MikhailGrabovski 

 

This week's player analysis focuses on - Mikhail Grabovski of the Washington Capitals

 

 

To a lot of casual Leaf fans, some members of the Toronto media and (unfortunately) the shot-callers at TML, Mikhail Grabovski has been viewed as an epic disappointment ever since his 58 point season in 2010-11. The result was Grabo being bought out this summer and waiting a number of weeks before finally being able to sign a contract. He finally did catch on with the Washington Capitals at a discount price. Today I am going to show you why the Capitals will be rewarded greatly by their signing and how you as a GM, can cash in on his change of scenery as well.

To really understand how big of a mistake the Leafs made in buying out Grabovski, you need to understand some of the advanced stats out there which illustrate just how much Grabo helped in areas outside of goals and assists. Jeff Angus (*sheds tear* - Angus is leaving DobberHockey to focus on academics for a while) lays this out really nicely in the Fantasy Guide.  Grabovski performed amazingly well for the Leafs, even if it didn’t reflect on the score sheet. We are all Fantasy Hockey GMs though, so the scoresheet is all we care about and to understand more on that, the best thing to do is to go to Fantasy Hockey Geek

Let’s take a look at how valuable Grabo was back in his best season (2010-11):

(12 team Yahoo! standard H2H league: G, A, +/-, SOG, PPP, PIM)


Rank

Player

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

75

Mikhail Grabovski

29

29

14

60

239

15


As you can see, in 2010-11 when  Grabovski was being  utilized in more of an offensive role, he flourished. FHG calculates him as the 75th most valuable skater that season and the 18th most valuable center. His value put him just behind Joe Thronton and just ahead of Tomas Plekanec and Mikko Koivu that season.

 

What made him so valuable?


  • -Amongst players with C eligibility, his 29 goals ranked 12th and his shots on goal ranked 13th in the entire league. Centers who shoot and score are surprisingly rare in fantasy hockey. The only players who had more shots and more goals than Grabo that season were: Stamkos, Kesler, Marleau, Carter, Sharp, Briere, Staal, Couture, Tavares.
  • -Impressive company indeed.  The shots and goals were Grabo’s bread and butter, but he was no slouch in the other categories either.
  • -He was +14 on a Leafs team that allowed 33 more goals than it scored. This is a pretty incredible feat. Phil Kessel was -20 for the Leafs that that season, Bozak was -29. If you understand Corsi numbers, quality of competition stats etc, you will understand that this trend is very likely to continue for Grabovski. (If you aren’t into those kind of numbers, just trust me - it will).
  • -His 60 PIM are a very good result for a C who puts up points. He won’t win this category for you but he won’t hurt you either.
  • -He managed to amass 15 power-play points which is impressive considering he was only getting the 6th most PP time on the 22nd most efficient power-play in the league.

Ok, so looking at all of that, you have to ask yourself: what happened to this guy? He followed up his career year with another solid season netting 51 points in 74 games, but his opportunities had already begun to dwindle at that point under new head coach Randy Carlyle. He went from being second on the team in forward ice time to 4th and he continued to lose power-play ice time to Tyler Bozak. It got worse into last season, when Grabovski had the 11th most power play time on the team and was playing almost 4:00 a game less than he was in 2010-11.

To further compound his production woes, the minutes that Grabovski were playing were incredibly tough minutes. Less than 40% of his starts were in the offensive zone (a very low number) and his quality of competition was second highest on the team. Despite all of this, Grabovski maintained great puck possession numbers.

To put it shortly, Grabovski’s offensive skills were extremely underutilized under Randy Carlyle, whoturned Grabovski into a checker instead of a scorer. As a checker, Grabo still did a fantastic job, but as a fantasy player he became irrelevant. Grabovski is a very skilled hockey player but under Randy Carlyle his skills were being used to do things that don’t help your fantasy hockey team.

So on to this season and Grabovski signs on with the Capitals where he will be surrounded by talent and penciled in to once again center a second line. Grabovski will almost certainly see more time on a more prolific power-play and could potentially even see time on the top unit. This is the exact opportunity that Grabovski’s career needed. After being bought out last season and on a one-year deal this season, you know that Grabovski won’t lack for motivation.

So what is Grabovski’s upside in the coming season? Let’s head back to Fantasy Hockey Geek to see where he might stack up.

If Grabovski does indeed get deployed as C2 and sees time on the power-play, then my belief is that his upside would be a season that looks something like this:

 

Player

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

Mikhail Grabovski

30

30

10

60

230

15

 

Now, using the “What-if” analysis tool on FHG that comes with the Season Toolkit, I enter in my projections to see how it would affect Grabovski’s value in the coming season. The results show Grabo as having a FHG value of 35.6 in this league, which would make him the 60th most valuable player and the 12th most valuable center!

Of course, the scenario I put above is probably an absolute best case scenario for Grabovski, so I went ahead and ran what I consider (my opinion) a “worst-case” scenario in the what-if. I went with the following stat line:

 

Player

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

Mikhail Grabovski

23

27

5

50

200

11

 

If Grabo comes in at a more modest 50 points and less power-play production, FHG calculates that he would drop to the 200th most valuable player in the league. Depending on the opportunities that he gets with Adam Oates, this scenario is also entirely possible. (My personal estimate would be somewhere in the middle: around 55 points and about the 100th most valuable player).

Here’s the rub with Grabovski though: his Yahoo! O-Rank is 441. He’s coming off of a 16-point season, his ranking is low and he doesn’t have much name power amongst casual hockey fans. This guy could stay under the radar until very late in your draft. He could go undrafted in a lot of leagues.

 

My recommendation on Grabovski:

Draft him sometime around 180th overall as your 3C or even as a bench player. You can see from the analysis above that he does have the potential to put up some solid numbers and if he is given the right opportunity (which it appears he will be), his value could soar as high as 60th overall in your league. Spending a very late pick on him is extremely low risk and the reward could be huge. I personally wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Grabovski provide his owners (in a league of this format) with more value this season than David Krejci who has an O-rank of 67 and will be drafted in rounds 6-8.

The array of tools available at Fantasy Hockey Geek are a great way to identify players who have been valuable in the past such as Grabovski. The What-If analysis tool is an amazing way to take your intuition as a GM and enter your predictions on players like Grabo to see what kind of value your sleeper pick may have in the upcoming season. To find more nuggets like Grabo – sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek today!

 

Recent Geeks of the Week:

 

Bouncing Back 
What Went Wrong? What Did We Learn 
The 2013 All Geek Fantasy Hockey Team 
Alex Ovechkin: Geek of the Week 

 

 


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