Wild West Summer Series 2018: Nashville

by chriskane on August 27, 2018

 

The Dobber Guide is out, Yahoo hockey (if you use that platform) is back and open for business, and we are getting close to the start of the 2018-19 season. The Wild West Summer series is still here to provide some insights into player performance and what it might mean for the 2018-19 season. We have a few more teams to get through this summer and this week we are featuring Nashville. 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.

 

Nashville

 

Recap:

Nashville came into 2017-18 with some high expectations. After making the Stanley Cup Final in 2016-17 they were a favorite of many to make another serious cup run. In the regular season they certainly delivered. They won the President’s Trophy for the league’s most winning team with 117 points. Unfortunately dreams were left unfulfilled as they met with a strong Winnipeg team in the second round. 

 

Undervalued:

Craig Smith

Craig Smith had a bit of a resurgence in 20171-8. He finished as the 36th ranked winger (144th ranked overall).

 

Jonathan Huberdeau

FLA

LW

Viktor Arvidsson

NSH

LW/RW

Tom Wilson

WSH

RW

Craig Smith

NSH

RW

David Perron

VGK

LW/RW

 

The player comparisons above are pretty favorable. Keeping company with Jonathan Huberdeau and teammate Viktor Arvidsson is a pretty good place to be. Just to further prove the point, those scoring around him typically were taken around the 100 mark (minus Tom Wilson) whereas Smith was not drafted (meaning a rank of 350+)

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

79

25

26

51

0.65

229

10.9

60

14

35

 

No one was really expecting this from Smith. Back in 2013-14 he had a similar point pace, but the intervening years have not been kind to him with three consecutive declines, down to .37 in 2016-17. So what changed? Well Kyle Turris joined the team and the line with Turris and Kevin Fiala went on a several runs through the season. Smith’s usage was up a bit as well. His total ice time had been on the decline the previous two seasons, but 2017-18 saw him back up to about 15.5 minutes a game. He also saw a bump in power play time, which had similarly declined in 2016-17. Those two facts probably helped him to his highest shot on goal total since 2014-15.

 

What can we expect for 2018-19? If he can keep similar linemates and deployment then he certainly stands to put up a better season than in 2016-17. After looking at some of his other numbers though I am not convinced his 2017-18 season is the new norm. He seems to have benefitted from a bit, though not necessarily a lot, of luck and it took that luck to get him to get close to match his career high. Knock a few points off his total from 2017-18 when drafting.

 

Pekka Rinne

I couldn’t have a series on Nashville and not mention Rinne for 2017-18. The Vezina winner started the season with serious questions about whether or not this would be the year he lost the starting job to Juuse Saros. Instead he finished the year as our second ranked goalie and third player overall.

 

Connor Hellebuyck

WPG

1

Pekka Rinne

NSH

3

Andrei Vasilevskiy

TBL

4

Marc-Andre Fleury

VGK

7

Sergei Bobrovsky

CBJ

10

 

Pekka Rinne ended the season with 42 wins and a save percentage of .927. That is his highest win total since 2011-12 (though he had 41 in 2014-15) and his highest save percentage since 2010-11.

 

Games Played

Wins

Saves

SV%

GAA

59

42

1706

0.927

2.31

 

Obviously those factors played a part in Rinne being so valuable in 2017-18. But what we all really want to know is what is going to happen next year? Rinne does have a couple of things going for him. He plays for the Predators, who are a very strong defensive team, and he seems to be the number one going into the regular season.

 

On the negative side, Rinne has not exactly been the picture of consistency, he is 35, and has a strong backup just waiting for him to falter (which has been known to happen). In 2011-12 he had 43 wins, and in the next season (2012-13) he had 15. The 2014-15 season saw his highest recent save percentage (.923), which then dropped to .910 in 2015-16.

 

The moral of this story is that there seems no guarantee that Rinne will produce the same type of numbers that powered him to the Vezina in 2017-18. Oh and no one has won back to back Vezina’s since 2007-2008 and it was Martin Brodeur (who was not 35 at the time). Unfortunately at least one of the managers in your league is likely to value him as a top three goalie at least, which it makes it exceedingly unlikely that he will fall to a point where I would recommend drafting him.

 

Overvalued:

Scott Hartnell

Hands up if Scott Hartnell was on your fantasy radar at the end of the season…I’ll wait. Honestly he should not have been.

 

Scott Wilson

BUF

LW/RW

489

Zach Parise

MIN

LW

492

Scott Hartnell

NSH

LW

497

Jakub Vrana

WSH

LW

499

Brett Connolly

WSH

RW

500

 

Hartnell played 62 games, but that is about the best that can be said of his season. The settings used for this article are actually likely the best case scenario for Hartnell as they include his 82 hits, and he still ranks 497th overall and the 141st best winger. Unfortunately Hartnell was drafted in many, many leagues. In fact he was take an average of 177th. Players drafted near Hartnell? Bo Horvat and Tyson Barrie. Players drafted after Hartnell? Matt Duchene, Ivan Provorov, Morgan Reilly, Jonathan Marchessault, Mikko Rantanen, Jason Zucker and Gabriel Landeskog. Sure I cherry-picked some of those, there were also a few dubs drafted after Hartnell but the point is there is still fantasy gold left at that point in the draft and Hartnell is not.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

62

13

11

24

0.39

82

15.9

82

5

25

 

Hartnell is 36, and ended the season on the fourth line with no power play time. His season averages show his lowest time on ice totals of his career. His shot totals have declined for five straight seasons and his career low goal pace of 13 goals saw him tie the highest shooting percentage of his career (not good). His 37 points and just over 12 minutes of ice time in 2016-17 should have been a clue not to draft him going into 2017-18. Apparently it wasn’t. Take a hint now though, don’t draft Hartnell.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Next week: San Jose

 

Recent Articles

 

Wild West Summer Series: Arizona

Wild West Summer Series: Anaheim

Wild West Summer Series: Calgary

Wild West Summer Series: Chicago

Wild West Summer Series: Colorado

Wild West Summer Series: Dallas

Wild West Summer Series: Edmonton

Wild West Summer Series: Los Angeles

Wild West Summer Series: Minnesota