I’m pretty big on shooting percentage as a solid indicator of whether or not a guy is playing over his head offensively in a given season. Quality of competition is another number that I put a lot of stock in. Combine these two metrics and you’ve got yourself a recipe for understanding some shiz about why a player does what he does and why he won’t do what you’d like him to later. Make sense? No? Perfect! Carl Soderberg (2 A, 1 SOG, even) is a player that a lot of folks were high on going into this season because of a seemingly strong rookie campaign (48 points in 73 games? Yes please!). I submit to you, dear reader, that his campaign was not as solid as it seemed, at least from a fantasy standpoint. Last year he looked great, right? Well, he sported a shooting percent of 20%. That’s way too high and it’s going to come down, and so too should your expectations for him this season. His QoC TOI was 27.7% and he began in the offensive zone 55.5% of the time. That’s what you call “sheltered minutes” and baby, those minutes can be deceiving. Mostly what his QoC TOI and starting zone % have to say is that he spent much of his time playing against the opposition’s third and fourth lines. Third lowest on the B’s, in fact. Sods is a solid support guy with decent offensive upside, but don’t get carried away thinking he’s going to give you more than 15 goals and 40 some points. Yes, that means last season was likely his offensive ceiling. What do you want? The guy is already 28! Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy hockey last night:
Antti Niemi (W, 34 SV, 1 SHO) – “The sky is falling! All is lost!” – Alex Stalock Owners. Listen, this was one game and if anyone told you that Niemi wasn’t a good goaltender they were lying fools, and you’re a fool for listening. Niemi is gone after this season and Stalock is San Jose’s goalie of the future. Niemi is great during the regular season, but crap in the playoffs. What good is that? Not much. Well, it’s regular season good, but that’s not good enough. The Sharks are going to let Niemi walk, save some cap space, and roll with Stalock as their starter in 2016. What does that mean? It means Stalock needs to start more games, like 30-35 games, with 40 at the most. If Niemi falls down, Stalock will be there to pick up the pieces. What did last night’s game do to change all that? Nada, zip, zilch. If you drafted Stalock as a no. 1, you failed. If you drafted him as a no. 1B with upside, nothing has changed. Relax.
Tuukka Rask (W, 20 SA, 1 GA) – Tuukka do how he do, and he gon’ do like this all season long. Sadly there was no chance for the Rage Monster to show its beautiful face, but it’s only a matter of time.
Tomas Plekanec (2 G, 5 SOG, +1) – scored 10% of the goals I expect him to score all year in the season opener. It’s all down hill from here!
Tommy Wingles (2 G, 2 SOG, +2) – Wingles is a two way guy who isn’t going to spend much of his time scoring, so don’t get too excited. He’s not going to play top-six minutes. On a side note, every time I hear, read or say his name I think it should be Tommy Pickles, so from now on, he is not Wingles, he’s Pickles. 100% shooting percentage? Totally maintainable! Great game, Pickles!
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) – If Wingles didn’t get the Pickles moniker already, it definitely would have gone to this guy. It was just too easy though. Low hanging fruit, as it were.
Patrick Marleau (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) – Many moons ago a guy named Cortez left the old world for the new world in search of the fountain of youth. He arrived, burnt his ships as motivation for his crew and set off into the swampy wilderness that is now Florida and all hands, including Cortez, were thought lost. Really what happened is Cortez found the fountain, changed his name to Patrick, migrated his way north to Canada to invent hockey and bided his time for centuries. And here we are.
Brad Richardson (2 A, 3 SOG, +2, 2 PIM) – Fun fact! Richardson is now on pace to finish the season with 164 points, all assists. Somewhere Duncan Keith has quietly begun laying plans to off Richardson to absorb his power. There can be only one.
Radim Vrbata (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – Lots of folks were high on Vrbata this season and I can’t say I dislike the guy, but I’m not head over heels for him either. He could hit 30 goals again this season if he gels with the twins.
Henrik Sedin (1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, +2) – Daniel Sedin was awarded the first star in this game despite Hank seemingly having a better overall performance. I figure staff just mixed them up in the post-game. Hank? Dan? Hank? Dan? Ah whatever, same thing.
Daniel Sedin (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) – Dan? Hank? Dan? Hank? Ah whatever, same thing.
Steve Mason (L, 2 GA, 31 SV, 93.9 SV%) – I find it difficult to write anything positive about Mason, even when he does well. I’ll give it a shot. *takes a deep breath* Steve handled himself well last night and didn’t even look terrible. I need a shower now.
