All hail the King, the Mal-king!


Evgeni Malkin has conquered them all and is now the inaugural Cage Match Tournament Champion and the #1 player in fantasy hockey. How did he get here? Let’s take a look:


Introducing the Bracket

Howe Bracket: Round One

Richard Bracket: Round One

Gretzky Bracket: Round One

Lemieux Bracket: Round One

Sweet Sixteen: Part One

Sweet Sixteen: Part Two

Elite Eight

Final Four

The Final



#1 Evgeni Malkin over #1 Steven Stamkos – 124 votes to 43 votes.


This was inevitable really. The Evgenerator is the current scoring leader and a lock for to win his second career Art Ross Trophy. He also possesses a career 1.23 point per game scoring average which is the best rate in the NHL of any current player who hasn’t spent the better part of the past year with the blinds shuttered and the lights off. As good and as consistent as Stamkos has been he could never really stack up against Malkin. That’s because in a keeper league you can stomach a little volatility if you know that any year there is a chance your star player can blow the rest out of the water. Malkin is like Lucky Charms – highly rewarding every once in a while. Stamkos is All-Bran – always consistent but never explosive.


If you can’t agree that Malkin has way more upside than Stamkos then this whole argument is a waste of time. I am not advocating chasing the sugarplum fairy tale that is a 140-point season. One can only imagine the size of the horseshoe and the amount of lube necessary to drive Malkin to those heights. What I am saying is that Malkin has proven that when performing at his best he is on a whole other level than Stamkos and perhaps everyone else in the league. So a healthy Malkin is clearly the better bet but for most, if not all people choosing Stamkos, it is Malkin’s health that is the issue.


Anyone taking Stamkos wants to make the safe play. They want the guaranteed points. The problem with this sort of argument is that no players come with guarantees so at a certain point you aren’t really debating about two players but rather your own personal preferences with regard to risk taking and risk assessment. This makes Malkin vs. Stamkos less a discussion of actual player value and more a discussion of pure fantasy strategy.


So let’s talk strategy. For me, there is a huge difference in the amount of risk I am willing to take in a keeper league vs. in a one-year league. Back in September I argued that Corey Perry was a top five pick in one year fantasy pools because there were no other reasonable alternatives. You could roll the dice with a Crosby or a Malkin and maybe you’d hit a homerun but maybe you would strike out. Without exploring it much further, suffice to say I believe pushing all your chips in on your first pick is much too dangerous a strategy in a one-year league. There are better opportunities for risk taking later in the draft that won’t cost you your entire season.


In a keeper league, on the other hand, I am much less risk averse early on. In fact, I want to take risks early on. This is because in a keeper league star players retain their value. If my best player gets hurt he can still be my best player next year so not all is lost. So when I am picking early on, risk is less of an issue. I need to be more concerned with separating myself from the pack. This is because there is nothing worse than being an also-ran in a keeper league – year after year failing to get over the hump. Maybe your league rewards second place but in my leagues we play Ricky Bobby rules so if you’re not first, you’re last. If I can’t win it all I might as well go down in a blaze of glory because losing in a keeper league leads to a better draft pick which can actually improve my odds of winning next year.


So with a really high pick in a keeper league I need to make damn sure I am picking someone with the extra juice that can separate me from the pack. I need a guy who can get me 10+ points more than anyone else in the field. This is because in say a 12-team league by the time I get to my second pick all I have left is 60-70 point guys and there are like 20 of those to pick from. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of teams with two 75-85 point players giving them a range of 150-170 right off the hop. Stamkos plus a 60-70 point guy gets me a 150-170 point range. I gain no advantage. A healthy Malkin plus a 60-70 point guy gives me a 160-185 point range. Suddenly I have an edge on the competition. If Malkin goes down and plays like 30 games, so be it. I can rally back and contend the next year because Malkin still has plenty of big years up his sleeve. I’ll risk losing a season if I know that the next season can be the one Malkin leads the league.


Now this isn’t to say that you can’t build a winner around a guy like Stamkos, I just don’t think you can do it as easily with the first pick as you can with Malkin so again this is all about strategy and context. If you are too risk averse for Malkin then trade down but realize that trading down is not trading Malkin for Stamkos straight up.


This is, of course, entirely hypothetical. No draft strategy is perfect so this is a fairly crude way of going about the comparison. We all know one player does not make a team. That’s not how hockey is played, fantasy or otherwise, but one player can define your team’s direction. In a one-year league Stamkos’ All-Bran consistency is a welcome sight as he allows me to make dangerous sleeper picks later on that won’t cost me because the waiver wire is always more fruitful in a one-year league. In a keeper league though, I need to go for the throat early on because risking my season on sleepers later on cannot be fixed via the waiver wire.


