Investigating older AHL stars and their odds of making a fantasy impact, and more…


Last year I got a lot of emails/comments inquiring about the fantasy value of career minor-leaguer Travis Morin. After all, he just led the AHL in scoring. By a wide margin (88 points to second-place Zach Boychuk's 74 points). Morin is 30 and the odds of him getting any kind of shot on a scoring line in the NHL approaches zero. Historically, the career AHLers who lead the AHL at this age go nowhere. Think Darren Haydar, Peter White, Christian Matte, Steve Maltais, Kirby Law, Alexandre Giroux, Keith Aucoin, Jason Krog…heard of them? It just doesn't happen.

Not fairly, anyway. And by "fairly" I mean a sustained look on a scoring line for 15 or more games. Teams don't have anything invested in these guys. Their money has been poured into their draft picks and younger prospects - the higher the draft pick, the more money spent on them. If you spent $5 million over the last five years on a 23-year-old you drafted in the second round, versus $0 on a 29-year-old you just signed a year ago to bolster your AHL club, who are you going to give a bigger shot to make the big club?

Defending Big D takes a look at Morin and reviews the most successful 30 year olds in NHL history - that is, 30 year olds who make their NHL debut at that age. Take away the Top 8, because all eight of those players made the jump in 1989 or earlier. Now that NHL hockey is worldwide with regards to players, you can't look at that era. Since 1990, 34 points is as high as it goes - Lubomir Sekeras with 34 points in 80 games as a 32-year-old first year player. And that was with an expansion team.

It just doesn't happen. Ever.

Not saying that it wouldn't work. I probably would. But hockey politics are always in play, and this type of situation is no exception. That's why the Islanders were so radical with Matt Moulson (one month shy of 26) and PA Parenteau (27). Imagine how radical a team would be if they tried that with a 30-year-old?


One "semi" exception to the above is the case of Tony Hrkac, who I actually owned in a keeper league briefly in the 90s. His case is different because he played three seasons in the NHL before fading back to the AHL and IHL for six years. He was finally back in the NHL at the age of 32 and enjoyed four full seasons as an NHLer - but that was as a checking-line specialist for expansion teams, topping out at 44 points for Atlanta in 2001-02. The moral of the story is, if there is an AHL star who is 28 or older, if you ever see him get an NHL shot - he will only stick as a depth guy/checker. And is never worth owning in fantasy. Morin included.


The fans of the Flyers have voted this hit by Zac Rinaldo as the play of the year. Doesn't look like much in live action, but you can appreciate it more via the replay:


In case you missed this late last week, Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion in Canada's development camp. You would like to think that he will recover well before training camp, but with these things you never know. I would figure that he will be fine, but if he misses even part of camp I would bet that the Panthers will let him play the season in junior to be safe. Worth monitoring.


I'm very happy to see that the NHL lost a court motion to dismiss a case filed by six fans who accuse the league of anti-competitive behavior because of restrictions to local TV broadcasts.

"If this latest litigation is successful, it's possible that popular teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks could begin selling their broadcast rights throughout the United States."

I think, after all the mumbo-jumbo and legal-eez is put to bed (in two or three years, at the rate in which the NHL will drag the case through molasses), the ridiculous blackouts in some markets when their teams are playing in certain cities will go bye-bye.

"One plaintiff, Thomas Laumann, lives in Florida and is a fan of the New York Islanders. Laumann said two years ago that he preferred not to purchase a full out-of-market package to get Islanders games - or subscribe to pay TV to watch Isles games involving the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, which are blacked out when he tries to watch them through NHL Gamecenter Live.

The lawsuit also attacks the NHL's tactic of charging customers $179.80 for its full-season offering of games available on cable and satellite providers. Again, both of those packages, known as NHL Center Ice, black out in-market games."


I enjoyed Drance's ramblings again yesterday, particularly his thoughts on what the AHL needs to do to improve the watchability of the games, and his recap of the Jason Strudwick/ analytics article. "the ultimate failure of the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs test case was a tipping point for…the acceptance of analytics". Yes and yes.


The last Fantasy Guide update was Friday August 8. In August you can pretty much expect an update every week or so. In September that increases in frequency, and late September the updates are daily. This last update has my annual look at PDO.


Pittsburgh Penguins season in 60 seconds:



#2 Pengwin7 2014-08-11 11:13
Thanks for the link to the Sunday rambling about advanced stats. (I'm not on most weekends, so good to mention a few things from the weekend you liked.)

Just read that article and noted one comment by the author:
So here is the stat gang and me arriving at the same conclusion even though we came at it from different perspectives. They from the numbers and me from years of watching and playing the game. This was the moment I started to “trust” what the advanced stats were saying.

So the former player finally accepts the numbers because he arrives at the same conclusion!!! And then he goes on to seem baffled why the numbers people get so hostile about arguing them. I mean... I get it... but it's also very stubborn to say "If I can't get there on my own - it shall not be an acceptable finding".

Good to see the advanced numbers finally poking through with value after all these years.

About. damn. time.
(Rant over! ;) )
#1 doulos 2014-08-11 10:56
With AHL guys, I generally look to avoid players who have 2 full AHL seasons where they are top guys. If that happens then they are likely career AHL guys and won't end up in the NHL as productive players. I am sure there are exceptions to that, but it seems to pan out a lot that way.

You need to login to post comments. Registration takes 5 seconds. See link at top left under "home"