|Fantasy Indicators of Success 2009: Wingers||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Tuesday, 17 November 2009 10:40|
This week we’ll take a deep look at the Western Conference wingers. The fantasy value of wingers can be similarly identified using the same two stats as we used last week in judging the value for defenseman, which is PP ice-time and SOG. The reasoning behind it is the same. The amount of PP ice-time given usually separates players who are heavily relied upon to carry the team offensively than those who are considered role players. On a similar note, SOG usually maintains a similar line of thought. The more a winger shoots, the higher the chance that a puck goes into the net or at least generates chances for a poaching rebound. The opposite also holds true, the less a winger shoots, the lower the chance that the puck goes into the net, thus a lower potential for points. Now that we’ve established clear indicators on determining the fantasy value of wingers, let’s take a closer look at a few of the wingers from the Western Conference.
The big four pretty much dominate the offensive production in Anaheim. Perry has 24 points and is well on his way to his first ever point-per-game season since his entering into the NHL five seasons ago. After starting the season with only two points in his first nine contests, Ryan is beginning to turn his season around with 11 points in the last nine. He’s on a bit of a hot streak, but I think that he might feel some competition from Lupul, who will start chipping away at Ryan’s 19 minutes per contest as the season progresses. As a result, watch the point production to dip back towards the 0.75 per game mark. Selanne is back on track for a 43 goal pace, so I’m not too concerned about his low point total so far this year. Once Saku Koivu and Lupul get back on the scoring track, look for Selanne’s assist totals to pick up. As discussed before, Lupul’s ice-time is a bit low for my liking, but if he can get back to around the 17-18 mark look for him to finish with 65-75 points.
It’s mainly the Iginla show in Cow-town, as he’s currently producing the main bulk of the offense for the Flames. After starting the season at a snail's pace with only four points in his first eight contests, he’s now responded with 13 points in his last 10 contests and is currently just a smidge under the point-per-game pace. Look for him to once again lead all right wingers in scoring by season’s end. At least it’s just not a one man show anymore as he’s getting help from Bourque, Dawes and Moss. I’ve placed a watch tag on both Dawes and Moss, as both are averaging over two minutes of power-play time per contest. Dawes has a slight edge in fantasy value because of his higher SOG per contest average. I’ve put a hesitant sell sign on Bourque only because he’s currently scoring at a ridiculous pace. Given his past injury history, I just don’t think that he can maintain a 90-plus point pace till the end of the season.
The Hawks’ wingers are probably one of the most well-rounded groupings in the league, which also works as a double-edged sword because you just never know who’s going to be on the scoresheet at any given point. The team’s three leading scorers are Kane, Sharp and Versteeg and as you can tell from the table above, they are also the three players who are leading the wingers in terms of ice-time and SOG, hmmmm coincidence? Buffy and Brouwer I think are very much interchangeable, so look for both to settle around the 45-50 point mark by season’s end. The only winger that I have tabbed as a sell candidate is Ladd. With the depth of the Hawks upfront and Hossa returning back from his shoulder surgery, Ladd is/will be getting the short end of the stick in terms of ice-time as he’s barely ever seen on the power-play. He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent in the Summer, which might make him an enticing piece of trade bait along with Brian Campbell, to free up the necessary cap space needed to re-sign Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Kane long term.
There’s not much depth in terms of wingers in Colorado as most of the production is really only coming from two players. Hejduk garners plenty of ice-time on the PP and even strength along with plenty of SOG, which makes him a great under-the-radar candidate for your fantasy squad. Wolski is the other candidate but is vastly inconsistent. What’s interesting is that in the contests that he’s registered over 19 minutes of ice-time, he’s pick up points in seven of the eight contests. When he’s averaged 17 minutes or less, he’s only picked up points in five of the 10 contests. I’ve placed a temporary buy sign on Wolski only because he’s spending close to 40 percent of his shifts alongside Paul Stastny and Hejduk. If he loses that top-line spot, he’s an immediate drop candidate. I’ve also placed two watch signs on both Svatos and Tucker. The trio of Matt Duchenne, Svatos and Tucker showed a bit of chemistry early in the season before Tucker’s injury due to a concussion, so if they can manage to re-kindle some of that magic, Tucker could be back towards his 40+ point form that he tallied with the Leafs three seasons ago.
The most obvious statement that I’m going to make in this column is that Nash dominates the fantasy stats for the Blue Jackets. He’s garnering plenty of PP ice-time along with a tonne of overall ice-time and should finish on the happy side of 80 points for the first time in his NHL career. As much as Ken Hitchcock loves to keep the reins on the youngsters, it appears that Voracek has earned a reprieve from his coach. The ice-time and SOG totals are a bit low for my liking, but the potential is there, so I stuck a watch sign on the sophomore. Huselius has been alright so far with 12 points in 15 contests and is garnering more ice-time on the PP than Nash, which is always a good sign. His SOG totals are a bit low, but once he gets that going the points should catch up to the point-per-game pace. I listed Chimera and Torres as WW candidates, but consider them more borderline candidates than full-fledged WW material. The Jackets are trying to utilize Torres as a Dustin Byfuglien/Tomas Holmstrom front of the net type player, which is why you see the eight goals to one assist ratio. Treat him as a poor man’s version of Holmstrom. As much upside as Filatov possesses, he’s just not getting fully utilized to his full ability in Columbus. If you are in a one-year league, save yourself the wait and drop him immediately.
