TylerSeguin

 

Who is the better own in fantasy hockey - Tyler Seguin or Claude Giroux?

 

With the dust having settled after Olympic rosters were announced, what better time to do a Cage Match between two elite fantasy performers who happened to not have been named to Team Canada – Claude Giroux and Tyler Seguin. As great as both of them are, one of them has to be better for your fantasy squad; and leave it up to Cage Match to tell you who that is.

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit

Giroux is four years older than Seguin and  had played 130 more regular season games, amassing 291 points versus 121 from Seguin. But if we compare Giroux’s first three seasons (206 games) to Seguin’s (203 games), their point totals are not too far apart, with Giroux having compiled 150 points to Seguin’s 121.

As far as contract status and salary, Seguin is in year one of a six-year, $34.5M deal that comes with a yearly cap hit of $5.75M, while next season Giroux commences an eight year, $66.2M contract with an $8.275M yearly cap hit. A salary difference this wide brings with it a direct consequence of Seguin being more of a bargain in salary cap keeper leagues, but also could have an indirect effect on Giroux’s stats due to the Flyers having $2.5M less to spend on other talented players with which to surround Giroux. And although $2.5M comprises a small fraction of the $71M salary cap for 2014-15, every little bit helps (or hurts).

 

Ice Time – Past Seasons and 2013-14 (through Sunday January 12th)

I’m guessing there won’t be much, if any, surprises in Giroux’s numbers, as he’s been Philly’s franchise forward for several years. The key will be to compare Seguin’s current season (where until his recent dry spell he was above point per game numbers) with his Ice Time for the Bruins, who are notorious for having low Ice Times for their forwards and where he topped out at 67 points in 2011-12.

 

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game (with rank among team’s forwards)

2013-14

21:02 (C.G.) – 1st

19:13 (T.S) – 1st

3:55 (C.G.) – 1st

3:35 (T.S) – 1st

1:16 (C.G.) – 6th (tie)

0:03 (T.S) – 11th

2012-13

21:10 (C.G.) – 1st

17:00 (T.S) – 4th

3:40 (C.G.) – 1st

2:11 (T.S) – 3rd (tie)

1:42 (C.G.) – 6th

0:00 (T.S)

2011-12

21:32 (C.G.) – 1st

16:56 (T.S) – 5th

3:54 (C.G.) – 1st

2:27 (T.S) – 4th

2:14 (C.G.) – 4th

0:01 (T.S)

2010-11

19:23 (C.G.) – 1st

12:12 (T.S) – 15th

3:04 (C.G.) – 1st

1:21 (T.S) – 8th

2:06 (C.G.) – 5th

0:01 (T.S)

 

Sure enough, Giroux has ranked first among Flyer forwards in both overall Ice Time and beneficial PP Ice Time during this entire time period. And in some cases the gap was substantial, including 2011-12, when his 21:32 of overall Ice Time was nearly four minutes more than the next highest Flyer (Scott Hartnell at 17:46). If he’s playing that much more than any other Flyer forward (the gap actually is closer to only two minutes this season), that raises questions about the quality (and regularity) of his linemates. And  if we compare Frozen Pool data for both Giroux and Seguin for 2013-14 we see Giroux having more of a rotating cast of characters on his even strength lines compared to Seguin.

 

32.16%

EV

28 GIROUX,CLAUDE - 19 HARTNELL,SCOTT - 93 VORACEK,JAKUB

19.1%

EV

28 GIROUX,CLAUDE - 12 RAFFL,MICHAEL - 93 VORACEK,JAKUB

4.97%

EV

28 GIROUX,CLAUDE - 40 LECAVALIER,VINCENT - 12 RAFFL,MICHAEL

40.09%

EV

14 BENN,JAMIE - 43 NICHUSHKIN,VALERI - 91 SEGUIN,TYLER

23.18%

EV

14 BENN,JAMIE - 17 PEVERLEY,RICH - 91 SEGUIN,TYLER

10.8%

EV

14 BENN,JAMIE - 72 COLE,ERIK - 91 SEGUIN,TYLER

3.79%

EV

14 BENN,JAMIE - 91 SEGUIN,TYLER

 

On the plus side, the different and lesser owned players who Giroux lines up with translates to a higher relative value of his points (a concept discussed in my previous columns – that a player with less owned linemates has an advantage since his points are less likely to be shared by others in your league). One surprise came in the form of Giroux’s SH Ice Time, which for the first time in these four seasons is below 1:42 per game. But if he was able to put up 93 points in 2011-12 despite 2:14 of SH Ice Time per game, he might just be one of those players where being saddled with that kind of unproductive Ice Time doesn’t negatively affect his stats.

