Hey guys!  With the short three game slate yesterday, I’m going to change things up for today.  I will recap those games in the Friday night post.  I was getting a lot of feedback in the comments that people like the advanced stats included so I’m going to take a look at some stats for the first three weeks of the season, both from a team perspective and individual players. I will give definitions for the stats, show who ranks well or poorly and what that means going forward. For example, James Van Riemsdyk has the 4th best Corsi For percentage in the entire NHL at 62.1%.  That means when JVR is on the ice, Toronto has 62.1% of the total shots taken.  Obviously, league average is 50%.  Going forward, this means that JVR is dominating the game when he is on the ice and along with the opportunity to score a ton of points, his plus-minus will probably be better than expected in the preseason.  He’s an excellent trade target because Mike Babcock is putting him in a great position to succeed.  Now, 10 games isn’t a great sample size to say that all of these things are going to hold but they should be a solid indicator of things to come.  These stats are coming from HockeyAnalysis and War on Ice.  Let’s dive in and take a further look!

PDO: PDO is a stat that measures how lucky or unlucky a team has been.  PDO is defined as Shooting Percentage + Save Percentage.  Average is 100.  Generally, if your team has an amazing goaltender, your team will end up being around 101 or 102 because you’ll get a great save percentage but for the most part, every team regresses towards 100.  Here’s the top 5 and bottom 5 teams so far:

Panthers (105.3), Rangers (104.8), Canadiens (104.2), Capitals (103.7), Arizona (103.2)

Ducks (95.8), Hurricanes (95.7), Blue Jackets (94.2), Sabres (93.5), Flames (93.0)

So what does this tell us?  It’s a combination of a few things, some of which are obvious and some that aren’t.  One, the goalies on the top teams have played really well.  This is no shock as we are looking at two of the best goalies in the world in Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist and two that aren’t that far behind in Braden Holtby and Roberto Luongo.  They are all on teams with great offensive talent as well so they will have hot streaks like this.  Alex Ovechkin is going to score a bunch of goals, it’s going to happen, etc.  Washington is also a great possession team (more on this next) so this team is here to stay.

On the other hand, Arizona’s PDO along with a horrible Corsi (27th in the league) shows that this team is a complete fluke so far and is surely going to regress.  I’ve been saying since the beginning that Mike Smith is inevitably going to struggle and he’s showed signs in the last week.  These numbers support that their team is going to be among the league’s worst once the luck runs out and you don’t want a goalie on a horrible team.

On the other side, this tells us a lot more about the bottom 5.  The Ducks were one of the best teams in the league last year but are 1-6-2 so far.  Why is that?  Because they’re shooting 3% as a team so far this season.  That number is completely unsustainable and sure to rise quickly in the very near future.  This means that if owners of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry or Fredrik Andersen are panicking and looking to trade them, pounce immediately.  The Ducks aren’t nearly as bad as their record indicates.

The Hurricanes were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league but are actually the 4th best team in the league possession wise so far.  They don’t have many fantasy relevant players but Eric Staal and Justin Faulk are elite options going forward.

The Blue Jackets got off to one of the worst starts in NHL history.  Their luck is starting to balance out having won the last two games.  I’m bringing it up again but I still feel great about Sergei Bobrovsky turning it around.  Columbus is also the 7th best Corsi team so far so their forwards should start to get back to last year’s points pace.

The Sabres, despite being 3-6, have been a pleasant surprise so far.  They were in every game but one, have the 9th best possession team and have been getting solid goaltending from Chad Johnson.  Things will balance out for the Sabres top guys so expect them to get on a tear soon.  Ryan O’Reilly has started his streak, along with Cody Franson, but expect Jack Eichel and Tyler Ennis, among others, to start breaking out offensively.

The Flames were a poor possession team last year but they’ve been even worse to start this year.  That said, they’ve also been horribly unlucky so far this year.  I’m not panicking about any of their top guys because Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton have a history of being great possession players.  They have struggled so far but expect a turn around.

Corsi For Top 5 and Bottom 5:

Kings, Blues, Leafs, Hurricanes, Capitals

Flames, Coyotes, Oilers, Red Wings, Avalanche

What does this tell us?  The Kings are a Cup Contender again.  They have 6 of the 20 best possession players in the league so far and they have Jonathan Quick behind them.  Their PDO is actually 98.9 meaning they’ve been slightly unlikely.  Much like the Kings, it’s no surprise the Blues are driving the play either.  On their team fantasy wise, I expect David Backes to start producing soon.  The Capitals are no surprise either.  They added two great possession players in T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams and arguably have the best team they’ve had in the Ovechkin era.

The Leafs and Hurricanes are massive surprises so far.  It hasn’t turned into wins so far; the Leafs are 1-5-2 and the Hurricanes are 3-6 but it’s telling that these teams and Buffalo might not be as horrible as everyone thought they’d be.