I’ve only seen a handful of Stars’ games this season, but from what I can see Neal seems to be the real deal. He’s lining up alongside Brad Richards and Eriksson, which seems like they have taken over the “top-line” title away from Morrow and co. He’s currently on pace for 43 goals and 220 SOG, which would certainly make plenty of poolies quite happy. Eriksson and Morrow are both chugging along nicely and should finish the year with pretty decent numbers. There are three major sell candidates that I have listed for the Stars. The first is Benn. I know there’s a lot of Benn fans out there who’ll be angry that I listed him as a sell candidate, but hear me out first. Benn is averaging less than 16 minutes per contest for the season, and the return of Mike Modano has not made the situation any better. The Stars united Modano with Mike Ribeiro and Morrow on the “top-line” for the last two contests and subsequently Benn has seen his ice-time drop to 13:28 and 13:45 and has registered two goose eggs on the scoresheet. On the flip side, Modano picked up 16:14 and 17:56 along with four points in the same duration. If you are looking for more evidence to support my claim, you don’t have to look any further than the 2:18 PP ice-time average that Benn received in the last two contests compared to Modano’s 4:40 average. If you are a Benn owner, secretly shop him on the down-low. Brunnstrom is doing his best Ladd impersonation, as he’s pretty much in the identical boat as Ladd. There have been plenty of rumblings about him being a target of trade negotiations from other GM’s, so a change of scenery just may be coming for Brunnstrom. As long as he remains a Star he’ll have little to no fantasy value.
It’s been years since I’ve looked down a Red Wing’s line up to see the glaring lack of depth on the wings in Detroit. You certainly know that you’re in trouble when a 34-year old Bertuzzi is leading the wingers in SOG for the team. He’s currently on a 0.5 point-per-game pace which is the likely pace that he’ll maintain for the duration of the season. Holmstrom is also having a Cy-Young like season with a nine and three ratio of goals to assists. Look for that ratio to even itself out once Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk get back on the scoring track. There were big expectations for Leino heading into this season, but so far he could only be described, for a lack of a better word, as a BUST. He’s averaging under 14 minutes of total ice-timer per contest, and only a smidge on the PP. His 1.41 SOG per contest average probably isn’t enough to make up for the loss of Johan Franzen. Cleary maybe one of the lone bright spots on the wing for the Red Wings, as he has six points in the last four contests, and will likely surpass his career-high of 42 points by the end of the season.
There are three wingers to note in Edmonton. Hemsky has been off to a decent start with 19 points in 18 contests, while averaging plenty of ice-time on the PP and even strength along with a decent amount of SOG, so the points will come. Penner had 19 points in the first 13 contests of the season, but only four in the last eight, which is why I labelled him a sell candidate. I wouldn’t peg him for any more than a 70 point season, which means that he’ll tally around 47 points in the next 61 games, which probably could be easily found with many WW players available at the moment. Use his hot start to your advantage and see if you can deal him for an upgrade in another position in your fantasy squad. The third candidate to keep any eye on is O’Sullivan. Although the points haven’t been there, all of the other indicators are all pointing in the right direction for O’Sully to breakout fairly soon. Face it you don’t really think that he’s going to maintain a shooting percentage under five percent do you?
Los Angeles Kings
I’m honestly torn about Smyth’s situation because he’s never had a season where’s he’s scored at more than a point-per-game pace, so I don’t know if I’d fully buy that Smyth is a 85 point player due to the Anze Kopitar factor, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he does. Brown’s on pace for a pretty solid season and should maintain that pace as the year progresses. Frolov’s rollercoaster season continues as when he streaks he streaks big, but when he slumps he’s completely nowhere to be found. His inconsistency will drive poolies nuts, so if you are a Frolov owner, sell him now. Williams is my buy candidate on the Kings squad. He’s played extremely well despite dealing with a few injury problems to start the season. The trio of Smyth, Kopitar and Williams looks like they’ve developed some solid chemistry playing alongside each other, so the offensive production should continue. Purcell is a Dobber favourite, but he isn’t receiving enough ice-time to be productive this season. Keep him on the WW.
