MattCarle

 

Who would you rather have on your fantasy hockey team - Matt Carle or Fedor Tyutin?

 

Sometimes what wins leagues isn’t just how many home runs you hit in assembling your team; it’s also how many times you manage a single (or even a double) instead of a strikeout. In other words, the last few guys in your line-up or roster can make a difference in close season-long battles or H2H weekly matches. With that in mind, let’s look this week at Matt Carle and Fedor Tyutin to see which one might help you more for the rest of this season, and beyond.

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit

Tyutin, age 30, and Carle, 29, are both former second round draft picks. And at this point in their careers it’s safe to label both as steady, minute-eating defensemen who should give an NHL team (and fantasy squad) fairly consistent but unspectacular production.

Although Tyutin has played in roughly 80 more NHL games, Carle has more career points and has hit the 40 point mark twice in his career (although not since 2010-11). And while Tyutin’s career full season high in points is only 34, if you combine his 22 points in 48 games from last season with his 24 points in his first 51 games so far this season you get a 38 point full season scoring pace, which is just ahead of Carle’s production during the same stretch (47 points in 107 games = 36 point pace).

Tyutin has been with Columbus since 2008-09 (previously on the Rangers), while Carle is on his third NHL team and second stint with Tampa Bay. Both are signed through 2017-18, with Tyutin’s deal bringing with it a $4.5M cap hit compared to Carle’s $5.5M. Tyutin’s contract makes him the second highest paid Blue Jacket defenseman (behind James Wisniewski’s $5.5M, just ahead of Jack Johnson’s $4.35M), while Carle is the highest paid Tampa defenseman by $1.5M (over Victor Hedman).

 

Ice Time – Past Seasons and 2013-14 (through February 3rd)

It’ll be useful to see what Tyutin’s trends are and, for Carle, how his Ice Time looks compared to last season (his first since returning to Tampa) as well as his prior two seasons (spent with the Flyers).

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s d-men)

PP Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s d-men)

SH Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s d-men)

2013-14

21:30 (F.T.) – 3rd

22:07 (M.C.) – 2nd

1:49 (F.T.) – 4th

1:34 (M.C.) – 3rd

2:47 (F.T.) – 2nd

2:23 (M.C.) – 1st

2012-13

24:05 (F.T.) – 2nd

23:44 (M.C.) – 1st

2:46 (F.T.) – 3rd

2:33 (M.C.) – 2nd

2:21 (F.T.) – 3rd

2:36 (M.C.) – 1st (tie)

2011-12

24:08 (F.T.) – 3rd

23:01 (M.C.) – 1st

3:18 (F.T.) – 4th

2:38 (M.C.) – 3rd

2:49 (F.T.) – 3rd

1:43 (M.C.) – 6th

2010-11

22:41 (F.T.) – 1st

21:59 (M.C.) – 3rd

2:55 (F.T.) – 3rd

2:18 (M.C.) – 4th

2:43 (F.T.) – 4th

1:13 (M.C.) – 6th

 

What’s interesting – and concerning - is both players have seen a significant drop in overall Ice Time this season, with a good chunk of it being lost PP Ice Time (Carle’s PP Ice Time is down by 38%, Tyutin’s by 34%). For Tyutin in particular, to see his overall Ice Time go from being in the 24 minute range for the past two seasons to below 21:30 this season is pretty jaw dropping. And to make matters worse, Tyutin’s SH Ice Time has increased by about 18% over last year whereas Carle’s dropped by 8% -- not a seismic shift, but still worth noting.

Clearly these are not good trends for either player; however, both have been able to maintain a decent scoring pace so far, including (as will be discussed below) on the PP. But before their owners begin to breathe easy, this could be the first sign that each’s offensive role with his respective team might be diminishing, which could mean a drop in points is poised to occur.

 

Secondary Categories & PDO (2013-14 through February 3rd)


Season

+/-

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots

(per game)

PIMs

(per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points (per game)

PDO

(for 5x5)

2013-14

 

+6 (F.T.)

+15 (M.C.)

1.20 (F.T.)

0.71 (M.C.)

1.21 (F.T.)

2.16 (M.C.)

0.55 (F.T.)

0.29 (M.C.)

1.27 (F.T.)

1.58 (M.C.)

0.156 (F.T.)

0.127 (M.C.)

1019 (F.T.)

1023 (M.C.)

2012-13

 

+9 (F.T.)

+1 (M.C.)

1.21 (F.T.)

0.66 (M.C.)

1.21 (F.T.)

1.81 (M.C.)

0.58 (F.T.)

0.083(M.C.)

1.16 (F.T.)

1.375 (M.C.)

0.10 (F.T.)

0.10 (M.C.)

1024 (F.T.)

1016 (M.C.)

2011-12

 

-21 (F.T.)

+4 (M.C.)

1.51 (F.T.)

0.67 (M.C.)

1.38 (F.T.)

2.00 (M.C.)

0.74 (F.T.)

0.44 (M.C.)

1.88 (F.T.)

1.61 (M.C.)

0.18 (F.T.)

0.146 (M.C.)

968 (F.T.)

994 (M.C.)

2010-11

 

-12 (F.T.)

+30 (M.C.)

1.50 (F.T.)

0.62 (M.C.)

1.16 (F.T.)

1.91 (M.C.)

0.40 (F.T.)

0.28 (M.C.)

1.60 (F.T.)

1.43 (M.C.)

0.15 (F.T.)

0.02 (M.C.)

972 (F.T.)

1024 (M.C.)

