Eric Gelinas is under the radar, but has been a valuable fantasy commodity this season.
One of the things I have most fun with in fantasy hockey is finding the next up and coming player who starts contributing to your team long before he is a household name. Nothing is better than grabbing a player, seemingly from out of nowhere only to suddenly finding yourself with a very valuable asset. Today, I present to you a guy who may be that elusive great find: Eric Gelinas.
Coming into the season, Gelinas was not on anyone’s radar and even today, I would guess that some folks who are reading this may not yet even know who he is. His ownership (2% in Yahoo! leagues) suggests that there aren’t many people out there who are crediting this guy as being fantasy relevant, but I am here to tell you that he is indeed quite relevant.
So who is this guy?
As a second round pick (54th overall in 2009), the 22 year old Gelinas has a decent pedigree. He is a big defenseman (listed at 6-4, 210) with some offensive flare and a booming shot. In 2011-12, he led the AHL in goals by a defenseman with 16 while accumulating 37 points. As a guy who is a step below the blue-chip prospects like Morgan Rielly or Ryan Murray, Gelinas has flown under the radar to this point but he has quietly been more productive than either of Rielly or Murray as well as some of the other big name veterans out there. He has put up 7 points in just 12 games this season, which is an amazing 48 point pace but because he didn’t start the season with the big club his totals put him outside any top-25 list, so again – he falls off the radar. If you look at points per game though, he’s 16th in the entire league amongst defensemen who have played at least ten games.
How did I find Gelinas?
As you have probably come to expect, I was able to find out about Gelinas using Fantasy Hockey Geek. I didn’t find Gelinas using a typical league ranking though. Had I run a season long analysis, Gelinas would again slide under the radar due to the fact that he hasn’t played as many games as most players. The way I found Gelinas was by running my league through FHG for a more recent time frame (I used Oct 18th – Nov 20th). FHG has the ability to run rankings for the time frame that you choose and it is a really powerful thing to be able to do. I do this from time to time to see who is hot right now, who is providing great value and who is trailing off. I then work to determine whether the trend is sustainable and whether or not the player is worth taking a shot on. I get great insights when doing this and it helps to ensure that I never miss out on the next breakout performer. Superstars like Mike Green and Steven Stamkos had their breakouts mid-season. Had I been running the FHG numbers back then, there is no doubt that I would have been one of the first in my league to identify the breakout. I never want to miss an opportunity to get in on the ground floor, so now I run the numbers regularly. When I looked at the data for the past 5 weeks, here’s how Gelinas came out:
(16 team Yahoo! league counting: G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits, using games from Oct 18 – Nov 20)
You can see from the FHG output that over the past five weeks or so, Gelinas has been the 65th most valuable player in this entire league, while coming in as the 16th most valuable defenseman, ahead of players like Phaneuf, Chara, Boyle, Wideman etc. Will he keep providing more value than all of those guys? Probably not, but what I am seeing in this small sample size is enough for me to scoop this guy up for free and feel confident that he is going to help my team out.
What makes Gelinas so valuable?
- • Points: Obviously the points are key with Gelinas. Anytime you have a defenseman playing at a 45+ point pace, you know you have a solid fantasy hockey find. In the last full NHL season, only 11 defenseman got over 45 points. Last season, 23 defensemen scored at that pace (min 10 GPs)
- • PPP: Of Gelinas’ seven points, six have come with the man advantage. I can never overstate how huge this is; not only because PPP are a difficult category to accumulate, but also because it reflects how the Devils are using him in an offensive role.
- • Shots: With 31 shots over 12 games, Gelinas is at an 82 game pace of over 200 shots. Again, I don’t know if this can keep up but the 200 shot hurdle is one that is usually only eclipsed by elite fantasy defensemen.
- • Hits: Gelinas is also hitting at a pace that would put him over 100 in an 82 game season. This isn’t an elite level but it is a very good level, particularly for a defenseman who can put up shots and points.
- • Opportunity: The Devils don’t have a ton of firepower on the backend, so they need to continue to deploy Gelinas on the powerplay. He is seeing the 4th most power-play time per game on the Devils currently and that number is rising. On Wednesday night, he was second to only Zidlicky in power-play time.
In short, Gelinas is a guy who can do it all (or at the very least, he is a guy that is currently doing it all). There isn’t much competition in New Jersey when it comes to point producing defensemen, so Gelinas should have every opportunity to continue to produce. He may not have the upside of a top-tier fantasy defenseman like Subban or OEL, but I think that he has a reasonable chance to at least turn out to be a Jason Garrison type player, with excellent shot and goal totals to go along with solid point and hit totals. He is currently producing at Kevin Shattenkirk type levels, which is incredible for a player who is available in 98% of leagues.
How valuable he ultimately becomes remains to be seen but he is certainly worthy of being more than 2% owned and I would suggest adding him to your roster and enjoying the production for as long as it lasts. I snagged this guy for nothing in my keeper league and he is contributing quite well for me. Who knows, if this keeps up I may have to find a spot for him on my protect list at the end of the season.
To find more players like Gelinas who are producing but still under the radar, log into Fantasy Hockey Geek today and check out the players’ values over the most recent weeks. You might be surprised how much some guys are improving (or regressing). Use the information generated out of FHG to stay ahead of the curve and continue to shock your league with your ability to find these types of players on the waiver wire.
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