|Fantasy Indicators of Success: Defensemen||Tweet|
|Written by Russ Miller|
|Thursday, 11 November 2010 11:28|
I admit I may overvalue defensemen in my fantasy leagues. In nearly every league I've ever been in, my defence is always at or near the top. I've been called a "defence whore" for my penchant for drafting quality offensive defensemen, even if I may need other positions more.
The key statistic for me is power play time on ice. Defensemen typically NEED power play time in order to record big points. Looking at every 40 point defenseman over the last three seasons, power play points accounted for fifty percent of their overall point totals. That percentage has been trending down from 55 percent in 2007-08, to 51 percent in 2008-09 and 46 percent last season.
The oddball that stood out for me last year was Duncan Keith, who only scored 23 percent of his points with the man advantage. The year before last, it was 25 percent. The high guy last year was Kurtis Foster, who scored 62 percent of his points on the power play.
NOTE: The ramblings below are geared more for one year leagues than keepers.
The top four on the Thrashers are clear cut, there is a six minute per game drop off in ice time to the bottom pairing of Ron Hainsey and Brent Sopel. Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom lead the team in power play time by a long ways. Good luck getting either of these guys on the cheap, that ship has sailed. The surprise for me is that Johnny Oduya has surpassed Ron Hainsey for second unit power play time. Zach Bogosian has all the tools to be a fantasy stud; size, skating ability and big shot. The only question is when? It's crowded on the Thrashers blue line this year, so there is no pressure to rush the 20-year-old.
Chara is a beast, but Seidenberg is matching his point output with half as much power play ice time. Johnny Boychuk looked to be breaking out, but he broke his arm. In 2008-09 he was voted top defenseman in the AHL after recording 65 points. While Boychuk was tearing up the AHL, Matt Hunwick was scoring 27 points in 53 NHL contests (a 42 point pace). Though Hunwick isn't taking advantage of Boychuk's injury right now, he bears watching.
In his eight NHL seasons, Steve Montador has never had more than 23 points. He's getting a decent amount of ice time and shots on goal, but virtually no power play minutes. A good time to sell. Last year Chris Butler had 21 points (29 pro-rated) with 12 coming via the power play. He logged the sixth most (second for defenseman) power play ice time. This season, he is ninth in average power play time and fourth amongst blueliners. Tyler Myers will turn it around, buy now. Leopold scored 48 points in 44 games in college, very impressive for a defenseman. In his second NHL season, he finished with 33 points. He's had some injury issues over the years, but Leopold played in 81 and 83 games over the last two seasons. He is on pace for 48 points and while he will not reach that number, hitting 40 isn't unrealistic.
This is the worst possible situation for owners of McBain. There are simply too many offensive defensemen in Carolina and he is clearly number four in the pecking order. While this is difficult to swallow in one year leagues, McBain will still be golden in keeper leagues, just not this year. I was a little surprised by the volume of shots from Babchuk. He has an absolute bomb from the point, so the fact that he's getting his shot on net is very good. If Corvo or Pitkanen are traded or out with a long term injury, Babchuk's value should skyrocket.
It seems like McCabe has been doing this forever, he's in his fifteenth season and on pace for 60 points! He won't hit 60 this year, but he did pot 43 points last year, making 45-50 points attainable. Wideman should end up around 45 points as well. He hit for 50 points only two years ago. Most poolies had higher hopes for Kulikov, but if you really looked at his situation heading into the season, you would have noticed that both Wideman and McCabe were going to be ahead of the rookie on the depth chart. He looks like he will be a keeper, just not this year. Ignore Keaton Ellerby's two points in four games, he's never scored more than 26 points, even in junior.
The return of Markov will effectively neuter Hamrlik's offensive output. In his three years with Montreal, 33 points were the best Hamrlik could muster. Like a young Jedi Knight, Subban will benefit from the Master's presence in the line-up. Spacek had 45 points only two seasons ago, but that was with Buffalo. He regressed to 21 points in his first season in Montreal. Josh Gorges had a 59 point (in 54 games) season in junior, but his best season as a pro is only 23 points. Sell high if you can.
Matt Taormina bears watching as he recorded a 50 point season last year in the AHL. Andy Greene had 37 points last year in New Jersey. Last night, when there was a crucial power play and the game on the line, it was Greene out there, not Taormina. Outside of those two players, there is not much else to look at in the swamp. Okay, maybe there is one other guy to keep an eye on. Matt Corrente was a late first round pick in 2006 and had 20 points in 43 AHL games last season. Unfortunately, he's currently out (day-to-day) with a broken hand. He could provide a nice mix of points and penalty minutes.
