Ramblings: Reviewing Performance Without Context; Camp Notes – September 28

by Michael Clifford on September 27, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Reviewing Performance Without Context; Camp Notes – September 28

A couple weeks ago in these Ramblings, I wrote about players, sans name bars, that had performed similarly over the last couple years but had drastically different average draft positions. It seemed to be popular among the readers – for better or worse – so I thought it’d be worth doing again.

Remember that this is an exercise to get people used to just looking at numbers without context and then deciding whether or not the context is worth the ADP discrepancy. This is for the last two seasons and using standard Yahoo categories in 12-team leagues. 

 

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Player A: 127 games played, 0.39 goals/game, 0.49 assists/game, 0.87 points/game, 2.46 shots/game, 0.14 PIMs/game, 0.24 power-play points/game

Player B: 154 games played, 0.31 goals/game, 0.52 assists/game, 0.83 points/game, 1.98 shots/game, 0.26 PIMs/game, 0.23 power-play points/game

 

This is a comparison I have already made this year, but wanted to drill the point home one last time breaking things down on a per-game basis. Both are young stars that are cornerstones of their respective teams and both are going into their age-22 season.

Player A is Aleksander Barkov and Player B is Leon Draisaitl.

With regularity, Draisaitl is being drafted inside the top-20 players while Barkov can be found anywhere between the 75th and 100th picks overall. Looking at how similarly they’ve performed over the last two years, is that justified?

Of course, the big issue with Barkov is health. He has missed at least 10 games in every season he’s played and failed to reach 70 games in either of the previous two seasons. Those health problems are a big reason why his ADP is as low as it is despite how talented he is.

Let’s not forget, as I’ve pointed out often in these Ramblings, that Draisaitl is not going to be playing with Connor McDavid at five-on-five. Last year, Draisaitl had 50 points at even strength, tying guys like Ryan Getzlaf and Blake Wheeler. If Draisaitl spends most of the year playing off McDavid’s line, is he going to get close to 50 again? I doubt it.

When taking the context into account, it’s Barkov’s health and Draisaitl new role with new line mates. Does this justify a six or seven round difference in ADP?

 

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Player A: 0.38 goals/game, 0.33 assists/game, 0.71 points/game, 2.86 shots/game, 0.27 PIMs/game, 0.19 power-play points/game

Player B: 0.28 goals/game, 0.47 assists/game, 0.76 points/game, 2.49 shots/game, 0.52 PIMs/game, 0.32 power-play points/game

 

Looking at these two players, the first one scores and shoots more, while the second racks more penalty minutes and produces more on the power play. All told though, they appear like they can bring similar final results as far as rankings go should they perform to their ability.  

Player A is Cam Atkinson, who is carrying an ADP sometime in the sixth round, and Player B is Kyle Okposo, with an ADP sometime in the 11th round. Though it might seem like Atkinson is still an up-and-coming player, keep in mind that the Columbus winger is going into his age-28 season while the Buffalo winger is going into his age-29 season.

Of course, like the previous pairing, there are health concerns with one of these players. Okposo missed time down the stretch last year with a mysterious illness that turned out to be concussion issues. By all accounts now, however, he’s healthy. He has still failed to reach 70 games in two of his last four seasons.

On the other hand, Atkinson has missed eight games over the last four seasons total. He has increased his goal totals every year he’s been in the NHL, and is a focal point of the Blue Jackets attack, skating on the top line and top power-play unit.

It should be said that Okposo, also, is a focal point of the Buffalo attack. He’s on the top line with Ryan O’Reilly, and is a staple of the top power-play unit for the team. He had a monster 23 power-play points in just 65 games played last year, and there’s no reason to think their top quintet can’t be as effective this year, especially with a full season from Jack Eichel.

Given their similar roles, their ADPs are essentially saying that the difference of about 60 picks between the two of them is the 12 extra games played Atkinson should play. Fantasy owners need to decide if those 60 picks are worth 12 games, or even take the chance that Okposo can play a nearly-full season. Is it worth the ADP difference?

 

Player A: 0.17 goals/game, 0.44 assists/game, 0.61 points/game, 2.50 shots/game, 0.4 PIMs/game, 0.32 power-play points/game

Player B: 0.16 goals/game, 0.42 assists/game, 0.58 points/game, 2.30 shots/game, 0.6 PIMs/game, 0.26 power-play points/game

 

I was on a podcast with Dobber’s own Steve Laidlaw a couple days ago – check out the Roto Hockey Show if you want to catch up – and he was adamant that Player A was going way undervalued in drafts. At present time, he’s going roughly around the 100th player off the board, and outside the top-20 defencemen. Meanwhile, Player B is going consistently inside the top-75 players, and sometimes around the top-50, easily inside the top-15 defencemen.

