This week's installment of GoTW proves that it's fun getting into Trouba!
Last week, a reader mentioned to me how he uses Fantasy Hockey Geek to find players who have stepped their game up a notch in recent weeks, but who may be flying under the radar because their overall season numbers aren’t on any league leaders lists. Today I present to you a player who is doing just that: Jacob Trouba.
If you are a frequent reader of Dobber, then you certainly should be familiar with Trouba. Just this week, he was referred to in the ramblings as “perhaps the next up and coming Subban”. I always knew of Trouba as a player with high end potential, but when I read this quote I knew I had to dig deeper on Trouba because PK is an all-time favorite of mine.
At first glance, Trouba’s output isn’t all that special. His 20 points (as of the time of this writing) slot him 46th amongst NHL defensemen and he is only 19% owned in Yahoo! leagues. If you didn’t dig any deeper, you might assume that he is just another Ryan Murray or a Dougie Hamilton: a high end prospect waiting to blossom, but contributing little to your team this season. If you take a closer look though, you would see that this guy is helping GMs right now. To help show how Trouba is starting to contribute, I ran the Dobber Experts league in Fantasy Hockey Geek for the month of January (up to the 29th). Here’s where he netted out:
Trouba has been the 23rd most valuable player in the league since we moved our calendars to 2014! Granted, a quick glance at his numbers will tell you that his value is inflated by two unsustainable factors: He is +10 in 12 games with the Jets which simply will not continue and he has also scored four goals on 23 shots which is an unsustainable pace even for an elite forward, much less a rookie defenseman. The fact remains though that Trouba’s value (at least for this month) is up around the Pietrangelo/Chara level and while I know he won’t maintain that torrid pace, his high output tells me that he deserves to be owned in many one year leagues as well as keepers. His shot and hit totals I would say are indeed sustainable and his output of about 2 of each per game in January is a great balance that is very Subbanian. It’s probably a bit soon for the Subban/Pietrangelo comparisons though, so let’s take a look at how Trouba compares to some of the other D, whose ownership level is far below his.
Over the past month, Niklas Hjalmarsson is playing pretty close to his season pace at just south of a half a point per game but despite the decent output, he is only the 262nd most valuable player in the league. Hjalmarsson is 22% owned, which is more than Trouba but his contributions currently aren’t close. Hjalmarsson will definitely improve on the +/- going forward, but he simply doesn’t hit enough to keep up with Trouba, while he sees very little PP time and the points that he does get usually aren’t goals.
In January, Matt Carle is playing at a 62 point pace and is a +9 which are unsustainable numbers, much like Trouba’s. Even Carle’s artificially high, inflated value is calculated lower than Trouba’s though, with Carle calculated as the 51st by Fantasy Hockey Geek. Carle’s inability to contribute in peripheral categories make him the prototypical FHG fools’ gold, in that the points make him look much better than what his actual value is. Carle’s is owned in 50% of Yahoo! leagues despite his shortcomings.
Back to Trouba: one reason he has flown under the radar is that he hasn’t played in every game so his cumulative numbers are deceiving. I am shocked by how often this factor allows players to go unnoticed by rival GMs and this is the very reason why it is so beneficial to run these types of analysis in FHG every so often – you don’t miss out on the next big break out. Take a look at Trouba’s full season stats prorated for 82 games:
|Jacob Trouba – prorated||15||28||43||17||6||149||140|
Those are incredible numbers for a rookie defenseman and given that his play is improving of late, he could potentially outpace that mark. Big Buff moving to forward will also help Trouba in two ways because a) it opens up time for him on the back end and b) he has another weapon to pass the puck to up top. Trouba is producing now and there is every reason to believe that he will continue to produce. Coming full circle, I wanted to compare Trouba’s current rookie campaign to that of the aforementioned Subban. Check it out:
|Jacob Trouba – prorated||15||28||43||17||6||149||140|
|PK Subban – rookie year||14||24||38||-8||18||197||110|
This is borderline scary. The numbers are remarkably similar and Trouba has accumulated his line while receiving a minute less of PP time per game than Subban did that season (with the extra minute of PP time, Trouba’s PPP and SOG would no doubt climb closer to PK’s). I think that the Subban comparison could end up being a very, very good one, with the exception that Subban will continue to have significantly more value in leagues that count PIMs.
Most people know that Jacob Trouba is a good fantasy player to own because he is a prospect with enormous upside, but what people aren’t seeming to realize is that Trouba is contributing NOW. He is a great example of a player who can help your team now while you wait for him to hit his (even higher) potential. In a limited keeper, these guys are pure gold because you can use them to take you to a championship this season while they also hold untapped potential that will help you build for the future. Thanks to some regular tracking on Fantasy Hockey Geek, I have been able to identify a young-gun who has plenty of value right now and I will be targeting him in all of my leagues. Hopefully I am successful before this is published on Sunday…in the meantime, I would encourage you all to look at some similar shorter term analysis to identify more players who are taking their games to the next level right before our eyes.
More digs from Terry Campkin: