Ramblings: Updates on OEL and MacKinnon; PHWA Awards; All-Star Game – January 25

by Michael Clifford on January 25, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Updates on OEL and MacKinnon; PHWA Awards; All-Star Game – January 25

 

Late Tuesday night, the Anaheim Ducks got word that Ondrej Kase would be out for the season with a torn labrum. Recovery time could be as much as six months, which is significant, but it would also give him a couple months (hopefully) to train before having to head to Ducks camp.

I suppose this would be a good time to discuss Kase with more depth. Most data from Natural Stat Trick.

Put quite simply, you can make an argument he’s Anaheim’s most important forward, after Ryan Getzlaf. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, he’s second among the team’s forwards in points/60 minutes at five-on-five at 2.23, behind only Getzlaf (2.29). League-wide, his point rate ranks in the same tier of players like David Pastrnak, Sidney Crosby, William Karlsson, and Mark Scheifele. In terms of goals/60 minutes at 5v5, his mark of 1.37 is fourth in the league, trailing only Auston Matthews, Alex Ovechkin, and Viktor Arvidsson.

So, he’s produced a great point rate and elite goal rate over his last 96 games. That’s not all.

Kase makes those around him better. It’s not hyperbole, either:

  • Getzlaf with Kase: 68.1 shot attempts/60 minutes, 57.8 percent shot share
  • Getzlaf w/o Kase: 55.9 shot attempts/60 minutes, 50 percent shot share
  • Henrique with Kase: 57.9 shot attempts/60 minutes, 52.3 percent shot share
  • Henrique w/o Kase: 50.3 shot attempts/60 minutes, 44.7 percent shot share

The numbers are similar with Ryan Kesler, but the sample is also much smaller.

The Ducks generate about 7.1 more shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5v5 with Kase on the ice than without. They also allow about 5.3 fewer shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5v5 with Kase on the ice than without. In total, his shot share is about 5.5 percent higher relative to his team and driving the play to that rate quite literally puts him in the company of elite players like Patrice Bergeron and Sean Couturier

It’s difficult to express how much losing Kase hurts. Rickard Rakell is still waiting for his shooting luck to turn, Jakob Silfverberg was plodding towards his usual 20 goals (though we’ll see if injuries catch up), and they’re still waiting for Corey Perry to return (though that may be soon). This team has had to endure significant injuries for basically the last two seasons but this is one that will be difficult to overcome given their difficulty to score as it was. Kase in under-appreciated by the league but I’m sure he’s not by his teammates. They’re going to need a Herculean effort from John Gibson and a big turnaround from Rakell over the final couple months to get to the postseason.

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The initial update following Thursday’s MRI for Oliver Ekman-Larsson is that he’s day-to-day. We’ll know more next week.

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Speaking of MRIs, Nathan MacKinnon also had one on his foot. Colorado is playing it safe right now.

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Don’t forget that the 2019 Dobber Midseason Guide is available to help you through the stretch run towards a championship. The guide contains projections, category-specific players, and a whole lot more. There are also a lot of prospects and potential call-ups covered, so even those without a league title in their sights will find information quite useful for keeper/dynasty teams, or even looking ahead to next season. Get your copy in the Dobber Shop today!

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The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) has released their midseason awards. If I’m not mistaken, this is the second year in a row they’ve done so. It’s just the normal awards we’re used to seeing at the end of the year, only with about a 50-game sample. It basically gives us something to talk about during the break. These were their choices (screen shots from TSN):

 

 

Let’s talk about a few of them.

 

Hart Trophy

I don’t have an issue with Nikita Kucherov winning the Hart Trophy. Anyone who is leading the league in points while playing for the best team in said league is a pretty good choice.

There are two interesting points here and one of them is Connor McDavid. I don’t think there’s an argument of how valuable he is to the Oilers; with him on the ice at even strength, the team has a +1 goal differential (56-55) and with him off the ice, they’re -19 (49-68). McDavid is a plus-1 despite the having an .894 save percentage behind him. Yes, he’s basically getting Chris Terreri circa 1988 goaltending and the team still has a positive goal differential with him on the ice. It’s absurd.

The second point of interest is John Gibson. January was a tough month for him, but the team would be absolutely nowhere close to a playoff spot without him. The Ducks have allowed the second-most high-danger chance at even strength this year, with only Chicago being worse. They’re allowing the fourth-most shot attempts as well. Anaheim is also the fourth-most penalized team. The Ducks are making Gibson’s life a living hell and he has them within striking distance of a wild card spot. If that’s not valuable, I don’t know what is.

 

Norris Trophy

I covered my thoughts on the Norris Trophy race yesterday. It’s going to be filled with guys posting points on playoff teams. But let us not forget HOTSAM BATCHO.

