10.1 shooting percentage. His point totals and point per game numbers are relatively consistent to previous years, as are his shots and blocks. His hits have fluctuated a bit, but 114 is still within the expected range for Goligoski.

 

As much as that consistency seems like a good thing, in this case it really it isn’t. Goligoski saw his highest goal production since 2011-2012 and his highest shooting percentage ever. Even with those highs, this was actually his lowest point total in five seasons. The further problem is if we regress his shooting percentage to his career average he drops to 7 or 8 goals which brings him to his lowest point per game numbers of his career as his assist numbers have been slowly dropping for about five seasons. He managed 11 power play points, which is his highest total in four seasons, which sounds like a note of optimism until you realize that he saw less than two minutes per game on the power play per game. That is the lowest power play time of his career, and strongly implies that the spike in power play points won’t continue.

 

I actually think this one is pretty straight forward. Goligoski has significantly more value in leagues that count peripheral categories as he has decent hit and block numbers. That certainly can account for a lot of the discrepancy between his draft position and final value. This year though his value was even more inflated with 12 goals and 11 power play points that seem very unlikely to be repeated next year. So while he likely should be drafted higher if your league counts peripheral categories he should not be expected to repeat these goal or power play point numbers.

 

Overvalued:

 

Dylan Strome

So this one doesn’t look good for Strome. It is perhaps a little unfair as he is a young guy who has some hype and might just need some time to grow. At this point what we know though, is it definitely didn’t happen for him in 2017-18. Yes that 793 in the chart below next to his name means he was the 793rd most valuable player last year.

 

Maxim Mamin

FLA

C

781

Luke Kunin

MIN

C

790

Dylan Strome

ARI

C

793

Vinni Lettieri

NYR

C

815

Ryan Donato

BOS

C

817

 

Of the above players Strome was the only one drafted in any leagues (though it should be noted only in deeper ones). This does make some sense as he is definitely the most noted prospect of the bunch, and was likely drafted in the hopes we would stick with the Coyotes this year. Unfortunately he spent most of the season out of the NHL playing only 21 games.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

21

4

5

9

0.43

30

13.3

7

1

12

 

On the positive side, he did score nine points, got some power play time, saw some even strength time with other potential big guns Clayton Keller and Max Domi, and put up 53 points in 50 AHL games. He couldn’t put it together in the NHL, but another year of seasoning, plus team changes may mean he has an opportunity to jump in. Domi is now out and Alex Galchenyuk is in, but we will have to wait and see what that does to the lines. All things considered I would bank on more games from Strome this year, which is likely to lead to more points, if he can stick in the top six he may provide some actual fantasy value next year, but if he can’t it might be another slow year.

 

Max Domi

 

As mentioned above, Domi was a relatively hyped prospect and broke into the NHL in 2015-16 with with 52 points his rookie year. These next two seasons have unfortunately dulled expectations somewhat as he has not made the progress that managers have hoped for.

 

Sam Bennett

CGY

C/LW

327

Marcus Foligno

MIN

LW

329

Max Domi

ARI

LW

332

Vladimir Sobotka

STL

LW

337

Nick Schmaltz

CHI

C/LW

342

 

In 2017-18 he was drafted 189th overall but ended up with an ranked value of 332, in company with a number of undrafted players above. Clearly anyone who drafted Domi was disappointed by his performance.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

82

9

36

45

0.55

150

6

49

9

28

 

2017-18 saw the lowest shooting percentage of Domi’s career, his lowest point totals and point per game rate, and his lowest power play point per game rate. In fact his shooting percentage has declined in each of the last two seasons. The slight ray of sunshine is that his shooting rate did not decline, so there is potential for the goals numbers to improve with a rebound in shooting percentage. The bad news though is he now has three seasons where he was unable to break the two shots per game threshold. He did also maintain his power play time on ice from 2016-17 as well as his season power play point totals, but unfortunately he played he played 23 more games in 2017-18. That means with the same time on ice and playing more games (not to mention Arizona adding a dynamic Clayton Keller for potential support), Domi scored the same number of power play points resulting in a significant drop in point pace.

 

We could read into a couple of those numbers and hope for an increase in shooting percentage and a rebound in power play points, but that goes out the window a bit now that he is on the move. A fresh setting might do him good, and top six deployment (hopefully with Jonathan Drouin and/or Max Pacioretty) could result in a modest rebound, but I am not seeing much beyond a 55 point pace even given good deployment. With a history of low shot and peripheral categories he is definitely falling on my draft lists using these types of categories.

 

 

Thanks for reading

 

 

Next week: Calgary

 

 

Recent Articles

Wild West Summer Series: Anaheim