Wisniewski is the poster child for power play time translating into success in the points department. No way the Wiz will maintain his point-per-game pace, but over the last two NHL seasons, he has scored at a 39 point pace. Now it might be hard to sell a defenseman who is on pace to score 79 points, but this could be the epitome of "sell high". In his last season of major junior, Andrew MacDonald scored 58 points in 65 games and 32 points in 69 AHL games (38 points pro-rated) two years ago. If he hadn't broken his hand, he may have surprised us. Keep an eye out once he's back to see if he's able to start scoring.
Coach Tortorella plays the heck out of his top four and first power play pairing, seriously limiting the fantasy value of anyone outside those four. Del Zotto is the one to target, he is due to start scoring. Ever since last season, Marc Staal has been encouraged to explore his offensive side, so his numbers will only get better, but I think he'll top out at 35 points. Rozsival has changed his outlook this year and it's showing in his point totals. Dan Girardi is scoring at a 37 point pace, but his career high is 28 points. He's clearly second fiddle on this team.
After Gonchar and Karlsson, there really isn't much to write home about. Filip Kuba is back practicing and might make his season debut later this week, but his value is limited to second unit power play time. Matt Carkner is serviceable only in deep leagues that count penalty minutes.
After Pronger and Timonen, I have no confidence in any of the other guys. Matt Carle is getting over 20 minutes of ice time per game, including some time on the second power play unit. His career high is 42 points and he recorded 35 points last season, so a repeat of last year is a possibility.
I've been high on Kris Letang ever since I saw him at the World Junior tournament in Sweden (six points in six games). He has insane offensive abilities - in his last two junior seasons, he combined for 120 points in 100 games. He has scored only three of his 13 points on the power play. He can hit for 65 points on this team. Goligoski is a legitimate threat to score as well, garnering two-thirds of his points this year with the man advantage. Paul Martin is not a pure offensive talent like the Letang and Goligoski, but he will get his points with nice breakout passes and mop up power play duty. Zbynek "I'd like to buy a vowel" Michalek's career high is 28 points. He might surpass that this year, but don't count on much more than 30 and you won't be disappointed. Deryk Engelland is only good if you value penalty minutes. He is fighting all the heavyweights and is on pace for over 200 penalty minutes. Think Matt Carkner.
What a difference a year makes, well that and a clean sweep of management. Last season, Hedman was limited in his offensive role enroute to a disappointing 20 point rookie campaign. This is a guy who scored 21 points in 43 Swedish Elite League games as a 17-year-old. He will come very close to doubling his rookie point total. Pavel Kubina is receiving the most power play minutes of all Lightning defenders and has recorded 38, 40 and 40 points over his last three seasons. Brett Clark has taken advantage of his power play time recording four of his five points with the man advantage. His NHL high is 39 points, look for him to finish with 30-35 points.
Tomas Kaberle has averaged 52 points per season over the last five years. He's been money for fantasy leaguers and will be once again this year. Once Phaneuf returns from his injury, he will be given every opportunity to get back on track. If his current owner has soured on him, now might be the time to make an offer, but treat him as a potential 40 point player this year. Beauchemin has been getting some power play time in the absence of Phaneuf, just don't expect him to pile on the points. His career high is 36 points and has recorded 26, 21 and 28 points in his last three seasons. Mike Komisarek's career high is 19 points and he's on pace for 28, time to sell. Luke Schenn is playing better this season, but his track record says he will never become an offensive player.
Mike Green. Nuff said. John Carlson is on pace for 42 points which seems just about right (40-45 points) for the rookie. Future fantasy stud (future being next season). The only reason Jeff Schultz is on anyone's roster is for his plus/minus. Last year he led the league with a plus-50, but this season he is only average in that category. His career high in points is 23 set last year. Tom Poti might poach some second power play minutes, but his best fantasy seasons are long gone.
Thursday Trivia Time
Name the top forward not named Ovechkin or Crosby in Average Time On Ice.
Mitch Grave said:
Chandan Singh said:
Russ Miller said:
Carson Campbell said:
|Last Updated on Friday, 12 November 2010 12:24|