Consider the case of Ales Hemsky. He is an intriguing pick in a one-year league because if he hits you have a star and if he misses you toss him away like the used condom that he is and you move on with your life. Try taking him in a keeper league though. He’s tougher to get rid of than herpes. If he gets hurt no one will go near him with a ten-foot-pole. So taking gambles later on in a keeper league has much more downside. Gamble on Malkin at the top and if he gets hurt you will always have a buyer or you just throw the team into a quick reload for the next season.


Remember that context is everything and personal philosophy is definitely a major factor. I see no value in pushing all-in early on in a one-year league there are too many fluctuations year-to-year that I can take my risks later and just dump that risk for the flavour of the week on the waiver wire. In a keeper league you have to manage long term needs so bailing out on upside is much more difficult, that places an emphasis on taking your risks closer to the top and playing it safe later on. So league type is a factor.


There is also the importance of understanding the size of your league. The smaller the league the less value there is in taking risks at the top. In say an eight-team league you could take Stamkos first and then still grab an 80-point guy on the way back around. Taking Malkin early still gives you a leg up but that can be marginalized because in smaller leagues there is greater waiver wire depth, which decreases the value of earlier risk taking and increases the value of later risk taking.


I won’t pretend to know where exactly the line is between the risk associated with Malkin and the comfort associated with Stamkos but I do know that there is a significant difference between taking that risk in a one-year league than in a keeper league. These risks will vary depending on your draft position and the depth of your league. The key is remaining open to the possibility that you can be wrong. There is no absolute answer. That’s why for as great and as enlightening as this Cage Match Tournament has been, the system was not perfect. The criteria for voting was pick who you would prefer to own in a points only keeper league but no further context was provided. Each voter was left to assume whether in each matchup you were picking a side in either a one-for-one trade or that you were deciding who you would rather draft first. Or maybe they just assumed this was a complete vacuum situation without context.


So I admit that the question was not entirely fair, or at least not specific enough but there was really no way to encapsulate all the specifics of everyone’s individual leagues and still be able to pull off a tournament of this nature. I hope you all can appreciate that. The masses prefer Malkin in a vacuum and I certainly agree with them but I hope the take away is that this was not unanimous and that there are certainly situations where Malkin is the wrong choice.


Ultimately, whether right or wrong, the people have spoken so bow to your King, the Malking. He is the inaugural Cage Match Tournament Champion and the consensus #1 player in fantasy hockey. Thanks for voting.


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Comments (12)add comment

Ryan Ma said:

... I dunno I think they're missing that third piece of the puzzle... St. Louis and Stammy are a great combo, but they need a finisher on that line to really make it dynamic and make it similar to a dominant Sedin-Sedin-Burrows, or a Malkin-Neal-Kunitz type of line. In the past couple of years they kinda had Gagne and Vinny fill that roll, which allowed St. Louis to get to that 90+ point plateau... Purcell and Malone have been decent this season, but I don't think they're the answer.

It might not help on the goal scoring front for St. Louis, but to me there's a potential big difference when St. Louis reels off 90+ points compared to 71... I guess whether that helps Stammy is up for argument. My opinion is that if St. Louis reels off 91, surely Stammy would benefit somewhere down the line.

The thing for me is whether or not they do find that 3rd option, I mean do they go after a Parise? Semin? Whitney? Surely if they add any one of those three, suddenly his "high" of 40 assists, becomes 50 just by adding 1 more line mate. There might be a hit in goals, but the assists might climb as well. Lots can happen with a team.

I agree with you, if you're debating between Malkin and Stammy, you have to go Malkin for the smart money... The highs (gambles) are where you win fantasy championships, Malkin tallying 107 is going to win you the championship, where as Stammy's 96 is good for stabilizing a team.

My point of contention is you calling Stammy "All-Bran", my argument is that he'll consistently give you a nice 90-95 total, but there's still room for improvement where he could once in a while pop off for 110. When you brand him as "All-Bran" to me that seems like you're pigeon-holeing him that he's consistently going to be a 95-pointer and that's his plateau where he'll never be able to beat that. Which I don't think is your thoughts at all.

So shouldn't he be a cereal that contains some sort of "charms" rather than pure cardboard and fibre?

I agree with many of your Nash points, and if he ends up going to SJ then great, but it would depend on what goes back the other way...

