JasonPominville2

Last three years Marian Hossa out-pointed Jason Pominville 168-167. Who is the better fantasy own?

 

This week’s battle – Marian Hossa vs. Jason Pominville – might seem like a mismatch based on name recognition; but a bit of digging reveals they scored within one point of each other over the past three seasons (168 for Hossa, 167 for Pominville). Will this continue, or is one the clearly better choice for next season and beyond? You’ve come to the right place to find out – Cage Match starts now!

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

Hossa, 35, got his first taste of NHL action the year he was drafted (1997 – 12th overall). He proceeded to hit the 75 point mark by age 22, and had an amazing stretch of hockey from 2002-03 to 2006-07 where his scoring climbed from 80, to 82, then 92, and finally to 100. He’s also shown he can produce on any squad, topping 70 points for each of the four teams with which he spent a full season. But since 2006-07 Hossa not only has failed to top 77 points but also managed to play more than 72 games in a season just once.

Pominville (who turns 32 in November) wasn’t drafted until the second round (55th overall in 2001) and toiled for 235 games in the AHL before finally sticking with the Sabres in 2006-07. And although he’s topped 70 points just twice (80 in 2007-08, 73 in 2011-12), he’s only fallen short of 60+ points in one full season and has registered 20+ goals in every full campaign. And unlike Hossa, Pominville has been a picture of near perfect health, playing 82 games in all but one season (missing nine games in 2010-11).

After 2014-15, Hossa will be half way through a 12 year, $63M contract. And although his actual salary will drop to $4M in 2016-17 and then to $1M each year until it ends in 2020-21 (when Hossa will be 42!), his cap hit will hold steady at $5.275M. Meanwhile, in 2014-15 Pominville starts the five year, $28M deal he signed after coming to Minnesota during 2012-13. Long story short - their cap numbers are very comparable (Hossa’s $5.275M vs. Pominville’s $5.6M).

 

Ice Time

Hossa has been with Chicago for all four seasons, so we’ll see how – if at all – his stature within the team has changed as he’s continued to age beyond 30. With Pominville, we can see the “before and after” of his move to Minnesota in 2012-13.

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

2013-14

18:16 (MH) – 4th

18:35 (JP) – 3rd

2:13 (MH) – 5th

3:27 (JP) – 1st

1:19 (MH) – 4th

0:04 (JP) – 12th

2012-13

18:02 (MH) – 4th

20:53 (JP - Buff) – 1st

17:31 (JP – Minn) – 4th

2:38 (MH) – 4th

3:53 (JP - Buff) – 1st

2:05 (JP – Minn) – 4th

1:23 (MH) – 4th

2:06 (JP - Buff) – 2nd

0:20 (JP – Minn) – 8th

2011-12

19:57 (MH) – 3rd

19:40 (JP) – 1st

3:09 (MH) – 4th

3:08 (JP) – 1st

1:47 (MH) – 2nd

2:13 (JP) – 2nd

2010-11

19:42 (MH) – 2nd

18:09 (JP) – 2nd

2:42 (MH) – 4th

2:55 (JP) – 4th

1:45 (MH) – 3rd

1:57 (JP) – 3rd

 

In looking at Hossa’s numbers, we see a disturbing and unfortunately clear step downward in Ice Time since 2011-12. The end result has been that within two seasons, Hossa lost 1:43+ of overall Ice Time, with nearly one full minute being on the PP. There’s some small solace in that he’s also lost nearly 30 seconds of unproductive SH Ice Time along the way.

