Who would you rather own in fantasy hockey - Bobby Ryan or Jordan Eberle? Full analysis here!

Facing off this week are Bobby Ryan and Jordan Eberle, who are both having good seasons (top 40 in points) but are behind the scoring pace of their career best campaigns. Which one will help your team more this season and beyond? Let’s find out!


Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit

Ryan is three years older than Eberle, and going into this season had nearly double the NHL experience (378 games vs. 195 for Eberle). Ryan scored 30+ goals in each of his first four full NHL seasons, which sounds impressive in and of itself, but is even more so considering that the only other current NHLer who achieved the feat is Alex Ovechkin. Not Sidney Crosby, not Evgeni Malkin, and not even Steven Stamkos – just Ryan and Ovi. But after he followed up a 71 point 2010-11 season with just 87 points in his next 128 games for the Ducks he found himself dealt to the Senators this offseason.

Eberle was a first-round pick, but 22nd overall (Ryan went second, right after Crosby). He had a nice rookie campaign (43 points in 69 games) before exploding for 76 points in 78 contests in 2011-12. But then his production slipped last season to 37 points in 48 games. Going into 2013-14 Eberle’s scoring average was 0.8 points per game, just ahead of Ryan’s 0.76 career average but actually behind Ryan’s pace (0.845 points per game) from his first three NHL campaigns.

Eberle is on year one of a six-season deal with a $6M cap hit, while next season will be Ryan’s last on a five-year deal with an annual $5.1M cap hit.


Ice Time – Past Seasons and 2013-14 (through January 28th)

We could stand to gain some useful information here, especially in comparing Eberle’s Ice Time in his nearly point per game 2011-12 season to what he received in other campaigns, and measuring Ryan’s Ice Time this season in Ottawa against what he had in Anaheim.



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)


20:01 (J.E.) – 2nd

17:07 (B.R.) – 5th

3:19 (J.E.) – 2nd

2:46 (B.R.) – 2nd

1:01 (J.E.) – 8th (tied)

0:02 (B.R.) – 12th


18:59 (J.E.) – 2nd

16:35 (B.R.) – 5th

3:11 (J.E.) – 2nd

1:57 (B.R.) – 4th

0:11 (J.E.) – 12th

0:03 (B.R.) – 13th


17:35 (J.E.) – 6th

18:21 (B.R.) – 3rd

3:00 (J.E.) – 2nd (tied)

2:09 (B.R.) – 4th

0:10 (J.E.) – 11th

0:42 (B.R.) – 10th


17:40 (J.E.) – 6th

20:10 (B.R.) – 3rd

2:32 (J.E.) – 7th

2:24 (B.R.) – 4th

0:40 (J.E.) – 9th

1:08 (B.R.) – 7th


If you didn’t know Eberle scored 76 points in 78 games in 2011-12 you’d have a hard time believing it based on Ice Time. In fact, if you look at the top 30 scorers for 2011-12, Eberle had the lowest overall Ice Time by more than a full minute. There has to be another explanation, and we’ll look for it below.

Ryan’s PP Ice Time numbers from 2010-11 and 2011-12 seem okay at first glance, but although he was fourth in each of those seasons among Anaheim forwards he trailed Teemu Selanne (third place in both seasons) by 1:03 in 2010-11 and by 1:25 in 2011-12. Ouch! And his overall Ice Time in Anaheim dropped by 1:39 from 2010-11 to 2011-12 and then by an additional 1:46 the next season.

For 2013-14, Ryan’s overall Ice Time is up about 30 seconds from his last season in Anaheim; however, his PP Ice Time has risen by nearly a full minute and, as we’ll see below and unlike what was the norm for him in Anaheim, it’s being spent with Ottawa’s top forwards. As for Eberle, his overall Ice Time jumped by more than a minute from last season, but his PP Ice Time held steady since, unfortunately, the extra minute is almost entirely SH Ice Time. And if you look at Ryan’s net beneficial Ice Time percentage ((PP Ice Time-SH Ice Time)/Overall Ice Time) it’s better than Eberle’s by a good margin (16.14 for Ryan, 11.56% for Eberle).


Other Stats and Metrics (2013-14 through January 20th)


Personal Shooting Percentage

Team Shooting Percentage


Offensive Zone Start Percentage



12.9 (J.E.)

13.9 (B.R.)

9.73% (J.E.)

10.42% (B.R.)

990 (J.E.)

1046 (B.R.)

