NazemKadri

 

Who is the better fantasy hockey own - Jeff Skinner or Nazem Kadri?

 

This week’s Cage Match looks at two forwards (Jeff Skinner and Nazem Kadri) who have achieved success during their young careers, but also encountered some bumpy roads along the way. Which one will best help your fantasy team? Cage Match is here with the answer!

 

Career Path and Contract Status

Even though Skinner and Kadri have a combined age of just 44 (Kadri 23, Skinner 21) and under 300 games of NHL experience entering this season (Skinner 188, Kadri 99), there has been quite a lot written and discussed about both players. And most of it should be well known to poolies, from Skinner’s Calder winning 2010-11 season followed by his battles with concussions and drop in performance, to Kadri’s hype after being drafted 7th overall in 2009 (where Skinner was also selected just one year later) followed by his trips back and forth between the NHL and AHL until finally landing in the Toronto line-up full time last season and finishing in the top 25 in NHL scoring. What’s interesting is their different paths have led them to a similar place beyond just their draft position, in that Skinner’s career point per game average coming into this season was 0.696 while Kadri’s wasn’t far behind at 0.606.

One area of differentiation is contract status, as Kadri was an RFA and didn’t sign a deal until September, getting $5.8M for this year ($2.7M) and next ($3.1M). Skinner’s payday came in the summer of 2012, when he inked a six year deal that will pay him $4.35M this season and then $6M for each of the next five campaigns. Skinner’s big contract gives him the slight edge.

 

Ice Time – Past Seasons and Early Indications for 2013-14

As usual, I’m including Ice Time data for this season so far, plus the previous three seasons; however, keep in mind that Kadri only played 29 games in 2010-11 and 21 games in 2011-12, so we should take his numbers for those seasons with a grain of salt. Also, I didn’t include shorthanded Ice Time, since neither player has averaged more than 22 seconds per game in a season.

 

 

Season

Total Ice Time

Rank among team’s forwards

PP Ice Time

Rank among team’s forwards

2013-14

16:05 (J.S)

16:38 (N.K.)

5th (J.S.)

8th (N.K.)

2:54 (J.S.)

2:43 (N.K.)

3rd (J.S.)

4th (N.K.)

2012-13

18:27 (J.S.)

16:03 (N.K.)

4th (J.S.)

6th (N.K.)

2:47 (J.S.)

2:12 (N.K.)

3rd (J.S.)

5th (N.K.)

2011-12

18:37 (J.S.)

14:09 (N.K.)

2nd (J.S.)

8th (N.K.)

3:21 (J.S)

1:36 (N.K.)

2nd (J.S.)

7th (N.K.)

2010-11

16:43 (J.S.)

15:46 (N.K.)

7th (J.S.)

10th (N.K.)

3:10 (J.S.)

2:35 (N.K.)

4th (J.S.)

9th (N.K.)

 

These are very interesting numbers for both players. As we can see so far for 2013-14 (through October 28th), Skinner’s overall Ice Time is more than two minutes below his average for each of the past two seasons; but his point scoring pace (0.9 points per game) is higher than even his outstanding rookie campaign, when he last also had less than 17 minutes of Ice Time per game. Coincidence? Also, although his overall Ice Time has fluctuated year to year, Skinner’s PP Ice Time has remained fairly consistent; and what’s especially impressive about his 2:54 on the PP so far this season is it comprises a very healthy 18% of his 16:05 total Ice Time.

I was surprised to see Kadri’s data, as during 2012-13 he received barely more overall Ice Time (and actually less PP Ice Time) per game than he had during his brief first taste of the NHL in 2010-11. Beyond that, even after finishing in the top 25 in scoring in 2012-13 plus signing a new contract, Kadri’s overall Ice Time for 2013-14 is only slightly above what he had last season and his PP Ice Time thus far is a mere eight seconds per game above his 2010-11 number. What’s more, while Kadri’s 2:43 of PP Ice Time per game now represents the fourth highest total among Maple Leaf forwards, his 16:38 of overall Ice Time ranks just eighth, below the likes of Mason Raymond and even Dave Bolland.

Despite Kadri’s apparent shortcomings in this area, I actually don’t give an edge to either player, since their 2013-14 side-by-side numbers are comparable. Plus, both players seem to be well equipped to produce despite receiving less Ice Time than most of the NHL’s higher scoring forwards.

