Fantasy Hockey Geek

Deep Analysis: The Crosby Show

Welcome to Hockey Pool Geek’s Deep Analysis.  Our goal is to dig deep into the team and league that is being analyzed in order to bring out some insight and push you into really getting the most out of your team and ultimately taking down the rest of the league.

Doing a Deep Analysis on a team owned by one of the hottest analysts in fantasy hockey is in the same breath exciting and daunting.  Jeff Angus, of Dobberhockey.com fame, knows his stuff… in fact, he deeply knows his stuff, so the odds of showing him something useful in managing his team aren’t all that great, but on the other hand, having the opportunity to use the Hockey Pool Geek tools to aid a guy who will ‘get it’ right away and who isn’t afraid to lay waste to marginal contributors and invest in promising contributors is one that we just can’t pass up.

The changes in Jeff’s league regarding scoring categories and farm eligibility (described below) are probably the reason he submitted his team for a Deep Analysis.  No doubt, he is curious to see if we spot something that he doesn’t about his team, with this changed environment.  We don’t know what he sees, but we think we have discovered some things he should take a look at.

 Team Name: The Crosby Show                                               

League Name: Ultimate Fantasy Hockey Pool

GM:  Jeff Angus

Evaluators: The Hockey Pool Geek Team

Date of Analysis: August 2010

 

 

League Structure:

Format: 12 teams, H2H league. No max GP, but limit of 40 adds/drops throughout season.

Rosters: Start 3 C, 3 LW, 3 RW, 6 D, 2 G, 6 BN, 4 IR slots. Max of 4 goalies allowed, minimum of 2.

Farm team of 6, increasing to 8 this summer, no positional requirements.

 

Farm eligibility used to be 100GP and under, and this summer it is changing to 200 GP and under for skaters, and 100GP and under for goalies.

 

Scoring categories: G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP, GWG, SOG, FW, Hits, GP, W, L, SO, SV, GAA, SV% – Hits are being added this summer and points (previously a category) removed

Number of keepers: 17, all 8 farm positions           

Keepers declared by:  early September

Draft: Around Sept 20th

Season add/drop limit: (40)

Trade limit: min of 1, no max                                   

Trade deadline: 6 weeks before end of NHL regular season

 

 

Team Assets at Time of Deep Analysis:

Roster: The Crosby Show

Centers: Crosby, B. Richards, Bolland, Stamkos, Cullen, Wellwood           

Left Wing: Latendresse (RW), Carcillo, Kulemin, Perron, Sharp

Right Wing: Franzen, Gaborik, Clarkson,

Defense: Boyle, Eminger, Edler, Souray, Roszival, Karlsson, Shattenkirk, Ekman-Larsson

Goalies: Luongo, Lehtonen, Roloson, Crawford, Schneider           

 

Draft Picks: 9 round draft

First 6 rounds are pro players.  Final 3 rounds are prospects (200 GP and under for players, 100 for goalies)

Round 1 – pick 9

Round 3 – pick 27, pick 33

Round 4 – 45

Round 5 - 57

Farm draft

Round 6 – no pick

Round 7 – 15, 21

Round 8 – 33

Round 9 - 45

Background and Environment:

Angus has recently completed a few trades:

·       Traded Zajac and Benn for Franzen and Karlsson. Needed RW, deep at C.

·       Traded Neuvirth and Fleury for Luongo and Ekman-Larsson.

·       Traded Quick, Neal, Del Zotto, 9th overall farm pick, 21st overall pro pick for Sharp, Edler, Perron, Schneider, 15th overall farm pick, 27th overall pro pick.

With farm size increasing, Angus has the option of stashing his young defensemen on the farm. He can’t stash Stamkos there (less than 200 GP), as the rule goes into effect AFTER keepers submitted, and during the draft this summer.  He can then move Stamkos to the farm but moving from farm to pro roster during season counts towards 40 moves, so no real advantage to this.

Hits are being added as a category to change things up.  Angus has never used them in a pool before.

His farm:

Crawford

Karlsson

Shattenkirk

Ekman-Larsson

Schneider

 

 

A Look at League Strategy:

First step in looking at the strategy for any league is to understand the scoring system, statistics, and player values.  After inputting Angus’ league setup into the site, our first stop is the League Breakdown.

