When you drafted Matt Duchene in the third round this year you were drafting a guy that you expected 70-plus points and 30 goals from and given his history, his team and his expected line mates that those were totally reasonable expectations. Well, 33 games into the 2014-’15 season Duchene has just 10 goals and 10 assists and is on pace for just 50 points and 25 goals by season’s end. Currently riding a four game scoreless streak he’s slowly sinking on a team that is riddled with problems. Nathan MacKinnon has been hit by a serious sophomore slump and isn’t performing nearly up to the high expectations he set for himself after last year’s stellar performance. Gabriel Landeskog is putting up similarly weak numbers and looking just as lost as Jarome Iginla, Semyon Varlamov and Ryan O’Reilly. Lets face it, the Avs are a mess and they aren’t making any great strides to improve their situation as we approach the halfway mark of the season. Usually a dig into the advanced stats will show a star player doing everything right but getting unlucky, so the points should flow anytime, but sadly for Duchene’s owners that just isn’t the case so far this season.
When you do dig deeper into Duchene’s numbers you won’t find any solace that he’ll have a strong second half. His shooting percentage of 11.4% is just a point above his career average of 12.1% so there isn’t going to be a huge uptick in goal scoring based on that minor discrepancy. His CorsiRelative is just 2.9 and his PDO (shooting percentage plus save percentage) is 998, so he hasn’t exactly been an offensive powerhouse just waiting to break out. Sadly there isn’t a single indicator in his numbers that says he’ll do anything but suck it up in the second half so you should expect his yawnstipating effort to continue as 2015 rolls on. It’s frustrating, but the numbers don’t lie.
So what do you do with him? More bad news, y’all, there isn’t much you can do if you are stuck with him but hold on and hope, hope for him to hit a strong streak so you can sell high, that is. You can’t trade him because his value is so low and you shouldn’t just drop him, at least not yet. All you can do is hold on, wait for a streak and sell high. Sad news in this bright holiday season for his owners, I know. It appears that 2015 will go down as a lost season for Duchene who has little time left to avoid being labeled a bust. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey yesterday:
Braden Holtby, G (W, 38 SV, 1 GA, .974%) – I’ve been a fan of Holtby’s for a few years now but if you asked me before the start of this season if I thought he’d sport a season line of 15-7-5/2.24/.920% after 28 starts I don’t know if I would have been on board, but here we are! Holtby stretched his win streak to three games and has only allowed eight goals over his last five games, four of which were allowed in a single game that he still managed to help the Caps win. Damn, that’s solid.
Craig Anderson, G (L, 21 SV, 2 GA, .913%) – Anderson took the loss, that’s good! He looked good again, though. That’s bad. In roto league Anderson has actually been a pretty solid netminder to own and dare I say that I wouldn’t kick him off of my team if I owned him at this point.
Nicklas Backstrom, C (1 G, 2 SOG, -1) – Backs is just a goal scorin’ fool this year. After three goals over his last two games he’s up to 11 for the season and could flirt with 20 by season’s end.
Pekka Rinne, G (W, 30 SV, 1 GA, .968%) – Vezina.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (L, 30 SV, 1 GA, .968%) – Oof, the streakiness of Bob is off the chain this year. First he loses five straight starts in November allowing 19 goals in those five games. Then he reels off seven straight wins allowing just 12 goals over that span. Now he’s coughed up 11 goals in the last three games and lost two of his last three. The Jackets look better than they have all season now that they’re finally healthy and I wouldn’t put it past either Bob or the Jackets to put up a strong second half.
Colin Wilson, C (1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG) – Wilson isn’t going to give you more than 45 points, but right now he’s on pace to finish with 20 goals and his shooting percentage is sitting at just 10.3%, a totally sustainable number. That means you can reasonably expect that his current goal-scoring pace will continue and yes, he could definitely give you 20 goals. Couple that with 185 shots and a solid plus/minus and you have a guy well worth owning in deep leagues.
Mike Fisher, C (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Unlike Wilson, Fisher is riding an inflated shooting percentage and his current scoring pace isn’t sustainable. Normally he clocks in at around 11.4% but right now he’s firing on all cylinders and then some sporting a robust 16.7% shooting percentage. It’s going to come down and with it, Fisher’s production. Don’t be fooled by his 7 points in 11 games so far, but if you’re in need of a temporary scoring boost, don’t be a fool and ignore it while it’s happening, either.
