|Indicators of Success: Centers (West 2011)||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Tuesday, 29 November 2011 10:17|
Taking a look the ice time, shot total and production of Western Conference pivots and giving a buy or sell recommendation in the final part of this month-long series.
NOTE: These ramblings are based on one-year leagues and not meant for keeper/dynasty leagues.
Getzlaf’s overall ice-time leads all centers, while his PP TOI is third behind only Evgeni Malkin and Brad Richards, which is why it’s kind of surprising to see him with just 16 points at the moment. His current minus 13 rating is also the only time in his career that he’s posted a negative plus/minus rating. The Ducks are just too talented for him to play to a 57-point level, so look for the scoring to pick up as the season progresses. Koivu has posted 45+ points and 100+ SOG for seven consecutive seasons. Once the Ducks’ offense rights the ship, look for him to make it eight.
There isn’t a ton of fantasy value amongst the centermen in Calgary, but there are a few bright spots. Jokinen has a pretty decent stat-line for someone who’s only 23 percent Yahoo! owned at the moment. Look for him to finish the season on par stats-wise as last campaign. Backlund is an interesting “watch” candidate. During the last three contests, he’s spent nearly two-thirds of his overall ice-time alongside Jarome Iginla. It hasn’t produced much on the fantasy front just yet, but if it continues, it just might down the road. So keep a close eye on that situation.
It still looks completely bizarre to me to see Kane listed under the C column, but he’s performing according to plan so I can’t complain too much. Toews is on pace to finish above the 80-point plateau for the first time in his career. The secret to his success might be related to him shooting the puck a lot more. He’s expected to finish with a career-high of 276 SOG if he keeps continuing to fire at his current pace. Watch this YouTube clip if you want justification (thanks to Ethan Long for posting this on his Facebook feed), on why he’ll maintain his current 16 percent shooting efficiency. Bolland won’t ever be a primary scorer for the Hawks, but the TOI that he’s receiving should be good for those in need of a depth 40-45 pointer.
Johansen has had himself a very under-the-radar start to the season. He needs to have his leash loosened a bit in order for him to garner optimal fantasy value. Vermette’s career-low in terms of shooting percentage was 9.2 percent back in the 2008-09 season, which kind of puts his current 4.3 shooting efficiency into perspective. Expect a turnaround given the amount of optimum ice-time that he’s been given by Scotty Arniel. Since October 18th, the Jackets went 3-8 without Carter in the lineup (2.36 goals scored per game), and 3-2-2 with his return (2.57 goals scored per game). Is Carter the spark that will ignite the Columbus offense?
After starting the season with just four points in the first nine contests, Duchene has turned the corner with 13 points in the last 15. He’s proven in the past that he can maintain a pace that’s pretty close to point-per-game, so look for something along those lines moving forward. If you break down Stastny’s career stats, he can be generalized as a “second-half” guy. The Avs are still trying to find their identity, and when they do, Stats could perform at a point-per-game pace. I’d look for this as an opportunity to “buy low” on him. O’Reilly has always been considered a solid two-way player, he’ll undoubtedly surpass his career-high of 26 points, but it won’t be by more than 15.
Lost in all of the hoopla surrounding Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, Ribeiro currently sits third in team scoring despite connecting on a career low of just four percent. He’s averaged 20 goals per season since 2003, so expect the goals to start trickling in from here on out.
After starting the season with seven points in the first 11 games, Filppula has busted out with 12 points in the last 11. He’s never been a big shooter, which is what’s going to hold him back offensively. His career-high has only been 40 points, which is why I wouldn’t count on him to continue along his 70-point pace. Datsyuk also started 2011-12 off fairly slowly, but has rebounded with nine points in his last six contests. He’s back to where we all expect him to be. Hudler doesn’t have the stats to justify being completely fantasy worthy, but the second unit PP TOI is certainly “watch worthy”.
