GabrielLandeskog


Which current Olympian has more fantasy value James van Riemsdyk or Gabriel Landeskog?

 

With the Olympics now in full swing, let’s focus this week on two of the top young wingers playing in Sochi – James van Riemsdyk and Gabriel Landeskog. We’ll see what might be in store for them during the remainder of the regular season, as well as who projects to be the better producer down the road.

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit

 

Both players were selected second overall in their respective entry drafts (2011 for Landeskog, 2007 for JVR), with Landeskog arriving in the NHL for good the same year he was drafted while JVR stayed in college before landing in the NHL two years later. Landeskog made an instant impact as a rookie, tallying 52 points before limping – literally- through a poor sophomore season in 2012-13. JVR had three unremarkable campaigns with Philadelphia before being traded (in June 2012 for Luke Schenn) to Toronto, where both his points and goal scoring pace have increased significantly. As of the Olympic break, they sat right next to each other in scoring (48 points in 57 games for Landeskog, 47 in 58 for JVR) and were owned in a nearly identical percentage of Yahoo leagues (JVR = 89%, Landeskog = 87%).

 

 

JVR is on year two of a six year deal that brings with it a $4.25 annual cap hit and a modified NTC which activates in 2016-17. Landeskog inked a seven year deal that kicks in next season with an annual cap hit of $5.571M and an immediate modified NTC. This means there will be a nearly 25% difference in their salaries for 2014-15 through 2017-18, which is pretty sizeable in cap-based fantasy leagues. JVR’s deal is the fourth highest among Leaf forwards (Phil Kessel = $8M, Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson = $5.25M each), while Landeskog is Colorado’s second highest paid forward (Matt Duchene = $6M).

Ice Time/Linemates

Landeskog only has three years of data; but that should be enough to make a meaningful analysis, especially by focusing on last season (when his stats took a nosedive). For JVR, we’ll get a good picture based on two years of Toronto data and two years of Philly numbers.

 

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)

2013-14

18:27 (G.L.) – 2nd

20:41 (J.V.R.) – 2nd

2:26 (G.L.) – 5th

3:17 (J.V.R.) – 1st

0:11 (G.L.) – 10th

1:29 (J.V.R.) – 5th

2012-13

19:19 (G.L.) – 3rd

19:12 (J.V.R.) – 3rd

2:28 (G.L.) – 5th

2:49 (J.V.R.) – 3rd

1:51 (G.L.) – 3rd

1:11 (J.V.R.) – 6th

2011-12

18:36 (G.L.) – 3rd

15:10 (J.V.R.) – 9th

2:09 (G.L.) – 5th

2:47 (J.V.R.) – 7th

1:20 (G.L.) – 3rd

0:01 (J.V.R.) – 14th

2010-11

14:31 (J.V.R.) – 8th

1:19 (J.V.R.) – 7th

0:03 (J.V.R.) – 11th (tied)

 

Before focusing on Landeskog individually, it’s worth examining Ice Time for Avs forwards as a whole, since that impacts (and has impacted) Landeskog. As it turns out, new coach Patrick Roy looks to be shaping his team in the mold of his former nemeses – the Boston Bruins, with only one forward (Ryan O’Reilly) getting more than 19:00 of Ice Time per game this season and with seven forwards receiving between 2:14 and 2:49 of PP Ice Time. For comparison, last season saw four Avs forwards receive upwards of 19:00 of Ice Time per game, but only six forwards finish with 2:19 and 2:52 of PP Ice Time. In other words, Ice Time is being spread around a lot more this season, which should make it harder – as with the Bruins - for any one Av forward to become a truly elite scorer.

As for Landeskog himself, it’s interesting that his least productive season was when he received the most overall Ice Time and highest –by two seconds – PP Ice Time. As far as why he’s doing so well this season, at least some of that likely is due to going from 1:51 (in 2012-13) and 1:20 (in 2011-12) of SH Ice Time, to virtually none this season. In fact, his non-SH Ice Time this season (18:16) is well above either of his prior two seasons (17:28 in 2012-13, 17:16 in 2011-12).

It’s a pretty straightforward story for JVR, who’s gone from no more than 15:10 of Ice Time per game in his final two seasons with Philly, to well over 20 minutes this season. What’s more, JVR is now getting the most PP Ice Time among Toronto forwards – even more than Phil Kessel. Also encouraging is that JVR’s scoring has climbed despite increasing SH duties, including the most SH Ice Time (per game) this season among Toronto’s top scorers.

Let’s also examine Frozen Pool data to see if better quality linemates might be responsible – at least in part – for either player’s increase in production from last season to this campaign.