Craig Smith, C (2 G, 7 SOG, +2) – The Preds sure do sport a lot of centres, don’t they? Here’s Smith and his three goals in two games on 14 shots. He’s on pace to top 25 goals for the first time in his young career and at least match his points (52) and goals (24) totals from last season. His shooting percentage (10.8%) sits only slightly above his career average (9.2%), so it should be all systems go in the goals department for the rest of the season. He’s also on pace for 238 shots on goal and I’d buy that for a dollar (or two)!
Ryan Miller, G (W, 38 SV, 1 GA, .974%) – It hasn’t been Miller Time very often of late but the last two games have both been solid for a guy who will, of course, continue to deliver meh peripherals and decent wins. Honestly, I think Miller is a glorified low-end second, high-end third goalie and will likely stay that way or get worse as the years in Vancouver roll on. Next season I’d avoid him completely come draft day.
Mike Smith, G (L, 7 SV, 4 GA, .636%) – Normally I’d just write “Heh, Mike Smith” and move on but this is getting out of hand. Honestly, I can’t imagine what the Phoenix front office is thinking but they need to do something with Smith and fast. He’s obviously untradeable and he would likely clear waivers though the Oil might be desperate enough to put in a claim on him. He might be serviceable in a backup roll with very sheltered minutes but at this point he doesn’t even look like he belongs in the NHL. If you own him, drop him.
Devan Dubnyk, G (26 SV, 29 SA, .897%) – Dubs didn’t exactly shine coming in to relieve the hopeless Smith but he’s clearly the better option in net for the ‘yotes. I wouldn’t own either goalie with your team, though.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D (1 G, 4 SOG, -1) – OEL continues the effort to avoid the dreaded “bust” label that he was working towards earlier this season with four points (3 G, 1 A) in his last three games. He’s on pace for 20 goals and 40 points by season’s end, to markers I fully expect the talented Swedish rearguard to hit, and as a bonus he’s scheduled to put over 250 shots on goal. His shooting percentage (7.7%) is just one point above his career average (6.7%) so expect those 20 goals. Given that he’s a ‘yote, though, expect a rough plus/minus as well.
Alexandre Burrows, LW (2 G, 6 SOG, +1) – Now here’s a bit of an oddity. Burrows gets top power play unit time and parks himself in front of the opposition’s net, so that bodes well for production like he gave his seven owners last night. On the other hand, he gets fourth line five-on-five duties and that severely limits his chances of production. As long as he gets time on that top power play he has value in deep leagues.
Chris Higgins, LW (1 G, 2 SOG, +2) – I don’t remember the show, but Higgins was the name of the butler. Chris might want to look into that as an alternative career path because he only scores when I bench him. My hate for you burns so hot and bright it makes the fires of hell itself burn green with envy. Hmn, that’s pretty harsh, I usually reserve that kind of malice in my heart for Craig Anderson, but he’s playing too well to really hate on so I need another lightening rod. HIGGINS! Fetch the car!
Daniel Sedin, LW (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG) – Unlike a handful of guys in this update Sedin’s shooting percentage is actually down 2.5 points from his career average of 11.8% which indicates he may see an uptick in scoring at some point moving forward. Considering he’s on pace for 75 points in 80 games played, that’s pretty encouraging for his owners.
Henrik Sedin, RW (2 A, 1 SOG, +2) – Unlike his brother Dan, Hank is riding a wildly inflated shooting percentage of 17.1% which is a full 4 points higher than his career average of 13% so you can’t expect the goals to keep rolling in at their current pace. That’s kind of terrifying considering he’s on pace for just 11 on the season, but that would be about where he normally ends up, so maybe it’s not so terrifying?
Radim Vrbata, RW (1 A, 8 SOG, +1) – Vrbata is on pace to put almost 300 shots on goal this year and his shooting percentage is about on par, though slightly inflated from season’s past. He’s slowed down after a torrid start, but 35 goals is still possible. I think around 30 is more like it, with 35 or so assists by season’s end.
Roberto Luongo, G (W, 24 SV, 3 GA, .889%) – Normally when I hate on a guy in the preseason and then he performs well I’m more than happy to admit that I’m wrong, and I have on Lu, but for some reason I still feel bad for drinking the Lu haterade. Forgive me, Lu! Fun fact, last night’s victory moves Lu into 12th all-time with 386 career wins so far. Normally I’d make a joke about him never reaching 400 with the Cats, but they’re good enough that he should get there this season.
Marc-Andre Fluery, G (L, 34 SV, 3 GA, .919%) – Flower has been off the chain good this year and we could be watching his career year. I really hope the Pens fall short of the cup. Those two statements have little to do with each other; I just really dislike the Pens.
