Ramblings: Freddie the Goalie, An Avalanche of Power-Play Goals (Feb 21)

by Ian Gooding on February 21, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Freddie the Goalie, An Avalanche of Power-Play Goals (Feb 21)

Freddie the Goalie, An Avalanche of Power-Play Goals, plus more…

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me recently mention that goaltending is basically a crapshoot at the moment. (Look under my tweets and replies if you can’t find it.) In other words, find me a goalie who hasn’t struggled at some point this season. Yes, goalies go through natural ebbs and flows, sometimes together with the teams they play for, but the fact of the matter is that scoring is up this season. One of my head-to-head teams has a GAA of around 3.00 most weeks. And that team just moved into first place in the league!

So let’s take a look at the stats comparing scoring this season to last season. Statistics are per game per team.
 

Season

Lg

GP

G

PP

PPO

PP%

PK%

SA

SV

SV%

GAA

2017-18

NHL

916

2.95

0.62

3.14

19.88

80.12

31.8

29.0

.913

2.76

2016-17

NHL

1230

2.77

0.57

2.99

19.10

80.90

30.1

27.5

.913

2.59

 

Source: Hockey Reference

Now it might seem as though your goaltending numbers are worse this season than last, but are goalies actually worse this season compared to last? Goals-against averages are up, but save percentages remain constant. I won’t take a deep dive into this, but it looks like efforts by the league to open up the game might finally be paying off.

What we do know, though, is that there aren’t going to be any guarantees during head-to-head fantasy playoff weeks, especially when it comes to goaltending. So when a goaltender puts up an impressive performance like Frederik Andersen did on Tuesday, you soak it all in.

Andersen stopped all 40 shots he faced in the Leafs’ narrow 1-0 win over Florida on Tuesday. Given the number of struggling goalies right now, you’ll gladly take his current save percentage if you own him.
 


Andersen now has back-to-back 30-win seasons, a total that you can probably pencil in for years to come. For those of you in leagues that count saves (I’m in one of them), Andersen leads the way with 1611 saves, over 100 ahead of the next-highest total. I’m thinking that if the Leafs didn’t have the third-highest shots against total (34.2/game), Andersen would be in the discussion for the Vezina, since his 2.66 GAA will be too high for many voters. But the fact that he plays in Toronto won’t hurt his cause.

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One player who has been positively affected by the league’s overall bump in scoring is Taylor Hall. In scoring his 25th goal of the season, his official point streak now stands at 12 games. The unofficial personal point streak now stands at 19 games because of a thumb injury that caused him to miss three games. Hall is now a top-10 option in points per game (1.15). Is he a sell high? Arguments for the idea might include the lack of scoring options around him in Jersey, a slightly higher-than-normal shooting percentage (12.5%), and his injury history. It would have to be a top-tier option coming back, though.

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If the Flyers are struggling for a body in net right now, you wouldn’t know it in their play. With a 3-2 win over Montreal, the Flyers have now picked up points in nine consecutive games. Newly acquired Petr Mrazek wasn’t quite ready to make his Flyers’ debut, so Alex Lyon filled in nicely, stopping 25 of 27 shots in the overtime win. Needless to say, Mrazek is an obvious waiver-wire grab with his new and improved (if temporary) role. You just have to put aside Mrazek’s struggles with the Wings along with the Flyers’ longstanding struggles with goalies. Clean slate here.

Steve has your Fantasy Impact on the Mrazek trade, both from a Flyers and Wings standpoint.

With two goals in the game, Jakub Voracek broke a five-game goalless drought. And with an assist, Voracek extends his NHL lead to 55. Voracek is well on his way to his first 60-assist season, a number that he didn’t even crack during his 82-point campaign two seasons ago.

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With two goals on Tuesday, Brayden Point extended his point streak to five games. This after being held four games without a point.

Nikita Kucherov also scored in this game, and it was a beauty, similar to the goal he scored on Holtby at the All-Star Game. Mind you, he had all day to make that move with the size of the breakaway. Kucherov continues to lead all scorers with 78 points in just 60 games.
 

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Dion Phaneuf has three goals in four games as a King. Not what you expected from Phaneuf if he’s on your fantasy team, but in these four games he’s managed to double his goal total for the season. Obviously he won’t continue to score at this pace for the rest of the season, which is something to take into account if you’re thinking about adding him. In fact, I’d be more concerned about his usage, as his icetime has been below 20 minutes in three of his four games as a King.

As I initially predicted, the presence of Phaneuf has eased Drew Doughty’s icetime a bit. Doughty has averaged nearly 27 minutes per game (only Ryan Suter has a higher ATOI), yet he has dropped to closer to around 25 minutes with Phaneuf around. Not a huge decrease, but worth monitoring. Phaneuf is a good insurance policy for the Kings, who can keep Doughty better rested for the playoffs (assuming they make it there). The worry fantasy-wise for Doughty would be that reduced icetime would affect his counting stats such as assists, shots on goal, hits, and blocked shots.

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Since returning from injury at the end of January, Tyson Barrie had scored four points in ten games entering Tuesday’s action. Not terrible. But hopefully you didn’t bench him thinking he was in a slump, as the floodgates opened for a goal and four assists – all on the power play. That is the highest power-play point output by any player in any one game this season. To put this into perspective, Barrie had just 10 power-play points in what was a disaster of a season for him last season. So half of his total from last season – all in one game.

In case you’re wondering, the Avalanche power play went 5-for-6 in this game, forcing the Canucks to cough up a 4-1 lead that they had accumulated in the second period. Because of the numerous power plays and a game that nearly went the distance in OT, Barrie racked up nearly 30 minutes in icetime.

Unfortunately, power-play scoring may have a negative impact on another stat:
 


In spite of the Avs having six power plays and Erik Johnson out due to injury, Samuel Girard only saw a total of one minute of power-play time. Girard might have a future in the fantasy game, but Barrie’s presence will minimize his impact in the here and now. Girard has now gone seven games without a point, so you might be better off looking for another option if you need short-term results.

Nathan MacKinnon also had a notable game, scoring the game-winner in overtime and adding three assists, also all on the power play. This was MacKinnon’s second game back since returning from an upper-body injury, so it looks like his owners won’t have to worry about him missing a beat.

The lethal Avalanche power-play on Tuesday, plus Barrie of course:

62.5%    PP           JOST,TYSON – LANDESKOG,GABRIEL – MACKINNON,NATHAN – RANTANEN,MIKKO

12.5%    PP           COMPHER,J.T. – KERFOOT,ALEXANDER – SODERBERG,CARL – WILSON,COLIN

Mikko Rantanen scored a goal and added two assists, Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal and added an assist, while Tyson Jost scored a goal. We know that Rantanen and Landeskog should be fixtures on this power play (which entered this game around the middle of the pack), but a spot on the first-unit power play could be what Jost needs for a late-season push. He has now scored goals in back-to-back games. Lining up with Nail Yakupov and Gabriel Bourque may limit his even-strength chances, though.

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For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

 

4 responses to “Ramblings: Freddie the Goalie, An Avalanche of Power-Play Goals (Feb 21)”

  1. Striker says:

    For me the Vezina is a 5 horse race at the moment. Vasilevsky, MAF, Rinne, Hellebuyck & Andersen. Vasy was running away with it for much of the season but he cooled off for a significant stretch. Rask, Smith, Quick, Gibson & a few others could still get their names in the hat with strong finishes to the season as they are just a notch below those other 5 & as usual the Eastern bias will play significantly. Far to many Eastern scribes don’t stay up late enough to watch games in the west & simple demographics.

    I’m not enamored with how voters are selected for almost all awards.

  2. Striker says:

    I don’t know what drugs James Mirtle is smoking but which of these goalies isn’t a regular starter. MAF .931, Crawford .929, Vasilevsky .928, Rinne .926, Gibson .925, Raanta & Andersen .923. Thta’s for any goalie having played a minimum of 28 games, 1/2 the lowest # of games played by Flo who has played the least at 57. Hutton has played 27 & his SV% is .938, Luongo just returned from injury & has only played 17 games .929, I would consider him a regular starter at least when healthy. LA’s Kuemper & Nas Saros are also higher but certainly at least they don’t qualify as regular starters.

    I think Mirtle may be showing his Tor bias just a smig.