Why?  This information is essential to understanding how to value players.  It tells you the attributes you want to beat for each player on the team – the underlying principle is that by having a well balanced team, you can weather fluctuations in production (slumps, injuries, etc) much better than if your roster is filled with “specialist” players that contribute to specific categories.  The League Breakdown lets you know the threshold in each statistical category at which a player’s stats hurt a team, rather than help a team.  For Angus’ league, it looks like this:

Position

G

A

+/-

PIM

PPP

SHP

FOW

GWG

HITS

SHOTS

C

22

36

3

40

18

1

510

3

71

184

LW

26

32

5

47

17

1

71

4

83

209

RW

24

30

2

48

16

1

42

4

71

202

D

7

26

3

46

12

1

0

1

88

123

 

What does this tell us about strategy in this league?

 

·       In this league, faceoff wins change the complexion of everything.  Bench spots are more likely to be assigned to centres because centres contribute in that category and wingers generally don’t.  As a result, you can expect approximately the same scoring out of wingers and centres – the usual “wingers score 10 points less than centres” rule doesn’t apply because the extra value that scoring wingers bring is offset by their poor faceoff performance.

·       Approximately 200 shots is the magic number: players that shoot less than that should be avoided, unless they perform particularly well in another category.

·       Similarly, 45-50 PIM is a reasonable cut-off to shoot for.

·       Faceoff wins as a category are a big deal – if your centres are bad at faceoffs, it really puts you at a disadvantage.

·       Most wingers win very few faceoffs, so if you can get wingers on your roster that will win quite a few, this gives you a huge edge.

·       Hits mean that you want to put some sandpaper into your lineup.  Players that avoid contact will have their value negatively impacted.

 

That takes care of strategy as it relates to skaters.  But what about the goaltenders?  The League Breakdown for goalies:

 

Position

GP

W

l

SO

SV

GAA

SV%

G

59

32

19

5

1400

2.45

0.915

 

 

What does this tell you about the goalies?

 

·       As with most category-totals leagues, goalies are very important in this one too.  Of 17 total scoring categories, 7 are for goaltenders – that’s a whopping 41% of scoring being contributed by two starting goaltenders, or 11% of the starting roster.  Hate to sound like a broken record, but goaltending is critically important in this league. 

 

A critical thing to consider in any league format is the impact that injuries can have on a roster.  This league is a head-to-head league with weekly matchups and a playoff format to determine the winner.  What does that tell us?  The first, and most important thing, is that the playoffs happen in the last month of the season so that’s when you want to have the most production out of your roster, provided your team is good enough to make the playoffs in the first place. 

 

Tying into that are injuries – you accept them pretty easily in this league for a few reasons: the fact that there are 4 IR slots, and it has a playoff format.  Having injured stars on IR for the bulk of the season, only to play the last 20 games of the year and join your roster for a playoff run is a very viable option, again provided the team is good enough to make the playoffs.  Because of this, there is much less need to shy away from injury-prone players when compared to rotisserie leagues with max games played.

 

Angus’ team is a good blend of youth and veterans that is a threat for the league title this coming year, though he has a few issues to work out.

 

The Team and Keepers:

First off, let’s look at Angus’ skaters.  We’re approaching this focusing on next year, because Angus wants to win!  To understand the value of these players, we’ll generate rankings customized for Angus’s specific league setup using last year’s statistics as a benchmark.  The complete results can be found under the rankings tab above, and a summary of Angus’s players are below.

 