Patric Hornqvist, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, +2) – After his stellar start that saw him put up 12 points in his first 9 games and 13 points in 14 games in November he has just two points in eight December tilts. He’s never been a huge point producing forward and though his move to the Pens will allow him to set career marks in almost every offensive category, he’s not going to finish with 75-80 points, I suspect it’s going to be more around the 65 point mark by season’s end. That’s still hella valuable considering his ADP, but still, he had to come back down to earth sometime.
Roman Josi, D (1 A, 3 SOG, +3) – Josi was a common guy mentioned in a “Should I drop…” questions I received early on and the calls to drop him increased as October came and went and saw Josi put up just 3 points (1 G, 2 A) in his first 10 games. I advised all of his owners to hold on and wait for the numbers to flow and flow they have. Since his slow start Josi has 15 points in his last 22 games to put him on pace for 46 points by season’s end. He’s also on pace to top 200 shots and currently sports a beastly 83 blocked shots and a plus-13 rating. Yeeeeah, that’s the stuff. Don’t sleep on Josi, he’s elite.
Evgeni Malkin, C (1 G, 5 SOG, -1) – I figured the only thing that could hold Geno back this year would be injuries and since he hasn’t been injured he hasn’t been held back at all posting 39 points (16 G, 23 A) in 33 games so far. That works.
Nick Spaling, C (1 G, 3 SOG, -2) – Yeah, Spaling has goals in back-to-back games but don’t get excited here, he isn’t a scoring forward. He’s more of a PK specialist, fourth line kind of guy. He does offer hits (52) and blocks (22) for those of you in leagues with those cats, though, so there is some value here but it’s quite limited.
Jimmy Hayes, RW (2 G, 5 SOG, +3) – Of all the Cats’ youth I think I’m least on board with Hayes, but the lumbering power forward does put the biscuit in the basket with some regularity, so much so that he’s on pace for 28 goals by season’s end. He’s also riding an inflated 16.1% shooting percentage too, so he’ll probably come up short of the 28 goals but could easily pot 20, so there is value here. Moving forward I don’t see him as a particularly valuable keeper.
Frederik Andersen, G (W, 30 SV, 2 GA, .938%) – With Breezy not exactly nipping at Freddy’s heels and John Gibson safely in the AHL there is zero chance Freddy loses his starting job. With starts like this, he’s even more secure.
Antti Niemi, G (L, 29 SV, 3 GA, .906%) – Last night’s start was Niemi’s fourth in a row, he’s 3-1-0 over that span. Since he lost, I imagine it’s time for Alex Stalock to get his three starts in a row. Right? RIGHT?!
Cam Fowler, D (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – I like Fowler, I’d been an advocate of his, but looking at his season line all I’m seeing of value is the 40 or so points he’s going to put up. He’s not putting the puck on net at a useful rate firing just 39 shots on goal, he isn’t hitting very often with only 24 hits and his plus/minus is barely over even at plus two. Honestly, if there’s a guy on the wire that offers more in more categories, you might as well grab him and let Fowls go.
Ryan Kesler, C (1 G, 1 SOG, +1) – Kesler has quietly been consistent this year putting up eight points in October, 10 in November and nine so far in December. I figure he’s good for around 10 points a month moving forward and 30 goals by season’s end. Noice.
Jonas Hiller, G (W, 31 SV, 3 GA, .912%) – The Flames finally snapped their eight game losing streak that saw Hiller start six of the last eight games over the struggling Kari Ramo. This goalie battle is going to go back and forth all year and they’ll both finish up as bleh to low-end netminders by season’s end. Hiller’s recent streak of halfway decent pay may open up the opportunity to trade him for halfway decent value, and if you can, do it.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW (3 G, 7 SOG, +3) – Johnny B. Good tallied his first career hatty last night and it was a natural hatty at that! He single handedly brought the Flames back from three goals down to tie the game and now has four goals over his last two games and 10 overall on the season. It’s hard to predict rookies but if he keeps up his current pace he’ll finish with better than 20 goals and 60 points on the year and that’d be good enough to win the Calder if Filip Forsberg wasn’t around. Gaudreau remains a no-brainer keeper.
Marian Gaborik, RW (1 G, 4 SOG, -2) – Sell high before it’s too late!
Mark Giordano, D (1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG) – Here’s my prediction for Gio moving forward. He produces for the rest of the season and posts an Erik Karlsson-esque 70-plus point season and will be over valued on draft day next year. Peeps will draft him with confidence early on and he’ll return to his solid, albeit unspectacular 40-50 point production and bitter tears, rage and anger from his owners will ensue. Fin.