 

Aside from +/- (very team-dependent) and the PIM output from Carle in 2012-13, things have been pretty consistent. Tyutin’s Hits advantage is comparable to Carle’s Blocked Shots edge, resulting in Tyutin being decent but not great in either category versus most fantasy defensemen, while Carle is well below average in Hits but elite (in or around top ten in the NHL) in Blocked Shots. Both players fare pretty poorly in PIMs and Shots, with Carle being worse in the former and Tyutin worse in the latter; it should also be noted that Tyutin’s production in both categories has been slipping since 2011-12.

We saw above that both players are getting less PP Ice Time this season, yet their PP points pace is on par with their recent seasons. And while Carle has been the less consistent PP point producer, that also means Tyutin has more to lose if his PP Ice Time continues to decrease.

Their PDO numbers are not jaw dropping, as all but one (Tyutin in 2011-12) fall within the generally accepted “normal” range (970-1030). It’s worth noting, however, that Tyutin’s improved production since 2012-13 has coincided with a significant rise in his PDO, so that bears watching. As for Carle, his 2010-11 PDO figure of 1024 happened to be when he last scored 40 points, but then he managed 38 points in 2011-12 when his PDO dropped all the way down to 994. In the end, Carle’s ability to put up good seasons with both high and low PDO is more reassuring.

 

Value vs. Cost

Carle is owned in 50% of Yahoo leagues, compared to Tyutin’s 26%. This lends support to the idea that Tyutin is undervalued, likely because he’s never had a 40 point season and plays for a less offensive team with two higher profile, offensive defensemen (Johnson, Wisniewski), while Carle might be overvalued because of the high octane offense in Tampa and the fact that the team has no other former 40 point defensemen on its roster (although Hedman already has 36 points in 48 games this season). As we’ve seen, past results and present projections suggest these players should be more closely valued, and because they’re not that gives an edge to Tyutin.


Trade Deadline Impact

As we saw above, right now both guys have similar overall Ice Time. But an important question to ask is what happens after the trade deadline? How will that impact their teams (and, therefore, them)?

Tampa Bay has a solid hold on a playoff spot, and most likely will be buyers at the deadline, while the trade winds in Columbus could end up blowing in either direction. The key is that if Columbus is buying, it won’t be on defense, where the team is pretty well stocked; but if they decide to sell, look for them to unload a defenseman due to their surplus at the position. With Tampa, one of their needs is definitely defensive depth, since there isn’t much beyond Carle and Hedman. Of course you can read more about the trade deadline possibilities for all 30 NHL teams in the Midseason Guide.

All this is relevant because when the dust settles after the trade deadline, Tyutin’s situation in Columbus likely will be unchanged or could even improve, whereas Carle’s will stay the same or perhaps get worse. For example, suppose Tampa brings in another top tier defenseman; that could cut into Carle’s Ice Time, especially on the PP (where Tampa often uses a lone defenseman on at least one PP unit). It’s something to watch carefully, and to factor into the value of both players.

 

Olympics and Injury History

Tyutin will be part of Russia’s squad in the upcoming Olympics, just as he was in 2006 and 2010. Looking back, Tyutin finished with 32 points in 80 games in 2009-10, including seven in 19 games after the Olympics; so his post-Olympic scoring pace was just a bit less than what it was for the rest of the season. Back in 2006 when Tyutin scored 25 points in 77 games, he managed only four points in 23 post-Olympic games, which represented a significant drop in scoring pace versus the pre-Olympic portion of the season. This means you probably shouldn’t expect Tyutin to do better once he returns from Sochi, and, if 2006 was any indication, he might even see his production decrease. As for Carle, he’s not playing in Sochi, so no issue there.

In terms of injuries, Carle hasn’t missed a game since 2009-10 (sitting out just two that season) and only once since becoming a full timer has he played in fewer than 76 contests (62 games in 2007-08). Tyutin is no band-aid boy either, but has twice played in only 66 games, including as recently as 2011-12. In the end, neither guy should give you any real concern as to recurring injuries.

 

Who Wins?

For the rest of the season, things should be pretty even. But that might change if Tampa adds a quality defenseman, as chances are that leads to Carle’s Ice Time (in particular on the PP) being negatively impacted, especially with Victor Hedman already being leaned on more by the day. Sure – with Tyutin there’s a risk of an Olympic hangover; but he could actually see his Ice Time jump back up (and with that, his stats perhaps increase) if the Blue Jackets trade away a defenseman. In the end, if you already own either guy, then I wouldn’t recommend selling now in a one year league, but maybe explore trading away Carle if Tampa adds a d-man. If you’re able to grab both guys on your waiver wire, then base your choice on your league’s scoring categories and the deadline moves of their clubs.

Looking ahead to next year and beyond, Columbus’ projected improvement makes it likely that Tyutin will continue to be fantasy worthy over the next one to three seasons. But at his age, and with guys like Johnson and Wisniewski (plus former second overall draft pick Ryan Murray) getting the lion's share of PP Ice Time, he’s not likely to see his stats improve. The good news is those guys will remain the marquee names, so even if Columbus improves you shouldn’t have to overpay to get Tyutin and his likely 30-35 points per year.

As for Carle, with arguably no truly elite defensemen set to be unrestricted free agents this summer, it seems safe to say that he’ll still figure into the top two Lightning pairings next season, although his share of PP Ice Time could continue to erode in favor of Hedman (and perhaps others). Plus, as Tampa likely becomes even more of any elite team in the next couple of years, the risk of having to overpay (in terms of value versus cost) for Carle might just become even more concerning. You might be best served to at least explore trading him this offseason.

 

 

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