As for Seguin, his key numbers are – not surprisingly – way up now that he’s left Boston. He’s actually on pace to get more than two minutes extra total Ice Time and over a minute more on the PP versus his previous highs with the Bruins. And all that while still getting essentially no SH Ice Time.

 

Other Stats and Metrics (2013-14 through January 12th)

While it was most important to look at Ice Time to gauge its effect on Seguin, advanced stats and metrics should be useful in gauging whether Giroux’s 93 point campaign was an outlying season. As for Seguin, it would be a good sign to see if these metrics – like his Ice Time – have improved with his arrival in Dallas. Note - all stats other than personal shooting percentage are for five on five only.

 

 

Season

Personal Shooting Percentage

Team Shooting Percentage

PDO

Offensive Zone Start Percentage

2013-14

 

10.2% (C.G.)

15.4% (T.S.)

9.29% (C.G.)

11.73% (T.S.)

1001 (C.G.)

1033 (T.S.)

57.7% (C.G.)

57.9% (T.S.)

2012-13

 

9.5% (C.G.)

9.9% (T.S.)

9.23% (C.G.)

9.68% (T.S.)

979 (C.G.)

1040 (T.S.)

47.3% (C.G.)

53.9% (T.S.)

2011-12

 

11.6% (C.G.)

12.0% (T.S.)

9.41% (C.G.)

10.76% (T.S.)

1003 (C.G.)

1022 (T.S.)

48.1% (C.G.)

55.5% (T.S.)

2010-11

 

14.8% (C.G.)

8.4% (T.S.)

9.42% (C.G.)

6.13% (T.S.)

1013 (C.G.)

1006 (T.S.)

49.2% (C.G.)

50.6% (T.S.)

 

Giroux’s stats have been consistent, with his personal shooting percentage within roughly a two percent range over the past three seasons, which includes his monster 2011-12 campaign. His team shooting percentage is even more consistent, falling within 9.23% to 9.42% for all four of these seasons, just as his PDO has been well within the “normal” 970 to 1030 range each season. There is more of a variation in offensive zone starting percentage, where this season it’s above 56% after never even having been 50% or more in the past three seasons.

All things considered, there’s nothing here that indicates Giroux’s 2011-12 numbers were due to highly unusual (and unrepeatable) metrics. But that’s a good news bad news situation in that it begs the question of why he hasn’t come close to matching that point total in any of these other seasons if his core metrics were essentially the same.

As for Seguin, the 2013-14 data is concerning. For one, his individual and team shooting percentage numbers are likely unsustainably high. Also, although his PDO is once again above 1030, it’s actually down by more than ten since his five game pointless streak began. Still, it’s interesting to note that he actually finished last season with a 1040 PDO despite only 32 points in 48 games for the Bruins. The key is that his PDO and high shooting percentages do suggest he’s unlikely to continue his roughly 40 goal pace, and should remain below a point per game by season’s end. It’s also something that should be watched closely over the next two or three seasons to see if it could stand in the way of Seguin hitting the 85 or 90 point thresholds down the road.

 

Secondary Categories (2013-14 through January 12th)


Season

Plus/Minus

Hits per game

Blocked Shots

per game

PIMs

per game

Shots

per game

2013-14

 

+1 (C.G.)

+5 (T.S.)

1.065 (C.G.)

0.51 (T.S.)

0.565 (C.G.)

0.325 (T.S.)

0.52 (C.G.)

0.09 (T.S.)

2.78 (C.G.)

3.16 (T.S.)

2012-13

 

-7 (C.G.)

+23 (T.S.)

1.19 (C.G.)

0.52 (T.S.)

0.604 (C.G.)

0.125 (T.S.)

0.46 (C.G.)

0.33 (T.S.)

2.85 (C.G.)

3.35 (T.S.)

2011-12

 

+6 (C.G.)

+34 (T.S.)

0.91 (C.G.)

0.32 (T.S.)

0.57 (C.G.)

0.21 (T.S.)

0.377 (C.G.)

0.37 (T.S.)

3.14 (C.G.)

2.99 (T.S.)

2010-11

 

+20 (C.G.)

-4 (T.S.)

1.426 (C.G.)

0.27 (T.S.)

0.536 (C.G.)

0.28 (T.S.)

0.57 (C.G.)

0.24 (T.S.)

2.06 (C.G.)

1.77 (T.S.)

 

As far as trends, Seguin’s Hits totals have gone from dismal to merely below average, which is a good sign in multi-cat leagues despite his Blocked Shots and PIM totals remaining low. Even better is his Shots per game average, which has nearly doubled from his rookie season. Of course Seguin’s plus/minus has taken a hit since coming to Dallas from Boston, but he actually stands second among all Dallas forwards, which is consistent with where he ranked in his years with Boston.