On the opposite side, the Coyotes, Oilers and Avalanche were all expected to be horrible possession teams.  I already discussed the Flames above; I don’t expect him to stay this low.  The really interesting team here is Detroit.  They have been an amazing possession team for years and the additions of Mike Green and Brad Richards were expected to make them even better.  So what do we make of this?  Is this simply a sample size issue?  Do they just need Pavel Datsyuk back?  Or was Mike Babcock the main reason why they were a great possession team and they’re going to fall off this year.  I’d say it’s definitely a sample size issue and would like to see them play 10 more games before I make any conclusions.  The top guys are still producing despite the lack of puck possession and even they aren’t doing horribly; it’s mostly that the fourth line is absolutely horrible right now than anything.

Offensive Zone and Defensive Zone Starts:

This stat is incredibly simple yet holds a ton of water for fantasy hockey.  This tells us how the coach is using the player.  We want to see the highest number of offensive zone starts for our players because this means they’re starting in the offensive zone more often where they can score goals (Duh!).  I’ll highlight some notable players on both side of the spectrum. I’m using players who have played at least 50 minutes so far of 5 on 5 hockey. There are 547 players total who have played 50+ minutes.

Keith Yandle – 52.6% offensive zone start, 19.5% defensive zone, 27.9% neutral zone start.  52.6% is the second highest offensive zone start percentage in the league.  Coach Alain Vigneault is using Yandle in the perfect manner to take advantage of his skill set.  By the end of the year, I expect Yandle to push 60 points.

Ryan Strome and John Tavares – 4th and 9th in the league in offensive zone start percentage respectively.  It’s great to see the top line for the Islanders being used to score more goals while the second line centered by Frans Nielsen is being used to shut down lines.  Strome has started slow but I expect him to turn it around; obviously there is no concern about Tavares.

Artemi Panarin – 8th in the league in OZFO%.  Coach Q is rolling him in the offensive zone positioning Panarin to maintain his current success.

Zach Parise – Parise along with his linemates of Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville are all in the top 24 of OZFO%.  Last year, this number was much lower as they were used to shutdown top lines for stretches but now, Coach Mike Yeo is counting on them for their offense.  Pominville has yet to score so he’s a great buy-low target.

Erik Johnson – Most of the players who are at the top of DZFO% aren’t fantasy relevant but drop down into the 30-50th range and you see some players who are.  Since the Avalanche have a few defenseman who need sheltering, Johnson is stuck doing the heavy lifting.  This puts him in a terrible position to put up points.  Add in the fact that Colorado is the worst possession team in the league and things aren’t looking good for Johnson going forward.

Ryan Kesler – I was the lowest on Kesler in the preseason and I feel strongly about that right now.  While the Ducks have been unlucky, Kesler hasn’t been used in an offensive role meaning the points are going to take a fall.  I think he still has a place in 12’ers but I wouldn’t be opposed to cutting him either if your league doesn’t count faceoff wins or hits.

Ryan Johansen – I don’t get this one at all.  Hopefully this will change under Torts because the Jackets need his offense going forward.  Granted, they need his defensive abilities too but he should be close to an even split player playing in all zones, not used defensively first.

Thursday Streamers – It’s an 8 game slate tonight so there won’t be as much need for streaming.  Here are a couple options:

Josh Bailey (6.9% owned) – Going back to the well on this one.  He has a point in three straight and has a solid matchup.  He hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

Rickard Rakell (o.3%) – I’m digging a little deep here and it’s not a great matchup.  That said, he’s playing on the first line and first power play with Corey Perry while Ryan Getzlaf is out and the Ducks have been extremely unlucky so hopefully they turn things around tomorrow.

That’s all for now guys.  I would really appreciate your comments below with your thoughts on this article.  If this is something the masses like, I can do something like this every few weeks to see how things are developing.  I think it’ll be more useful than putting up a recap on 2-3 games after a short slate.  I can also explore some other statistics as well.  As always, ask any questions you have below and I’ll do my best to get back to everyone in a timely manner.  Take care everyone!

 

  1. ashtray says:
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    Nice article. I like how the use of advanced stats is spreading beyond baseball. Nothing wrong with more info in my opinion.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @ashtray: Sounds good, thank you!

  2. Steve says:
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    This is great stuff. This is my first year doing fantasy hockey and I wasn’t sure I would like it but reading your site has made it awesome so far. I’d really like to learn more about advanced stats in hockey so my vote is to keep this type of article around.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Steve: Thank you, I really appreciate that. Will do!

  3. Ben says:
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    First off this is one of my favorite fantasy hockey sources. But I’m here today to complain a little.

    I view this site on my iPhone and it’s pretty rough. The article opens a pop up which navigates away from the browser and to “Apps”. Then, when you go back to your browser the article is closed and you have to start over. This would go on forever, or until I give up, but I interrupt it by clicking “x” to stop the browser after the article has loaded but before the pop up. I get that pop ups generate revenue but it makes it almost unusable. I can see a lot of people just giving up.

    Again, I love this blog. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Ben: I have had that problem recently as well. It’s a recent thing for you, correct? I was replying to comments before on my phone no problem but lately it’s a pain so I’ve had to do everything on the computer. I will get the message to the higher ups. No worries at all, I appreciate the nice words.

