MattRead

Who is the better fantasy hockey own - Matt Read or Colin Wilson?

 

On tap this week – and likely for several more to follow – is a battle between players who have similar point projections in the DobberHockey 2014 Fantasy Hockey Guide. Just like last week, the rub is I won’t tell you what those point projections are exactly – for that you’ll need to order the Guide, which remains far and away the best fantasy hockey resource you can find.

Facing off are Matt Read and Colin Wilson – two players who head into 2014-15 seemingly capable of either breaking out big, matching their previous numbers, or perhaps even seeing their point totals decrease. But what should we expect for this season and beyond, and who is the better own?

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

 

Wilson is a former 7th overall draft pick who was in the NHL to stay (at age 20) by the 2009-10 season. In contrast, Read was undrafted, signed with Philly in early 2011 as a 25 year old after four years of college, and then landed in the NHL for the 2011-12 season.

After a couple of uneventful campaigns Wilson managed 35 points in 68 games during 2011-12, then broke out for 19 points in 25 games during 2012-13 before suffering a shoulder injury. Perhaps due to lingering effects of his shoulder issue, Wilson slumped to only 33 points in 81 games last season. But thanks to the Predators adding James Neal, Derek Roy, and Mike Ribeiro this summer, they’re entering 2014-15 with more offensive talent – on paper – than at any point during Wilson’s tenure there.

Read has been a steady producer, scoring at a 47 point pace in each of his first two seasons before dipping slightly to a 44 point pace in 2013-14. For Read, 2014-15 represents not only his first without Scott Hartnell above him in the depth chart, but also his “magical” fourth season, where many players experience a breakout, although for what it’s worth they’re usually quite younger than Read (now 28).

Read is set to begin a four year deal with a yearly Cap Hit of $3.625M, while Wilson is entering the final season of a three year deal with a Cap Hit of only $2M. Thus, for a one year league Wilson represents a significant bargain, which will likely vanish once he signs his next deal that should result in him being at least as expensive as Read (if not more so).

 

Ice Time

Although there’s only three seasons of data for Read, we can see if his Ice Time has varied despite his points totals remaining consistent. With Wilson, we can compare and contrast his Ice Time before, during and after his breakout 2012-13 and possibly predict whether it might benefit from or be held back by the offseason additions and departures from Nashville.

 

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

15:12 (C.W.) – 7th

18:47 (M.R.) – 3rd

1:34 (C.W.) – 6th

1:35 (M.R.) – 7th

0:00 (C.W.)

3:04 (M.R.) – 2nd

2012-13

16:34 (C.W.) – 5th

18:01 (M.R.) – 2nd

2:22 (C.W.) – 4th

1:50 (M.R.) – 7th

0:00 (C.W.)

2:04 (M.R.) – 4th

2011-12

16:07 (C.W.) – 5th

17:03 (M.R.) – 4th

2:19 (C.W.) – 3rd

2:25 (M.R.) – 8th

0:00 (C.W.)

2:35 (M.R.) – 3rd

2010-11

13:17 (C.W.) – 12th

1:40 (C.W.) – 7th

0:00 (C.W.)

 

Although Read has gone from one minute (2011-12) to ninety seconds, (2012-13) to three and a half minutes (2013-14) more overall Ice Time per season than Wilson, their “productive” Ice Times (overall Ice Time minus SH Ice Time) have stayed pretty comparable. So while it’s not ideal that Wilson has never topped 16:34 in any season, every second of his Ice Time in the past four seasons occurred under circumstances (i.e., even strength or PP) when goals tend to be scored.

In contrast, Read’s SH Ice Time has never been less than 2:04 and reached a high point of 3:04 last season. Not only was that the third highest of any NHL forward in 2013-14, but just one other forward (Tomas Plekanec) even managed 40+ points last season despite finishing with 2:15 or more of SH Ice Time per game.

Of the six Nashville forwards who received more Ice Time than Wilson did in 2013-14, three are gone and one (Mike Fisher) is possibly out until late 2014 or early 2015. That means even if Neal, Ribeiro and Roy get more Ice Time than Wilson (and with at least Roy, that’s a big if) then he’s still a good bet not only to receive more Ice Time in 2014-15 than in 2013-14, but have it be with better quality linemates. One downside is Wilson could remain frozen out of quality PP Ice Time given that the three additions combined for 10:08 per game of PP Ice Time on their respective teams in 2013-14, compared to just over seven minutes among the three departed Nashville forwards.

It’s hard to envision Read receiving added overall Ice Time given his role and the fact that he’s already finished within the top four among Flyer forwards in each of his three NHL seasons. What’s more, despite the exodus of Scott Hartnell, Read doesn’t seem in line to see an increase in per game PP Ice Time average, where he’s never finished higher than 7th among Flyer forwards.

 

Secondary Categories

 

Season

PIMs

(per game)

Hits

(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)

Shots

(per game)

PP Points

(per game)

2013-14

0.25 (C.W.)

0.21 (M.R.)

0.60 (C.W.)

0.96 (M.R.)

0.43 (C.W.)

0.72 (M.R.)

1.38 (C.W.)

2.01 (M.R.)

0.06 (C.W.)

0.02 (M.R.)

2012-13

0.16 (C.W.)

0.04 (M.R.)

0.40 (C.W.)

1.16 (M.R.)

0.52 (C.W.)

0.76 (M.R.)

1.04 (C.W.)

1.71 (M.R.)

0.24 (C.W.)

0.07 (M.R.)

2011-12

0.31 (C.W.)

0.15 (M.R.)