The thing is the Oilers are in a tough place. With a top-3 pick, I don't think you can afford to pick a defenseman (what they desperately need), especially not when you can pick a similar equivalent 4-5 picks later. Which kinda puts them in a predicament, they could draft the BPA, but that then means that you have an over-abundance of certain positions, and still left with the holes you're needing to fill.

With TB, it does depend entirely on what Yzerman thinks. To me Forsberg/Galchenyuk are decent prospects, but Yakupov/Grigorenko are the cream of the crop. They should be leaps and bounds better than Forsberg and Galchenyuk. Unless TB has a really ace up their sleeve in the late first round, I think I'd much rather trade down and get a known entity in Yakupov/Grigorenko than someone who's decent in Forsberg/Galchenyuk... but I'm no Yzerman/Tambellini...
April 06, 2012
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

... I think you are overrating St. Louis' down performance this season. I mean, a five goal difference might mean five extra assists for Stamkos but it probably wouldn't moreover, it is likely that Stamkos in fact just replaced some of those would-be St. Louis goals with goals of his own. Fluctuations of five or so don't really mean much to me in the grande scheme of things. What's more telling about St. Louis' down season is the serious drop in assists which derives from playing less with Stamkos as well as having missed some time with injury and likely a bit of luck with regard to not getting in on as many goals as he may have been responsible for creating.

Your point with Kessel is well taken. But the difference is that prior to Lupul Kessel really had not had any decent linemates. So I would argue that he was being driven to his potential whereas Stamkos has been provided the opportunity to skate with better linemates and has damn near exhausted his potential. I mean, he has gotten somewhere around 40 assists per season based on being a very talented player who has also skated with very talented players. I don't see a situation where Stamkos skates with much better than he has already in his career and really any goals that future linemates might provide could likely come at the cost of him scoring more goals. At a certain point a line just can't get any more efficient and the Stamkos-St. Louis pairing has been damn near the most efficient in the league these past few years.

I also just want to clarify what we are arguing about here because I fully allow that there could come a season where Stamkos pops off 110 points, but rather I am contending that most healthy seasons will see Stamkos in the 90-100 point range. Weird things can happen that create the perfect storm but I just think it's dumb to expect them. Malkin has proven himself capable of going for 110 multiple times and could do multiple times in the future. That's what makes him Lucky Charms. If you wake up one morning and for some reason you actually find that your All-Bran tastes better than Lucky Charms is that a new pattern developing or is it simply an aberration?

The smart money is on drafting Stamkos expecting 90-100 points. Just because he could go off one year for more than that is not an excuse to draft him. That's just like chasing a 140 (or hell even a 120) point season out of Malkin. Just because it can happen is no excuse to go chasing it.

Nash isn't stupid, he's not jumping from one rebuild to another. There's a reason you get a no-trade and it's so that you can control your destiny. There will be at least one contender this summer who falls flat and decides they need to make a splash. In fact, there will probably be several. My money would be on San Jose, they were close enough to pulling the trigger at the deadline and Doug Wilson will absolutely make a splash if they lose in Round One, even if their issue isn't up front. Teams have much more flexibility with regard to the cap in the off-season and if the cap goes up to $69 million as anticipated then teams will have an extra $5 million to work with. That's half the Nash contract right there.

The point to why Nash doesn't fit with Edmonton is because the assets required to trade for him are assets they need to cover up other holes. As much as size up front would help, positionally Nash just isn't enough of a fit to warrant using an asset on him especially when I seriously doubt that he could be had for just that pick when you consider what Columbus was asking for at the deadline. Add in more suitors and you get a possibly higher price tag.

As a fan I would love to add him but if the price isn't right and they can't fill other holes I will flip my lid. And you are absolutely right about the fan base. This season was the end of many fans' wits. Personally, I have not been caring about what they do until next season. Next season has always been the season scheduled for the Oilers to return to the playoffs. If they fail to do that then I want a shakeup in both GM and coach.

As far as that TB trade possibility goes, again I can't imagine it working out. I mean, if Galchenyuk or Forsberg at 6 is good enough for Edmonton then I imagine it would be good enough for Tampa. Yzerman is unafraid to gamble on injured talent and he also has that other first as insurance in case an earlier risky pick flops. So not only would Edmonton have to strike out on all their possible trades for established players but Tampa would also have to really want a specific player at 2nd/3rd and would have to be in the right spot to still land a player that Edmonton really wants. Seems like a long shot.
April 06, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... Great point!

The thing is how much do assist totals depend on play-making ability and how much does it just come down to just being on the ice with quality players.

I understand that very high quality play-makers like H. Sedin, Crosby, Thornton, Giroux, Spezza who naturally make the players around them better because of their passing ability will help them pick up more points than a natural goal scorer. You get 2 assists for every goal scored, so it's not surprising that play-makers tend to put up more points than goal scorers, because at the end of the day you get twice the amount of assists compared to goals.

But then you also have a few examples of Kessel, Kovalchuk, Perry and Ovechkin plus I would argue to a certain extent Kane, and even Daniel Sedin, who pick up assists simply because they're on a line with quality players. Kessel is a good example, 25 and 32 assists the past 2 season, stick him on a line with a "hot" player like Lupul and his assists increases to 45. I don't think Kessel has changed his game all that much from the last 2 seasons compared to this year but the assists just happened to increase... So does having Lupul on the ice actually help boost Kessel's assist totals?

You could argue Kovalchuk in a similar fashion, 44 and 29 assists the past 2 seasons, then 46 this year cause he's lining up alongside Parise and Henrique. Having more quality line mates all Kovo needs to do is pass the puck to them and he naturally garners more assists.

I do agree with you that Malkin will have higher point upside because he has better play-making (assist garnering) skills than Stammy. But I also think that Stammy won't plateau at 37 assists either. I mean the last couple of years he's already hit 44 and 46. On of the big reasons why Stammy has dropped in assists this season was because of the "average" play of St. Louis. Marty only has 25 goals this season compared to his usual norm of 30 from the last 3 seasons. If Marty put in a couple more goals, Stammy's assists would have been up to his norm as well.

I understand that it does take some special talents in order to record 50-60 assists, and something even more incredible for Crosby's or Sedin's 70+, but I don't expect Stammy to ever get to those levels. As you said he doesn't have the play-making ability to do so, but if St. Louis returns back to form, or the Lightning finding him another quality line mate besides Malone, Purcell, or Downie, healthier Lecavalier, or even a "true" PP QB, surely getting 50 assists out of Stammy isn't too much of an ask...

I just don't think Stammy has peaked at 95 points...

I think it depends on how badly he wants to get out of Columbus... Both teams are heading into rebuilding phases, but I think Edmonton is just slightly ahead of the curve than Columbus. The thing is Nash wants to go to a contender, the problem is most contenders 1) don't need him or 2) can't afford him, so there's only a limited amount of markets where he can really go and that Columbus would be happy to accept the price of return...

Your scenario is exactly what I'm thinking in my head, use MPS, Gagner, Omark, prospects to land a number 1 D. Only problem is there isn't very many number 1 D available... Use that first rounder to trade for Nash, then you get a bit of leadership and size up front without having that learning curve factor. If Oilers grab another youngster, that just adds another player that they need to develop over the course of 2-3 years. With Nash you kinda get that already developed player so you can just hunt for W's next year as opposed to using it as another development year for another youngster... If the Oilers stink it up for another year, I think there will be a lot of fans kicking up a fuss about the team.

The thing is where does TB draft? If they get into 6,7 or 8, you could possibly think that Galchenyuk could slip that far because of his injury history. If you look at Brett Connolly, the same thing happened up him, slipped to 6th because of his injury history... That would be the perfect scenario for the Oilers, if they can get Galchenyuk and a late first rounder. Or even a Forsberg would be a good consolation prize...
April 05, 2012
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

... I'm sticking with All-Bran. If Stamkos adds playmaking to his game I imagine it takes away from his goal scoring. Name for me one big time goal scorer who wasn't a great playmaker who later added playmaking to his abilities. Anyone in history who became more of a playmaker (for instance Selanne) already was a good playmaker, with strong assist totals. Take guys like Brett Hull, Shanahan, Bure, Bondra, Niewendyk, they all never really improved on their playmaking and as a result plateaued.

Maybe I'm thinking about this in somewhat of a prudish manner but I really think that there is something of a passing gene, which is an even fancier way of saying hockey IQ. Regardless of what you call it, you either have that vision or you don't, it doesn't spark out of nowhere and if you try to force it, like you could argue Ovechkin has been then you lose big time on your scoring and overall effectiveness.

Better teammates can boost Stamkos' assists a bit but the overall increase in team scoring is going to have to be drastic and since the team is already super effective with him on the ice, the amount team scoring will have to increase to significantly improve Stamkos' stats is all the more drastic.

Like I said, Stamkos has already used up one of his perfect storm seasons this season in that he is shooting an outrageous percentage. I'm not sure he'll get those same bounces in the future. The bounces he needs to drive him up over 100 points is incredible. Not only will he need to shoot a very high percentage but he also needs to get lucky with the assists (with particular emphasis on secondary assists and how that can fluctuate highly).