There’s not much offense happening in Wild country as there aren’t a lot of note-worthy performances to discuss at the moment. Brunette is probably the lone bright spot as he has 14 points in 20 contests, but his 1.6 SOG per contest average still leaves a lot to look for. Havlat is on pace for only 33 points which would be his lowest seasonal total in which he has played more than 35 contests. Obviously that point total is too low to expect for a player of his calibre. The thing that you also have to consider is that besides the Wild of top-line of Mikko Koivu, Brunette and Havlat, the rest of the offensive players have contributed a grand total of 52 points. If that doesn’t scream out to opposing team to put their top checking lines on Koivu, Brunette and Havlat, I don’t know what will. In Chicago Havlat had the luxury of having the protection of Kane and Toews, but in Minny it’s open season on Havlat. Don’t expect anywhere near the 77 points that he tallied last season. If you are a Havlat owner sell now before it’s too late. I stuck a watch sign on Miettinen only because in the past three seasons he’s averaged 2.05 SOG per contest, but currently is only averaging 1.65, which means that there’s a bit of room for improvement in that stat. As weak as the Wild offense has been, I just don’t think that they’ll continue to maintain a 2.6 point-per-game average for the duration of the season, so who’s a better candidate to pick up those points than Miettinen?
There isn’t too much to discuss in the home of country music, as you pretty much already know what you need to know about the Nashville wingers. Sullivan and Dumont are the main headliners for the Preds. Dobber, and his crystal ball hunch, believes that Sully is going to break out fairly soon., which as the indicators show is a strong possibility, so if you are a Sully owner as of right now just stand pat. The player that you need to pay close attention to is Hornqivst. He’s averaging 3.56 SOG per contest, and plenty of time on the PP. He picked up 35 points in 49 contests with the Admirals in the AHL last season, which shows that he does have plenty of offensive upside. If anything his 290 SOG pace should help out plenty of owners who count SOG as a stat in their fantasy leagues.
It’s slim pickings in Phoenix and although they own a very respectable 11-9 record, their 24th ranked offense isn’t exactly a hotbed for quality fantasy production. Doan is pretty much the lone bright spot in Phoenix as he’s the only Coyote to be anywhere near scoring at a 0.66 point-per-game pace. If you are a Doan owner just stay the course, he’ll be just fine. After starting the season off on the right foot with four points in his first two contests, Vrbata only has five points in the last 18. The SOG and PP ice-time is there, but I don’t think the talent is there for him to get anything more than 50 points by season’s end. Upshall is in a similar situation, the talent level in Phoenix just isn’t there, and Dave Tippet’s defense first scheme isn’t exactly going to be conducive to producing huge numbers for him. Leave him on the WW.
Fairly clear-cut production pattern in San Jose. Heatley leads the way in offensive production and will probably continue to do so for the duration of the season. Setoguchi and Clowe will continue to play second fiddle to Heater. I put the two in opposite sides of the scale and here’s why, Setoguchi is mired in a bit of a slump as he’s only registered one point along with eight SOG in his last six contests, while Clowe has nine points in the last nine outings along with 19 SOG during that span. Sure, those numbers could just as easily be swapped around in two weeks time, but what I’m trying to say is, save yourself the headache of trying to figure out the peaks and valleys of Setoguchi’s and Clowe’s production and see if you can trade them off for a more consistent producer like a Morrow or Hemsky.
There’s a few interesting cases in St. Louis as there’s plenty of question marks surrounding the Blues this season. Let’s begin with the massively inconsistent Perron. He has 13 goose egg performances to go along with four multi-point performances this season. He’s the cause of plenty of headaches as when he’s on his game, he’s really on his game, but when he’s off he’s painfully frustrating. Do yourself a favour and leave him on the WW to save you the headaches. Backes is also another thorn to the side of many fantasy owners as his grand total of three points has certainly left a sour taste in many owners’ mouths. The problem is that he at least still contributes on the PIM and SOG front as he’s on track to finish the season with 145 PIMs and 182 SOG respectively, which isn’t a bad own for Roto leaguers. If you are looking for an across-the-board type production with an emphasis on points, you might want to seek another option. Tkachuk is also a sell-high candidate as the honeymoon period is pretty much over. Tkachuk has a 1.03 career point-per-game average for the month of October, but that number dips to just 0.81 for the month of November. In five November contests, Tkachuk is pointless, so the trend is proving true once again. If you are a Tkachuk owner now is the time to jump ship! Kariya is now pointless in 10 consecutive contests, which probably is a telltale sign to also bail on the 35-year old veteran.
Samuelsson is off to a hot start as he’s on pace to finish the season with a career-high 58 points and 265 SOG. He’s a strong buy candidate as of right now. Although Burrow’s numbers have looked good enough this season, something just doesn’t look right. He only has five points in the last 11 contests, and the SOG is starting to slip as well. Either way the signs aren’t looking good for Burrows moving forward. The latest news on Sedin is that he’s aiming for a Friday night returning against the Avs. A lot of poolies may have soured on him because of his foot injury, so see if you can buy-low on him for your fantasy squad.
Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below. We’ll see you next week, as we go through the Fantasy Indicators of Success 2009 for centers from the Western Conference.
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|Last Updated on Thursday, 19 November 2009 00:55|