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Another day and more doom and gloom regarding the lockout. I wouldn’t expect much positive news from either site until the September 15th date approaches.


That doesn’t stop us from updating the DobberHockey Fantasy Guide every few days, right up until puck drop. Pick the Guide up here.


I really enjoyed this piece from Michael Grange. He offers up his thoughts on how to bridge the gap between the NHL and NHLPA.


I agree with his first two points (contract two teams, get two more in Canada, and split revenues 50/50), but I don’t agree with a four-year contract limit length. Well worth the 10 minutes if you have the time to read it.


Grange’s point on contract limit length:



Let's face it, deals that run for a decade or more are simply dumb because the teams are on the hook for all the risk. For starters, contracts can't be insured against injury for more than seven years, and the danger of performance drop-off is massive. I'm also of the belief that over time these deals will be bad for the players themselves. Sure, it's nice for Ilya Kovalchuk or Shea Weber to know that money will be rolling in until 2025 or '26, but what are the odds they won't otherwise be unhappy with their situation over the life of their deals? Weber is getting huge chunks of money up front, but at age 33, in his prime, he'll be earning $6 million (barring a rollback), or less than James Wisniewski will make this year. Human nature suggests that might rankle. Guys like raises. They like incentives. They need a sense of urgency. Something makes me think that as more players get halfway through their decade-plus deals, it'll be a huge challenge to keep complacency and staleness at bay.”

I covered the exact same issue in a column with Mike Colligan from last week.


“ANGUS: That is an excellent point. The big money is still there for these young players, but they don’t get it until later on if they start out with a club like Detroit or Pittsburgh.


Look at Jordan Eberle as an example. If he were on the Wings, the chances of him scoring 34 goals last season would be pretty low. Not to knock him as a player at all, but on Edmonton he received prime offensive minutes and little pressure to play well defensively (easy to do that on the worst club in the league). Eberle is going to command upwards of $6 million on his next deal, as will Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov a few years later. Edmonton’s tanking strategy benefited them in the way of three or four elite young talents, but they won’t be able to afford them all, as they are already counted on to play significant roles for the NHL club.


The teams that draft well will get rewarded if they develop properly. Setting a limit on contract length won’t “level the playing field” any more than it already is. Your proposed solution of a limit on the amount a salary amount can change during the lifetime of a contract makes a lot of sense.”


Speaking of… should the Oilers sign their young guns now, or wait for a new CBA? There are a lot of variables (contract length, UFA age) which would change the negotiations significantly.


“There may also be a change in how UFA status is calculated and whether or not arbitration is available to restricted free agents. If team-friendly changes are put in place, that would have an enormous impact on the leverage of both players in negotiations. If the Oilers sign Hall and Eberle now, they may be forgoing a lot of incoming leverage.

They may also be paying much more for seasons on the assumption that they're paying for UFA years, only to have those season turn into RFA years in a new CBA. Is it reasonable for the Oilers to sign these players for more than four years in their agents insist on treating subsequent years as UFA seasons? I would suggest that it probably isn't. Of course, it's quite possible that the agents will not be so intransigent, and will be willing to compromise, perhaps treating five years as RFA seasons instead of four.”

A phenomenal read from NHL Numbers on a new competition metric developed, which takes away some of the things that the Corsi statistic misses out on.


Again, I know some don’t understand or care to understand advanced statistics, but the fantasy hockey relevance is huge. Being able to accurately evaluate and project past and future performance is much easier with these accurate measures, instead of going off “hunches” and “gut instincts,” and limited stats like plus/minus.


That being said, I still do rely on hunches, as I trust my judgement of players (by and large).


“Basically, what we're finding is that a team's best line tends to face opponents who get a lot of ice time, even if those opponents don't tend to outshoot their opponents. At first I'd assumed that was because of the interconnectedness of usage and results -- maybe the Sedins' opponents don't carry the play because they're always starting in the defensive zone against players like the Sedins.

But there was something nagging at me: the flip side of the equation. It's not too hard to imagine the Sedins facing opponents who play a lot of defensive minutes without winning the shot battle, but are James Wyman and Andreas Nodl really facing a bunch of opponents who don't get much ice time despite handily outshooting their opponents? That doesn't sound right; the leaderboard in Corsi Rel isn't exactly a list of bench-warmers.”

New Jersey forward David Clarkson played the postseason with a broken foot. Would explain is three goals in 24 playoff games, after a 30-goal regular season. looks at the top 10 prospects in Colorado. Four goaltenders make the list. The second prospect:


Tyson Barrie, D: When the Avalanche let John-Michael Liles go to the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2011-12 season, they did so with hopes a homegrown prospect could fill his skates.


Meet Barrie, the heir apparent to Liles and perhaps the best of a slew of defensive prospects coming through the Avalanche system. Undersized (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) but highly skilled, the Victoria, British Columbia, native could be the type of creative, puck-moving blueliner Colorado has been missing.”

Sticking with prospects – a profile of Anton Rodin, who checks in at number 12 on the CanucksArmy’s top 20 prospects.


“While Rodin appears at #12 on our consensus list, I had him ranked just outside of my personal top-5. Once you get past Jensen, Kassian and Schroeder - I'm not sure there's a more skilled prospect in the Canucks system. For what it's worth, Mike Gillis publicly agrees, he singled out Anton Rodin during his season ending press conference as among "the most dynamic, highly skilled players" in the Canucks prospect pool. Gillis then added that, "[Rodin] probably needs another year of development to get stronger."

Shutdown Line looks at Jiri Tlusty, who has gotten his career on track in Carolina.


“It may seem like Tlusty is older because he's been in the league for awhile but he only turned 24 in March and seems to have finally solidified himself as an NHL-er now. Unfortunately, he will likely be seen as a "draft bust" by the larger media because of his draft slot and the Leafs possibly rushing him into the NHL before he was ready.

Jim Rutherford decided to take a chance on Tlusty by trading Philippe Paradis to the Leafs for him and things seemed to have turned out well now. Tlusty had to work his way through the system and earn his ice-time with the Hurricanes but he appears to have earned a permanent spot on the team now and was a big part of the Canes first line last year.”

It will be interesting to see where Tlusty fits in – he is a versatile forward and the Hurricanes have added two very, very good forwards this summer. He could be anywhere from line one to line three.

Alex Kovalev has a few offers for training camp tryouts, according to Alex Kovalev. What is your take – has Kovalev’s time in the NHL come and gone? Can he still contribute?


Can Anaheim start the season with Bobby Ryan after what he said earlier this summer (paraphrasing… “I want out”). Ryan is a star forward and there is zero chance the Ducks would get fair value back for him. He’s signed to a cheap deal and he is a versatile player. I don’t see the upside in moving him, especially with Perry and Getzlaf needing new contracts pretty soon.


Some Ryan magic:



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Comments (11)add comment

Nate said:

Penguin7 Penguin hit the nail on the head
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

ultrawhiteness said:

stats Bone and austeane have nailed it.

for example:

knowing that Feaster's flames are into stats is great.

knowing if Bob Hartley will give a shit... better.
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

austeane said:

Post draft I agree with everyone!
Yes, they are informative.
No, they do not nessecarily predict change.
What they CAN help to tell you is whether or not there was a fluke season involved.
When the Sedins had their first huge season, it was thought to be a major fluke and couldn't possibly happen again.
If someone had looked at advanced statistics and seen the jump... They would have rightfully predicted that the Sedins could repeat their performance... And voila! Another Art Ross.
If however they had had the same breakout season but their zone starts hadn't changed considerably and their PDO was off the charts, a call for major regression would have probably been on the mark.
To me, that is pretty valuable.

After the draft is where things get interesting. 10 games in when the next Phil Kesslel is tearing up the league, (or Staal is Giving new meaning to the word "slump") you can look to advanced statistics to see whether their unusual pace will sustain itself (new teammates taking the first pairing D off their backs, better linemates, new coach and higher OZone starts) or if there will be a regression (PDO and other luck measuring stats).
In a one year league, you could have traded Kessel for Staal++++++++ halfway through the year and done pretty well for youself, all because of advanced stats.

It might be impossible to predict a Sedinian breakout before the season... After the season starts though, that is a different matter entirely.
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

Bone said:

Advanced Stats - application Great debate on Advance Stats guys.

As a huge stat guy myself, I am always looking for ways to give my fantasy teams a leg up, basically be being better than the rest of the teams in my league at math.

I would tend to agree with aspects of both Angus and Pengwin's arguments. Angus rightfully points out how advanced stats can help us explain why the Sedin's saw a point increase with increased zone starts. That is undeniable. But so what? It already happened. After the Sedins saw their point boost, the rest of the managers in my pool are ready to start treating them like 100 point players too. The fact that I know WHY they are 100 point players, isn't necessarily helping me to win my pool. I think that is what Pengwin is getting at.

The challenge with the advanced stats is, being able to use them to predict future changes to a players production - not just explain past changes. We are trying ot be ahead of the curve here. That's how you win pools.

For that reason, I personally love PDO and also comparing players' shooting%, with career averages. Both of these help to predict future changes, as well as decide whether or not last season's point boosts are sustainable. Angus' Nino N example is perfect.

The Corsi and offensive zone starts etc are great to know....but they will only really help me to draft a better fantasy team, if I have some reason to believe that the number will change in the coming year. So for guys that have changed teams, or coaches - then yes...this would help. But for the rest of the league? meh.

I don't care how many offensive zone starts Datsyuk got last year, because he will probably get the same amount this year - so the impact on his year over year point production is nil.

Now if you could tell me that Datsyuk got 40% offensive zone starts last year, but WILL get 60% next year....then that is some information that is pure gold. That's where the application of advanced stats needs to get to, and that's when it really is valuable. On the other hand - Angus telling me why the Sedins hit 100 AFTER I neglected to draft them...doesn't really help.

Great points by everyone. I think that there is no question that Advanced Stats is the real deal in hockey and fantasy alike. The question will be how and when to use them, to move your team to the top.


August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

angus said:

... "@Aldo - I think the Sedins would actually agree with Angus that zone starts made them Art Ross contenders. Pre-Vignault they were highly skilled point per game players. Post-Vignault and his zone start philosophy they were 100+ point players contending for an Art Ross. Not to say they aren't highly skilled hard working players to start but there is a reason they suddenly made a huge jump at 28 after everyone assumed they had plateaued as 80-85 point players. Vancouver as a team has really used advanced statistics and zone starts to its advantage, the whole we created value in Hodgson to dump him for a better player speech."

Bingo. Thanks for clarifying my point.

Aldo - these stats are widely used by all teams. They aren't gimmicks. It will catch on in fantasy hockey - some will take longer than others because they are more "old school." I prefer not to discount anything and I have done a lot of research and work to understand and utilize these stats in my own projections, and for the guide work as well. If you understand things like Corsi, PDO, Zone starts, and QualComp, they will help you win pools. I guarantee that.

David - I agree that they require more thought and analysis. And people (some, at least) aren't willing to put the time in. That is fine. I hope my work in the guide can help break down some situations of note around the league.

Aldo - I 100% believe that zone starts is the driving force behind the Sedins going from 80 to 100 point players. Imagine starting close to 80 percent of your shifts in the offensive zone, compared to 55 or 60 percent? Think of how many more scoring chances would be generated. That sort of thing.

August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

davidgoodburn said:

Advanced Statistics I am a huge fan of advanced statistics and agree with Angus that their impact on fantasy sports and spotting potential breakout performance is huge.

They do require a lot more thought and analysis than traditional statistics which will make it harder for them to become mainstream but they provide some useful sleeper and underperformer candidates to take late in drafts.

There is a lot of room for error in interpreation of the statistics and Angus has mentioned this before that you need to compare statsistics against career numbers and not a baseline. Some players can never live up to the production their advanced stats tell you they should so you need to look at their career baseline and the deviations in the statistics and production for an accurate picture.

@Aldo - I think the Sedins would actually agree with Angus that zone starts made them Art Ross contenders. Pre-Vignault they were highly skilled point per game players. Post-Vignault and his zone start philosophy they were 100+ point players contending for an Art Ross. Not to say they aren't highly skilled hard working players to start but there is a reason they suddenly made a huge jump at 28 after everyone assumed they had plateaued as 80-85 point players. Vancouver as a team has really used advanced statistics and zone starts to its advantage, the whole we created value in Hodgson to dump him for a better player speech.
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

ZarlyZalapski said:

Contraction and More Canadian Teams Unlikely Thanks again for all your great insights Angus and team. A couple thoughts to share:

The likelihood that the NHL will contract teams with NHLPA consent is very unlikely. Two fewer teams means less jobs for their members. That is rarely in the best interest of a Union. Fewer teams also means less revenue and less opportunity for revenue growth. It's fewer tickets being sold, fewer fans going to, and less eyeballs watching hockey games on TV.

Adding two Canadian teams will likely only happen if:

1) There is more money to be made in a small market Canadian town (or 2nd team in Toronto after paying off Leafs and Sabres) than a big American city or

2) A Canadian Billion does not care about return on investment and wants a trophy team in a small city.
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

Michael Grange article This article was total fantasy and fell apart at the first hurdle when he wanted to contract the league by 2 teams and move 2 more to Canada.

Never going to happen as part of a CBA negotitations, if at all, so why base your whole idea on it?
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

AldoWeldon said:

agree with the disagreement
I think I see what pengwin is saying. This is all really interesting stuff. But I don't believe that these statistics are as crucial as you imply. Using the word "huge" makes it sound as if they are, well, huge. They're not. Quite honestly, I think you're just getting excited about a novel idea and way of analysis that will never catch on.

Also, if you truly think that the PRIMARY reason the Sedin's became Art Ross winners is because they saw more offensive zone starts, well, you're buying into this stuff a little too much. I would love to see how they would respond if you told them that.
August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

angus said:

... I'll disagree with your disagreement. As recently as three or four years ago, I was primarily a qualitative evaluator. I have used more statistics and metrics over the past two years, to greater fantasy success.

There are two sides to the coin - these advanced stats will never replace the art of watching hockey, but it adds dimensions that are often missed.

And yes, in the case of Voracek, it is clear to see why he may improve.

How about how the Sedin twins became Art Ross scorers? Primarily because they saw significantly more offensive zone starts.

How about why Brandon Sutter will fit in Pittsburgh? Well, because he saw really tough minutes and started less than 40 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone with Carolina.

PDO is a fantastic indicator of breakout performances, as it essentially measures luck. When Nino Niederreiter was on the ice last season, the Islanders scored two goals on close to 250 shots. Niederreiter struggled a lot, but he also was a victim of some seriously bad luck. And you can make the argument that he was skating with non scorers, but that is an absurdly low shooting percentage for any player.

What do you mean by me being thoroughly invested in them? I simply wrote a few columns and included a new section in the guide. These stats won't take away from how I watch hockey, but they will add to it. Filling in the missing pieces that used to be unquantifiable, if you will.

I am also of the ilk that actual value and fantasy value are not mutually exclusive. A lot of times performance indicators in real life lead to a fantasy break out (better performance against tougher competition leads to more ice time or more offensive responsibilities, that sort of thing).

August 17, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Disagree. Again, I know some don’t understand or care to understand advanced statistics, but the fantasy hockey relevance is huge. Being able to accurately evaluate and project past and future performance is much easier with these accurate measures, instead of going off “hunches” and “gut instincts,” and limited stats like plus/minus.

From what I understand (as a math guy) most of these new metrics are very telling towards actual NHL player value. Two-way NHL player value. They take into account things like line-matching. However, I'd strongly argue that these metrics do NOT have a HUGE impact on fantasy hockey.

Top things that are going to impact fantasy hockey statistics:
#1. TOI increase/decrease
#2. Linemates
#3. Likelihood of statistical correction, especially SH% & PPP.

Winning fantasy hockey pools is about getting better performance out of a player versus what you paid (drafted/traded) for him.

For now, I think I'm going to have to call you on this "HUGE" impact of metrics on fantasy hockey. You need to start citing players that are going to break out and the metric that you are basing this on.

Personally, I think citing Jakub Voracek's opportunity to:
1) See increased PP time
2) Play with Giroux
3) Receive tastier passes that will result in better SH%
is enough.

Mix in one big spoonful of actually watching NHL hockey and you've got 90% of the tools you need to succeed in fantasy hockey.

It seems you are giving these metrics a lot of props because you are invested yourself so throughly in them. Sometimes it's OK to spend some time researching something and then turn and say "Well... I do not believe this is as valuable to my occupation as I had hoped".

And - if these metrics are so helpful - I suppose it is a certainty that you will dominate several one-year leagues this year. smilies/wink.gif

(Good political work, let's see some results.)
August 17, 2012
Votes: +2
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