Ramblings: Greiss Extended, Post-All-Star Variance (Jan 31)

by steve laidlaw on January 30, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Greiss Extended, Post-All-Star Variance (Jan 31)

Discussing the contract extensions for Greiss and Vigneault, plus post-All-Star variance in scoring.

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Head-to-head leagues are among the most popular setups in fantasy hockey but the small-sample nature of them subjects you to a great deal of variance. In one of my H2H leagues, we have a points-based system. I’ve racked up the third most fantasy points in the league, literally 0.1 point back of second and yet I’m tied for fifth because I have continually been forced to play the top point producing team in most weeks. I also suffered through the early struggles of Vincent Trocheck, Justin Faulk and Mike Hoffman and was without Jack Eichel for the first month and a half. My spot in the standings does not reflect my team’s overall talent. Hopefully it will turn it on in time for the H2H playoffs.

Of course, in a lot of ways the H2H playoffs are a crapshoot. Your job is to make it there, hopefully not too far down the standings to help avoid stiffer matchups and then win three or four straight coinflips. The deeper your league, the greater a disparity you can create, which increases your odds of success but you still have to avoid the buzzsaw that is luck over a seven-day stretch.

Sometimes, it’s just unavoidable. For example, guys like Mark Scheifele, Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen, JG Pageau and Joe Colborne spent much of last season on the waiver wire only to be a top-50 scoring forward after the All-Star break.

Scheifele was the third best scorer after the All-Star break and in a lot of leagues you could have gotten him for free! Maybe you jumped on him when Bryan Little got hurt. If so, you got a steal. It wasn’t necessarily luck that you scooped him up. But it was somewhat lucky that Little’s injury created the opportunity.

These guys weren’t the only ones to pop up among the league leaders post-All-Star. In fact, over the past three seasons less than half (48%) of the top 50 forwards pre-All-Star were also top 50 guys post-All-Star. That’s a huge attrition rate.

We see a similar, although less pronounced effect among defensemen. Of the top 30 defensemen scorers, pre-All-Star, 57% of them were also in the top 30 post-All-Star over the past three seasons.

Some of this is because of injury. Others slide because of slumps or poor luck. Others simply get passed by hotter options, while lingering just outside the top 50/30. Whatever the cause, if the current trend holds, a bunch of guys who have flown under the radar are going to pop up between now and the rest of the season, while many of your best scorers are going to fall off. Here’s your list of top 50 forwards and top 30 defensemen:

   

Forwards

Points

Connor McDavid

59

Sidney Crosby

55

Evgeni Malkin

54

Patrick Kane

49

Brad Marchand

49

Mark Scheifele

48

Nicklas Backstrom

47

Vladimir Tarasenko

47

Tyler Seguin

47

Phil Kessel

46

Cam Atkinson

46

Leon Draisaitl

46

Alex Ovechkin

45

Jakub Voracek

44

Nikolaj Ehlers

44

Artemi Panarin

44

Nikita Kucherov

44

Jeff Carter

43

Joe Pavelski

42

Mikael Granlund

42

Blake Wheeler

41

Eric Staal

41

Jamie Benn

41

Patrik Laine

40

John Tavares

40

Alexander Wennberg

40

Claude Giroux

40

Auston Matthews

39

James van Riemsdyk

39

Max Pacioretty

39

Ryan Kesler

39

Mitchell Marner

39

Nick Foligno

39

Charlie Coyle

38

Mats Zuccarello

38

Wayne Simmonds

38

David Pastrnak

38

Ryan Getzlaf

37

Derek Stepan

37

Alexander Radulov

37

Evgeny Kuznetsov

37

Ryan Johansen

36

Nino Niederreiter

36

Mikko Koivu

35

Jeff Skinner

35

Mark Stone

35

Nazem Kadri

35

Corey Perry

35

JT Miller

35

Brandon Saad

35

Kevin Hayes

35

Mike Hoffman

35

 

