Neal

 

 

Over the course of the last few weekends I participated in a few Yahoo! mock drafts to gain a better grasp of what’s been going on in the “real” fantasy hockey world. I thought I’d pass my findings onto you Dobberities. I participated in random drafts ranging from eight to 14 teams from H2H to Roto leagues with standard settings. This is what I have concluded.

 

A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of under-rated and unappreciated draft options, this week I’ll do the opposite and post who I think is over-rated and over glorified at the Yahoo! draft tables.

Keep in mind that my opinions are based on standard Yahoo! league settings (G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA, SP and SO). Your personal league settings might be different than those used in my discussions, which could dramatically change my opinion on a few of the players noted below.   

 

Claude Giroux – C/RW- Philadelphia Flyers


Average: 4.1

Yahoo O-Rank: 3

Dobber Experts Pick: 5th (Capped – Eric Daoust)

 

First thing I do need to clear up is that it’s not like I don’t want Giroux on my fantasy team, it’s just that I don’t really know if he’s really that worth the price of his current draft position. Yes, I do understand that he posted 93 points, which was third behind Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos, but a first round pick needs to be a clear-cut game breaker and although he did have a great 2011-12, Giroux hasn’t earned that immunity factor for me to dive head first just yet. If you break down his overall stats, his plus six rating ranked him tied for 161st, his 29 PIM ranked him tied for 290th, and his 242 SOG tied him with Tyler Seguin for 28th. So, if you break it all down, is he really the runaway candidate as the third or fourth pick?

 

Another factor that caught my attention is that nearly 60 percent (57.9) of his power-play points and 59.3 percent of his even strength points came when he was on the ice with Jaromir Jagr. Now that the cagy veteran has fled to the greener pastures of Dallas, will that severely hamper G’s offensive production this campaign?

 

Where would I select him: Round 1 (pick 7 - 10)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Lundqvist or Jon Quick.

 

James Neal – LW/RW- Pittsburgh Penguins


Average: 14.8

Yahoo O-Rank: 15

Dobber Experts Pick: 11th (Commish Office – Glen Hoos)

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that Crosby and Jordan Staal’s absences to the Pens line up opened up a lot more scoring opportunity for Neal in 2011-12. At the end of the day, the Pens posted 746 points as a team in which Neal contributed 81 points which works out to be 10.9 percent of the team’s totals. With Crosby and Malkin both healthy, you would have to think that this chunk of the pie would certainly decrease, simply because of the puck possession game that Malkin and Crosby both employ. Neal also registered a whopping 329 SOG (4.11 per contest), which is nearly one and a half times his previous career-high, so that might be another factor that comes back down to Earth this season.

 

I still think he’s good for 65-70 points along with 250 SOG, but to expect 81 and 329 again, I think is a bit far-fetched.

Where would I select him: Round 2-3 (pick 20 - 25)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Ilya Kovalchuk, Rick Nash or Zach Parise.

 

Jimmy Howard – G- Detroit Red Wings


Average: 19.4

Yahoo O-Rank: 18

Dobber Experts Pick: 27th (Amato – Micheal Amato)

 

Howard enters 2012-13 as the fourth ranked netminder in Yahoo! draft lists. What’s causing the uncertainty that surrounds him isn’t his individual ability but it’s the departing players around him (most notably Nik Lidstrom). I wrote about it briefly in a forum post back in July. The Wings went 3-6-2 while allowing 2.91 goals against per contest during an 11-game span in Lidstrom’s absence. Howard didn’t play a major role as he went 1-2-1 with a run-of-the-mill 2.75 GAA and dismal .887 SP. There are just better and “safer” options than Howard as your number 1 G.    

Where would I select him: Round 3 (pick 30 - 40)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Tuukka Rask, Phil Kessel or Henrik Sedin.

 

Erik Karlsson – D- Ottawa Senators


Average: 21.7

Yahoo O-Rank: 25

Dobber Experts Pick: 12th (Legion of Dobber – Dobber)

 

Probably not going to get a lot of love with this pick, but hear my reasoning before you judge.