Although Hossa is still in the top five among Blackhawks forwards in terms of overall and PP Ice Time, the reality is he’s no longer a major offensive focal point, particularly on the PP. Just compare (via Frozen Pool) his most common PP Line Combinations from 2013-14 with those from 2011-12:

 

2013-14

 

30.53%

PP

81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 20 SAAD,BRANDON - 23 VERSTEEG,KRIS

11.07%

PP

81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 88 KANE,PATRICK - 10 SHARP,PATRICK - 19 TOEWS,JONATHAN

8.61%

PP

81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 37 PIRRI,BRANDON - 20 SAAD,BRANDON

 

2011-12

 

35.71%

PP

81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 88 KANE,PATRICK - 10 SHARP,PATRICK - 19 TOEWS,JONATHAN

5.42%

PP

81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 88 KANE,PATRICK - 10 SHARP,PATRICK

5.3%

PP

81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 88 KANE,PATRICK - 22 MAYERS,JAMAL - 10 SHARP,PATRICK

 

Quite a step down, wouldn’t you say? Whether or not Hossa still has a gas in his tank, the Blackhawks are clearly beginning to treat him like what he is - an aging veteran.

Meanwhile, Pominville’s move to Minnesota resulted in lower overall Ice Time compared to his peak of 20:53 in Buffalo in 2012-13. But it’s been addition by subtraction, as the drop has come predominantly in the form of 2:02 less unproductive SH Ice Time versus only 0:26 less time on the PP. What’s more, despite the PP Ice Time drop, Pominville is getting the most of any Wild forward.

It’s safe to say if Hossa remains healthy and productive he could avoid further reductions in his Ice Time; however, rarely – if ever – do 35 year olds find themselves regaining productive Ice Time once it’s been lost, so don’t look for his overall or PP Ice Times to rebound, especially given the success of the Blackhawks over the past two seasons. On the other hand, Pominville’s Ice Time should remain stable, particularly since the Wild’s most notable up and coming players (Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle) don’t play Pominville’s position of right wing.

 

Secondary Categories

Pominville’s numbers from 2012-13 have been combined such that what you see below is his output from both teams put together.

 

Season

PIMs

(per game)

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points

(per game)

2013-14

0.28 (MH)

0.19 (JP)

0.60 (MH)

0.28 (JP)

0.36 (MH)

0.38 (JP)

3.34 (MH)

2.75 (JP)

0.18 (MH)

0.21 (JP)

2012-13

0.40 (MH)

0.17 (JP)

0.30 (MH)

0.44 (JP)

0.32 (MH)

0.74 (JP)

2.90 (MH)

2.51 (JP)

0.15 (MH)

0.19 (JP)

2011-12

0.24 (MH)

0.14 (JP)

0.90 (MH)

0.36 (JP)

0.49 (MH)

0.63 (JP)

3.06 (MH)

2.86 (JP)

0.24 (MH)

0.32 (JP)

2010-11

0.14 (MH)

0.20 (JP)

0.74 (MH)

0.48 (JP)

0.35 (MH)

0.68 (JP)

3.15 (MH)

2.94 (JP)

0.29 (MH)

0.19 (JP)

 

The biggest eye-opener here is Hossa’s 2013-14 Shots average, which was his highest among all four of these seasons despite his low Ice Time noted above. That suggests he’s definitely still doing what he can to remain productive and to best utilize the Ice Time that he’s receiving. His PIMs have also crept up a bit in these past two seasons, while his Blocked Shots have essentially held steady.

Now onto the bad news. Hossa’s Hits are clearly down, as are his PP Points, with the latter drop not too surprising in view of his decreased minutes and lower quality PP linemates.

Pominville’s PIMs are as bad in Minnesota as they were in Buffalo, while his Hits have held steady and aren’t quite as bad. He actually had posted a decent Blocked Shots average until last season, when somehow his total was cut nearly in half. A decrease there might go hand-in-hand with him having less defensive responsibility, along the lines of his big drop in shorthanded minutes.

Pominville’s Shots have stayed in the 2.5 to 3.0 range per game each season, so they’ll likely remain in that ballpark. He had one season of huge PP Points scoring, but otherwise was right around one per five games. We’ll want to focus on his 5x4 IPP for 2011-12 to see if his PP output for that season might’ve been an outlier, or could actually be repeated.

 

Luck-Based Metrics

For Pominville, the 2012-13 data again reflects his time with both Buffalo and Minnesota.