Defensemen

Points

Brent Burns

51

Erik Karlsson

39

Victor Hedman

38

Justin Schultz

35

Duncan Keith

33

Kevin Shattenkirk

33

Dustin Byfuglien

32

Dougie Hamilton

32

Torey Krug

31

Shea Weber

31

Ryan Suter

30

Zach Werenski

29

Ryan McDonagh

28

Rasmus Ristolainen

28

Drew Doughty

28

Nick Leddy

27

John Klingberg

27

Alec Martinez

27

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

26

Cam Fowler

26

Matt Niskanen

26

John Carlson

25

Keith Yandle

25

Dmitry Orlov

25

Seth Jones

24

Mike Green

24

Brent Seabrook

24

Nick Holden

24

Jeff Petry

24

Andrej Sekera

24

 

If you’ve been reading along all season, you can probably guess who I like to drop out. I have been sour on secondary talents on the Rangers and Wild. Not because of talent but because of opportunity.

The Wild have started to tilt towards balancing the power play time between their first and second units. I normally don’t agree with this strategy but sometimes it works. It worked for the Florida Panthers last season and is working for the Wild this year. That means they can have a bunch of guys score 50-60 points but they might not have a single scorer reach 65-70 points.

It’s also very difficult to sustain having multiple lines clicking over the span of a full season so I won’t be shocked to see Koivu or Granlund tail off. Hell, maybe they stay hot and it’s Staal and Coyle who slip. The door is opening for the latter option as the Wild’s top line cedes PP minutes.

As for the Rangers, I like their top unit guys like Zuccarello, Stepan and McDonagh, not so much the secondary guys like Holden, Hayes and Miller.

I could also see the Blue Jacket guys start to slide off this list. Over the last month their vaunted PP has clicked on just 17.9% of chances, 19th in the league. Maybe this is random, or maybe teams are adjusting. You can bet more teams will adjust. Coaches just had a long weekend to pour over game film.

We’ve seen the Blue Jackets experiment with a two-defenseman look on the PP lately, which has benefitted Seth Jones but is reflective of the struggles they have had.

Columbus isn’t so dominant at even strength that they can afford to not be elite on the PP. Their top scorers seem set to fade down the stretch. Perhaps it won’t be right off this list but certainly they’ll be dropping.

As for risers, I’ve been trumpeting slumping stars like Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar and Justin Faulk all season. Those are among the few I feel will have a strong finish to the season but there will no doubt be some surprises.

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Welp. There goes my dream of Thomas Greiss getting dealt to a contender. On the other hand, the Islanders are on a roll so maybe he doesn’t need a trade to continue his fantasy relevance.

This news almost assures that Jaroslav Halak will remain buried. I can’t imagine another team taking a flyer on him with one year left on his deal. Of course, Greiss (or JF Berube) could get hurt, which would bring Halak back into the fold but that has now become the only situation where he returns this season.

Then again, in nine games at the AHL level, Halak has a 6-1-2 record with a 2.03 goals-against average and a 0.927 save percentage. His confidence is certainly being rebuilt. Maybe that makes him attractive enough that someone takes a flyer, the extra year on his deal be damned.

If nothing else, I wonder if Halak suddenly becomes an option for Las Vegas in the expansion draft. I also wonder if the Islanders are happy to keep him knowing that he’ll be the goalie they expose in the expansion draft and if he isn’t selected could be traded in the off-season. Brian Elliott netted a second-round pick last summer. Halak might fetch something in that ballpark. And in the meantime, Halak makes a nice insurance policy in case of injury.

Shifting the focus back to Greiss. This deal should make him the undisputed starter for the Islanders. He’s 31, right around the age when we start to worry about wear and tear but he hasn’t seen much action over the years. Since turning pro as an 18-year-old back in 2003-04 he’s made 378 appearances plus a handful more in international action. Let’s call it an even 400 games over 14 years of action. That’s 28.6 appearances a year. He should hold up like a much younger man. This may be similar to how Tim Thomas didn’t emerge as a starter until he was 32.

Of course, Greiss may not have a strangle-hold on the starting gig. Anything can happen, as we saw with Halak, who went from World Cup hero to dud in a matter of weeks. Any goalie can come unglued. Since Greiss’ deal isn’t so expensive that the Islanders wouldn’t consider benching him, he’s vulnerable to being overtaken. It’s the same way Michal Neuvirth has kept stealing games from Steve Mason over the past couple of years.

