Wild West Summer Series 2019: Edmonton

by Dobber on July 15, 2019

Welcome to week seven of our summer series. Like last season, this series is intended to take a look at the teams in the Western Conference one by one. We will do a short recap of what took place, but the deep dive here will be into the players that helped make it so, for better or worse. We will be taking a look at a few players who out or under performed their expectations and be considering whether this performance might just be the new normal.

 

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. These 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. The idea is to compare this ranking with an expected ranking based on the 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. 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.

 

This week: Edmonton

 

Recap:

Edmonton finished the regular season with 78 points, good for second to last in the West. It is the latest in a series of disappointing seasons for Edmonton, made worse by the initial optimism at acquiring Connor McDavid and making the playoffs a couple of seasons ago. The only additional note in 2018-19 was the emergence of 30 year old Mikko Koskinen, who stole the job from a faltering Cam Talbot, and earned himself a nice new contract. 

 

Undervalued:

Darnell Nurse:

Nurse was drafted 205th overall, right between Zdeno Chara and Alex Edler. By the end of the season Nurse ranked 44th overall and was the 12th ranked defensemen.

 

Player

Team

Position

FHG Rank

Jacob Trouba

WPG

D

37

Jeff Petry

MTL

D

40

Darnell Nurse

EDM

D

44

Tyson Barrie

COL

D

49

Erik Gustafsson

CHI

D

50

 

Clearly Nurse had a much better season than the collective fantasy managers expected. In fact he had a career season with highs in goals, assists, points, shots, hits, and power-play points. In terms of the point categories, it was not particularly close. 2018-19 represented a significant upgrade from 2017-18.

 

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

82

10

31

41

0.5

196

5.1

162

9

146

1:51

23:49

 

These career high point totals came with career highs in total time on ice and average power-play time. Nurse was clearly given an expanded role and took full advantage of it. Nurse’s big break came in mid-December when Oscar Klefbom went down with an injury. Prior to that he had 11 points in 31 games (30 point pace) and was playing about 22 minutes per night. While Klefbom was out he scored 15 points in 21 games (59 point pace) while getting almost 27 minutes a night on average. That also came with almost three minutes of power-play time. Once Klefbom returned, Nurse dropped about a minute on the power play, and about two and a half minutes overall, but still managed to put up a 41 point pace over the remaining games.

 

So what happens for 2019-20? Well his 2018-19 season numbers might be a fairly decent representation of what is to come. It mirrors well how he finished the season – that 41 point pace, and solid growth in time on ice came with Kelfbom back on the team. That makes it a solid reference point, and better than the beginning of the season or the time when Klefbom was injured. Edmonton has not done much to change their backend in the off-season so it seems likely the end of season utilization will continue.

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins:

RNH was drafted 136th overall right between Ryan O-Reilly, and Nazim Kadri. He was the 39th drafted center eligible player and the 13th drafted dual-eligible player. By the end of the season his ranked 91st ranked player – the 21st center eligible player and the 6th ranked dual-eligible player.

 

Player

Team

Position

FHG Rank

Claude Giroux

PHI

C/LW

85

Auston Matthews

TOR

C

89

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

EDM

C/LW

91

Jonathan Marchessault

VGK

C/LW

92

Logan Couture

SJS

C/LW

94

 

He did it with only his second full 82 game season, which definitely helped. He had career highs in goals, assists, points, shots, and power-play points. He also had a career high power-play time.

 

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

82

28

41

69

0.84

208

13.5

69

26

40

3:15

20:06

 

By the end of 2017-18 it was looking like RNH might be a solid add as he was getting significant time on Connor McDavid’s wing. The optimists were certainly dreaming of a career season lining up with McDavid. The career season did happen, but not because of McDavid. RNH spent less than 30% of his even strength time on ice with McDavid. His most common linemates were actually Milan Lucic and Alex Chiasson – not ideal.

 

One big change for 2018-19 was his power-play time. His 3:15 on the power play was more than a minute over his previous two years and it was all top line time with McDavid, and Leon Draisatil. His 26 power-play points certainly went a long way to supporting his career high 69 points. In fact adding those power-play points to his 2017-18 season instead and he ends with 65 points, demonstrating how important that power-play production was. .

 

All of RNH underlying numbers look good. He had another strong season at even strength and really the only difference is the amount and effectiveness of the power play. Repeating his success then really comes down to repeating his deployment. Edmonton added a couple of wingers during the off-season, but no one that should be challenging RNH for that job. As long as he continues to see that power-play time with McDavid (and plays all 82 games) 65 points should be easily within his grasp.

 

Overvalued:

Ty Rattie:

Rattie was drafted 185th overall, right between Travis Konecny and Zach Parise. Of the three it is pretty clear, which a fantasy owner would have wanted by the end of the year. He was drafted relatively highly as he had a splashy preseason scoring a number of times and seemingly locked in beside McDavid. That assignment sort of panned out. He did spent about 42% of his time with McDavid, but he could not keep the time, or take advantage of it. By the end of the season he was ranked 656th.

 

Player

Team

Position

FHG Rank

Drew Stafford

NJD

RW

651

Dmitrij Jaskin

WSH

LW/RW

655

Ty Rattie

EDM

RW

656

John Hayden

CHI

RW

658

Miikka Salomaki

NSH

LW/RW

668

 

Between injuries and healthy scratches Rattie only played 50 games and only averaged 11:21 of total time on ice. Seven of his eleven even strength points came with McDavid on the ice, but it very clearly was not enough production to keep him on the ice, or on the ice with McDavid.

 

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

50

4

7

11

0.22

84

4.8

57

1

7

0:53

11:21

 

Edmonton brought in a couple more wingers during the off season, which does not provide us with any confidence that Rattie will be the beneficiary of increased time on ice, or increased time with McDavid. At this point it is pretty clear that he is only worth keeping an eye on if he is getting time with McDavid. Unfortunately he is one of a growing cast of wingers with that distinction. Best case scenario for him is a lock with McDavid, but even with that he hasn’t shown the ability to translate that into points. Half-point per game seems like max we can expect if all breaks right, more than likely he is a stream candidate at best where you are hoping to catch a couple of points in a row.  

 

Thanks for reading

 

Next week: Los Angeles

 

Previous Team Articles:

 

Anaheim

Arizona

Calgary

Chicago

Colorado

Dallas