54.5% (J.E.)

50.8% (B.R.)



18.9% (J.E.)

10.9% (B.R.)

8.78% (J.E.)

10.81% (B.R.)

985 (J.E.)

1019 (B.R.)

51.1% (J.E.)

52.9% (B.R.)



12.0% (J.E.)

15.2% (B.R.)

12.84% (J.E.)

9.39% (B.R.)

1029 (J.E.)

1004 (B.R.)

60.7% (J.E.)

49.2% (B.R.)



11.4% (J.E.)

12.6% (B.R.)

7.91% (J.E.)

11.82% (B.R.)

975 (J.E.)

1027 (B.R.)

49.3% (J.E.)

53.7% (B.R.)


It turns out there does appear to be an explanation for Eberle’s explosion in 2011-12, as his data for that campaign is far above the norm for his other seasons. Consider just his shooting percentage – if it was only 12.1 in 2011-12 (representing the average of his 2010-11, 2012-13, and 2013-14 numbers) then his goal total dips from 34 all the way to 22, and with that probably would’ve also come a drop in points of around ten, translating to him having instead finished with 66 points in 78 games. And that doesn’t even factor in his lofty 60.7% offensive zone starting percentage for 2011-12, which was about ten percentage points higher than either of his first two seasons. If that drops by even five percent points (putting it close to his 54.5% number for this season so far), his scoring output likely falls even further. And let’s not overlook that in 2011-12 his PDO was at the highest end of the normal range, and more than 45 above the average of his other three seasons (including 2013-14 so far).

Ryan had pretty consistent numbers, with the only metric that was consistently high being his PDO, which was greater than 1000 in each of the past three seasons and above 1019 in two out of three. And as we can see, that number has spiked all the way up to 1046 so far this season, which is well above the 1030 upper threshold of “normal” for PDO. But considering that he’s been able to somehow keep his PDO above 1019 for three out of the last four seasons he might just be one of those guys whose PDO just runs high, in which case 1046 is still somewhat concerning but arguably less so than Eberle’s 1029, which was so much higher than his normal range.


Value vs. Cost

Both players are owned in nearly all Yahoo leagues (Ryan 98%, Eberle 96%) so each should cost you about the same. And there’s no need to dwell on injury history, with Ryan holding a slight edge due to missing only three games from 2009-10 onward, while Eberle has missed no games since 2012-13 but did miss six and then 13 in his first two seasons.

Ryan’s contributions in secondary categories range from below to above average, as while he’s only producing about one PIM for every three games this season, he ‘s tallied just under two Hits and 2.5 Shots per game, to go along with a +13 rating and eight PP points. Eberle has slightly more Shots per game and is better in PP points (14 vs. 9), but contributes less than one Hit per game, double digits minus, and fewer PIMs. Overall there isn’t a huge difference between them, but Ryan would hold an edge if your league counted +/- and Hits in particular.


Relative Value of Points

Points are more valuable for a fantasy team when they’re not shared by other players owned in your league, since those are the kinds of points that can cause actual movement in the standings. Two players who score roughly the same could have a different relative value of their points, as influenced by the ownership percentages of their linemates (i.e., more widely owned linemates = lower relative value of points, since more folks in your league will likely share those points). Let’s see what Frozen Pool tells us.




























Ryan has played over half his 2013-14 shifts with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur (77% and 63% owned in Yahoo leagues) but far less often with 93% owned Jason Spezza. In contrast, Eberle has lined up alongside both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall (80% and 98% owned) for roughly 30% of his even strength shifts, plus another 25% or so with one of them on his line. And those numbers jump considerably on the PP, where roughly half his shifts are spent with both Hall and RNH on the ice, and only about 15% of his total PP shifts occurs without at least one of them also on the ice.


Who Wins?

Bobby Ryan is the winner, although it’s more about Jordan Eberle losing rather than Ryan winning. In the end, Eberle fell short due to reasons similar to last week (which saw David Perron hurt by his relative value of his points) and, even more so, like a couple of weeks ago (where Claude Giroux lost amid concerns that his career high point total might be an outlier). Simply put, although Eberle is only 23 years old there should be a genuine level of concern that his roughly point per game season of 2011-12 was an aberration, rather than something likely to be repeated in at least the near future.