 

Injuries

Skinner is currently out with an unspecified injury, but apparently could return to action this week. The real worry for Skinner and his fantasy owners is his recurring concussions, which not only pose a risk of long-term injury but also might’ve already had indirect consequences. For example, when Skinner’s stats took a nosedive in 2011-12 and 2012-13 despite - as shown above - him receiving even more Ice Time per game than during his productive rookie campaign, you had to wonder if he was being tentative or otherwise not playing his usual style due to fear of suffering yet another concussion.

In contrast, Kadri has been healthy for his entire young pro career, so he holds a big advantage here.

 

Secondary Categories

Since cumulative stats and trends matter most when examining Secondary Categories data, and given Kadri’s limited NHL experience prior to 2012-13, we’ll only look at last season plus this year so far.

 

 

Season

Plus/Minus

Hits

Blocked Shots

PIMs

Shots

2013-14

J.S. = 10 games

N.K. = 12 games

+5 (J.S.)

-2 (N.K)

6 (J.S.)

19 (N.K.)

0 (J.S.)

4 (N.K.)

8 (J.S.)

12 (N.K.)

36 (J.S.)

19 (N.K.)

2012-13

J.S. = 42 games

N.K. = 48 games

-21 (J.S.)

+15 (N.K.)

 

21 (J.S.)

62 (N.K.)

11 (J.S.)

22 (N.K.)

26 (J.S.)

23 (N.Z.)

159 (J.S.)

107 (N.K.)

 

Overall, their Secondary Categories numbers are pretty even. Just as Skinner holds a healthy advantage in Shots, Kadri outhits Skinner by a wide margin. Both players have experienced ups and downs in plus minus, and PIMs are a wash. And while Skinner is especially bad in Blocked Shots, you’re not going to do much better with Kadri.

In addition to this data, another thing worth mentioning is faceoffs. Skinner has averaged less than one per game, so his numbers are insignificant. But Kadri has fared poorly in the faceoff circle, winning only 44.2% last season. This is made all the worse because he takes a lot of draws (52nd most in the NHL last season, 45th this season as of October 28th). But the good news is he’s trending in the right direction, having risen from an abysmal 40.5% in 2010-11 and starting this season at 46.0%.

 

Windexiness



Season

Total Points Scored

Stretches of four or more games with zero points in each game

Stretches of four or more games with at least one point in each game

Total number of two point games

Total number of three or more point games

2012-13

24 (J.S.)

44 (N.K.)

2 (J.S.) – 5, 6

0 (N.K.)

2 (J.S.) – 4, 5

3 (N.K.) – 4, 5, 7

3 (J.S.)

7 (N.K.)

1 (J.S.) - 3

4 (N.K.) – 3, 3, 3, 4

2011-12

44 (J.S)

7 (N.K.)

1 (J.S) - 4

2 (N.K.) – 4, 5

0 (J.S.)

0 (N.K.)

4 (J.S.)

0 (N.K.)

3 (J.S.) – each 3

0 (N.K.)

2010-11

63 (J.S.)

12 (N.K.)

1 (J.S.) - 4

2 (N.K.) – 4, 8

1 (J.S.) - 5

0 (N.K.)

9 (J.S.)

3 (N.K.)

5 (J.S.) – each 3

0 (N.K.)

 

This data was eye opening in several ways. First, it was surprising to see that Skinner had put together a point scoring streak of four or more games just three separate times in his career prior to this season (with a career long of just five games) and that he’s had more stretches of at least four games with no points than he did with points. Also, nearly 40% of Skinner’s 25 career multi-point games were three point games, which is a pretty high percentage.

For Kadri, 27 of his 44 points in 2012-13 came in just 11 games. Yet despite this clustered scoring, he still never went more than three games in 2012-13 without recording a point. And although his data from 2011-12 and 2010-11 is hard to rely upon due to the number of games (50 total) and low point totals, even then he did a pretty good job of avoiding stretches without points.

In the end, neither player is exceptionally windexy or non-windexy compared to the other.

 

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. In looking at this area, it’s a good opportunity to examine the Frozen Pool data for each player in 2012-13 plus this season thus far.