 

In the last five seasons, and a sample of 1490 blue-liners, there have only been a grand total of five defensemen, who have had the prestige of tallying over 10 percent of their team’s total point production during a season. Lidstrom (10.1 percent) with the Red Wings in 07-08, Mike Green (10.2) with the Caps along with Mark Streit (10.3) in 08-09, Lubomir Visnovsky also pulled of this feat in 09-10 while registering 10.4 percent of the Ducks totals and of course you have Karlsson from last campaign, which tallied a whopping 11.8 percent of the Sens total.

 

From my analysis of looking at the average point production of the top 10 blue-liners during the past five seasons, the average amongst them is roughly 8.7 percent of their team’s totals. If you look at the average percent of team contributing amongst the number one defensive scorer in the league it works out to be 10.3 percent. So if you compare those numbers with Karlsson’s 11.8 percent that just highlights how inflated his numbers really were from last campaign.

 

Another factor to consider is that the Sens posted 659 points as a team in 2011-12. If you look at the previous three seasons, they posted 502, 599 and 572 respectively, so once again 659 is pretty far off the pace compared to past historical numbers. Was it the influence of new coach Paul Maclean that got the team revving? And will it continue to shine or will the honeymoon period wear off?  

 

If Karlsson reverts back to 10 percent of the Sens totals from this season, he’ll still be in the ballpark figure of 65 points, which is a great figure in itself, but I don’t think he comes close to repeating 78. Now consider a worst case scenario, what happens if he and the Sens both dip? 10 percent of 575 points is 57 points, which wouldn’t be all that different than the production of another top-10 blueliner.  

 

Now the million dollar question is whether or not a 55-65 point blue-liner is worth the price of paying a second round pick? Or a first rounder in Dobber’s case?   


Where would I select him: Round 3-4 (pick 30 - 40)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Tyler Seguin, Anze Kopitar, Eric Staal or Ilya Bryzgalov.

 

Cory Schneider – G- Vancouver Canucks


Average: 31.3

Yahoo O-Rank: 28

Dobber Experts Pick: 20th (Angus Unleashed – Angus)

 

Yahoo! really over-extended themselves in terms of where they placed Schneider in draft rankings. The problem with him is that he doesn’t have 100 percent job security. With Roberto Luongo still lurking in the wings, the most likely scenario to occur is probably a 50/50 timeshare situation. At the end of the day, it’s not like the Canucks can just sit a $5.3 mil goalie on the bench and let Schneider have free rein. They’ll, at the very least, need to entertain a scenario where they can showcase Luongo for potential suitors to have a chance to at least preview the product before they buy. That in itself will limit the value that Schneider will have moving forward. Giving him the ranking of the sixth highest ranked goalie is just going overboard.    

 

Where would I select him: Round 6-7 (pick 60-70), alongside Luongo.

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Bryzgalov, Mike Smith, Jaroslav Halak or M.A. Fleury.  

 

David Backes – C/RW- St. Louis Blues  


Average: 41.4

Yahoo O-Rank: 36

Dobber Experts Pick: 41st (Mac’s Militia – Mac Vincent)

 

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

PPP

SOG

82

24

30

54

15

101

17

234

T-60th

T-100th

T-73rd

T-56th

32nd

68th

34th

 

Backes is a great “total package” option, but the fact that he doesn’t really excel in any one area could be his major downside, making his 41st Yahoo! ranking a tad high. If you take HIT and BS into account then his current draft position is certainly justifiable, but in standard setting leagues, he’s probably being overreached.

 

Take a look at the following table regarding Backes’ stats and how they are affected when Andy McDonald is active or inactive in the Blues line up.  

 

 

Points-Per-Game

SOG-Per-Game

Regular Season Without McDonald

0.76

3.02

Regular Season With McDonald

0.48

2.58

Post-season With McDonald

0.44

1.33

 

The health of McDonald certainly plays a major role in the offensive production that Backes produces. At the current cost of a fourth round pick, the price is just too hefty for my liking. A fourth round pick still needs to be an impact player, and I don’t know if Backes is enough of one for me to pounce on.  

 

Where would I select him: Round 6-7 (pick 60-70)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Marty St. Louis, Nicklas Backstrom, Dustin Byfuglien or Shea Weber

 

Mike Richards – C/LW – Los Angeles Kings

 

Average: 58.8

Yahoo O-Rank: 50

Dobber Experts Pick: 94th (Prospect Bites – Russ Bitely)

 

I’ll give him props for winning the cup, but in terms of fantasy numbers, Richards is greatly over-rated.

 

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

PPP

SOG

74

18

26

44

+3

71

14

171

T-117th

T-139th

T-129th

T-224th

T-82nd

T-99th

T-116th

 

If you look at the rankings for the standard stats inYahoo! leagues, all of the stats except for PIM are essentially outside of the top-100. So my question to Yahoo! is why the hell is he ranked 50th overall? Add that to the fact that he plays on a team that was ranked second last in terms of total offense and that he also has to compete with the likes of Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Jarett Stoll and Dustin Penner for those precious points, there’s just not a lot of room for Richards to really excel fantasy-wise. Let your competition gamble on Richards while you sit back and observe.    

 

Where/What would I select him: Round 8-10 (pick 80-100)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Loui Eriksson, Brian Campbell, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle or Joe Thornton

 

Braden Holtby – G- Washington Capitals


Average: 65.3

Yahoo O-Rank: 55

Dobber Experts Pick: 73rd (Mac’s Militia – Mac Vincent)

 

The Holtby situation is similar to the Schneider situation as mentioned above. Holtby and Michal Neuvirth will essentially be in a 50/50 timeshare situation until one can really grab the bulls by the horn to run with the starter’s gig. I don’t trust him enough to use my fifth or sixth round pick to select him and would prefer a “safer” option.

 

Where would I select him: Round 9-10 (pick 90-100)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Suter, Jamie Benn, Dany Heatley or Martin Brodeur

 

Max Pacioretty – LW – Montreal Canadiens


Average: 86.5

Yahoo O-Rank: 72

Dobber Experts Pick: 89th (Cage Match – Steve Laidlaw)

 

Once again I’m probably not going to win many fans with this pick as I know he’s a major Dobber favourite around these neck of the woods.

 

It’s not that I dislike him or think that he lacks skill, for me Max Pac kind of fell into the right situation last year allowing him to inflate his numbers. With Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez sidelined for much of the season along with David Desharnais and Erik Cole re-vitalizing their games, it allowed Pacioretty to claim a lot of that available ice-time to step up and inflate his production. From Feb. 1st onwards, he garnered 19:43 per contest, 3:18 of which was on the PP, while tallying at a 0.91 point and 3.6 SOG per game pace.

 

It’s not that I think Gionta or Gomez are better players than Max Pac, but the truth of the matter is, the coaching staff won’t just cast 10 and 13 year NHL veterans to the sidelines, they’ve earned enough trust to garner at least some sort of major responsibility with the team, which will cut into the 19:43 and 3:18 that Pacioretty gathered at the end of last year. The question is how much will it be cut and how will it affect Max Pac’s fantasy totals?  

 

Where/What would I select him: Round 9-10 (pick 95-105)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Jordan Staal, Mark Streit, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Green or Matt Moulson.

 

Nail Yakupov – RW- Edmonton Oilers


Average: 88.5

Yahoo O-Rank: 78

Dobber Experts Pick: 113th (Lupul on my Clitsome - Mabus)

 

Here’s a table of notable rookie point production from the last three seasons.