Player

Position

G

A

+/-

PIM

SHOTS

GWG

PPP

SHP

HITS

FOW

HPG Value

Sidney Crosby

C

51

58

15

71

298

6

34

3

63

1001

141.2

Brad Richards

C

24

67

-12

14

284

2

40

0

16

587

15.1

Steven Stamkos

C

51

44

-2

38

297

5

41

1

68

481

71.8

Dave Bolland

C

6

10

5

28

52

0

2

0

33

274

-114.9

Kyle Wellwood

C

14

11

6

12

98

2

5

0

30

390

-88.4

Matt Cullen

C

16

32

-7

34

195

2

12

3

75

572

-13.8

Patrick Sharp

LW

25

41

24

28

266

4

16

3

45

241

37.4

David Perron

LW

20

27

-10

60

166

2

13

2

78

8

-32.2

Daniel Carcillo

LW

12

10

5

207

105

1

2

0

194

1

-6.4

Guillaume Latendresse

LW

27

13

-3

16

160

4

8

0

157

1

-44.5

Nikolai Kulemin

LW

16

20

0

16

145

3

2

1

136

27

-55.3

Marian Gaborik

RW

42

44

37

37

272

4

26

2

59

2

61.3

David Clarkson

RW

11

13

3

85

106

2

6

0

99

6

-45

Johan Franzen

RW

10

11

1

22

91

1

11

0

46

15

-104

Dan Boyle

D

15

43

6

70

180

3

29

0

51

0

53.6

Alexander Edler

D

5

37

0

40

161

0

19

0

84

0

1.7

Sheldon Souray

D

4

9

-19

65

113

0

4

0

50

0

-55.2

Michal Rozsival

D

3

20

3

78

80

1

4

1

136

0

-0.6

Steve Eminger

D

4

12

1

30

45

1

2

0

102

0

-45.7

 

Now the goalies:

 

Player

GP

W

L

SO

SV%

SV

GAA

HPG Value

Roberto Luongo

68

40

22

4

0.913

1748

2.57

8

Kari Lehtonen

12

6

4

0

0.911

319

2.81

-93

Dwayne Roloson

50

23

18

1

0.907

1410

3.00

-49

 

 

Hits are a new addition to the scoring categories this year, so we also ran a set of rankings without hits to see how their addition has affected player values.  Below is a table that summarizes some of the big movements:

 

 

Without Hits

With Hits

Change

Player

rANK

HPG Value

rANK

HPG Value

rANK

HPG Value

David Backes

77

13

31

48

+46

+35

Steve Ott

130

-5

60

25

+70

+30

Dustin Brown

190

-23

81

14

+109

+37

Mike Fisher

54

26

28

51

+26

+25

Ryan Callahan

189

-23

75

16

+114

+39

Ryan Malone

132

-6

88

12

+44

+18

James Neal

136

-7

95

10

+41

+17

Ryan Getzlaf

65

20

43

40

22

+20

Troy Brouwer

94

4

59

25

35

+21

Brad Richards

58

25

77

15

-19

-10

Tomas Kaberle

86

8

117

0

-31

-8

Keith Yandle

61

23

82

13

-21

-10

Derek Roy

34

43

48

35

-14

-8

 

The table highlights some of the big movements that result from players who hit a fair amount getting a big boost in value.  Below the line are some that lose value because of the inclusion of hits.  Can’t help but notice that Brad Richards sits on Angus’ team.

 

So who should Angus keep?  Let’s look at it position by position.

 

Centers:

 

Crosby is the elite centre in this league format.  Recommendation: duh

 

Stamkos was ranked in the top 5 C based on last year’s stats – if Stevie Y. works some magic – an improvement in +/- and FOW will solidify Stamkos in the top 5.  Recommendation:  definite keeper – the best is yet to be.

 

Brad Richards brings tremendous amounts of assists, PPP’s and a pretty good level of SOG.  However he is just inside the top 20 at his position in this league because his PIM’s, +/-, and Hit totals do much to water down his strengths – his FOW are only adequate for the position in this league.  Richards is unlikely to do more than he did this past season – so he sits as a sell high.  Richards should carry enough trade currency in this league to bring back equal value with potential.  Recommendation: trade him, but bring a C back in the deal.  You can afford to slide a little in assists, shots and PPP to beef up FOW, PIM’s, Hits, GWG, SHP. There are a lot of centers it would be hard to touch in a trade with Richards but here are some thoughts we think could work. 

 

Best options: Ryan Kesler 1 for 1 is a big upgrade in value (we wouldn’t trade Kesler to you for Richards but his owner might).  Mikko Koivu has comparable value based on last year, if you believe that Koivu has room to move in offensive production over the next season or two then he is a clear upgrade primarily for his FOW, PIM’s and Hits.  One might even squeeze a waiver draft pick upgrade in a Koivu deal.  Derek Roy and a pick upgrade of one of those 3rd round pro picks to a 2nd round pick (or better yet a 4th to a 2nd) would also bring home the bacon – Roy has similar value compared to Richards in this league based on last year’s production – we think he underperformed somewhat at that – so this trade idea could well reap significant benefits.  In a year you want to go for it – upgrading picks can be really helpful.

 

But what exactly is fair value for Brad Richards?  If Angus trades his straight up for a left wing, what kind of player should be coming back?  Using the new Player Equivalency Tool, we can find the following equivalent real values:

 

Player

Position

G

A

+/-

PIM

SHOTS

GWG

PPP

SHP

HITS

FOW

Brad Richards

C

24

67

-12

14

284

2

40

0

16

587

 

LW

28

63

-11

22

309

3

39

0

28

148

 

RW

26

61

-13

22

302

2

38

0

16

120

 

D

9

57

-13

20

223

0

34

0

33

77

 

 

Bolland:  need to sit on him – he has the makings of a really good 4th C in this league for the price.  The fact that he can be dropped to the farm for the first half of the season might make him valuable as well – will look more at draft/team strategy later.  Bolland-Hossa-Sharp? – yes please.  Recommendation: keep

 

Cullen: he’s a good all-around option, but his position on the team isn’t that secure and he’s a reasonably easy re-draft.  Faceoffs drive his value, so he’s a very nice bench player.  Recommendation: let him go, but keep an eye on a re-draft.

 

Left Wings:

 

Sharp:  ranked as #10 LW – he wins enough faceoffs and takes enough shots along with his other across the board contributions to make him a solid keeper – pretty tough to get his true value back in a trade – should have a good year.  Recommendation: keep

 

Perron:  he’s on your roster because he came at the right price and has the potential to be a very good contributor.  He has the PIM’s and an acceptable amount of Hits – now his offensive game has to get legs.  High expectations for that Blues machine – you probably need to sit on him unless someone wants to pay stupid for him because otherwise you won’t get the value back he warrants. Recommendation: keep. 

 

Kulemin:  has the offensive upside in combination with a physical game that will make him a very valuable across the cats performer – light on PIM’s maybe, but a very good hit total.  Still needs to emerge but would be hard to trade for value right now.  Is droppable to the farm for nearly half the season and this could allow for other strategic moves that will benefit the team.  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Carcillo:  at this point Carcillo is a two cat guy – PIM’s and Hits.  Unless there are some dramatic gains to his offensive game this season, Carcillo doesn’t fit the bill as a legitimate keeper, if you subscribe to the theory that across the board production is more valuable than role players like Carcillo.  Latendresse appears to have more potential value than Carcillo actually, if his production with the Wild continues… he gives you the hits for sure, but not the PIM’s.  Recommendation: Angus wants to keep him, but we say drop him and protect Roloson who will produce more short term value.

 

Right Wings: 

 

Gaborik:  #2 ranked RW for this new format last year.  Injury concerns are entirely mitigated by the head-to-head format, deep bench, and IR slots.  Next!  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Franzen:  The price was right, but our buddy Mule needs to play enough games to pay off the investment.  He could be top 10 RW in this league, with 75 games played, due to his multicat strengths. Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Clarkson:  This one is easy – more than enough potential on a 75 game season to rank quite highly in this new format.  You have to ride him until he pays enough then you do what you want with him – Latendresse might be the only other option you have here with his dual eligibility – Clarkson just smells right.   Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Defense:

 

Boyle:  A strong plus as a D guy in this league – nice to get some more hits out of him but can’t have it all.  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Edler:  Last year’s production has him pretty much on the bar for this league.  Pretty sure he will be above the bar this season with increased opportunities with Mitchell and Salo not in the way much.  Solid D contributors are important in this league.  Upgrade if you can but he is a solid asset with upside.   Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Souray:  Could easily be your 2nd most valuable D guy in this league with a healthy season and in the right situation.  You have to go with him, because you have few other options.  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Roszival:  Top 60 D guy and not that much below the bar with his hits and PIM’s leading his value.  Wouldn’t take much offensively for him to jump in value in this league – but even if it doesn’t happen, he is solid enough as a keeper until you further develop your squad.  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Goaltending:

 

Luongo:  Pretty much set up to win the Vezina this year.  Good to go.  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Lehtonen:  Boom or bust, as simple as that.  Has the skill set, decent team that should improve defensively this season.  You have to ride him because it would cost you too much to flip to something more certain and he could be one reason that you might blaze a trail through this league.  Time will tell.   Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Roloson:  Although not identified as a keeper by Jeff, Roloson has too much short term potential to contribute to this team in the coming season to ignore.  Something could change in the Isles regime in goal before Jeff declares keepers, but at this point, we think Roloson is a better keeper than Carcillo.  If Roloson does no better than put up the numbers he did last year, he will contribute significantly in GP (east vs 2 west goalies) and saves (meets the bar exactly in both cats), if spot started well he could also bring a nice winning percentage to the W/L cats (he won 56% of the decisions that would have been recorded in league stats).   His GAA and SV % of course are below the bar but not so scary as to want to turn one away from him.  Again a spot start regime might ameliorate that to some degree.  Recommendation:  Keep.

