They had a slow start to the season, but the LA Kings are still the class of the league. No club in the NHL sports better possession metrics than LA and Jonathan Quick is slowing beginning to round back into form. Two guys who have begun to find the net more often for Los Angeles are Dustin Brown and Justin Willians, both of whom managed points in the win over Edmonton on Saturday afternoon. Brown in particular was snake-bitten to start the year, which he put down to playing in Europe during the lock-out to some degree, but with six points in his last seven games (and now 24 points in 38 games), Brown is again a decent fantasy option.

 

*

 

Another King to keep an eye on is young defender Slava Voynov. The 23-year old sophomore scored his fifth of the season against the Oilers and now leads the Los Angeles blueline in scoring with 23 points. Voynov was a big scorer in the AHL, managing 15 goals and 51 points in 76 games for the Manchester Monarchs back in 2010-11, so this is hardly out of character for the former second rounder. Since then, Voynov has grown into a capable all around defender for LA and only trails Drew Doughty in terms of average ice time per game (22:32). Look for his role and responsbility to grow in LA as he develops, which means his fantasy value will only grow.

 

*

 

Speaking of growing fantasy value, PK Subban with another two points at the time of writing and the game against the Bruins isn't even over yet. He's been fantasy gold this year.

 

*

 

The Carolina Hurricanes are being sunk by their goaltending. Cam Ward wasn't having a great season before being felled by injury, but his replacements have struggled even more. Veteran back-up Dan Ellis has been the de facto started since Ward went down (aside from a brief stint on IR himself) and he has lost five straight games, including a three goal on seven shot performance versus the Capitals on April fourth. The Canes are down by three to the Rangers at the end of the second period as I type this (three goals on 30 shots for NYR) and are watching their playoff aspirations evaporate right before their eyes.

 

*

 

Sticking with the Canes, it's still hard to believe how eager they were to get rid of the highly useful Jussi Jokinen. Carolina moved him for next to nothing to the Penguins at the deadline and even agreed to pick up part of his salary in the deal. Jokinen debuted for Pittsburgh on Friday night and displayed his utlity by scoring their lone goal in regulation and winning 87% of his face-offs. On top of all that, he scored the game winning goal in the shoot-out to boot. He was named the game's second star

 

I have no idea why Jokinen was ignored by the other GM's when he was available for free via waivers, nor why the Pens were able to acquire him for a song (when objectively worse players like Jarred Smithson at least garnered a mid-round pick) but the move was a savvy one by Ray Shero. My guess is Jokinen sticks with the Penguins, at least through next year which is the last one on his current contract. If that happens, and especially if his shooting percentage rebounds, he will be a worthwhile mid-round pick in next year's drafts.

 

*

 

How about Alex Ovechkin? the much maligned Capitals captain scored three goals and one assist in Washington's win over the Panthers yesterday. He now has 23 goals and 41 points on the year, good for second and seventh overall in the league, respectively. There's no question Ovechkin isn't as dominant as he once was - the debates about who is better between Alex and Sidney Crosby are all but over. His shot volume has fallen from a peak of 6.68 per game back in 2008-09 to about 4.42 this year. His possession stats have also cratered as Ovechkin has entered his late-20's. At one point, Alex was one of the best players in the league at keeping the puck in the offensive zone, but now he is entirely middling. This year, for example, he is actually marginally underwater in terms of corsi (-1.61/60), meaning the Capitals give up almost two shots at the net more per hour of his ice than they generate.

 

All that said, Ovechkin is still a very good fantasy option. He gets tons of ice time, typically plays with quality linemates (like Nicklas Backstrom) and can still put the puck in the net. He's not the 60-goal, 100+ point phemonon he once was, but that doesn't make him worthless.

 

*

 

I'm not sure anyone has noticed, but the Panthers Tomas Kopecky already has 15 goals after scoring against the Capitals last night. That matches his career high, which he garnered back in 2010-11 with the Blackhawks. It took him a full 81 games that season, though, rather than the mere 38 he did it in this year. Does that mean Kopecky has suddenly developed in a 30+ goal scorer in Florida?

 

Well, no. While Kopecky is is getting a lot of minutes on a young Florida squad, the real reason he's piling up the goals is an uncharacteristic shooting percentage of 18.1%. The only other time Kopecky has had a double digit SH% was 2009-10 when he scored 10 goals on 95 shots (10.5%). His career average is just 8.6%, less than half his current hot streak.

 

In short, don't bet on Tomas to sustain this long term.