The big difference between the two players is that Player B will rack up many more penalty minutes, though Player A does have a slight edge in production, shots, and power-play points. Player A is going into his age-24 season while Player B is going into his age-28 season.

Player A is Shayne Gostisbehere and Player B is Drew Doughty.

Steve argued that if the Flyers can improve at five-on-five after being among the lowest-scoring 5v5 teams last year, with Ghost being locked into the top power-play unit that is consistently among the league’s best, that a huge rebound season is in order. I agree with that assessment.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is another poor five-on-five scoring team that doesn’t boast nearly as much power-play prowess as Philadelphia does. Doughty may be the go-to guy for the Kings on the top PP, but the same can be said for Gostisbehere, and they’re much more proficient in that regard.

I get that the concern with the younger defenceman is that Ivan Provorov could eventually take over the top power-play duties. I do not share this concern. Steve intimated that should Provorov join the primary PP setup, it’s likely alongside Gostisbehere, and at the sake of sounding redundant, again I agree with him.

Obviously, leagues that count hits and blocked shots will tell a different story in the comparison between the two, but I’m talking just standard roto leagues. Outside of penalty minutes, it’s not unreasonable to think Gostisbehere has a slight edge on Doughty this year, and that means the ADP difference between the two is likely more about recency bias than understanding how similar these two players actually are.

 

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Let’s get to some training camp notes.

 

The big news from Wednesday was this:

Fabbri broke out in the 2016 playoffs with 15 points in 20 games, and managed 29 points in 51 games in 2016-17 before injury shortened his year. This is a huge blow to the Blues up front, but more importantly, we can just hope for a complete and full recovery for Fabbri.

Injuries are piling up for the Blues with both Alex Steen and Jay Bouwmeester expected to miss the start of the year. My hope is that this means Dmitrij Jaskin gets a bigger role with the team as he’s been underutilized for years. We’ll have to see how this shakes out once the team is finalized.  

 

As is oft-repeated in this corner, if you’re relying on any one right winger for the Oilers to be productive from start to finish this year, you’re probably making a mistake. The team’s newest iteration:

Remember that the lineup described above doesn’t have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, so if they indeed want to use Ryan Strome as a centre, it’ll be on the fourth line. I guess Jesse Puljujarvi is the best bet, but he’ll probably bounce between the top two lines and not skate on the top power-play unit, so I’m not sure how much can be expected of him.

 

 

Brendan Gallagher has played his way up the lineup so far in camp, or another way of looking it is Ales Hemsky has played his was down the lineup. Either/or, Gallagher has been skating on the top line with Jonathan Drouin and Max Pacioretty, and that continued Wednesday night:

Not only is he on the top line at five-on-five, but also the top power-play unit. Let’s hope he doesn’t get busted up by a Shea Weber one-timer because Gallagher is in a prime position to succeed if he can stay healthy this year. He’s being criminally under-drafted, routinely being grabbed outside the top-150 players, often close to the top-200.

 

I’m not as high on Hedman as some other people might be, and a big reason is alluded to in this tweet, where Hedman should slot into that second PP unit:

The big reason for Hedman’s superb year last year was the fact that he had 29 power-play assists; he had 29 power-play assists in the three seasons from 2013-2016. Remember that before Steven Stamkos’ injury last year, the team was running two pretty even power-play units with Stamkos on one and Nikita Kucherov on the other, and if they’re healthy, will likely do the same this year. Last year, with Stamkos injured, Hedman was the primary focus on the blue line because as a left shot he could easily setup Nikita Kucherov with one-timers, and with Stamkos out, there was no real second trigger option. With Stamkos back, Anton Stralman should be on that unit as he can setup Stamkos much easier. I think we see a big decrease in Hedman’s power-play production, and expecting him to reproduce last year’s production is misguided.

 

One player fantasy owners have been waiting for in terms of a breakout season is Frank Vatrano, given his AHL scoring prowess and general shot volume. Well, he’s being consistently left out of Boston’s top-six:

Vatrano may not be on the NHL roster to start the year which is just confounding to me. His performance at the NHL level has been that of a middle-six winger, and he’s been a goal-per-game (not point-per-game, goal) at the AHL level over the last two years. It doesn’t appear that the breakout will happen in Boston unless something changes in the next week.

 

I’m not a doctor, but this sounds bad?

I suppose if he’s healthy for the start of the season, that’s what matters most.