 

Selke Trophy

Centres are favoured over wingers but it’s hard to see Mark Stone not winning the Selke if he continues his current play. With Stone on the ice, the team allows nearly 12 fewer shot attempts compared to what they normally allow, which leads the league in this regard. Driving offence? Stone is second league-wide. It’s no surprise, then, that he’s running away in relative shot share league-wide. I know it seems like playing favourites for an exceptional player on a bad team but he’s almost always like this. He deserves, at the least, very strong consideration to win, with all due respect to both Patrice Bergeron and Aleksander Barkov.

 

Jack Adams

It was a sentiment pointed out on Twitter (I forget by whom) and I agree: how does Claude Julien not get into the top-3 for the Jack Adams? Was there a single person expecting this team to be top-3 in the Atlantic, ahead of the Bruins, and one point behind the Leafs at the All-Star break? I was very pessimistic on this team, thinking they would, at best, be a bubble team. Instead, they’re a team that can make some noise in the postseason. Claude Julien deserves a lot of credit.

 

What do you think about the awards, Dobber heads?

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Yesterday I started a discussion on fantasy all-stars using the same format the NHL does. When you have very limited roster spots and need a player from every team, it’s not very easy. You can read that Ramblings here.  

A quick recap of the parameters:

  • Standard Yahoo! scoring.
  • Four rosters, one for each NHL division.
  • Each roster contains six forwards, three defencemen, and two goalies.
  • Each NHL team must be represented

 

Today, we go west. We’ll talk about a player or two after.

 

Central Division

F – Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

F – Mikko Rantanen (COL)

F – Gabriel Landeskog (COL)

F – Ryan O’Reilly (STL)

F – Patrick Kane (CHI)

F – Blake Wheeler (WPG)

D – Jared Spurgeon (MIN)

D – Roman Josi (NSH)

D – Tyson Barrie (COL)

G – Pekka Rinne (NSH)

G – Ben Bishop (DAL)

 

There is no possible way to leave the Colorado top line off the roster. All of them. Currently, in standard Yahoo! leagues, in order listed above, they’re 1st, 4th, and 6th in fantasy value among skaters. All three are in the top-25 league-wide in scoring with Rantanen and MacKinnon both top-5 (including ties). No, you can’t leave them off any fantasy all-star roster.

Why add Tyson Barrie, then? Well, the Central has more flexibility than the other divisions because they have seven teams and not eight. He’s top-10 in fantasy value among blue liners and also top-10 in just points for defencemen.

 

Ryan O’Reilly

I know people like to poke fun at the fact that ROR left the Avs for the Sabres, then left the Sabres for the Blues (traded in both instances but it seems well-known he didn’t want to be where he was), only for the Blues to have a bad season. It seems unfair to blame that on O’Reilly, though, considering the Blues have a 60 percent goal share with him on the ice this year at five-on-five, which is astounding for a non-playoff team. He’s top-20 among all forwards in the league in goal share relative to his team, and aside from depth names like Ryan Reaves or Colton Sissons, that leaderboard is littered with a who’s who of top-end players like Crosby, Seguin, Benn, Radulov, Rantanen, MacKinnon, Aho, Palmieri, Pettersson, Draisaitl, and Oshie. O’Reilly is an elite player, full stop.

 

Pacific

F – Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)

F – Sean Monahan (CGY)

F – Elias Lindholm (CGY)

F – Elias Pettersson (VAN)

F – Clayton Keller (ARI)

F – Connor McDavid (EDM)

D – Drew Doughty (LAK)

D – Mark Giordano (CGY)

D – Brent Burns (SJS)

G – Marc-André Fleury (VGK)

G – John Gibson (ANA)

 

With Calgary’s top line, we run into the same problem as Colorado, just to a slightly less severe extent. All three members of Calgary’s top line are in the top-20 fantasy-wise. Matthew Tkachuk is up there, too and could replace either Monahan or Lindholm if you wish.

Special shout out to Doughty and Keller for filling the requirements.

 

Mark Giordano

I don’t think we are (and I use ‘we’ in reference to NHL fans) quite appreciating what Giordano is doing this season. He has 52 points this year. That’s the second-highest total of his career (56), and we just hit the All-Star break. Consider this:

 

 

Pretty good!

More than that, Giordano is the oldest player to do it at the age of 35, in any era. The next-closest was Ray Bourque with 54 points in Boston’s first 50 games back in 1995-96 at age 34. This isn’t just a great season he’s having, it’s historic.

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Just as a small aside, a lot of my writing over the last two years (well, like 20 months-ish) has been focused on defencemen. We started seeing the revolution from the blue line a few years ago and now it seems to be in full swing. Guys who can’t move the puck from the back end just don’t last in the league anymore. Not only is being able to make the first pass crucial, but knowing which first pass to make (to the boards, to the middle, back to your support, or a stretch pass) and jumping up in the rush are seemingly more important than ever. I’m going to take the weekend and pore over this a little more and come back with Tuesday’s Ramblings shining a bit of light on this development over the last four or five seasons.