Giroux’s plus/minus had gone south for two straight seasons but is back – just barely - in positive territory. Once again Giroux is averaging more than one hit per game, which is a pretty rare trait among top scorers. And just as Giroux’s Hits have remained fairly constant, so too have his Blocked Shots and PIM, both of which remain comfortably ahead of Seguin’s current and past averages. His Shots total per game crept just above three in his breakout 2011-12 campaign, but like last season has fallen just a bit below that threshold for 2013-14 so far.

 

Intangibles/Character

A player’s character can be a factor in determining his fantasy value, particularly a young player for whom the jury is still out as to whether he will reach a projected level of success. After all, a lack of public maturity could suggest a lack of overall discipline, which in turn could negatively impact a player’s level of training, dedication, and effort, and ultimately his play (and stats) on the ice.

Of course I bring this up in relation to Seguin, who in the past has acted out in off-ice videos and made comments on Twitter that called into question his maturity level. And as was highlighted in the great series “Behind the B”, Boston was concerned enough about how issues like these would affect Seguin’s hockey abilities that they decided to trade him less than three seasons after selecting him second overall in 2010. Here’s a link to a clip where the Bruins brass discuss the factors leading them to trade Seguin.

But one could fairly point out that Seguin has been well behaved since he took the ice this season, and that he might actually get extra motivation to do well in order to show his critics that he’s matured and can be a franchise player. At this point, it’s a “back of the mind” factor in determining Seguin’s value both in general and as compared to Giroux, who has been a model player (and now captain) for the Flyer. In other words, all things otherwise being equal these past character issues for Seguin might drop his value versus Giroux by a small notch.

 

So Who Wins?

First and foremost, most fantasy owners in any league would be thrilled to have either of these guys on their team, and rightfully so. But the goal of Cage Match is to tell loyal DobberHockey readers which guy is the better option, in case you’re trying to target one of them in a trade or to help shape future draft or trade considerations. And all things considered, at this point I think Seguin is the better guy to own, especially in keeper leagues.

With every passing year, Giroux’s 93 point season looks more and more like an outlier. Yes, as we saw above there were no aberrational statistics that season compared to his other recent campaigns. But in that case, why has he not come close to repeating it? Meanwhile, Seguin – still only 21 - escaped the limited Ice Time of Boston and responded with point per game stats for the first half of the season.

Sure – Giroux might not have peaked at age 25, but it’s better to see more of a linear upward points trajectory, or at least continued production at the 80+ point level in additional seasons after hitting the 90+ mark. Instead, Giroux looks like he’s slid down a notch, although for what it’s worth since his poor start this season he has produced at a point per game level.

But by now one can’t help but be concerned that Giroux might the second coming of Eric Staal, who hit 100 points right out of the gate but then topped 76 points (which also happens to be Giroux’s second highest point total) only once in his next six full seasons. And think of Staal in your league – doesn’t he still tend to go earlier in drafts and command more in trades than he should? I’m guessing yes, and it’s because everyone remembers that 100 point season; and despite it having occurred in 2005-06, poolies still think he’s capable of producing at the same level again. Sure - it’s only been two seasons for Giroux since he tallied 93, but could well be headed down a similar path.

Another drawback to Giroux is he’s never cracked the 30 goal mark, not even in his 93 point season. And while some leagues count only points, many track goals separately, and, in doing so, often weigh them more than assists. And while Seguin doesn’t project to be a 50 goal guy, he did tally 29 in his 67 point season (one more than the 28 for Giroux in his 93 point season) as well as 21 in his first 37 games this season. In short, Seguin figures to be a more complete scorer, and that bolsters his value further.

That all having been said, Seguin fares poorly in Hits, while Giroux gives has long averaged at least one per game. But in the end that leads to an edge of only about 50 or so per season – in other words, we’re not talking about Matt Martin versus Jaromir Jagr in terms of Hits.

With Seguin, there are still questions, but they boil down to his maturity level (so far so good this season) and whether he can produce at a point per game level for an entire season and then go from there to be a superstar befitting his second overall selection in the 2010 draft.

In the end, I have to give the edge to Seguin, since he scores more goals and comes with a considerably lower cap hit, while Giroux only really gives you more Hits (and not TONS more). Plus, it just seems like the stars (pun intended) are lined up for Seguin to hit the 85+ point (or more) mark more often in the next few seasons than Giroux, who appears to have settled into being more of a 75-80 point player and who suffers from being overvalued – in an Eric Staal 2.0 way - because of his previous 93 point season.

 

Other Cage Matches:

 

Patrick Sharp vs. Thomas Vanek 

 


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