 

Farm Keepers:  A non-issue – gotta keep them unless someone comes shopping and wants to pay dearly.  Jeff is heavily invested in D prospects with upside.  He might find down the road that D guys with a more multicat profile will be more valuable in this league.  Karlsson will obviously get the call up on his team this season to fill out one of the D spots – but should still be eligible to ship down to the farm at season’s end if that is allowable.  Be interesting to see if Crawford appreciates in value over the next while – could be decent trade bait.

 

The Next Moves:

 

This team feels like it is one year away from having the strength to seriously factor into the league championship.  But Jeff has a squad that could easily challenge for the league championship this year.  So, why the contradiction?

 

Well it has everything to do with the fact that in addition to a solid core of Crosby and B. Richards, Stamkos, Gaborik, Sharp, Boyle, Edler and Luongo, the team is full of wildcards.  Franzen, Clarkson, Kulemin, Perron, Lehtonen, Karlsson and Souray are the posse, along with a couple of interesting dudes tagging along in Carcillo, Roloson and Roszival.  Jeff, the Gambler, pretty much has to hold the posse because it’s tough to trade those assets for more certainty and equal perceived value at this point.  If he has called his cards right then he has a team worth owning on his hands: they will produce well against the scoring cats in this league.  Even a strong start from 4 or 5 of the posse will give him enough to make moves if he wants to… he just may not need to.

 

We think a name change is in order too – The Crosby Show: Kenny Rogers Edition.

 

One of the things that might slow Jeff down in his quest for the crown is his relatively weak draft position, he has given up or downgraded some picks in order to arrive at the roster he has now.  With the 9th, 27th and 33rd picks in the pro draft, he is unlikely to snag much value in the redraft, although some will come to him simply due to his strength in identifying talent where others don’t.  He isn’t going to catch surefire prospects with his 15th and 21st picks in that draft either and his 33rd and 45th picks in the prospect drafts have little value for the task at hand.

 

If he is to make any moves before the draft, improving his draft position should be a consideration if at all possible or adding a 6th prospect to his farm so that he goes into the draft with a full complement on the farm.

 

Jeff knows enough that we really don’t have to explain the obvious as it relates to making moves and decisions about his team – upgrade keepers and picks where you can, target acquisitions that fit the scoring profile of the league, buy low/sell high, balance your roster regarding depth to maximize games played, etc. – his recent trade record is proof that we don’t.  Those were some savvy moves.

 

Jeff already knows that better and surer goaltending depth is an important focus for his team.  He’s got to be nervous about entering the year with two enormous question marks alongside Luongo.  He knows his centers are strong and that he has lots of D promise on his farm to look forward to; he knows that if he could somehow upgrade a couple of wingers that he would have a stronger team.  We think he will take care of that, when and as he can and we are going to leave him to it.

 

There are a few areas that we do want to talk about though:

 

1.     A sell high on Brad Richards.

 

Not because BR had a great season that he won’t repeat, but because he’s a bit weak in peripheral categories.  Move him to lock down dominance in faceoffs won and to increase PIM’s and Hits coming from the centre position, while at the same time giving only a little ground in Richard’s strengths of assists and power play points. Such a move if the targeted GM co-operates would result in a pro pick in the 2nd round and a player being added to the farm team to bring it to its max of 6 pre-draft.

 

Two centers who fill the bill in a Richards trade are Mikko Koivu and Derek Roy.  They happen to be owned by the same GM, Dusty’s Diggers.  Additionally, the GM is hurting in goal as he owns Nabokov, Thomas, Boucher and Thomas.  He has a sparse farm but at forward he owns Eller, Tedenby and Kadri, which might be of interest to Jeff for his farm.  We like Eller as being perhaps more NHL ready than the other two.

 

We think that based on the year Richards had, he could be seen as an upgrade over Koivu or Roy.  Roloson offers some real and immediate help in goal in a league where starters are hard to come by.  So we think a value based trade of Richards and Roloson and those 2 useless prospect draft picks for Koivu, Eller and Diggers 2nd round in the pro draft, might be viewed as a win-win deal by Diggers. If some sweetener in the deal was required then going with the 21st pick in the prospect draft is warranted here.