 

Rookie

Points in Rookie Year

Gabriel Landeskog

52

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

52

Adam Henrique

47

Jeff Skinner

63

Logan Couture

56

Jordan Eberle

43

Taylor Hall

42

Matt Duchene

55

John Tavares

54

 

With the lone exception of Skinner, generally speaking most “high-end” rookies will post roughly 50-55 points in their inaugural NHL campaigns. I don’t know if that would be enough to convince me to bypass a veteran and to take a rookie.  

 

Where/What would I select him: Round 12-15 (pick 120-140)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Drew Doughty, Marian Gaborik, Keith Yandle, Duncan Keith or Miikka Kiprusoff.

 

Brent Seabrook – D- Chicago Blackhawks


Average: 136.1

Yahoo O-Rank: 198

Dobber Experts Pick: 112th (Lupul on my Clitsome - Mabus)

 

His draft ranking has finally returned back to Earth after it was sky high and hugely over-rated just 12 months ago. In leagues with an emphasis on HIT and BS then certainly slide him up the draft rankings, but in standard leagues he won’t produce enough stats to justify taking him over a few of the alternatives listed below

 

Where/What would I select him: Round 14-15 (pick 140+)

 

Who would I select at his current draft position instead: Matt Carle, Joni Pitkanen, Marek Zidlicky or Cam Fowler.

 

Are there any that I might have overlooked? Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below.

 

A quick shout out, congratulations to a fellow Canadian Mike Pyke, who is the first ever Canadian to play in an AFL premiership (for those Canucks in Aus right now, they’ll know what I’m talking about!) with the Sydney Swans! Congrats big guy!

 

Sydney

 

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Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Neal For me it's not about talent. There are plenty of talented players out there who get hurt by lack of opportunity or depth charts. A player could have point-per-game potential, but given 13 mins a game, will he ever reach point-per-game? Probably not... (Chris Stewart's name pops into mind).

For me, fantasy hockey is entirely a numbers game. At the end of the day, there's a finite amount of points/goals to be scored in the league. You don't get crazy NHL 13 numbers where teams average 5-6 goals a game. It generally settles around the 2.0-3.3 mark depending on the team.

Some rare instances you might have the Caps of 09-10 where they reel off 3.82, but you also have to keep in mind that's the exception not the rule...

The latest trend in the NHL is that the scoring is going down. If you bought the guide, I mention a bit about that in my projections article...

The Pens are already at the top of the league averaging 3.33 goals per game, and posted 746 points as a team last campaign, which led the league by a fairly large margin (next closest was Philly at 710).

If you look at the recent trends, the Pens have tallied 667, 706, 682, 618 and 746 last season, so I mean 746 is probably the "high end" of the totals anyway.

Now if you consider the man games lost, Crosby, Staal, Letang and Malkin... that's where it allowed a Neal, Kunitz, Dupuis or Sullivan to "fill in" some of that production. Once you fill back those man games lost (Crosby wouldn't post 37 points if he played 82 games), the points will have to be taken away somewhere...

The scenario that you mentioned could certainly take place, where they might up the production to say 3.5 goals per game, which then allows for another 100 points to be spread across the team, but keep in mind during the last 5 years, and 150 teams worth of data, there's only been 2 teams (Detroit 08-09: 3.52, Caps 09-10: 3.82)), who have ever hit that mark. There has also been only 3 teams that have hit the 3.33 that the Pens accomplished last campaign.

My best guess is that Neal sees a regression and some of his points will be taken away from a healthy Crosby, while the team production remains similar...
October 06, 2012
Votes: +0

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it said:


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... I agree with almost everything here. It is a really well written piece. However, I truly dont think James Neal should be on this list. He has excelled at every level hes played at. He led the whalers to the mem cup, he won under 18 gold and world junior gold. He was a standout in the AHL and has only become better as he has become accustomed to the league. You say that Malkin and Crosby healthy cuts his production? I say the penguins should equals their totals if not break them from last year and if Neal ends up on a second line lining up against second liners your going to see his production soar. Just my thoughts though like to see what you guys think
October 06, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... My counter argument is how much more can the Sens' offense climb? In this day and age of declining offensive totals in the NHL, the Sens have already spiked their production given their roster set up. They were the 4th highest offense in the league last campaign.