Landeskog (2012-13)

24%

EV

92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 55 MCLEOD,CODY - 90 O'REILLY,RYAN

18.08%

EV

54 JONES,DAVID - 92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 26 STASTNY,PAUL

15.24%

EV

9 DUCHENE,MATT - 92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 15 PARENTEAU,PIERRE

22.05%

PP

9 DUCHENE,MATT - 92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 90 O'REILLY,RYAN - 15 PARENTEAU,PIERRE - 26 STASTNY,PAUL

Landeskog (2013-14)

19.52%

EV

92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 26 STASTNY,PAUL - 40 TANGUAY,ALEX

18.75%

EV

92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 15 PARENTEAU,PIERRE - 26 STASTNY,PAUL

11.17%

EV

92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 29 MACKINNON,NATHAN - 26 STASTNY,PAUL

29.17%

PP

92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 29 MACKINNON,NATHAN - 26 STASTNY,PAUL

25.44%

PP

92 LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - 15 PARENTEAU,PIERRE - 26 STASTNY,PAUL

JVR (2012-13)

70.84%

EV

42 BOZAK,TYLER - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

71.54%

PP

42 BOZAK,TYLER - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

JVR (2013-14)

46.93%

EV

42 BOZAK,TYLER - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

25.6%

EV

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

47.3%

PP

42 BOZAK,TYLER - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

28.24%

PP

81 KESSEL,PHIL - 19 LUPUL,JOFFREY - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

12.03%

PP

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 81 KESSEL,PHIL - 21 VAN RIEMSDYK,JAMES

 

We can see that Landeskog hasn’t played with any one line for even 30% of either his even strength shifts or his PP duties in either of the past seasons. Also, his lower scoring from last season is also easier to justify when noting the fact that he was skating with either Cody McLeod or David Jones for most of his even strength shifts.

In contrast, JVR was (and still is) able to count on playing with the same guys virtually night in and night out. What’s more, one of those guys is Phil Kessel, who we can see was also on each and every one of JVR’s most common lines this season and last.

So what does this all mean? For JVR, it’s great that he’s able to count on lining up next to Phil Kessel, who’s one of the best scorers in the league. But a glass half empty way of viewing that is what happens to JVR’s production if Kessel is moved to another line, or gets hurt? Also, although JVR has spent twice as much time lining up next to Kessel and Tyler Bozak versus Kessel and Nazem Kadri this season, his output with Kessel and Bozak is 20 points at even strength versus only five with Kessel and Kadri. His lack of scoring versatility amounts to somewhat of a concern.

With Landeskog, he’s not wedded to a specific line, and in fact has scored no more than nine points this season with any one even strength line. That shows flexibility and, in turn, gives us more confidence that he should be able to continue his points scoring pace on most any Colorado scoring line. But just as JVR is stapled to Kessel, we also can see that Landeskog has had Stastny by his side on all his common lines this season.

And we need to keep in mind that Stastny is an upcoming UFA who likely will be headed elsewhere for 2014-15, so the question becomes whether Landeskog needs to ride shotgun to Stastny in order to succeed at the level he’s reached this season. And that’s likely at least as big of a question mark as JVR’s apparent dependence on Kessel, since at least Kessel isn’t leaving Toronto any time soon.

Other Metrics

Season

+/-

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots

(per game)

PIMs

(per game)

PP Points (per game)

2013-14

 

+16 (G.L.)

-1 (J.V.R.)

2.05 (G.L.)

1.60 (J.V.R.)

0.61 (G.L.)

0.61 (J.V.R.)

0.79 (G.L.)

0.58 (J.V.R.)

0.12 (G.L.)

0.26 (J.V.R.)

2012-13

 

-4 (G.L)

-7 (J.V.R.)

2.39 (G.L.)

1.14 (J.V.R.)

0.89 (G.L.)

0.31 (J.V.R.)

0.61 (G.L.)

0.45 (J.V.R.)

0.05 (G.L.)

0.125 (J.V.R.)

2011-12

 

+20 (G.L.)

-1 (J.V.R.)

2.67 (G.L.)

0.86 (J.V.R.)

0.71 (G.L.)

0.42 (J.V.R.)

0.62 (G.L.)

0.56 (J.V.R.)

0.14 (G.L.)

0.11 (J.V.R.)

2010-11

+15 (J.V.R.)

1.42 (J.V.R.)

0.33 (J.V.R.)

0.46 (J.V.R.)

0.05 (J.V.R.)

