Wild West Summer Series 2019: Las Vegas

by chriskane on September 9, 2019

 

Welcome to week 14 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 not only gives us 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.

 

** Pick up the 14th annual DobberHockey Fantasy Guide here **

 

This week: Las Vegas

 

Recap:

Vegas certainly had a target on their backs coming into 2018-19. With a magical first season that finished with a berth in the Stanely Cup finals, they weren’t going to be surprising anyone this year. Players had a lot to prove as well, given that many of the starring offensive performances were completely unexpected. They finished the season with 93 points, securing the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division. A contested first round exit was a bit of a reality check, but with some strong signings Vegas is clearly here to stay.

 

Undervalued:

Mark Stone:

So this one is a bit of a cop out as Stone spent most of his season in Ottawa, but Vegas just did not have many players who were undervalued at the draft table. For the most part they ended up performing as expected for their draft position, or underperforming. I suppose that is what happens when you have to follow up a highly publicized Cinderella story.

 

Stone however does not fit that bill, again largely because he started the season in Ottawa. He was drafted 139th overall, right between Jake Guentzel and Andrei Svechnikov and in the same ballpark as Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. Let’s examine that for a second. Stone, a winger who has been averaging a 72 point pace over the last five seasons and hit an 88 point pace in 2017-18 was selected between an unproven rookie, and a sophomore who was coming off of a 48 point season. Now some of those players are (or are going to be) excellent players, but Stone already was, and had been, and has consistently not been drafted like it. By the end of the season he was the 78th ranked player overall, and the 17th ranked winger overall.

 

Player

Team

Position

FHG Rank

Jake Guentzel

PIT

LW

72

Phil Kessel

PIT

RW

74

Mark Stone

VGK

RW

78

Alex DeBrincat

CHI

LW/RW

93

Timo Meier

SJS

LW

96

 

Stone’s improvement comes not so much from any difference in his game, as his 73 points are very much in line with his recent averages. Likely managers were down on Ottawa and it impacted his selection.

 

Full Season

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

77

33

40

73

0.95

199

16.6

72

20

71

2:32

19:53

 

His Vegas numbers (including the playoffs) are remarkably consistent as well. His point pace, shot pace, and average power-play time are consistent across the two settings. He did see a bit of a decline toward the end of the regular season with the move as he went from being the go to guy, to one of several, but that corrected a bit in the playoffs.

 

Vegas

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

25

11

12

23

0.92

70

15.7

30

7

25

2:26

18:45

 

For 2019-20 it is hard to expect anything other than what we have been seeing from Stone. A couple of his underlying numbers seem a little high, but Stone has a history of over-performing in these areas. He has changed teams and is playing with better players, which means there are more players who could be the focal point of the attack and maybe take some points, but likely there will be more points to go around because of these better linemates, so it is likely a wash.

 

Overall Stone looks to have a pretty consistent 70-75 point pace floor. He definitely has the skill for more though and if he clicks with Paul Stasnty and Max Pacioretty like he did in the playoffs 85 is definitely possible.

 

Overvalued:

Brandon Pirri:

Pirri was drafted 215th (Between Jonathan Drouin, and Kyle Turris) overall in drafts in 2018-19. Managers were clearly willing to take a flyer on some of the spotty production he had shown in the past. He had his moments for sure, with eight goals and five assists in his fist 11 games after his call up in December, but overall the inconsistency and not being able to stick in the lineup sunk his value.

 

Player

Team

Position

FHG Rank

Jean-gabriel Pageau

OTT

C

626

Jayce Hawryluk

FLA

C

637

Brandon Pirri

VGK

C

642

Marcus Kruger

CHI

C

660

Christoffer Ehn

DET

C

662

 

The situation isn’t all that complicated here. Pirri is a streaky player, and needs excellent deployment to be worth owning in fantasy. He just did not get it. He played 31 games, but outside of the first 11 he just wasn’t worth owning.

 

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

31

12

6

18

0.58

82

14.6

29

4

13

2:00

14:27

 

Going forward there just doesn’t seem to be a spot for him. With the top two lines essentially set, that leaves a bottom six spot if he even gets the call. At 28 we have seen what we are likely going to see from Pirri so hold off on drafting. If he gets the call as an injury replacement on one of the top lines then maybe give him a spin and see what happens.

 

Reilly Smith:

Smith, like many Vegas players had an incredible 2017-18 season. Going into 2018-19 then it was clear that many managers were hoping from something of a repeat from journeyman Smith. He was drafted 79th overall, between Rickard Rakell and Viktor Arvidsson. By the end of the season his value had dropped down to 226th overall.

 

Player

Team

Position

FHG Rank

Brock Boeser

VAN

RW

224

Bobby Ryan

OTT

LW/RW

225

Reilly Smith

VGK

LW/RW

226

Alex Tuch

VGK

RW

227

Ryan Dzingel

CBJ

LW/RW

229

 

This is actually the third straight team that Smith has performed well in his first season and performed worse in his second. The difference with Vegas is that Smith is still being given a significantly better opportunity, so his point pace is still reasonably strong.

 

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

S%

Hits

PPPts

Blocks

PPTOI

TOI

74

19

34

53

0.72

178

10.7

39

14

33

2:27

18:16

 

2018-19 actually saw Smith increase his average time on ice, and his games played numbers, but he still saw a significant drop in his value and his production. He finished with a 59 point pace, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but at that draft position he should have been putting up 75+ points. The thing is, this drop was completely expected. His 73 point pace from 2018-19 was clearly too high. His personal and team five-on-five shooting percentages were high, and his IPP was too high. Everything was pointing toward regression for 2018-19. The good news is that most of what Smith did in 2018-19 seems sustainable.

 

For 2019-20 it looks like we can expect much the same as he put up in 2018-19. A 60 point pace seems a pretty reasonable expectation if the deployment can stick. One thing to watch though is what Vegas does with his time on ice. He started the season with about 19.5 minutes of total ice time, and over three minutes on the power play. By the last quarter of the season he was down below 17 minutes of total ice time, and below two minutes on the power play. One factor is likely the arrival of Vegas’ second line of Stastny, Pacioretty, and Stone. This trio could end up taking some of the top deployment situations from Smith, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchasseault. Given that question mark I might hedge the bet a little a draft him closer to a 55 point guy.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Next week: Winnipeg

 

Previous Team Articles:

 

Anaheim

Arizona

Calgary

Chicago

Colorado

Dallas

Edmonton

LA

Minnesota

Nashville

San Jose

St. Louis

Vancouver

 

 

Pick up the 14th annual DobberHockey Fantasy Guide here!