0.63 (C.W.)

1.03 (M.R.)

0.31 (C.W.)

0.73 (M.R.)

1.67 (C.W.)

1.96 (M.R.)

0.17 (C.W.)

0.14 (M.R.)

2010-11

0.20 (C.W.)

0.46 (C.W.)

0.29 (C.W.)

1.23 (C.W.)

0.07 (C.W.)

 

Wilson’s numbers are subpar. He’s never once averaged one PIM per three games, and last season was the first where his combined Hits and Blocked Shots per game added up to one. His Shots totals also are very poor, with his 1.04 per game in 2012-13 making me wonder if his 19 points in 25 games was influenced by luck that’s unlikely to recur. We’ll look at that below.

Read has been consistent in most categories, faring even worse than Wilson in PIM, but averaging right near one Hit per game and an impressive – for a forward – three Blocked Shots per four games played. And his Shots totals for his two full seasons were right at two per game.

PP scoring was eye opening for both players. With Wilson, his output was far and away the highest in 2012-13, making it even more probable that luck helped bolster his stats that year. Read fared well in his rookie season, but since then has been in freefall, culminating in just two PP points during all of 2013-14. We’ll also have to focus below on whether Read had unusually poor luck on the PP over the course of the past two seasons.

 

Luck-Based Metrics

 

Season

Personal Shooting Percentage

PDO (5x4)

PDO (5x5)

IPP (5x5)

IPP (5x4)

2013-14

9.8% (C.W.)

14.6% (M.R.)

1109 (C.W.)

979 (M.R.)

989 (C.W.)

996 (M.R.)

67.6% (C.W.)

80.6% (M.R.)

50.0% (C.W.)

33.3% (M.R.)

2012-13

26.9% (C.W.)

15.3% (M.R.)

954 (C.W.)

986 (M.R.)

988 (C.W.)

1011 (M.R.)

84.6% (C.W.)

79.2% (M.R.)

100% (C.W.)

25.0% (M.R.)

2011-12

13.2% (C.W.)

15.5% (M.R.)

1095 (C.W.)

986 (M.R.)

1002 (C.W.)

1024 (M.R.)

56.8% (C.W.)

71.7% (M.R.)

61.1% (C.W.)

57.9% (M.R.)

2010-11

15.8% (C.W.)

1042 (C.W.)

1030 (C.W.)

75.7% (C.W.)

60.0% (C.W.)

 

This data definitely helps put together some of the pieces to the puzzle that is Wilson’s 2012-13 season, as he had astoundingly high IPP numbers and personal shooting percentage. In terms of IPP, his 100% 5x4 IPP was markedly higher than the 50-60% figure in the other three seasons, as was his 84.6% 5x5 IPP versus the 66% average in those other seasons. In a similar vein, his 26.9% shooting % in 2012-13 was more than double the 12.9% figure from the rest of his career, which meant that his goal total was twice what it likely should’ve been.

Consider this - if his IPP and personal shooting % in 2012-13 were comparable to other years, then his point total would’ve been perhaps as small as 10 in 25 games, which is a 33 point full season pace. And although that seems very low, keep in mind that excluding 2012-13 Wilson has 117 points in 266 games, which is only a 36 point full season pace.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, in compiling 19 points in 25 games in 2012-13, Wilson had a four point game, a three point game, and three two point games, leading to those 19 points coming in just 11 games. The fact that he’s never approached those kinds of offensive outbursts in other seasons (he has just one other four point game and three other three pointers in his other 266 games) further suggests 2012-13 was an aberration.

In contrast, Read’s numbers paint a picture of someone who, if anything, has been more of a victim of unsustainable bad luck than good on the PP. In particular, his 5x4 IPP over the past two seasons is more in line with that of a defenseman than a forward.

And although Read’s 5x5 IPP is fairly high, it’s also been consistently high, which suggests he should be able to sustain that pace going forward. Moreover, his PDO figures aren’t particularly remarkable given his similar point pace each season.

 

Who Wins?

Wilson owners should be quite concerned, as the data portrays him as a 35-40 point player who hit a lightning in a bottle in 2012-13. But we also have to keep in mind that the Nashville top six has been completely revamped in the offseason. And while that doesn’t mean Wilson’s past data should be tossed out the window entirely, he could end up going along for the joyride if the new blood in Nashville helps ramp up its top six, and Wilson’s points along with it.

Read’s issue is entirely different in that he’s stuck being a shorthanded workhorse and power play afterthought. The significant SH duty not only saddles him with unproductive Ice Time but also wears a player down in general, as evidenced by only one other player in the top 30 in SH Ice Time per game for forwards even managing to score 40+ points in 2013-14. And although Read appears to have been a victim of unsustainably bad luck on the PP, even if that was to improve his PP Ice Time is still lower than it was while he was a rookie, so the benefit to his points total likely would be nominal.

In the end, for non-cap leagues the choice should be Read if Hits and/or Blocked Shots are counted, as Wilson’s output in those areas is woeful. But in non-cap points-only leagues, it might boil down to opting for the lesser of two evils, so to speak. With Read, there’s little downside given his consistency; but at the same time it’s very hard to picture him surpassing 50-55 points. On the other hand, Wilson has far more risk of a 35-40 point season given his past data, although the wild card is if he’s paired with the right linemates he could easily see his totals climb to 45, 50, or perhaps even 55 points.

In the end, for non-cap points leagues I’d go with the surer thing, which in this case is Read, since being on a line with talented players doesn’t automatically mean Wilson would see his points total spike up.

 

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