Wild West Summer Series 2018: San Jose

by chriskane on September 3, 2018

You know the drill. Buy the Dobber Guide and check out Cam’s, Eastern Edge Series. He covered Carolina last week. 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 as the summer is winding down and draft day is approaching, and this week we are featuring San Jose.

 

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.

 

 

San Jose

 

Recap:

San Jose finished 2017 at third in the pacific with 100 points. Goaltending took some pretty wild swings during the season and Joe Thornton missed a chunk of the season with injuries. The young guys seemed primed at the end of the season and acquiring Evander Kane gave everyone a boost, but it wasn’t enough to get past the upstart Golden Knights in the second round.

 

Undervalued:

Tomas Hert:

Tomas Hertl wrapped up the year as the 142 ranked player based on the above categories and the 12th overall dual eligible winger. He has the worst average draft position of those closest to him (262) even though he is surrounded by players who also surprised in 2016-17.

 

Mikael Granlund

MIN

C/RW

106

Brayden Point

TBL

C/RW

134

Tomas Hertl

SJS

C/LW

142

Erik Haula

VGK

C/LW

143

Dylan Larkin

DET

C/RW

147

 

Tomas Hertl had his best season to date in 2017-18, though in reality not by much. He essentially matched his point pace and totals from 2015-16 while taking fewer shots and getting slightly fewer hits. He did have career highs in blocks and in power play points. Alll of this numbers increased from 2016-17, but 2017-18 certainly was not a stand out from his earlier career numbers. For the most part it seems that managers had low expectations for 2017-18 because of a poor year, and Hertl managed to surpass those low expectations.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

79

22

24

46

0.58

175

12.6

84

12

71

 

On the positive side Hertl has increased his time on ice in each of the last four seasons topping out in 2017-18 over the 18 minute mark for the first time. He also finished with a career high in time on ice on the power play at 2:30. He spent most of the season with Logan Couture and what seemed to be a rotating cast of wingers (Kevin LaBanc being the most frequent), though did see some time on the top power play with Joe Pavelski.

 

I want to be excited for Hertl, but I am just not sure I am there yet. I have been eyeing him for several years now waiting for a breakout and I can’t say I am any more confident now that in previous years. Hertl is entering his 6th NHL season and has yet to break a .58 point per game pace or shoot more than 2.5 shots a game in a season. In 2017-18 he saw his highest time on ice and most power play time (and with the first unit none-the-less) and so I had hoped for something a little bigger. He essentially matched a previous year where he got less time on ice and his shot rate topped out at about 2.2 shots per game. His shooting percentage was also high for his career (though that could be related to more time on the power play).

 

He is clearly earning trust and playing time, which is good and did have a few unusually low numbers (PDO and IPP) which could rebound naturally so there are some things to like. He does also produce good hit and block numbers for a forward. It is hard to know exactly what the lines are going to look like with a signed Evander Kane and a returning Joe Thornton. There is potential in either case for a change in power play deployment that could have an effect on Hertl. The long story short here is that there is a good chance Hertl will be able to repeat and potentially make a small improvement on his numbers, but I don’t have more confidence in a breakout than I did in previous seasons.

 

Evander Kane

Evander  Kanecan has been mentioned several times in this columns, but he could just not be ignored here.

 

Dustin Brown

LAK

LW/RW

50

Gabriel Landeskog

COL

LW

51

Evander Kane

SJS

LW

52

Patric Hornqvist

PIT

RW

53

Mikko Rantanen

COL

LW/RW

56

 

As far as comparables go he is actually surrounded by individuals who blew up in 2017-18, but he saw the biggest swing in value on and San Jose Shark from draft day to the end of the season.

 

At the start of the playoffs we reviewed how his deployment and point production changed after moving to the Sharks, and if you don’t want to read the piece, just know it was a pretty stark contrast and an impressive improvement. 

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

78

29

25

54

0.69

307

9.4

159

9

34

 

Kane managed to essentially tie, or surpass his career highs in goals, points, shots, power play points, and blocks. Much of the point production came after his move to San Jose as by the end of his tenure in Buffalo, Kane was not getting the type of deployment he would have needed to increase scoring. Kane saw the highest average power play time on ice of his career and, while his total time on ice numbers are not all that high compared to his career numbers, his average ice time jumped significantly after the trade.

 

Kane saw one of the best seasons of his career and most of the offensive punch came in the final 16 games in San Jose. That pace isn’t likely to be continued for the entire 2018-19 season, but the general numbers from 2017-18 look good, like a player who saw an increase in deployment and responded accordingly. As long as he can keep it (which he hasn’t necessarily been able to do very successfully on several teams now) we should be adjusting our draft positions accordingly.

 

Overvalued:

 

Joe Thornton

Joe Thornton is the latest in the curse of the injured. He played only 47 games in 2017-18 and it certainly hurt is overall rank. 459 overall is not what anyone was hoping for drafting him 163rd overall.

 

 

Kyle Brodziak

STL

C

441

Tomas Plekanec

TOR

C

445

Joe Thornton

SJS

C

459

Nick Cousins

ARI

C

468

Cody Eakin

VGK

C

472

 

His seasonal numbers don’t look great (as expected with the terrible overall ranking), but if adjusted for the number of games played they start to look a bit more reasonable. I touched on this already this summer here, but the point per game numbers really aren’t that bad. Thornton actually saw pretty consistent time on ice and power play numbers to his previous several seasons where he posted good to excellent numbers.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

47

13

23

36

0.77

75

17.3

32

18

18

 

The questions marks have to do with age and injury history. At 39 Thornton should certainly be expected to be in decline. He has declined, but has also shown that he has a bit of juice left in the tank if he can get the time, and San Jose seems to be willing to give it to him. It is unlikely he is going to get a full 82 game season in so temper those expectations. Also if he isn’t giving you points he isn’t doing much else as hits, blocks, and even shots have never been strong and are only getting worse.

 

The takeaway is don’t forget about Thornton as long as he is getting time on ice, but maybe wait on draft day as his he is likely going to miss time and point per game days are definitely behind him.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Next week: St. Louis

 

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