The Islanders are hoping this deal works out similarly to the Cam Talbot contract for Edmonton. If it does, they’ll have a bargain on their hands for the next few seasons. This is good news because the Islanders have a long-term cap sheet that looks something like a minefield. And they have John Tavares’ unrestricted free agency looming in 2018.

Rick DiPietro will remain their most expensive goalie, even if he is no longer on their roster or cap. He is the ultimate reminder why you don’t want to commit long term to goaltending. A three-year deal is just right.

This won’t necessarily set the market for this summer’s crop of UFA goaltenders but it should be considered a reference point. Teams have been getting smarter about the money they blow in free agency but they also have to weigh in how desperate things can get without good goaltending.

I wouldn’t be looking to give out much more than what Greiss just received for any of Mason, Neuvirth, Ben Bishop, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Bernier, Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson, Anders Nilsson, Scott Darling, Mike Condon or Peter Budaj. A couple of those guys will be hits. I am a big believer in Mason, Bishop and Elliott to name a few but I’m not breaking the bank for them.

Maybe some team will talk themselves into one of these candidates. It’s not hard to get up to $6 M annually if you think that one guy is the “must-have” free agent on the market.

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Word is that Alain Vigneault has received a contract extension through 2019-20. This seems justified. The Rangers have overachieved despite an overpaid, porous defense corps. It also doesn’t really matter how much a big market team spends on coaching. They could go into the tank, fire Vigneault before his extension even kicks in and it wouldn’t affect their bottom line the way it would a small market team. Coaches don’t affect the salary cap so it really doesn’t matter how much they have left on their deal. It’s all public perception.

Really, where things get dicey is when coaches are in lame duck situations on the last season of their deals like Claude Julien, Lindy Ruff, Glen Gulutzan and Ken Hitchcock currently are. Vigneault already had one more year left on his deal before this extension kicks in but this solidifies his standing in the locker room and in the public sphere for next season.

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Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.

 

16 responses to “Ramblings: Greiss Extended, Post-All-Star Variance (Jan 31)”

  1. 51 points for Burns is just insane, what a horse! So great to have NHL hockey back tonight!!

  2. sheepdogged says:

    Heh. That’s a lot of words on Thomas Greiss.

  3. Chris Liggio says:

    the Rangers are fourth overall in positive goal differential so the D really cannot be that bad overall; I’m not saying they are as strong as when Girardi and Staal were a little younger but overall the unit is a lot better than many squads; Mack has turned into elite shutdown D man, Skjei is going to be fantastic and already contributes quite nicely, Gorton absolutely robbed the Avs for Holden and he plays top 4 minutes and holds his own and Klein being Klein; Clendening has been a great 7th D-man and the team is not blowing leads left and right like last season.

  4. Mathieu says:

    Jacob Trouba’s 20 points don’t qualify him for the current top 30, but it’s sneaky good for a guy who started playing in mid-November. He’s going at a 0.54 PPG pace since his day 1, but also at a 0.88 PPG since Christmas. With just a 3.4 SH% and a 996 PDO.

    What do you think Steve? Is this a proper fourth year breakout in the making or am I missing some key red flags?

  5. twelveXs says:

    “Luck over a 7 day stretch” should be the slogan for H2H Leagues…and that’s not just the playoffs (try all season long..lol). A points only League for me (no playoffs)…best team wins !!

    • Striker says:

      Our playoffs are 2 week segments. Luck I like to think of it as timing, good planning, having addressed man games, level of competition, hot & cold streaks, etc. is a factor. I fairly certain the NHL plays H2H.

      • twelveXs says:

        Timing??? You can’t predict when players are going to get hot or cold…or even get injured!! PURE LUCK !!!! Timing (hahahaha)! But in your case I’ll give you…that it’s LUCK over a “14” day stretch..lol

      • twelveXs says:

        Ohhhhh… and does every NHL team have 4 or 5 goalies on their roster to choose from on a nightly basis (which most Leagues have..lol).