 

Season

Personal Shooting Percentage

Team Shooting Percentage (5x5)

PDO (5x5)

IPP (5x5)

IPP (5x4)

2013-14

12.4% (MH)

13.3% (JP)

9.09% (MH)

8.98% (JP)

1012 (MH)

1009 (JP)

70.0% (MH)

86.1% (JP)

44.4% (MH)

53.3% (JP)

2012-13

14.7% (MH)

11.8% (JP)

9.60% (MH)

10.91% (JP)

1049 (MH)

1009 (JP)

69.2% (MH)

61.8% (JP)

33.3% (MH)

64.3% (JP)

2011-12

11.7% (MH)

12.8% (JP)

9.94% (MH)

9.44% (JP)

1015 (MH)

1003 (JP)

81.1% (MH)

83.7% (JP)

80.0% (MH)

74.1% (JP)

2010-11

12.2% (MH)

10.2% (JP)

7.85% (MH)

7.92% (JP)

1002 (MH)

995 (JP)

81.6% (MH)

76.2% (JP)

66.7% (MH)

44.4% (JP)

 

Right off the bat we see that Pominville’s 5x4 IPP for 2011-12 was his highest of any season, although not by an enormous amount. But this is enough to suspect he probably won’t get one PP Point every three games again. Best to look for him to tally one in five as usual, with maybe a chance at one in four if the Wild click more on the PP as a team (in 2013-14 they finished 16th).

Hossa’s 2011-12 featured him getting 77 points in 81 games, and we can see there was luck involved, especially in terms of IPP. What this suggests is even if he was to have received the same overall and PP Ice Time in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and remained with top linemates, he still probably wouldn’t have hit the 75 point mark. On a positive note, although for 2012-13 he had a very high PDO (19 above the upper end of normal) and somewhat high Personal Shooting % (his career average is 12.8%), he was able to put up even better stats in 2013-14 despite those metrics coming back down to earth.

As for Pominville, his metrics are among the most consistent of anyone I’ve profiled in Cage Match. That being said, the 86.1% IPP for 5x5 in 2013-14 certainly sticks out since although Pominville twice was above 75% for 5x5 IPP - suggesting he “runs high” in general - that’s still incredibly high. In fact, among forwards who played 1000+ minutes at 5x5 in 2013-14, Pominville’s 86.1% put him third behind only Taylor Hall and Alex Ovechkin.

For 2014-15 it’s best to figure on Pominville’s 5x5 IPP to drop back to the 75-80% range, and given that his other luck-based metrics have held fairly constant and his Ice Time isn’t likely to increase, it’s probable that a dip in IPP would cause Pominville’s points to slip below the 60 that he scored last season, settling closer to 55.

 

Who Wins?

Here’s a great opportunity to talk about how name recognition and reputation affect player value (and cost). Everything above, including cap hit, suggests that the actual value of Pominville and Hossa going into 2014-15 should be pretty comparable. But I’m guessing that if you’re in a one-year league Hossa gets drafted well before Pominville.

Don’t get me wrong – Hossa is still very fantasy worthy at age 35; but he’s basking in past glory when it comes to perceived value. People still fixate on his 100-point season, plus the 77 points in 81 games as recently as 2011-12, and think that Hossa could again give them point per game production. But in truth that’s an incredibly long shot given his age, propensity to get injured, and downgrade not just in Ice Time but also in PP linemates.

My recommendation is to keep Hossa in the very back of your mind come draft day in one year leagues, as chances are he’ll be picked well before he should. On the flip side, don’t sleep on Pominville, as although he’s unlikely to hit 70 points again and might have a greater chance of slipping to 55 versus rising to 65, he’s the type of guy who’s undervalued by poolies. That means you could be able to grab him well beyond when someone of his true value should be selected in a one year draft.

If you have either player in a keeper, I’d look for a chance to trade Hossa when he’s healthy and hot, and not look back, while you probably should hold Pominville and reassess after next season unless he creeps up to point per game levels, in which case you’d owe it to yourself to sell high.

 

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