 

It’s interesting to see that Landeskog’s Hits total is slowly but steadily on the decline, having dropped each year while most of these other stats have held fairly steady. It’s something to keep in mind and monitor closely if you’re counting on him for continued production in that area. The fact that he’s scoring at his current pace with so little of his output coming on the PP is actually somewhat encouraging, since it’s safe to figure that things can only get better in that department. On the other hand he’s now been in the league for three seasons without any hint of PP production in any of those seasons (this despite – as we saw above – getting plenty of PP Ice Time with quality linemates), so perhaps he’s just not shaping up to be a good PP scorer.

JVR is hitting the fantasy jackpot this season in that not only are his overall (and PP) points pace the highest of his career thus far, but he’s also averaging more Hits, Blocked Shots, and PIMs than in any of the past three seasons. This is a huge benefit for his fantasy owners, since often players will ratchet up their scoring but in the process tone down their production in these other secondary categories.

 

Season

Shots (per game)

Personal Shooting Percentage

Team Shooting Percentage (5x5)

PDO (5x5)

Offensive Zone Start Percentage (5x5)

2013-14

 

2.70 (G.L.)

3.39 (J.V.R.)

11.7% (G.L.)

12.2% (J.V.R.)

11.11% (G.L.)

10.24% (J.V.R.)

1037 (G.L.)

1019 (J.V.R.)

49.8% (G.L.)

49.0% (J.V.R.)

2012-13

 

3.03 (G.L.)

2.91 (J.V.R.)

8.3% (G.L.)

12.9% (J.V.R.)

5.78% (G.L.)

10.29% (J.V.R.)

973 (G.L.)

1007 (J.V.R.)

49.8% (G.L.)

44.3% (J.V.R.)

2011-12

 

3.29 (G.L.)

2.81 (J.V.R.)

8.1% (G.L.)

9.1% (J.V.R.)

7.65% (G.L.)

7.53% (J.V.R.)

1004 (G.L.)

978 (J.V.R.)

51.6% (G.L.)

52.1% (J.V.R.)

2010-11

2.30 (J.V.R.)

12.1% (J.V.R.)

9.54% (J.V.R.)

1022 (J.V.R.)

51.7% (J.V.R.)

 

Things continue to look very good for JVR in these areas, since his Shots pace is up this season yet his individual Shooting Percentage is holding steady and his PDO is still within the normal range (970-1030). On the other hand, Landeskog’s Shots pace is down for the second consecutive season and his individual Shooting Percentage is almost 50% higher. One conclusion to draw would be these changes are due to better Shot selection and thus his production could be sustained; however, his PDO of 1037 for 2013-14 is outside the normal range, which suggests he might be scoring at an unsustainable pace.


Who Wins?

 

While it’s certainly not a landslide and Landeskog is undeniably a great player to own, JVR wins this Cage Match pretty convincingly. For one, his salary is 25% less than Landeskog’s; plus, while nearly all of JVR’s fantasy stats are trending upward, Landeskog’s Hits and Shots pace have gone down each year since his rookie season.

Sure – there are some concerns with JVR, like his production being tied to Kessel and the legitimate question about whether he can see his stats continue to increase. But those are largely “what ifs,” and the fact that his PDO is comfortably under 1030 suggests he can still improve. In contrast, Landeskog’s 1037 PDO number this season is concerning and could indicate that he’s close to a ceiling in terms of his points scoring pace, at least for the time being (after all, he’s still only 21 years old) and given his lack of production on the PP. Plus, JVR is more of a goal scorer, which has added value in most leagues.

And there has to be some worry about Landeskog’s points increase coinciding with playing mostly alongside Paul Stastny, who’s all but assured to go to another team as a UFA this summer. We saw last season that Landeskog – who admittedly was dealing with injuries at the time – did not produce well when put on a line with less talented players, so there has to be some concern of a regression in points next season if - more likely when - Stastny is no longer in town. Plus, if indeed Coach Roy (sorry – but that still sounds weird to me having watched so many Bruins vs. Canadiens matches in the 1980s and 1990s) sticks with his current Bruins-like system, which spreads Ice Time very evenly among more than a handful of Colorado forwards, then that could put a ceiling on Landeskog’s point totals.

One last minor point – Colorado has played 58 games this season (24 remaining), while Toronto has played 60 (22 remaining). This means Landeskog has nearly 10% more games remaining compared to JVR, and in close leagues that could be a factor. Be sure to start paying attention to games remaining and home vs. away match-ups when making decisions after the Olympic break, as it could help you win a very close battle in your league.

 

Previously in Cage Match:

 

Loui Eriksson vs. PA Parenteau

Matt Carle vs. Fedor Tyutin

 

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