Wild West Summer Series 2018: Calgary

by chriskane on July 2, 2018

We are back this week for round three of our summer series, this time featuring Calgary. 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.

 

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.

 

Calgary

 

Recap:

Calgary finished 2017 with a 37-25-10 (84 points) record, missing the playoffs by 11 points. They had periods of time (particularly the beginning of January) where it seemed like they had captured lightning in a bottle, but at the end of the day injuries, plus some inconsistent play derailed the season. 

 

Undervalued:

 

Mark Giordano

Mark Giordano found himself in a group of defenseman who all overperformed their original draft ranking this year. He was the second Calgary defenseman drafted (behind Dougie Hamilton) at 91st overall, but finished the year as the more valuable Calgary defensemen.

 

Jake Muzzin

LAK

PAC

D

66

Ryan Suter

MIN

CTR

D

68

Mark Giordano

CGY

PAC

D

70

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

ARI

PAC

D

72

Morgan Rielly

TOR

ATL

D

76

 

Giordano has been a relatively consistent threat for points and some peripheral categories over the years. Injuries used to be the bane of his existence, but now that he hasn’t missed many games over the last three years his point per game pace has dropped from a high of.73 to this year’s .46.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

82

13

25

38

0.46

214

6.1

93

10

161

 

When we consider his stat line, it is a little bit unclear exactly why he proved to be more valuable this year. His games played, goals, assists, point numbers and point per game numbers are very consistent with last year (actually down if anything), and his power play point and block numbers are down a bit. There are only two places where he outperformed recent seasons; shots and hits. Last year proved to be the exception for shot production as it is the only year in the last five where he shot less than two and a half per game. Giordano has increased his hit production in each of the last four seasons though, seeing his highest level since 2010-11. It seems like managers were over-cautious about his peripheral numbers and shots returning, and maybe were a bit hesitant about the emergence of Dougie Hamilton.

 

That should not be an issue going into next year. With Hamilton gone, there really isn’t a challenger for time and points. Interestingly though, Giordano was seeing more than three minutes a game on the power play already (up from 2016-17), so his minutes might not improve much. Slightly concerning though is even with that time he still saw his fewest power play points since 2012-13. With some room to rebound in both those power play numbers and his personal shooting percentage, a modest increase in points is possible. Without Hamilton in the picture though, the price at the draft table might not provide the value it did this year.

 

Mike Smith

 

Mike Smith turned 36 during the 2017-18 season and was coming off of several uninspiring seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. People were a bit hesitant to draft him going into the season taking him 117th overall, and the 20th goalie off the board. His final rank of 77 placed him in very solid company, among many who were drafted much higher. The below group had an average draft position of 76, and if we cherry pick the data bit by removing Roberto Luongo (as he also performed considerably above expectations) the average draft position of the remaining three is 46. Pretty good company.

 

Ben Bishop

DAL

G

74

Braden Holtby

WSH

G

75

Mike Smith

CGY

G

77

Roberto Luongo

FLA

G

88

Henrik Lundqvist

NYR

G

90

 

So what was different? What about Smith’s season outperformed our expectations.

 

 

Games Played

Wins

Saves

SV%

GAA

55

25

1545

0.916

2.65

 

One reason Smith fell in drafts is because, well let’s face it, he is getting old (36). Along with that there have been recent concerns about his injury history. One thing we can say right off the bat here is that he did not outperform expectation in 2017-18 by staying healthy. He did get injured, but no more so than usual as his 55 games played is exactly equal to his last season with Arizona. In fact if we take a look across his recent history, his stats are actually much in line with his last two years in Arizona. His .916 SV% in 2017-18 is almost identical to the last two years, his GAA has fluctuated a little but was 2.63 in 2015-16.

 

There were only two real differences in his stat line, wins and saves. In 12 fewer minutes between 2016-17 and 2017-18 Smith saw 133 fewer shots. In the exact same number of games played Smith was rewarded with 25 wins in 2017-18 and 19 in 2016-17.

 

The expectations going into the season were likely low confidence in Smith’s ability to keep up his personal numbers being another year older, concern about his injury history, and the fact that Calgary’s recent run of goalies have not been very successful. His jump in value then came not from improving, but maintaining his personal numbers for another year, and Calgary helping Smith put together his most winning season since 2013-14.

 

Going forward some of the concerns are still in place. To Smith’s credit, he has shown that a goalie on Calgary can put together a decent season, but he is still another year older and he still is at risk to miss some time for injury. Over the last ten seasons there are only six goalies aged 35 or older that were able to sustain a save percentage of .91 or higher through an entire season and only three managed a .916 or higher. All of this is just to say that it isn’t easy for a goalie to keep up the percentages as they age, so if Smith can do it, it places him in some impressive company. Working in Smith’s favor is that he was able to give good percentages in his age 34 and 35 year old seasons. Overall I would anticipate a slight drop in sv% and though he would likely fall a bit in my rankings because of injury concerns, I would be willing to draft him a bit higher than he was drafted in 2017-18.

 

Overvalued:

 

Michael Frolik

 

Michael Frolik does not find himself in good company at the end of 2017-18. He was drafted right at the end of a standard 12 team league, and perhaps understandably as he had provided decent shot and hit values as well as 44 points in 2016-17. He was the only one drafted in the below grouping though, and I would imagine that anyone who did draft him likely cut bait.

 

Mattias Janmark

DAL

C

476

Jujhar Khaira

EDM

C/LW

477

Michael Frolik

CGY

RW

478

Tom Kuhnhackl

PIT

LW/RW

479

Brad Hunt

VGK

D

480

 

Frolik saw a definite drop in point pace, and when you consider that he missed some time, only playing 70 games, it is no surprise he saw a sharp drop in points. He had been averaging about a half point per game for the four years prior to 2017-18.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

70

10

15

25

0.36

167

6

48

0

35

 

His shot, hit and block rates fell a little, but mostly the drop in totals came from missing games. Slightly more concerning is the drop in ice time and in power-play time, but on the plus side (maybe?) he has a history of inconsistency there so both changes are not really out of character for him. He still saw most of his time with Matthew Tkachuk, and Mikael Backlund, which is where he has had the most success as a Flame.

 

All things being equal if Frolik can suit up for a full season I don’t see a reason why he can’t return to normal production in the peripheral categories, which is where a lot of the value lies for Frolik. His point production is a bit more of a question mark, but if his shooting percentage can rise a bit closer to his traditional eight percent, he could see a rise back to his half point per game status.

 

Jaromir Jagr

Just a quick note on Jagr. He and the Flames parted ways during the season, but was surely a disappointment to the folks that drafted him (227th overall)

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

22

1

6

7

0.32

32

3.1

1

1

8

 

46 is an incredible age to still be playing hockey, even if he only got to suit up for 22 games. His seven points were definitely a let down for those hoping for one more golden year like he put up in Florida. Definitely don’t draft him next year (and I would have said that even if he wasn’t overseas), but we should salute his incredible NHL career.

 

Thanks for reading

 

 

Next week: Chicago

 

 

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