I would argue that Green and the Caps peaked in total points because they had a trio (quartet if you count Semin) that really lit the NHL on fire offensively. I mean in the heyday between 08-10, they were averaging 3.27 and 3.82 goals per game. They had Ovechkin who was the most dangerous sniper in the league, and Backstrom who was an elite set up man. Their PP was also operating at 25.2 for both those seasons, which is a crazy number really when you're scoring in 1 in every 4 chances.

Those are the reasons why Green was such a fantasy stud, the environment around him clicked and he flourished.

Now the difference between the Caps (back in the day) and the Sens now, is that the Sens don't have an Ovechkin or Backstrom or Semin. They have Spezza (who's great, but not Backstrom in 2008-10...) and Michalek (60 points, once again no Ovechkin), Alfredsson (not really comparable to Semin)... So how or where do you think they'll increase that team point total to get them to sustain and better Karlsson's point output?

Another major difference was scheduling... In 08-10 there was still a bit of unbalance in the league. the SE division was easily the worst, you had Atlanta (29th/25th) and TB (27th/27th) at the bottom of the league in terms of goals allowed, then you had Car (8th/26th) and Fla (10th/19th)... So that's a factor to consider why Green produced the numbers that he did. In 08-09 he lit up the SE division for 26 points in 20 games, in 09-10 he posted 21 in 22, so you would have to think scheduling and weakness in opponents played a major role in Green producing the numbers that he did.

The NE is a different story, you have BOS (and their stingy D), Montreal (who was a bit leaky last season, but should be better with less injuries and of course they have Price), Buffalo (Ryan Miller...) and TO... So I mean it's not like the Sens have an "easy" division to play in, certainly not as easy as what the Caps had back in the day.

As for Patches, don't get me wrong it's not about his ability, for me it was entirely the situation that he fell into last campaign.

"The other lines don't even come close", I would counter by saying well that's cause they didn't have any other lines, they were all hurt and on the IR. With Gomez and Gionta on the shelf, that basically thrusted the Patches-Desharnais-Cole into that major offensive role. So it's not surprising to see him have such nice totals because he was essentially given "star" ice-time and given a bigger chunk of the offensive pie.

My question is with Gionta and Gomez healthy, Plekanec gets his line mates back and Bourque full time this year. Add in Galchenyuk (assuming he makes the team), the team around Max Pac is getting better, which should in theory diminish the offensive pie that he receives this season.

Back to you! smilies/wink.gif
October 05, 2012
Votes: +0

aleco83 said:

aleco83
... Definitely a good job Ryan. You of course preemptively defended yourself regarding Karlsson and Patches and those are really my only disagreements. What's interesting about Karlsson is that his growth since the 2009/10 season has been a steady 73% and he's only 22. While I think there is no way his production continues that trend, I don't think we have seen his ceiling yet. His share of the teams points has also increased substantially going from 4 to 9 to 12% in the last 3 seasons. While I think that you may not see that % climb higher I think the sens total team output will increase. If you look at Mike Greens' Caps, they peaked in total points when he peaked and they subsequently dropped, it's interesting to see his points and the caps points increase from 07/08 to 09/10. In the case of such pivitol offensive D where they literally QB the offense every second they are on the ice I think you will find a stronger coorelation between total team output and that players output.

For Patches, I don't have much of a quantitative discourse but as a Habs fan I have seen the Patches-Deharnais-Cole line cement themselves as the top line in MTL. The other lines don't even come close. Do I think they overreached? No, why? I have some confidence in the chemestry between Deharnais and Patches since the tandem was very successful when they were both in Hamilton and they translated that quite seemlessly into the NHL when they were given the shot. I was waiting for Martin to make the move but for whatever reason he prefers to line juggle endlessly without notice of prior chemestry. Also, Patches and Cole play a very similar shoot first and crash the net style that works very well together I think mainly because of their speed. I say this because even if/when Cole regresses, I think you can inject another winger into the eqeuation without really affecting Patches since IMO he doesnt depend on Cole directly for production.