 

 

2012-13

15.84%

EV

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 47 KOMAROV,LEO - 16 MACARTHUR,CLARKE

13.46%

EV

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 41 KULEMIN,NIKOLAI - 19 LUPUL,JOFFREY

9.39%

EV

39 FRATTIN,MATT - 43 KADRI,NAZEM - 47 KOMAROV,LEO

30.32%

PP

84 GRABOVSKI,MIKHAIL - 43 KADRI,NAZEM - 16 MACARTHUR,CLARKE

13.41%

PP

84 GRABOVSKI,MIKHAIL - 43 KADRI,NAZEM - 41 KULEMIN,NIKOLAI

 


22.28%

EV

39 DWYER,PATRICK - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

11.96%

EV

22 DALPE,ZAC - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

10.05%

EV

15 RUUTU,TUOMO - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

9.13%

EV

59 LAROSE,CHAD - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

19.52%

PP

28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 12 STAAL,ERIC - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

19.04%

PP

28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 12 STAAL,ERIC - 19 TLUSTY,JIRI

12.29%

PP

36 JOKINEN,JUSSI - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

 

2013-14 (games through October 28th)

 

21.44%

EV

46 BROLL,DAVID - 43 KADRI,NAZEM - 19 LUPUL,JOFFREY

16.08%

EV

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 19 LUPUL,JOFFREY - 12 RAYMOND,MASON

9.74%

EV

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

75.86%

PP

43 KADRI,NAZEM - 19 LUPUL,JOFFREY - 12 RAYMOND,MASON

11.21%

PP

71 CLARKSON,DAVID - 43 KADRI,NAZEM - 12 RAYMOND,MASON

 


42.21%

EV

18 DVORAK,RADEK - 20 NASH,RILEY - 53 SKINNER,JEFF

11.21%

EV

39 DWYER,PATRICK - 20 NASH,RILEY - 53 SKINNER,JEFF

9.98%

EV

20 NASH,RILEY - 15 RUUTU,TUOMO - 53 SKINNER,JEFF

66.67%

PP

14 GERBE,NATHAN - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

7.21%

PP

28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 53 SKINNER,JEFF - 12 STAAL,ERIC

 

This data shows just how impressive Kadri’s 2012-13 season was, since most of his regular linemates were far from household names. But not only could the same be said about Skinner for 2012-13 at even strength, if we look at 2013-14 so far, he’s managed to put up nine points in ten games playing predominantly with Radek Dvorak and Riley Nash at even strength and Nathan Gerbe and Jordan Staal on the PP.

Skinner gets the narrow edge here, since Kadri has played regularly with highly owned Joffrey Lupul in 2013-14, and is slated to fill injured Tyler Bozak’s spot on Toronto’s potent top line between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk (more on this below). In contrast, the most widely owned played Skinner is lining up with these days is Jordan Staal, who might still be a recognized name but has dropped down to only 48% owned in Yahoo leagues, compared to Lupul’s 95%, JVR’s 88%, and Kessel’s 100%.

 

Value vs. Cost

As of October 28th, Skinner was 87% owned (ranked 109th) compared to Kadri’s 82% (108th). With Kadri being slotted on the Kessel JVR line for now and Skinner battling an injury, I’d expect Kadri’s position to improve and Skinners to slide. But unless either of these developments stretch into the long-term, we’re looking at players who are just about as even as could be in this area.

 

So Who Wins?

I think that Kadri’s move to first line center in place of the injured Tyler Bozak could have potential long-lasting implications. After all, despite being rewarded with a five year $21M deal this offseason and having played alongside Kessel for several seasons, Bozak has never scored more than 47 points in a full season and last season scored at just a 50 point pace. It’s possible that Kadri might step in and find a permanent home on that top line. If that happens, then he wins this contest in a landslide.

But for purposes of ruling on the match we need to give most weight to the data we already have at our fingertips; and with the players being fairly close when factoring in things like Ice Time, Secondary Categories, and Windexiness, Skinner’s injury history is ultimately the deciding factor. With him being one hit away from missing a huge chunk of time, plus him knowing this and perhaps having his play suffer because of it even when healthy, that tilts the scales to Kadri.

And beyond just that, I don’t put too much stock in Skinner’s fast start to 2013-14 since he’s done this before and ended up disappointing, first in 2010-11 (when he finished with only 44 points in 64 games despite starting with 11 points in his first nine) and then again in 2012-13 (when he ended up with 24 points in 42 games after starting with 12 points in his first 11 games). We’ll need to see him put together another solid season before we can truly say he’s back to his old self let alone truly rival Kadri.

 

Recent cage matches:

 

David Desharnais vs. Tyler Ennis 
Dan Boyle vs. Kimmo Timonen 
Daniel Alfredsson vs. Ray Whitney 

 

Mike Richards or Joe Pavelski 

 

 

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