Perfect storm for Stamkos he gets another 60 goal season and lucks out 50 assists. The question is if he can get that lucky. I don't think he can.

Edmonton isn't in on the Nash sweepstakes and he wouldn't accept a trade there. He doesn't address their glaring need for a defenseman. Edmonton is keeping their pick if it doesn't address their need of grabbing a defenseman. The best scenario for Edmonton would be trading some combination of Paajarvi/Gagner/prospects/picks for one defenseman. Hitting the free agent market for another and then drafting Galchenyuk 2nd/3rd overall so they have a great one-two punch up the middle and one that has unique qualities rather than being redundant a la RNH-Gagner. And if you really wanted to get overzealous about what they could do then I would say they win the draft lottery trade down a couple spots so they can get the third pick and a mid-late first so they get Galchenyuk and whoever they want later in the draft. But that's all assuming perfection. My guess is status quo on the main roster except the pick goes for a defenseman who proves to be very underwhelming.
April 05, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... I also think it's a bit of both, but I think if you look at the past historical numbers, there's a bit of a trend, but I think there's a bit more emphasis on the later half of your initial statement than the former.

TB home GF/game last 3 years: 2.73, 3.27 and 3.22 this year.
TB away GF/game last 3 years: 2.46, 2.61 and 2.41 this year.

If you break down the numbers even further, TB has scored 132 goals at home in which Stammy was responsible for 36 of them (27.3%). If you look at the road numbers, they have 94 goals, in which Stammy was responsible for 22 of them (23.4%). So once again if you kinda forecast a slight improvement on the road, if he begins to even out that goal percentage, 1 or 2 percent and you get another goal or two.

I 150% agree with you that at his current form, Stammy will stagnate in terms of scoring. The only way that he is going to improve is if he starts adding more assists to his resume to help boost the point totals. I guess the thing for me is that I don't think the Lightning will continue to have a weak supporting cast in the future.

- they'll add another young prospect into the mix with whatever draftee they snag at the draft... If it's one of the "big 3" I think they could really change the dynamics of the top-six/nine in terms of game-breaking players.
- they'll hopefully add a "real" puck moving D in the off-season via free agency. If not they always have the back up plan of Cory Conacher, who's 2nd in the league in terms of points, and he's a blue-liner! Mark Barberio is another solid blue-line option.
- after the big three of St. Louis, Stamkos, Purcell... the rest of the forwards were dismal on the road, Malone (0.63), Vinny (0.59), Connolly (0.12) and Shannon (0.25), so there is a bit of room for improvement there, whether that comes from Stammy or not, a few extra goals on the road and should filter some extra points for Stammy.
-Injuries also played a big role too, the Lightning don't have a lot of depth beyond the top 5. Now when the top-5 miss (St. Louis 5, Lecavalier 18, Malone 14) games as well, not surprising to see them struggling so much offensively...

Which is why I'm calling you out on the "All-Bran" statement, by you calling him "All-Bran" you're kinda assuming that he'll continue down this path of being goal heavy and never developing an all around game. I'm saying there's still plenty of room for improvement for him, and that he hasn't peaked. He might be "All-Bran" in his current state, but he could very well be "Lucky Charms" or "Rice Krispies" 2-3 years down the road when the team around him also improve.

As for the Oilers, I agree with you depends on where the chips fall... If they have an eye on someone mid-late first round then that Detroit pick could prove to be very valuable, especially if they can get a 6-8th pick as well. I just don't see a need for them to keep a 2nd pick to grab a Grigorenko, Galchenyuk when they're pretty set in terms of offensive depth with Hall, Eberle, RNH... They probably have a bigger glaring need for a D, and I don't know if you use the 2nd overall pick to grab Dumba, Murray, when you can trade down and grab the 3 other options (Reilly, Reinhart, Trouba) instead... Of course that depends on whether or not TB is even willing to move that Detroit pick...

I wonder if the Oilers would consider moving that pick for Nash? Oilers would get a big power forward to complement their young kids, and Columbus could have the 1-2 pick to really boost off the rebuild phase. The Nucks got 2 early picks and snagged the Sedins, Columbus with Yakupov and Grigorenko could do some major damage down the road...
April 05, 2012
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

... counter to the team Home/Away split stats would revolve around whether Tampa is overachieving at home or underachieving on the road. It can’t be answered definitively but I would wager it is a bit of both. So maybe Tampa as a team upgrades on the road but maybe they regress at home. Also because Stamkos’ splits are not as significantly different as his team’s splits it can’t be conclusive that Stamkos would really benefit from his team improving on the road. It seems more then case that the other lines on the team are underperforming on the road. So if Tampa gets say 20 extra goals on the road, I would wager the majority of those are coming from the second and third line. As I mentioned earlier, Stamkos is extracting everything he can out of his skills so his team scoring 20 extra goals probably only gets him a couple of extra points.
I will also point out that this year, seemingly more than any other year has seen teams widening their splits at home vs. on the road. This is something that bears studying because if teams are simply taking a “Protect This House” approach then we can expect to see splits like this in the future.

As far as Stamkos being All-Bran, I’m sticking to that. Maybe the team can upgrade their scoring and that would help him get a few more points here or there but barring an improvement in his playmaking he won’t consistently score more points than he has. For as wide as Stamkos’ splits have been they have not hurt his goal scoring any. I would argue that this would be one of the seasons where Stamkos could have reached his upside (100-110) which rests beyond where he will usually score. This is because he is shooting a very high percentage. If he stuck with his career 17% shooting then he’d be nine goals less this season. As significant as his splits have been bad, his overachievement in goal scoring has surely evened things out.

If Stamkos wants to reach the 100-point mark or higher he will need to improve his playmaking or get lucky enough to not only shoot a high percentage but also receive the bounces necessary to add on the assists. An improved supporting cast can help him with the latter but to what degree I am uncertain.

I'll also point out that Stamkos is reaching that stage where a player has to decide if he is just going to be a gunner or start developing a complete two-way game. For most players the complete two-way game reduces their ability to score at the highest level. Malkin has protection in the Pittsburgh lineup so he never has had to develop that complete game the way Stamkos might.

Regarding the trade proposal you may be onto something but I envision the Oilers beating down every door to get a player who can play for them now before they ever trade down. It will also be imperative that we figure out where those picks end up. I know for a fact the Oilers have eyes on a prospect who is dropping to the mid-late first and would love to be able to have their cake and eat it too but asset management dictates that they would trade that pick for a player before they trade down.
April 05, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... The question of team depth/structure has been called into question here. But IMO, TB can address that problem fairly easily...

Now the interesting thing is the draft picks that TB possesses this draft.

They have a top-10 at the moment, if they happen to "drop" their remaining games and a few of the others end up winning a few... they could happen to sneak into a lottery position... anything can go in that lottery.

Now if they don't win the lottery say draft at position 6, 7 or 8... they also have Detroit's first rounder as well. So depending on how well they do, it can be somewhere around 22-30... Now if Yzerman (being the smart cookie that he is), approached say Edmonton and said, listen you don't honestly need a top 3 pick to pick someone (Yakupov, Grigorenko, or Galchenyuk) that you already have plenty of depth at what we I tossed you Detroit's first rounder and our top-10 pick, surely the Oilers would have to listen right?

Oilers would still get a D-man (a position that they need) Reilly, Reinhart, Trouba or Ceci, plus they get another late first rounder to add to the cupboards maybe a Subban or Vasilevski to add to the goalie cupboard...

TB would then get a shot at Grigorenko, Yakupov or Galchenyuk...

They could do the same with CLB (with their history of Russians), wouldn't be surprised to see them trade down... They'd get an 6-8th pick, plus LA's 20th pick, plus Detroit's 22-30th pick, so they'd have 3 first rounders to fix up their team.

MTL would probably keep their pick...

If the Lightning can end up landing one of the "big 3", their top-nine could look something like:

Yakupov/Grigorenko/Galchenyuk - Stammy - St. Louis
Purcell - Lecavalier - Malone
Namestinikov - Connolly - Brown/Panik

Which would have a lot of upside heading into the next few years...
April 05, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... Definite great argument.

I'm just looking at the home/away differences, of the splits for Stammy, and I'm like whoa wait a tick, I know there's generally a discrepancy between home/away numbers for pretty much every player in the NHL, but are they reasonable enough this season that this is going to be the norm from here on out and I don't think I can confidently answer YES to that question.

If you look at the point per game splits then yes there isn't that big of a difference 0.35 for Stammy and 0.32 for Malkin, but it's the "other" factors that has me scratching my head.

+/-, there's a difference of 16 for Stamkos as opposed to just 4 for Malkin. I know +/- is never a reliable stat, but it's a telling sign that there is much more room for things to "even" out for Stammy than there is for Malkin.

SOG, there's also another major difference in the splits between home/away numbers for Stamkos (0.31) than for Malkin (0.02). Once again another area where there's a lot of room for improvement for Stamkos over Malkin.

So I do agree with you that the point-per-game numbers are not any different between Stamkos and Malkin, the stats of +/- and SOG are drastically different, which gives Stamkos a bit more room for improvement than Malkin IMO.

I'm also glad that you brought the team structure into the discussion as well. If you look at the team structure, both teams are reasonably offensive. Pittsburgh in 80 games this season has averaged 3.3 goals per game, while TB has averaged 2.83. So I do accept your argument that Malkin has a better environment for scoring because they do produce a lot more goals than TB.

Now my rebuttal would be if you break the stats down a bit further. Pit averages 3.3 goals per game because they average 3.51 goals per game at home and 3.10 on the road. Now if you look at TB's situation they average 2.83 goals per game overall, but if you look at the splits, they average 3.22 goals per game at home, but what drags them down is the 2.41 on the road. So if you look at the difference for Pit (0.41) between home and the road, that's fairly reasonable to accept as that's pretty much the norm for most of the teams in the NHL, but TB has a differential of 0.81, that's nearly double the difference of what Pit has.

The goal differential between goals scored at home to away is a whopping +38 for TB. The goal differential between goals scored at home to away is a mere +10 for Pittsburgh.

Essentially that's an extra 4 goals every 5 games that TB scores at home more than the road. Surely that's a massive area where TB can improve on for next season. Hence another major reason why I think there's more room for improvement in Stammy than there is for Malkin.

What I 100% do agree with you is that Malkin is more conducive to higher points because he contributes in both areas of point production goal scoring and assists. Whereas Stammy is mostly goal scoring and much less the assists, but doesn't that mean that, there's another area where he could improve his scoring?

My argument would be that his team should be better around him in the future. I mean how can you logically explain to me how a team produces 3.22 goals at home, but only manages 2.41 on the road. It's the same team that plays at home as on the road, surely the numbers have to even up closer together somewhere down the road. If they improve to 2.75, surely Stamkos would be the beneficiary of some extra points... What's holding Stamkos back at the moment is the lack of road production from his team, once that improves, so will Stamko's team environment and will directly result in a better point production from Stammy.

You hit it right on the head:

I would also like to point out that investing in Stamkos (especially ahead of Malkin) with the expectation of growth removes all potential profit you could gain from that growth. There’s no advantage in taking Stamkos ahead of Malkin if the best you can get is a guy with the same upside. So you are actually taking on a good deal of opportunity cost by going Stamkos over Malkin. For Stamkos to have Apple 10 years ago qualities you would need to be picking him well after Malkin, where the opportunity cost is much lower so you can actually make gains off of whatever improvements occur.

10000% agreed with you on this. I guess what I'm trying to say is that in fantasy pools whether you pick up Malkin or Stamkos there's probably not a lot you gain from it cause you're gonna gain a decent production either way. What I'm just trying to highlight is when you call Stamkos "all-bran", I'm just saying we haven't seen the best of him yet and there's still a bit of room to grow and improve. He isn't going to be a career 95-pointer, when things click 110-115 isn't out of the question.

I'd like to think of him as Rice Krispies, pretty run of the mill until you add a bit of milk and you're going to get a neat surprise.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

... Pengwin, with all the chatter in the threads of this tournament I felt that it was necessary to provide an explanation. Glad you appreciated it.

Ross, oh dear god you are right.

Ma, I agree with the sentiment but not so much the reasoning. I’m not sure looking at home and away splits really proves much more than the universally known fact that teams typically play better at home than on the road. That Stamkos has a wider range in his splits (and marginally so) could prove that he has more room for improvement but the distance between his career home/away points per game is 0.35. Malkin’s is 0.32. So if Stamkos makes up some distance there he is really only getting like an extra point or two in an entire season. This is negligible.

You could argue that Malkin’s splits this season are unsustainable and I agree but this is more like one of those outliers where it’s just a case of sample size. Malkin’s best season for instance saw him with nearly identical home/away splits.

I think that home/away splits are great for making who to play judgements but not so much for viewing overall trends. If Stamkos starts doing more on the road there is no guarantee that doesn’t come at the expense of his home production because of random chance.

If you want a reason why Stamkos could do better look instead at team scoring. Tampa has always been one of the higher scoring teams in the league and Stamkos is obviously a part of that. He is registering points on 42% of his team’s goals. Malkin, on the other hand, is scoring on 40%. The difference is the Penguins score a lot more than Tampa. If the Lightning ever got themselves a true puck moving defenseman I believe that Stamkos could show some improvement. Stamkos has pretty well maxed out his goal scoring abilities so adding some players who could also score some more goals would help him. If the team could score say 15 more goals in a season, that would be like 6 more points for Stamkos and that’s the difference between 95 and 100 points, which is significant.

Now before this argument simply becomes Malkin has better teammates, realize that Malkin does more to create offense for his team than Stamkos does. This is not splitting hairs either. Malkin is equal parts goal scorer and playmaker so he makes his teammates better than Stamkos does as a pure scorer. Stamkos’ scoring can boost his teammates assists and his presence creates a few more openings but Malkin creates just as many openings with his presence and creates even more with his passing. For this reason I think that if Tampa increases its team scoring that this will not carry Stamkos up to Malkin’s level but could make things closer. If Tampa were to score more that would probably mean other lines producing more offense, whereas Malkin can still stay 40% involved in the team offense even for the league’s highest scoring team. Stamkos would not remain at 40% if his team scored at Pittsburgh’s rate.

Because of this the improvements necessary for Stamkos to match Malkin would be for Tampa to overtake Pittsburgh’s scoring rate and/or Stamkos to further develop his playmaking. I won’t rule out either of these things but I think it is highly unlikely.
For this reason I think that comparing Stamkos to Apple 10 years ago is flawed. Expecting further improvements from Stamkos is a keeper league fallacy. At a certain point growth stops. That’s why I shit on Malkin’s odds of getting a 140-point season. It’s the white whale. Investing in Stamkos now and expecting further growth would be like investing in Apple now. It’s a proven commodity and you might expect growth but there’s no guarantee it’s coming.

I would also like to point out that investing in Stamkos (especially ahead of Malkin) with the expectation of growth removes all potential profit you could gain from that growth. There’s no advantage in taking Stamkos ahead of Malkin if the best you can get is a guy with the same upside. So you are actually taking on a good deal of opportunity cost by going Stamkos over Malkin. For Stamkos to have Apple 10 years ago qualities you would need to be picking him well after Malkin, where the opportunity cost is much lower so you can actually make gains off of whatever improvements occur.

So again, it all comes back to perspective. Stamkos ahead of Malkin? No. But maybe you are in a better situation if you can trade down from that top position so you get Stamkos and his potential for improvement and then upgrade your picks later on.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... Malkin is like Lucky Charms – highly rewarding every once in a while. Stamkos is All-Bran – always consistent but never explosive.

Great comparison gave me a chuckle! The thing for me is we've seen Malkin take it to the next level, I don't think we've really seen the complete package from Stamkos just yet.

If you look at his splits this campaign, 57 points in 41 home games (1.39 PPG), +11 along with 155 SOG (3.78 SOG/gm). Compare that to the road games 38 points in 38 games (1 PPG), -5 along with 132 SOG (3.47 SOG/gm). There's notable differences there that could possibly mean a bit more upside down the road if those numbers start evening out.

If you compare those numbers to Malkin's. 63! in 35 (whopping 1.8 PPG), +10 and 161 (4.6 SOG/gm) at home. 42 in 38 (1.11 PPG), +4 and 174 (4.58 SOG/gm). The major difference is Malkin is posting a ridiculous 1.8 points-per-game at home! I don't think that's a rate that could be maintained over the course of a long NHL career...

If you compare the career numbers, Stamkos' splits (if you allow me to throw out the first season cause I think he was miss used under Melrose): Home: 1.33 PPG, +36 and 3.76 SOG/gm. Away: 0.98 PPG, -29 and 3.28 SOG/gm.

Malkin's splits: Home: 1.39 PPG, +27, 3.82 SOG/gm. Away: 1.07 PPG, +12, 3.66 SOG/gm.

I just think there's a bit more room for improvement on Stamkos' part. The difference between home/away splits for Stamkos are much wider than the home/away splits for Malkin. So there's that extra little bit of room for improvement.

My analogy is investing in Malkin is like investing in Apple. You're still going to get a decent return, but the increase isn't going to be large from here on out. Investing in Stamkos is investing in Apple 10 years ago before they brought out the Ipods, Iphones and Ipads. There's a bit more room to grow with Stammy than Malkin.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
All-Bran Should note that All-Bran is very explosive if you're not used to it smilies/wink.gif
April 04, 2012
Votes: +1

Pengwin7 said:

Perfect Solid, solid.
I give you full marks for this series and this final discussion.

It's all about draft risk/reward.
You covered this very nicely with attention to both one-year & keeper leagues, highlighting the "what you get" with both players.

(If you hadn't done this, trust me, I would've let you know!!!)

Amazing, fantastic series.
Great explanations, great insight, great analysis.
10/10. A+

Well done! smilies/cheesy.gif
April 04, 2012
Votes: +1
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