In truth, I don’t think either of these guys is a great own right now, mainly due to their inflated costs versus their actual value. If you look at the NHL scoring leaders right now, the only forwards who have yet to miss significant time and are more widely owned than Ryan and Eberle in Yahoo despite having equal or fewer points are Henrik Sedin and Anze Kopitar. What’s more, there are many lesser owned players producing just as well as if not better than Ryan or Eberle, like Marian Hossa (95%), Joe Pavelski (94%), Alexander Steen (93%), David Backes (92%), James Van Riemsdyk (89%), Bryan Little (82%), Blake Wheeler (80%), T.J. Oshie (77%). I realize that some of the ownership percentages have to do with positional eligibility, but the reality is that a guy who has 40 points in 52 games and some marginal secondary stats (Ryan) probably should not be owned in 98% of Yahoo leagues, nor should someone who has 43 points in 53 games and arguably worse secondary stats (Eberle) be owned in 96%.

I’d strongly consider selling if you get a good offer/price for either player, perhaps with the idea of buying them back once their cost shrinks to become closer to their actual worth. It’s a strategy that’s often used in the stock market and might make sense to employ with these guys as well.


David Perron vs. Mats Zuccarello 
Tyler Seguin vs. Claude Giroux 
Patrick Sharp vs. Thomas Vanek 

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Comments (7)add comment

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @Teh Doktor - thanks for the follow-up and further thoughts.

I think what I'll do with Relative Value of Points is mention it briefly only if I think it's particularly significant, but remove it as a separate basis for comparison, and then see how that goes. If I feel it leaves a big void perhaps I'll ease it back into the mix. But it sounds like for at least some it was leaving a bad taste in their mouths or, even worse, hurting the column overall.

If you or anyone else thinks it would be good for me to add other data or bases for comparison to the mix then I'd be happy to consider doing so. Just drop me a line in the comments.
January 31, 2014
Votes: +0

Teh Doktor said:

Teh Doktor
@RD Thank you for your comments. Again, I like reading your articles and will continue to do so.

I actually started thinking about this quite a bit when I was involved in FFootball. You have two good QB's, and your opponent's best WR is tied to one of your QB's. Does/should it make a difference?

I never really did wrap my head around that one. I think I just always went with playing the best players regardless of who the opponent has.

In hockey, I can kind of see it if you're playing head to head. But I think the thing to keep in mind is this: No matter what you do, or who you pick, it won't affect either the players on the ice or how your opponent does against you. In that case, you're always better off taking the better player.

There's always going to be things that point to one player being a better add: Do/can they take faceoffs? How the coaches use them. I picked up Pacioretty after an awful start and injuries and his owner dumping him when I saw he took something like 10 shots in a game. PP time. PP linemates. Offensive zone starts. Salary. Draft position. Size. Have I seen them play? Who's their competition at their position on the team? Who are they playing next? The next week?

I haven't actually thought about things to add, though. Nice of you to ask for suggestions.

I think these are good articles and as I read them, I'll take note. If I think of something, I'll leave in the comments.

I would say, if you think relative value is relevent, leave it in. I am just not convinced.

Keep up the good work!
January 30, 2014
Votes: +0

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @Stanley - Good to hear. It sounds like a number of readers either flat out don't like the "Relative Value of Points" concept or at best don't feel like it's a meaningful basis for comparison. In that case I'll go ahead and phase it out, so if folks want it to stay now would be the time to speak up. And I still would like to hear if there are other things I could be comparing that I'm not, so please pass along any ideas.

@donpaulo - I totally get what you're saying. If only we had "embarrassment of riches" problems like deciding between these guys, or Seguin and Giroux a couple of weeks ago. It just so happens that next week I'll be covering two guys who definitely aren't top tier, so stay tuned.
January 30, 2014
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

... an obvious statement but having to choose between these guys is a "good" problem to have
Can we take both ? smilies/smiley.gif
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

Stanley said:

... I'm with Teh Doktor on this one. I don't understand how the "relative value of points" makes any logical sense, even if you ascribe low significance to it. If Backes' linemates are owned in my league and Huberdeau's are not, how does it help me to not have Backes?

Also, in the stats above, did you mix up the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 shooting % for J.E.?

Love the Cage Matches, but without understanding the relative value thing makes it hard to trust.

January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @Teh Doktor - thanks for the comment, and taking the time to make sure I knew where you were coming from.

You're not the first to raise an issue with the "Relative Value of Points" concept, but it's one I still think is useful to include in most of these matches between forwards. It's actually been part of the column since I took over from Steve, although it's not always factored into the side-by-side comparison and even when it does its significance will range from very small to small. In other words, when it's included, it's part of the overall comparison, but not an essential part. Where it matters most is in weighing players who will fill your last few forward spots on your roster, since when you start talking about players who score less than 50 or 60 points per season you find more guys who have very similar point production and other attributes.

When all is said and done I think there can be a point where scoring totals are close enough that it will benefit you more to have a player with comparatively lesser owned linemates. After all, who among us hasn't had what they thought was a great week from their team only to see that they didn't move anywhere in the standings? Or how many times have you had a player get an assist only to bemoan the fact that the other assist and/or the goal went to the guy you're chasing? You're right pointing out how this won't "move the needle" all the time, or even a lot when it does. After all, if you opt for Huberdeau over Backes then someone will still get Backes' points. But by presenting it here I give another basis to compare players who, if I'm doing a good job in picking my match-ups, might be otherwise very, very similar.

Nothing will ever replace sound drafting, and nowhere am I advocating not taking the best player available. But I think there can be instances where two otherwise equal players can be less equal than it would appear due to one getting points that are not shared by other owned players, or where one player who seems a bit better than another might not be since he's stapled to linemates that your opponents own.

Hopefully this helps explain my reasoning. Question - is there something else I could be doing to compare players that I'm not (keeping in mind that I can't have the column be too long)? I'm not asking because I'm challenging you (or others) to come up with something better. I'm just eager to hear suggestions and always ready and willing to do more to address reader preferences.

Thanks again for the comment - it was sincerely appreciated.

January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

Teh Doktor said:

Teh Doktor
Linemates I want to start off by saying, that I like your work and appreciate the time and effort you clearly put into it. I read these every time they are posted.

Over the last several weeks, possibly dating back to the guide (not sure), you have been touting getting players over other players because someone does or does not own linemates.

I would suggest that the argument that owning player X over player Y is better because fewer of your opponents own player X’s linemates seems deeply flawed and would like some clairification.

Are you suggesting that passing up Sidney Crosby in favor of Tavares is a good idea because Dupuis and Kunitz would also be drafted by someone and Okposo probably wasn’t? Would you suggest passing up Kunitz and Dupuis because someone is going have Crosby? Crosby, Kunitz and Dupuis are all going to get those points regardless of what you as an owner does. Would you rather own them or let another owner rack up those points?

That is an extreme example. Lets say you’re in a shallow league and are super confident in your assessment (or the projections in the highly anticipated Dobber Hockey 2014-2015 draft guide) that Backes is going to score 30 goals and 60 points and Huberdeau is going to score 25 goals and 55 points. Lets also say that you know for a fact that both Backes linemates will be drafted and neither of Huberdeau’s will. Everything else is equal. Are you saying you’d take Huberdeau over Backes because those points will not be shared? Isn’t Backes still going to outscore Huberdeau? Aren’t Backes linemates going to score? Now you’ve not only missed out on five goals, but you’ve given those five goals to someone else. Isn’t that a deficit of 10 goals?

Furthermore, I also take issue that the points those linemates score are a negative. They certainly are if you are playing head-to-head or are in competition with another team for whatever category. But in a standard league H2H, how often does that happen? Two? Three times a season? And again, those linemates are going to score those points regardless of whether you own a certain player or not. Shouldn’t it be you?

More often than not, you will not be playing against those players, they will be playing someone else. Possibly helping you by beating someone who is ahead of you in the standings.

In the league I’m in, we take all the stats in six categories and assign 10 points for 1st place, 9 points for second etc… down to 1 point for last place. The highest total at season’s end for all categories wins. I am watching teams two through six jump around in the standings nightly. Sometimes, my lead increases even though I may not be having a particularly good night, but because a team lower in the standings overtakes team number two in a particular category and they lose points.

I say: draft the best team you can. If that means you can get star player and his pretty good linemates, great. If it means another team gets those linemates, then there’s nothing you can do about that. Taking a player who will score even slightly less than another available player because you’re afraid another team will pick his linemates seems folly. Not only will you not have the linemates, you won’t get the desirable player.

Now, what I will possibly give you is if you are making a move, mid-season, and have to chose between two even players. Even points, opportunity, shots, PPtime, linemates, games left, etc… and how often does that happen? If ALL those things, and more are equal, I may consider looking at who of the linemates are owned.

So what am I missing here?
January 29, 2014
Votes: +1
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