 Category: Cage Match
Who would you rather own in fantasy hockey  Bobby Ryan or Jordan Eberle? Full analysis here!
Facing off this week are Bobby Ryan and Jordan Eberle, who are both having good seasons (top 40 in points) but are behind the scoring pace of their career best campaigns. Which one will help your team more this season and beyond? Let’s find out!
Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit
Ryan is three years older than Eberle, and going into this season had nearly double the NHL experience (378 games vs. 195 for Eberle). Ryan scored 30+ goals in each of his first four full NHL seasons, which sounds impressive in and of itself, but is even more so considering that the only other current NHLer who achieved the feat is Alex Ovechkin. Not Sidney Crosby, not Evgeni Malkin, and not even Steven Stamkos – just Ryan and Ovi. But after he followed up a 71 point 201011 season with just 87 points in his next 128 games for the Ducks he found himself dealt to the Senators this offseason.
Eberle was a firstround pick, but 22nd overall (Ryan went second, right after Crosby). He had a nice rookie campaign (43 points in 69 games) before exploding for 76 points in 78 contests in 201112. But then his production slipped last season to 37 points in 48 games. Going into 201314 Eberle’s scoring average was 0.8 points per game, just ahead of Ryan’s 0.76 career average but actually behind Ryan’s pace (0.845 points per game) from his first three NHL campaigns.
Eberle is on year one of a sixseason deal with a $6M cap hit, while next season will be Ryan’s last on a fiveyear deal with an annual $5.1M cap hit.
Ice Time – Past Seasons and 201314 (through January 28th)
We could stand to gain some useful information here, especially in comparing Eberle’s Ice Time in his nearly point per game 201112 season to what he received in other campaigns, and measuring Ryan’s Ice Time this season in Ottawa against what he had in Anaheim.
Season 
Total Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s forwards) 
PP Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s forwards) 
SH Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s forwards) 
201314 
20:01 (J.E.) – 2nd 17:07 (B.R.) – 5th 
3:19 (J.E.) – 2nd 2:46 (B.R.) – 2nd 
1:01 (J.E.) – 8th (tied) 0:02 (B.R.) – 12th 
201213 
18:59 (J.E.) – 2nd 16:35 (B.R.) – 5th 
3:11 (J.E.) – 2nd 1:57 (B.R.) – 4th 
0:11 (J.E.) – 12th 0:03 (B.R.) – 13th 
201112 
17:35 (J.E.) – 6th 18:21 (B.R.) – 3rd 
3:00 (J.E.) – 2nd (tied) 2:09 (B.R.) – 4th 
0:10 (J.E.) – 11th 0:42 (B.R.) – 10th 
201011 
17:40 (J.E.) – 6th 20:10 (B.R.) – 3rd 
2:32 (J.E.) – 7th 2:24 (B.R.) – 4th 
0:40 (J.E.) – 9th 1:08 (B.R.) – 7th 
If you didn’t know Eberle scored 76 points in 78 games in 201112 you’d have a hard time believing it based on Ice Time. In fact, if you look at the top 30 scorers for 201112, Eberle had the lowest overall Ice Time by more than a full minute. There has to be another explanation, and we’ll look for it below.
Ryan’s PP Ice Time numbers from 201011 and 201112 seem okay at first glance, but although he was fourth in each of those seasons among Anaheim forwards he trailed Teemu Selanne (third place in both seasons) by 1:03 in 201011 and by 1:25 in 201112. Ouch! And his overall Ice Time in Anaheim dropped by 1:39 from 201011 to 201112 and then by an additional 1:46 the next season.
For 201314, Ryan’s overall Ice Time is up about 30 seconds from his last season in Anaheim; however, his PP Ice Time has risen by nearly a full minute and, as we’ll see below and unlike what was the norm for him in Anaheim, it’s being spent with Ottawa’s top forwards. As for Eberle, his overall Ice Time jumped by more than a minute from last season, but his PP Ice Time held steady since, unfortunately, the extra minute is almost entirely SH Ice Time. And if you look at Ryan’s net beneficial Ice Time percentage ((PP Ice TimeSH Ice Time)/Overall Ice Time) it’s better than Eberle’s by a good margin (16.14 for Ryan, 11.56% for Eberle).
Other Stats and Metrics (201314 through January 20th)
Season 
Personal Shooting Percentage 
Team Shooting Percentage 
PDO 
Offensive Zone Start Percentage 
201314