      • Ben says:
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        I don’t remember it happening last season but it’s been happening all of this season for me.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Ben: okay I’ll let the necessary people know.

  4. Veritas says:
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    Great article Viz, thanks to your article I understand the stats better. On another note, I see you like Cody Franson quite a bit. Do you see him more as a 4rth defense men in a team, or do you think he has potential for more? I am interested to see if you think he’ll outperform guys like Boychuk or Chara.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Veritas: Thank you, I appreciate it. I’ll write some more stuff in the future on similar things that should help. I think Franson should end up being a solid #4 in a 12 man, I doubt much more though. I just keep harping on him because he’s available in almost all leagues. I can’t see him outperforming Boychuk simply for all of the shots that Boychuk takes. Chara is closer.

  5. Shitbird says:
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    I am also in favour of the advanced stats. Its nice to know why you are up or down on someone based on more than a gut feeling.

    I have a question:
    In a league that counts G/A/+-/PIM/SOG/Hits/BKS/PPP would you trade away Eichel for Tatar and Nyqvist? Perron and Atkinson are my weakest Ws.
    Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Shitbird: thanks! Love the name by the way, it’s part of my lingo now after The Wire. I assume it’s a one year league? If it is, I’d pull the trigger. I love eichel but Nyqvist for this year is very comparable and adding Tatar would be great.

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    good god, that guy that wanted ehlers and was offering 12-18th pick next year + bennett + duclair paid this for monahan: his t.meier, bad 2nd rounder (likely bottom 4 pick), kessell AND s.bennett. He told me he wasn’t willing to go Virtanen + Bennett for Ehlers but with that deal i don’t believe it, i think he had a wild hair to get a deal done fast for one of Ehlers or Monahan and when i told him i’d think about it and wanted to give it time that only inflamed his need to get one done quickly.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @goodfold2: Wow, that’s a crazy deal.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Viz: guy says he’s the one who offered it too. dude seriously just gets a hair up his ass on trying to get guys he likes. While we were talking about our possible deals he pulls out the “so are we doing this tonight or not” thing, and i don’t think he meant it as a tactic. I told him this is a dynasty league so i’ll think about whatever i’m gonna do for a bit, unless it’s just a slam dunk deal. Within hours of hearing me say that he gives all that for monahan.

  7. Alex says:
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    Great article Viz! Two advice-needed questions for you:
    1-Have Pietrangelo and with Shattenkirk possibly back this weekend, should I drop Pietrangelo for someone like Boychuk?
    2-Have Bishop and Howard as my Goalies…thinking of dropping one for Bobrovsky, Luongo, or Raanta…thoughts?
    Thanks much!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Alex: Thanks. I’m not a big Pietrangelo fan going forward. Before I just cut him though, I’d send some trade offers around to see if you can get something better for him.

      Can you have more than two goalies? I would definitely own Luongo and Bob if you could own more. If you can’t, I would drop Howard for Luongo, I think, although it’s close. With Bishop, you should get a lot of wins and Luongo can boost your other stats.

      • Alex says:
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        @Viz:
        Thank Viz. My league is 9 positions including Goalie with 5 Bench players. I already used 1 Bench for a Goalie. I may consider Luongo, but will wait and see how he does tonight! Thanks again for your advice!

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    here’s the deals i have in place.
    1. my barzal/morrisey for mrazek/abdelkader/kapanen. would have to drop a goalie (mason i guess) and a forward to add abdelkader. hartnell? i’m not really coming up with a drop for him. I’d be weakening my prospects clearly, but increasing goalie.
    2. my ehlers/barzal for ward/abdelkader/kapanen/about 11th overall pick/konecny/mrazek. same thing only i’d be improving goalie (still having to drop mason, we can only have 3 active goalies), probably strengthing prospects (but would have to keep Fabbri up, which means i’m dropping somebody else useful, and still having to drop somebody for ward or abdelkader who’s probably better.
    3. my perry for foligno + l.eriksson. This one i’m not doing but how close are Foligno vs Perry such that i could maybe try to get somebody else, options being gibson (can stash now, but eventually would have to drop mason), and i could try asking for hornqvist (he hits now)

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: in #3, maybe zuccarello rather than hornqvist.

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @goodfold2:
        1) It depends how badly you need the goalie. Having to cut someone like Hartnell to make the move means you don’t get much of an offensive upgrade. Maybe you can ship him Hartnell in the trade and you can get someone better than Abdelkaeder back? I guess it depends if that guy is only looking for prospects.
        2) I don’t think I’d do it if you have to cut somebody else good. This is something I would look at closely in a month or more to see where your team is at at that point.
        3) I fully expect Perry to turn it around so I probably wouldn’t be looking to trade him for three lesser parts, even if all 3 are all top 100 players.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Viz: what about barzal for mrazek, i drop mason? could actually keep mrazek down for 5 more games, he hits 50 then.

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