Wild West Summer Series 2018: Minnesota

by chriskane on August 20, 2018

Welcome back to another week of our Summer Series. This week we are featuring Minnesota. Make sure you are hitting up Cam’s team breakdowns for the latest in the Eastern Edge Series as well.

 

The idea for these columns 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 now!

 

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.

 

Minnesota

 

Recap:

In 2017-18 Minnesota captured the third spot in the Central Division standings with 101 points. The regular season was largely a successful one, but as with previous seasons the playoffs proved to be a challenge. There were some individual success as well with Eric Staal, Mat Dumba, and Jason Zucker all having strong performances.

 

Undervalued:

Matt Dumba:

 

Matt Dumba took advantage of injuries in 2017-18 and certainly showed that he deserves a bigger role. Take a look at those defensemen who were ranked near him at the end of the season; John Klingberg, Tyson Barrie and Erik Karlsson. Pretty impressive company. Alex Edler is up there too, but he is also heavily rewarded for his style of play with these scoring categories. Dumba was typically not a drafted defenseman and the other scorers in this list have an average draft position of 90. In short Dumba was incredible value if you managed to grab him.

 

John Klingberg

DAL

D

45

Alexander Edler

VAN

D

47

Matt Dumba

MIN

D

55

Tyson Barrie

COL

D

58

Erik Karlsson

OTT

D

59

 

In 2017-18, Dumba had career highs in goals, assists, shots, power play points, hits, and blocks. It is no wonder then that his value skyrocketed.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

82

14

36

50

0.61

176

8

136

12

112

 

He did it with the help of career high total time on ice and power play time on ice numbers. We have some strong evidence from many of his underlying numbers that this is the case, and that it wasn’t the result of some fluke shooting percentage. So where did this increase come from? Most of it came because of injuries on Minnesota’s blue line and unfortunately it is hard to count on a player who needs a teammate’s injury to reach his potential. However I will say this, Minnesota (and fantasy managers) got a taste of what Dumba can provide if given the opportunity, and Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter do not have the best track records of staying healthy. That adds up to a high likelihood of opportunity for Dumba and all he will have to do is take it. So will I be taking him of Erik Karlsson in 2018-19? Definitely not, but I am sure going to have him higher on my drafting list than at the beginning of 2017-18.

 

Jason Zucker

 

Jason Zucker put in an excellent 2017-18 season.  He was the 22nd most valuable winger in the league, just after Johnny Hockey himself and Patrick Kane, and the 91st ranked player overall. He had an average draft ranking of 234, meaning in many leagues he either wasn’t drafted or was someone’s shot in the dark pick. Not too bad to have your hail mary turn out to be comparable to Johnny Gaudreau and Patrick Kane.

 

Johnny Gaudreau

CGY

LW

87

Patrick Kane

CHI

RW

89

Jason Zucker

MIN

LW/RW

91

Sebastian Aho

NYI

LW/RW

93

Brendan Gallagher

MTL

RW

98

 

Jason Zucker has been a player on the rise for the last three seasons. He has seen consistent increases in his goals, assists, and shots over the last several years. The big thing that changed for 2017-18 is a big increase in time on ice (from just over 15 minutes to almost 17 minutes a game) and essentially all of that time on the power play.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

82

33

31

64

0.78

222

14.9

80

16

47

 

In 2017-18 Zucker saw career highs in just about every counted category above, so it is not surprise that he saw a huge gain in value during the season. The question, as always, is can he do it again next year? While he played the most minutes with Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund, he was more effective when playing with Eric Staal and Nino Niederreiter, both at even strength and on the power play. He finished the regular season with Staal and Niederreiter, which could bode well not 2018-19, but it certainly isn’t a guarantee.

 

Zucker had a large jump in point production in 2017-18 and 16 power play points certainly help (his previous high was two). Clearly deployment was a key factor for him. If he gets the same opportunity in 2018-19 it seems likely he could have a similar season. One note though, Zucker did have a bit of an inflated shooting percentage (could be a result of better opportunities on the power play), which if it regresses to the norm would mean about six fewer goals if he had a similar season again in 2018-19.

 

Overvalued:

 

Zach Parise:

 

As with Jeff Carter last week, Zach Parise is artificially dropped in the rankings because they are based on full season performance and if you only suit up for 42 games you aren’t going to score well.

 

Martin Frk

DET

RW

486

Scott Wilson

BUF

LW/RW

489

Zach Parise

MIN

LW

492

Scott Hartnell

NSH

LW

497

Jakub Vrana

WSH

LW

499

 

That said though I am not as convinced there would have been a lot more to offer from a ‘full’ season from Parise. He has played an average of 64 games over the last four seasons and at his point pace from 2017-18 that would be 36 points. The one possible bright spot is that he is still close to averaging three shots a game.

 

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

42

15

9

24

0.57

119

12.6

26

3

37

 

After looking into some of the numbers, the prognosis is not positive for Zach Parise. He has been losing ice time steadily since 2011-12, now down to 17 minutes a night from 21.5. He has managed to hang on to some power play time (almost two and a half minutes in 2017-18), but that has also been declining in recent seasons. His power play points are down in a big way as well, with only three on the board for 2017-18. He also has been seeing decreasing point per game numbers since 2013-14 to a low in 2017-18 of .57. The worst part is that his lowest point per game numbers were inflated by the second highest shooting percentage of his career. Oh and Parise is 34, well along the aging curve.

 

It is certainly possible that Parise will get halfway decent deployment in 2018-19, it is also possible that he may see a slight rebound in power play points if he gets that deployment. I would not bet much on it though. It seems as though age is catching up big time and I would be very cautious about grabbing Parise come draft day (unless of course a .6 point-per-game winger who is likely to miss at least a third of the season is valuable to you…).

 

 

Next week: Nashville

 

 

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