Ok I'm done...
October 05, 2012
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... Thanks for the positive comments boys! Always greatly appreciated
October 05, 2012
Votes: +0

Shoeless said:

Shoeless
This might be the one, Ryan You know the one - slam dunk, or 3 pointer and nothing but net, kinda thing. This might be the one you really nailed.
October 05, 2012
Votes: +0

rattus rattus said:

rattus rattus
... Sorry Ryan,

The expression is "free rein", as in allowing a horse to move without direction ie no direction from the reins.

Now this doesn't mean that you can't string together two words such as "free" and "reign" and not convey something intelligent, but that was clesrly not your intention here.

Everybody, brother, has lacunae.
Me, I'm always happy to find and correct them.

Smile, say thanks and mean it - my approach.

rattus

October 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Gold, again. I'm getting really annoyed that there's nothing here for me to disagree with.
It's like you are in my brain.

Really, really fantastic list. Read it twice. Agreed with it twice.
Another gem. 10/10.
October 04, 2012
Votes: +2

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Reign or Rein http://www.dailywritingtips.co...ree-reign/

I guess both are acceptable, with rein being "more correct"
October 04, 2012
Votes: -1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Alternative players The thing is because we're lucky to be part of the "Dobber Community" we're exposed to tons of quality info everyday, whether it be from the daily columns, the forums or Dobber's/Angus' ramblings... So I think we're pretty knowledged up in terms of where's value and what isn't. We're on a whole much more informed about fantasy hockey than regular joes who are just starting to visit the site.

If you are looking at just straight Yahoo! O-Ranks. Backes has slipped down to 36 (on average being selected with the 41.4 pick), Backstrom is down to 41 (47.6 ADP). Getz is a whopping 95 (107.4 ADP), Gabby 136 (91.7 ADP) (but that's probably because of off-season shoulder surgery worries). On a whole a lot of these guys are still being drafted right where I've mentioned. So if someone who hasn't participated in mock drafts yet and are entering fresh, I probably wouldn't be surprised to see these guys go where they are ranked. More knowledgeable poolies of course will take advantage of this and personalise their rankings.

Nash is certainy very polarizing... Many poolies think big things for him, many think he'll flop.

The thing for me is as long as you keep expectations in check, he still has plenty of value.

G- 30 (ranked tied for 25th last season)
A- 29 (ranked tied for 108th)
+/- -19, but to me that's always a fickle stat, -19 last year, he could go +19 this year...
PIM- 40 (a decent total, to help pad the stat, it's not like Datsyuk's 14)
PPP- 19 (tied for 49th)
SOG- 306 (tied for 4th)

So I mean when you take into consideration that he did this all playing in Columbus, him moving to a more structured system with Torts in NY, his numbers should improve...

Is he a clearcut advantegeous alternative to Neal? Probably not, but is he a viable alternative, I'd say so...

I actually looked at that for several minutes while proof reading, and debated about with or without g... I shoulda Google searched it hahaha. Thanks for the fix up!
October 04, 2012
Votes: +1

Hey_Robbie said:

Hey Robbie
... Nice work, Ryan. You do a great job of explaining quantitatively and qualitatively why these players are overrated, and I agree with all of your choices. However I am surprised at some of the players you propose as better selections at a given draft position. Maybe it's just my league, but I would be very surprised to find Nicklas Backstrom available at the 41st pick, Ryan Getzlaf at 87th, or Marian Gaborik at 89th. On the other side of the coin, I would feel as if I were reaching to take Rick Nash at 15th overall, although I know many are projecting great things for him on the Rangers.
A minor note that I only mention because your excellent ideas and analyses deserve to be shown in the best light: Cory Schneider would be given "free rein," not "free reign" if Luongo sat the bench.
October 04, 2012
Votes: +1
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