12.9 (J.E.) 13.9 (B.R.) 
9.73% (J.E.) 10.42% (B.R.) 
990 (J.E.) 1046 (B.R.) 
54.5% (J.E.) 50.8% (B.R.) 
201213

18.9% (J.E.) 10.9% (B.R.) 
8.78% (J.E.) 10.81% (B.R.) 
985 (J.E.) 1019 (B.R.) 
51.1% (J.E.) 52.9% (B.R.) 
201112

12.0% (J.E.) 15.2% (B.R.) 
12.84% (J.E.) 9.39% (B.R.) 
1029 (J.E.) 1004 (B.R.) 
60.7% (J.E.) 49.2% (B.R.) 
201011

11.4% (J.E.) 12.6% (B.R.) 
7.91% (J.E.) 11.82% (B.R.) 
975 (J.E.) 1027 (B.R.) 
49.3% (J.E.) 53.7% (B.R.) 
It turns out there does appear to be an explanation for Eberle’s explosion in 201112, as his data for that campaign is far above the norm for his other seasons. Consider just his shooting percentage – if it was only 12.1 in 201112 (representing the average of his 201011, 201213, and 201314 numbers) then his goal total dips from 34 all the way to 22, and with that probably would’ve also come a drop in points of around ten, translating to him having instead finished with 66 points in 78 games. And that doesn’t even factor in his lofty 60.7% offensive zone starting percentage for 201112, which was about ten percentage points higher than either of his first two seasons. If that drops by even five percent points (putting it close to his 54.5% number for this season so far), his scoring output likely falls even further. And let’s not overlook that in 201112 his PDO was at the highest end of the normal range, and more than 45 above the average of his other three seasons (including 201314 so far).
Ryan had pretty consistent numbers, with the only metric that was consistently high being his PDO, which was greater than 1000 in each of the past three seasons and above 1019 in two out of three. And as we can see, that number has spiked all the way up to 1046 so far this season, which is well above the 1030 upper threshold of “normal” for PDO. But considering that he’s been able to somehow keep his PDO above 1019 for three out of the last four seasons he might just be one of those guys whose PDO just runs high, in which case 1046 is still somewhat concerning but arguably less so than Eberle’s 1029, which was so much higher than his normal range.
Value vs. Cost
Both players are owned in nearly all Yahoo leagues (Ryan 98%, Eberle 96%) so each should cost you about the same. And there’s no need to dwell on injury history, with Ryan holding a slight edge due to missing only three games from 200910 onward, while Eberle has missed no games since 201213 but did miss six and then 13 in his first two seasons.
Ryan’s contributions in secondary categories range from below to above average, as while he’s only producing about one PIM for every three games this season, he ‘s tallied just under two Hits and 2.5 Shots per game, to go along with a +13 rating and eight PP points. Eberle has slightly more Shots per game and is better in PP points (14 vs. 9), but contributes less than one Hit per game, double digits minus, and fewer PIMs. Overall there isn’t a huge difference between them, but Ryan would hold an edge if your league counted +/ and Hits in particular.
Relative Value of Points
Points are more valuable for a fantasy team when they’re not shared by other players owned in your league, since those are the kinds of points that can cause actual movement in the standings. Two players who score roughly the same could have a different relative value of their points, as influenced by the ownership percentages of their linemates (i.e., more widely owned linemates = lower relative value of points, since more folks in your league will likely share those points). Let’s see what Frozen Pool tells us.
58.59% 
EV 
16 MACARTHUR,CLARKE  6 RYAN,BOBBY  7 TURRIS,KYLE 
8.43% 
EV 
9 MICHALEK,MILAN  6 RYAN,BOBBY  19 SPEZZA,JASON 
32.92% 
PP 
16 MACARTHUR,CLARKE  6 RYAN,BOBBY  7 TURRIS,KYLE 
29.17% 
PP 
16 MACARTHUR,CLARKE  6 RYAN,BOBBY  19 SPEZZA,JASON  7 TURRIS,KYLE 
31.2% 
EV 
14 EBERLE,JORDAN  4 HALL,TAYLOR  93 NUGENTHOPKINS,RYAN 
11.48% 
EV 
14 EBERLE,JORDAN  93 NUGENTHOPKINS,RYAN  57 PERRON,DAVID 
25.88% 
PP 
14 EBERLE,JORDAN  4 HALL,TAYLOR  93 NUGENTHOPKINS,RYAN  57 PERRON,DAVID 
9.9% 
PP 
14 EBERLE,JORDAN  89 GAGNER,SAM  4 HALL,TAYLOR  93 NUGENTHOPKINS,RYAN 
Ryan has played over half his 201314 shifts with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur (77% and 63% owned in Yahoo leagues) but far less often with 93% owned Jason Spezza. In contrast, Eberle has lined up alongside both Ryan NugentHopkins and Taylor Hall (80% and 98% owned) for roughly 30% of his even strength shifts, plus another 25% or so with one of them on his line. And those numbers jump considerably on the PP, where roughly half his shifts are spent with both Hall and RNH on the ice, and only about 15% of his total PP shifts occurs without at least one of them also on the ice.
Who Wins?
Bobby Ryan is the winner, although it’s more about Jordan Eberle losing rather than Ryan winning. In the end, Eberle fell short due to reasons similar to last week (which saw David Perron hurt by his relative value of his points) and, even more so, like a couple of weeks ago (where Claude Giroux lost amid concerns that his career high point total might be an outlier). Simply put, although Eberle is only 23 years old there should be a genuine level of concern that his roughly point per game season of 201112 was an aberration, rather than something likely to be repeated in at least the near future.
In truth, I don’t think either of these guys is a great own right now, mainly due to their inflated costs versus their actual value. If you look at the NHL scoring leaders right now, the only forwards who have yet to miss significant time and are more widely owned than Ryan and Eberle in Yahoo despite having equal or fewer points are Henrik Sedin and Anze Kopitar. What’s more, there are many lesser owned players producing just as well as if not better than Ryan or Eberle, like Marian Hossa (95%), Joe Pavelski (94%), Alexander Steen (93%), David Backes (92%), James Van Riemsdyk (89%), Bryan Little (82%), Blake Wheeler (80%), T.J. Oshie (77%). I realize that some of the ownership percentages have to do with positional eligibility, but the reality is that a guy who has 40 points in 52 games and some marginal secondary stats (Ryan) probably should not be owned in 98% of Yahoo leagues, nor should someone who has 43 points in 53 games and arguably worse secondary stats (Eberle) be owned in 96%.
I’d strongly consider selling if you get a good offer/price for either player, perhaps with the idea of buying them back once their cost shrinks to become closer to their actual worth. It’s a strategy that’s often used in the stock market and might make sense to employ with these guys as well.
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