P.A. Parenteau (2 A, 2 PTS, 1 SOG, +2) – Over the last two seasons P.A. has quietly scored 0.86 points per game. Let that sink in. That’s pushing a point-per-game territory. What round did you draft P.A. in, hmn? He’s worth about 50 points and 20 goals this year, I bet. Might be a bit high on the goals hopes, but not by much.
Max Pacioretty (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – My kingdom for some assists for this guy. I mean, I know we draft him for his ability to score 40 goals, and maybe I’m greedy, but why can’t he dish the puck at least a little? It seems like he’s so close to being a 70-point guy, yet so far. You tease, Max. You tease.
Alexei Emelin (2 A, +2, 2 PIM) – There have been rumors that there is offensive upside to Emelin for a few seasons now, but I’ve yet to see it. Typically developing defensemen will need a few seasons to get their defensive chops up to snuff before the offense kicks in (See Ryan McDonagh) but I’ve been skeptical with Emelin. Last night he put in 21:05 TOI and one of his two assists was primary, so there’s that. One game is one game, so I’m not going to say rush to get him, but if you’re hurting for a 4th or 5th dman and Emelin is still on the wire he’s definitely worth a speculative add after a good first game, especially if you’re in a hits or blocks (or both) league.
Brent Burns (2 A, 1 SOG, +1) – You’re supposed to score goals, Burns. Goals. You log one lousy shot on goal in a 4-0 blowout of the Kings? Boooo! Hisssss! Ouch, tough crowd.
Sean Monahan (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) – Before the game started Monahan was questionable with an illness. He ended up skating for nearly 18 minutes and tallied a helper. Pretty sick! I don’t expect miracles from Monahan, but I do expect around 50 points and 25 goals.
Ryan Miller (W, 2 GA, 23 SV, 92.0 SV%) – I want this to be a prelude of things to come for Miller, I really do. If there’s a guy out there that was hung out to dry by his team more than Miller has been in his career, I don’t know who it is. Unfortch I just don’t think he’s going to have the top 10 season a lot of people think he will just because he’s on the Canucks. Exhibit A – His tenure with the Blues last year. Really, though, I’m pulling for Miller and I don’t even own him or like the Canucks.
P.K. Subban (1 G, 5 SOG, +1) – If anyone is going to lead the league in TOI this season, it’s going to be Subban. Also, Norris.
David Desharnais (1 A, 2 SOG, +2) – *yawn*
Zach Kassian (1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) – There’s a decent chance Kassian has a decent year. Not the most ringing endorsement, I know, but his main problem isn’t a lack of talent, it’s a lack of passion. Mayhaps if he showed more passion on the ice, I’d endorse him more passionately off the ice! Life is give and take, Zach! At any rate, if he works for it he performs well. He’ll get top six minutes if he can show that he wants it. This game helps. I doubt he hits 20 goals this season, but he has the ability to do just that.
Sean Couturier (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – When I think of Couturier I think of Brandon Dubinsky with better defensive chops. Couturier can put up 50 points this season with solid counting stats across the board, but that’s his ceiling. His value is in his stellar two-way play and he’s going to spend a lot of his time starting in the defensive zone this year.
Jonas Hiller (L, 3 GA, 29 SV, 90.6 SV%) – The Ducks can make a lot of guys look good. The Ducks made Jonas Hiller look pretty good. Jonas Hiller isn’t that good. This is about as good as Hiller is. Expect more o’ dis.
Carey Price (W, 3 GA, 24 SV, 88.9 SV%) – The Habs can make a lot of guys look bad. The Habs made Carey Price look pretty bad. Carey Price is really good. This is not as good as Price is. Expect less o’ dis.
Matt Nieto (1 G, 2 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) – Every time I see this kid’s name I think it’s “Matt Neato” but really it’s not, and his name is boring and properly pronounced “Knee-Et-Oh.” That’s boring. You’re boring everybody. It’s now Neato. “Matt scored? Neato!” Neato and I are almost literally the exact same size (5’10”, 175lbs). I don’t play professional hockey. He might want to bulk up a bit.
Alex Galchenyuk (1 A, 1 SOG, +1) – The Habs didn’t make a big splash in the FA pool this offseason because they believe Galchenyuk is going to take a step forward this year. He’s on pace for 82 points in 82 games, so, maybe they were right?