 

*

 

The Flames lost 5-2 to the Canucks in the final game of the night yesterday, stretching their road losing streak to a franchise high 13 games. Ironically, Calgary actually outplayed Vancouver in aggregate, outshooting them 38-21 and grossly outchancing the Canucuks as well. The difference was Cory Schenider, who was brilliant, versus Miikka Kiprusoff, who was not. The Flames also hit three goal posts over the course of the evening.

 

In any other circumstances last night would have been a frustrating defeat for Calgary, but the truth is it the club needs losses more than wins for the rest of the year. To date, the Flames have never picked higher than sixth overall in the draft, but they are poised to pick third or fourth at the latest this upcoming June thanks to their on-going struggles. Good news for a team in such desperate need of young, elite talent.

 

*

 

Finally, it seems all the Rangers needed to start scoring was an aging power forward with zero goals. Since Ryane Clowe joined New York at the deadline, the team has scored 11 goals in three games, including last night's 4-1 victory over Carolina. Clowe has a goal and a three assists as a Ranger (and one fight to boot). This must mean Glen Sather is a genius, right?

 

Well, not really. The blueshirts were never as hapless offensively as they seemed - at the start of the week, they had a team-wide even strength shooting percentage of just 6.6%, the second lowest in the league (ahead of only San Jose by the way, which kills any speculation that Clowe is the reason the SH% turned around). There's almost no way that percentage was truly representative of the Rangers shooting talent, so pucks were bound to start going in a bit more frequently as a matter of chance.

 

 


Write comment
Comments (11)add comment

ultrawhiteness said:

ultrawhiteness
doh! i meant to say:

stat guys are NOT just inventing this stuff.

damnit, haha.
April 08, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

April 07, 2013
Votes: +0

frozenpools said:

frozenpools
Kings possession I would agree that the stats guys are inventing hypothesis' and testing them. Thats because its new data. That being said, possession is proving to be a valuable statistic. I'm pretty sure last 4 cup winners were all top 5 league wide in terms of possession. LA wasn't an 8th place team, they were unlucky. This year Anaheim's success is a fraud. I wouldn't bank on them in playoff pools.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
... Kings are defending champs, but not the class of the league- thats just garbage. They won last year as the 8th seed, got hot and great goaltending and won it all. Now they sit 4th in the west.About right. A hot goalie can carry an average team all the way.

The silver lining in the Calgary deadline talent purge may be thier improved drafting position rather than the mediocre return they got for Iggy and Jaybo, but I have little confidence in Feaster and co. drafting record. Not alot of top prospects for a team out of the playoff picture most years.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +0

ultrawhiteness said:

ultrawhiteness
kings possession stats guys are just inventing this stuff... there has been a lot of debate and testing.

as an example, stats guys were saying nearly the same thing about the kings last year well before it was apparent in the standings, way before the Carter acquisition.

nobody in that crowd was surprised when the Kings basically ran roughshod over everyone on route to the most dominant cup win in recent memory.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
the best sunday ramblings by kent yet but i also agree that the class of the league / possession perspective on the Kings is a bit out of left field.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +0

jjmckenn said:

jjmckenn
Corsi/Fenwick Good read, just a little too much use of corsi/Fen wick for my liking. LA has been looking good lately but to say they are the class of the league and then use Fenwick possession rate to prove this is a little too simplistic. I'd much rather see more useful stats to back up the claim, but I guess it's easier to just post one stat.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +4

shovelguy said:

shovelguy
Haha, stats guys ...when something happens from an intangible like a couple players arriving on a new team giving the team a boost, the search for some stat to rationalize it begins. If it wasn't team 5v5 S%, trust me, Mr. Wilson would have dug up some other stat. And that's the thing that bugs me the most about "advanced stats" - the picking, choosing, and ignoring certain stats in the name of proving yourself right.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +3

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
good read The flames did outshoot the canucks and had tons of chances, but the difference was the 8 or so points the Sedin Line had.
The Sedins and Burrows absolutely dominated down low last night.
Garrison with another point, he is rounding into form.

Nice to see Max Reinhart in the Calgary line up, good interview with his dad.
TJ Brodie had a great game or Calgary as well.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Barclay said:

Barclay
... The East coast is running out of morning smilies/wink.gif
April 07, 2013
Votes: +1

frozenpools said:

frozenpools
Jokinen When you say Jokinens shooting percentage will rebound, do you mean on ice shooting % (ie he'll get more assists)? Because his shooting percentage is 11% which is inline with other career numbers and league average.
April 07, 2013
Votes: +1
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy