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When building a fantasy hockey team, the only thing better than finding players with great value is finding players who provide great value AND have additional upside. Today I am going to profile a player who does exactly that: Evander Kane.

 

 


Last week in an article looking at Chris Kunitz, I outlined how a shrewd manager may have identified Kunitz as a great value pickup even before his monster point explosion this season. As a 60 point guy Kunitz was a great mid to late round pick-up in most leagues and with the increased production that he has shown this season he has been an absolute beast for those managers who targeted him. In many ways Evander Kane is like Kunitz pre-2013 (slightly better pedigree and more upside but similar in that he isn’t a top point guy but has huge fantasy value). Here is a look at Kane’s line from last season:


 

Player

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

PIM

Evander Kane

30

27

11

287

9

173

57

 

 

As a 57 point player, Kane - like Kunitz - falls into the second tier of forwards on most draft boards, but in a Kunitz-like fashion, Kane provides solid results in all major categories. He is good to great in all of the key categories and really adds some value with elite contributions to shots and hits.

 

Fantasy Hockey Geek calculates Kane as having been the 43rd most valuable skater in the Dobber Pro League last season (12 team Yahoo! standard league scoring categories: G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits) and coming into this season most experts would agree that he has a ton more to give. Despite this great value and potential upside, Kane fell on average to the 7th round of most drafts.

 

Fast forward to this season and Kane is doing more of the same. His scoring pace is still in the mid 50’s, but he continues to excel across other key categories. Let’s run Kane’s 2013 numbers through Fantasy Hockey Geek and see what kind of value he is producing in the Dobber Pro League this season:

 

Rank

Player

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

19

Evander Kane

12

9

1

129

2

101

 

 

From the above, you can see that Kane is currently the 19th most valuable player in this entire league! Let’s dive a bit deeper to understand why the FHG math calculates Kane’s value to be so high:

 

 

  • Kane’s 129 SOG lead the league (as of Friday morning) which is a huge contribution in almost every league and as I always point out: more shots also typically equate to more points.
  • Kane’s 101 hits are an incredible total – it equates to 3.3 hits per game which is almost unheard of for a 30 goal scorer. At the time of this writing there is exactly one player in the league with over 100 shots and 100 hits, Evander Kane. I don’t think I can describe enough how valuable a guy who gets more than 4 shots and 3 hits per game is. I would sooner have a 55 point player with Kane’s peripherals than a Teddy Purcell even if he reached 80 any day of the week.
  • To further exemplify how rare a guy like Kane is, consider this: of all players in the league that have eclipsed 100 hits, the one with the next highest shot total has less than half of what Kane has (Chris Neil with 59SOG). This rare combination of elite hitting and shooting ability make Kane an absolute beast of an own, even if he never tops his career high 57 points
  • Although Kane has yet to break the 60pt plateau, most of his points come in the form of goals which tend to be more valuable than assists depending on your league setup. His point total may not be strong yet, but his goal total is.

 

 

So now we understand why Kane is already so valuable - he is an absolute dynamo power forward who shoots, hits and scores like no other. There’s more upside to Kane than that; he is producing as the 19th most valuable player despite the fact that he probably isn’t even close to his full potential yet. Consider the following:

 

 

  • His enormous value comes despite the fact that he only has 2PPP and spends a lot of time on the second powerplay unit. Furthermore, Winnipeg’s two biggest PP keys (Enstrom and Byfuglien) have missed significant time this season. His low PPP total has a lot of potential to increase going forward. If his opportunities on the PP increase, so will his production.
  • Kane isn’t exactly spending a lot of time with stellar line mates, most recently skating on a line with Olli Jokinen (9 pts) and Antti Miettinen (3 pts). Imagine what Kane could be doing if he had line-mates as good as Chris Kunitz?
  • Kane still has another level to hit in the NHL. He had 57 points last season and is on pace for 55 this season but he has the upside to hit 75-85 points. The season that he does that, watch his value go through the roof! To estimate the impact of a potential point spike for Kane, I entered him into the FHG “what-if?” analysis tool. Keeping his SOG, PIM, +/-, and Hits the same but adding some PP production and Goals/Assists to put him at a 75 point pace, look at his value:

 

Player

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

FHG Value

Evander Kane

12

9

1

129

2

101

86.3

What if?

16

13

1

129

6

101

114.3

 

 

As you can see form the above scenario, these fairly minor and certainly realistic increases would have Kane’s FHG value jump to 114.3 which would make him the 4th most valuable player in the entire league! By tapping a little more of his own potential and/or seeing some improved opportunities with better line-mates and powerplay time, Kane could very quickly become one of the top forward in all of fantasy hockey.

 

In short, Evander Kane is a guy who is currently providing far more value to fantasy hockey teams than most managers perceive and he is doing this while still having potential upside in his own development as well as opportunities with PP time and line-mates. The value is already there and the ceiling is high so buy in on him now before it’s too late, if it isn’t already. In terms of LW, there aren’t many in the league that I wouldn’t give straight up for Evander Kane right now even in a one year league. If your league is a keeper (with similar settings), then you absolutely need to target this guy right now as a top 5 LW.


There you have it: using the amazing power of FHG, combined with some hockey knowledge/personal assumptions on Kane’s upside, we may very well have just identified the next fantasy superstar. I am not saying that Kane will necessarily make the point jump in this current season (in fact I don’t think he will), but even if he simply maintains his current pace, he is already the 19th most valuable guy so do what you can to get him! To identify more players who are providing great value now but also have more upside in the future sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek today.


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Beareo said:

Beareo
... Great article -- I have E. Kane so obviously i'm bias =).
The only thing I worry about with him is: Will he reach the next level on the Jets?
I'm not bashing the Jets. What I mean is Kane is in his 4th year, getting paid well -- why is he still on the 2nd line with Jokinen and why is he on the 2nd PP line? He is the Jets top goal scorer, so you have to ask the question, what is going on? You would think by now he would be at least on the top PP line. The fact that he isn't makes you wonder: will he ever be under this coach?
March 24, 2013
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