RNH is leading the team in scoring despite averaging just 16 minutes of ice-time per game. I’d hate to see what could happen if he gets into the 20s. With that said, rookies tend to hit a wall sometime during the season, so don’t fully expect him to continue on this torrid pace for the entire campaign. Horcoff is quietly stringing together a fairly under-the-radar season. He might not end up amongst the top-25 in league scoring, but top 60-75 isn’t out of the question.
After a superhot start to 2011-12 with 21 points in the first 17 contests, Kops has cooled down a bit with just three in the last seven. Don’t get me wrong, I think he has plenty of offensive talent, but I wonder if he has it in him to ever reach Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Steven Stamkos (gamebreaking), levels of production? Richards is on the other end of the spectrum with 10 points in the first 14, but has 10 in the last 10. I have a feeling that it’s going to run hot/cold/hot/cold between Kops and Richards all season long. Richards is 31 of 65 (48 percent), on the draw in PP situations, while Stoll is 21 of 39 (54 percent). I wonder if the Kings’ coaching staff would consider utilizing Stoll a bit more on the PP just to help gain a bit more puck control in the offensive zone. Just some food for thought…
Much like a few of the centers listed above, Koivu was also off to a very slow start (10 points in the first 18 contests), before turning on the jets the last couple of games (nine in the last six). One of the main reasons could be because of the chemistry developing between the newly formed Dany Heatley, Cal Clutterbuck and Koivu trio. During the last three contests, Bouchard is garnering a lot of top unit PP ice-time alongside the “big guns”. He’s always had offensive potential, so if he can manage to stay relatively healthy and maintain his current PP role a 65-point season could certainly be attainable.
Smith has had a great start to his NHL career. Similar to what I mentioned about RNH, rookies tend to hit a wall sometime during the season, so don’t expect Smith to continue at this pace all season long. Legwand has been a pretty consistent producer during the last four seasons. Look for him to settle right around the 40-point mark once again. Fisher missed the start of the season due to off-season shoulder surgery, but has been operating at a 60-point pace since returning. Expect somewhere around the 45-50 point mark come April.
Entering the season I was really high on Hanzal, and so far so good as he’s right on pace of where I expected him to be. Look for him to finish right around 50 points along with 200 SOG. During the last three contests, Langkow has spent 92.1 percent of his overall ice-time alongside Shane Doan. It’s certainly not a bad thing to be spending that much ice-time alongside the most offensive player on the team, so watch his status.
The 120-point days are well and truly over for Jumbo Joe, but he still has plenty of “game” left to post 85-95 points by season’s end. Couture picked up exactly where he left off last season, but being behind Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski on the Sharks’ depth charts, his production is always going to be limited.
It’s near impossible for me to tell you how it’s all going to unfold in St. Louis.
Here are the numbers in the “Hitch-era”:
Steen and Oshie both appear to be Hitch favourites, so now might be a good time to pick them up on the down low. It’s an interesting situation with Berglund, but here’s how I would handle it. Berglund has enough of a “name factor” that there are still plenty of poolies out there who would pay a decent price based on what he did at the end of last year and in the summer World Championships. At the end of the day, there are just too many chefs in the Blues’ kitchen. If I were a Berglund owner, I’d make my best “salesman pitch” and sneakily try to sing his praises while selling hard that he’s just too talented to play like this forever and then move him for a more secure fantasy option. There’s probably enough hype out there that you’d land a decent return if you made a good enough pitch.
Almost all of the fantasy value lies with Sedin and Kesler. Both are receiving ample ice-time and opportunity to run the offense in Vancouver. They both rank sixth and ninth respectively amongst all centers in terms of PP TOI per contest, which certainly justifies their production. During the last three contests Hodgson has seen a bit of time on the second PP unit alongside David Booth and Chris Higgins (1:16 per contest). He might not put up mind-boggling numbers, but if you’re playing a very deep league, Hodgson might be someone that you’d want to target.
Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them with you in the comments section below. Thanks for sticking around for the entire series. It’s one of my favourites that I compile each year and I hope that you find it useful. Come back next week - I'll fire off my name and shame list of Western Conference “bust” candidates.
David Harrison said:
mike hess said:
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 14:07|