      • Nick Angotti says:

        H2H is pure luck. Plain and simple!! That being said, it is more FUN and there is plenty of startegy involved as far as using your player adds per week wisely to maximize man games and play match ups. When to sit goalies and start em. All in all H2H requires more daily attention to be succesful. But yes, playoffs is a complete crap shoot! And YES too much schedule luck on a week to week basis. I have a baseball h2h league with NO PLAYOFFS. Ive noticed with most (if not all) the h2h leagues ive played in, the best teams are always finishing the regular ssn at the top. But bcuz you can be beaten on any given week based on schedule luck, playoffs can end your dominant ssn in the first round. As a matter of act ive never won a champiosnhip in h2h where I finsihed first in reg sn standings. In one league I set buddies single ssn wins record and still lost in the championshop to the 6th place finisher in reg ssn. How do you justify THAT?? ……oh and that 4 or 5 goalie comment……what is the argument there?? cuz i dont get whatthat has to do with anything.

      • twelveXs says:

        Because that’s how most Leagues are set up! Then you get to pick and choose the easier teams to play against (not realistic… just like H2H. Thanks for proving my point with your response..lol

      • Striker says:

        You don’t know our rules so I’ll give you a brief overview & I can assure timing is predictable with a reasonable degree of consistency.

        Our leagues are 24 man rosters, 20 teams 460 players deep. We dress 14 skaters each week, 3 skaters at each forward position, 4 D & 1 G. points driven h2h. Goals are worth 1, assists 1, fantasy points are 1 FP for goals by D, PPG’s, OTG’s, 2 FP’s for SHG’s. Golaies get 3 for a win 2 for a shut out. Team with the most FP’s wins we play 4 games a week.

        The odds of probability/timing enter into all aspects of life. The larger the sample size the better chance they have of repeating. dry spells are usually followed by not spells, some players produce very consistently, all of this can extrapolated & work as the odds say the should with minor variance both positive & negative. Just man games played in a week extrapolated by points per game average will play as the odds say the should most of the time.

        Take this 1 further. A strong team by goals for, shots on net, goals against, PP efficiency, PK efficiency against a weak team as these 2 match up against each other will also follow a degree of predictability based on odds of probability. A good manager uses all these tools & beats teams with better rosters & players as he uses all the tools available to him.

        If Krug plays 1 game as he does in week #19 of the season & Klefbom or Provorov play 3 my usual bench players all things being equal who has a better chance of getting more points?

        These & numerous other factors are all timing issues. Luck is a nominal factor but timing is a far greater factor. For all the reasons I list above & more. Not only do I implement these dynamics in all my various fantasy leagues, H2H or other wise if trades are allowed or waiver substitutions I do so in day to day life buying & selling stocks. It works just as well & efficiently there as well. Luck has very little to do with it. You maximize all tools available to you to improve your chances of winning & or making money.

      • twelveXs says:

        Nick Angotti proved my point with his 1st sentence…lol. Nothing more needs to be said. Have fun in your FLL ( Fantasy Luck League) !!!!!

      • Striker says:

        We run numerous leagues with minor variances in systems. Year in year out the cream rises to the top not because they have the best players or rosters but they generate the best results through sound management techniques just like in the real world. A good GM & coach can achieve solid results & get far more out of a roster using any & all tools available.

        They win trades, the accumulate assets & know when best to buy them or sell them. No team in our pool has more than 3 goalies, on the rare occasion 4 but if he does it’s as none of his are getting him the results he needs to win & only a select few more than 1 legitimate starter. We play Monday through Sunday 7 nights. Your rosters are locked in for the week. Dress an incurred player or 1 goes down to bad you can sub him out next week. Just like real life in any game ours just run for a week as opposed to 1 night.

        No better type of pool to mimic the real world. We trade, make addrops, Etc. We protect 12 players season to season. 2 skaters at each position, 1 G & 3 wildcards. Positions are set by CBS via the Elias Sports Bereau.

      • twelveXs says:

        1 goes down..and you sub him next week!!!! ????Wow…didn’t realize the “NHL” did that too..lmao !!! That’s comical..

      • Striker says:

        Buddy they do it game by game. A player gets injured they dress someone else the next game. Our games just happen to last 7 days, that’s 1 week of games, 4 games. 1 day would make luck a significant factor. On average we get 30 to 32 man games per game. We dress 14 players not 20 like in the real world. We play 4 games a week simultaneously. We play 20 weeks of regular season 80 games in total.

      • twelveXs says:

        Not even worth a response….oops..that is a response….I take it back!!! lol