Welcome back to the Wild West. It's time for a sequel to last week's Over Performing Goal Scorers in the West. This week we are going to take a look at players who are under performing their expectations. Again credit to Sean Tierney for the vizzes, one of which we will look at below.
This viz shows the top 10 players in the west who are not scoring as much as we would expect given their shot amount and shot quality. In this case the viz is a bit reversed. Reilly Smith is the current leader in this category and Evander Kane is number 10. If you want the full list go check out Tierney’s site, but I wanted to do a quick dive into a couple of the guys below.
Rounding out the top ten, Kane has totaled nine goals thus far. His expected goals at this point is just over 12, which means he could have about three more goals to his name. Now that doesn’t exactly sounds like a huge deal, but a three goal difference right now would up his point pace from .59 to about .7 (in a full season pace that is a change from about 48 to 57 points).
Kane’s shots per game numbers are in the right ballpark but actually slightly down from 3.9 in 2017-18 to 3.71 shots per game in 2018-19 (still excellent though). He is also seeing a bit of a decrease in power play time of late. In his last ten games there is only one where he spent more than two minutes on the power play. That decrease isn’t exactly the most positive sign, and neither is the fact that he has spent a number of games recently away from Joe Pavelski at even strength.
On the plus side Kane does have two goals in his last two games, and was back with Pavelski at even strength as of Saturday. Keeping that deployment will help keep his time on ice high, which is important for Kane in keeping his shot totals up. Unfortunately Kane has never had a fantastic shooting percentage, and that seems unlikely to suddenly change, particularly without solid top power play deployment. His current shooting percentage is down a bit from his career numbers, as is his the team’s five-on-five shooting percentage when he is on the ice. It seems to imply that Kane’s luck, as well as his line’s, could swing in a positive direction soon, and give him a few more goals and points in general.
Like Kane, Tyler Seguin’s expected goal number is right around 12. And like Kane he does have some goals to his name (8). He is also maintaining his shot numbers, and in fact has improved his shot per game numbers from just over four in 2017-18 to 4.65 so far in 2018-19.
Unlike Kane though, Tyler Seguin has a significant history of driving play, and scoring at a much higher rate. He is currently just shy of a point per game pace, and if he had those four extra goals to his name would be above it. He is frequently seeing more than 20 minutes a night of total ice time, and often more than four minutes on the power play. All of these numbers are consistent with recent years.
The one number that isn’t? His shooting percentage. Over the last two seasons he has averaged a 10.25 shooting percentage, but in 2018-19 it is way down to 6.6%. If that shooting percentage evens out over the rest of the season (which seems likely given his deployment), we will see an uptick in his goal scoring.
Smith has 13 points in his last eleven games and is somehow still the top on this list. He has scored five goals (only two in that streak), and he could have almost 11 based on his expected goal number.
Smith has experienced some doldrums this season, but his average power play time on ice is up almost 40 seconds a game from 2017-18, and his total time on ice almost a minute and a half. He is still skating with William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault at even strength and on the top power play. All things considered the deployment indicators are looking good for Smith. His general shot numbers are fine as well, seeing just shy of 2.5 shots per game, which is consistent from his 2017-18 season. Like with Seguin it really comes down to personal and team 5-on-5 shooting percentages, which are both low.
Vegas rode some unsustainably strong numbers for most of the 2017-18 season, and started out 2018-19 with some unsustainably poor numbers. Smith has certainly experienced his share of that, but indications are that his current point pace (53 season long) should be his floor.
Western Conference Quick Hits
Potential Streaming Pickups:
It is a banner day for Chicago pickups. There are lots of low owned players this year, but it might be a good week to change that.
So it might be time to give Strome a spin. He is seeing more time on ice since moving to Chicago, as well as more time on the power play. He has spent some time with Patrick Kane, and Alex DeBrincat at even strength and I would certainly want him if he can manage to keep that up. He has two goals, nine shots, and one power play point in his last four games.
Like Strome, Anisimov has seen increases in time on ice and power play time recently. He has responded with 15 shots in his last three games. Anisimov is a streaky player at best, but if you catch him right, he can deliver.
Last article’s recommendation:
Backund had a solid week for owners with two goals, two assists, and 10 shots. No points on the power play unfortunately, but I will take four points for the week any time.
A little less productive this week, Chiasson put together one goal, one assist, and six shots. Somehow he did not manage a power play point with almost seven minutes of time in his most recent game.
Drop or Not:
There was some excitement and a few reasons for optimism at the start of the 2018-19 season. Maroon was on a line with Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko at even strength and was seeing significant time with them on the power play. In fact he saw more than four minutes of power play time each of his first three game, and more than three and a half minutes in eight of his first ten games. He paid some dividends – six points, 20 shots, and five power play points over that period. He also contributed 21 hits, making him an exciting prospect in multi-cat leagues.
Fast forward a few weeks and his time on ice has dropped from 16-18 minutes a night to 11-12 minutes, and under ten minutes several times. He is playing with Tyler Bozak and Alex Steen, and is hardly seeing any power play time. He has one point in his last ten games, and only nine shots. He is still hitting a bit with 15, over those same ten games. Sure his personal shooting percentage is quite low, meaning he could expect a few more goals if everything were to even out, but in nine of his last 13 games he has managed one or fewer shots. The old adage is true, you don’t score if you don’t shoot.
The moral of this story is simple. Maroon should not be on your team. He peaked after three games. His only real value comes from his hitting, and 35-40 point guys who hit aren’t that hard to find. He seems to have squandered the best deployment his is likely to get, which doesn’t provide much optimism for the future either. If he gets back on the top line, top power play, and starts shooting more than twice a game, then maybe add him to your watchlist.
Thanks for reading.
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