 

The net result for Jeff is that he would actually see an upgrade at center, fill his vacant farm roster spot and gain a useful 2nd round pick in the pro draft.  The only concern in this deal would be the loss of Roloson’s production for this season, but Jeff already has indicated he wasn’t going to protect Roloson, so that hardly seems like a big concern for him.

 

 

2.     A general draft strategy that might be considered in light of the new prospect limits in games played for farm eligibility.

 

If the above trade is not made, we think that using the pro draft to catch a farm eligible prospect or two might have has much value as catching a marginal ‘now’ producer for the pro team.  The first 2 picks in the prospect draft aren’t going to fill the farm completely and perhaps as well as you would like.  Frequently a farm eligible player with upside is floating in the pro draft and a worthy grab, based on future upside.  Something to think about and perhaps Jeff already has.  Obviously, some rigorous draft prep once keepers are announced will identify players with potential in this regard.

 

As much as Jeff wants to make the run this year, he also needs to be concerned about straddling the fence a little and also building a solid farm for both future performance for his team and adding trade bait.

 

3.     Centres that hit and win faceoffs are absolutely key to this league. 

 

Our jaw almost hit the floor when we saw Mike Fisher sitting on the free agent list.  Surely he was dropped on the last day of last season in some team’s last-ditch attempt to win the league, right?  We then remembered that hits were added as a category in the offseason, and Fisher’s value is definitely improved by his tendency to throw his body around.

 

There are a few centres that, while not big names, carry great value in this setup because of their contributions to those two categories.  To name a few: Ryan Kesler, Mike Fisher, Jarret Stoll, Jordan Staal, Brandon Dubinsky.  Mike Richards, even with his relatively poor offensive numbers last year, was still a top-10 centre because of his 145 hits and 696 faceoff wins.

 

Even Martin Hanzal (who is also sitting there on the free agent list) makes a solid bench centre pickup.  Sure, his offensive numbers are pedestrian, but 104 PIM, 175 hits, and 559 faceoff wins make him pretty darn attractive in those peripheral categories. 

 

4.     A quick rundown of Angus’ keeper roster along with reasonable projections for performance is below.

 

Player

Pos.

G

A

+/-

PIM

SHOTS

GWG

PPP

SHP

HITS

FOW

Sidney Crosby

C

50

60

15

70

300

5

40

2

65

1000

Brad Richards

C

20

65

-5

20

285

2

35

0

20

600

Steven Stamkos

C

45

45

0

40

300

5

40

1

70

500

Dave Bolland

C

25

30

10

80

200

1

15

2

100

550

Patrick Sharp

LW

25

40

25

30

250

4

20

3

50

250

David Perron

LW

25

35

0

50

200

2

20

2

100

5

Daniel Carcillo

LW

15

15

5

200

120

1

5

0

200

0

Guillaume Latendresse

LW

25

25

0

20

175

4

10

0

160

0

Nikolai Kulemin

LW

25

25

0

20

150

3

10

1

140

25

Marian Gaborik

RW

45

45

20

40

300

4

30

2

60

0

David Clarkson

RW

20

25

0

120

200

2

15

0

150

0

Johan Franzen

RW

35

25

10

55

250

1

20

0

100

0

Dan Boyle

D

15

45

10

70

200

3

30

0

50

0

Alexander Edler

D

5

40

0

50

175

0

25

0

85

0

Sheldon Souray

D

10

25

-10

80

200

4

20

0

120

0

Michal Rozsival

D

5

25

0

80

100

1

10

1

140

0

Steve Eminger

D

5

15

0

30

50

1

5

0

100

0

TOTAL

 

390

590

80

1060

3455

43

350

14

1710

2930

Target to Win

 

369

673

75

950

3588

55

356

20

1619

2867

Difference

 

+21

-83

+5

+110

-133

-12

-6

-6

+91

+63

 

The table above takes some reasonable projections for next season and compares them to the target required to win over the course of a full season (if the totals were summed rather than distributed across the H2H matchups); this is a snapshot of the Draft/Team Advisor tool.  This target value will vary from year to year, and league to league.  As you draft, compare the team you have unfolding against the target values in each category to help clear up what your team needs so you can adjust your strategy on the fly.

 

Angus’ team is very well balanced.  He’s loaded in goal scoring, which is a good thing.  His team projects well in the peripheral stats too… his recent moves to shore up those peripheral stats really have paid off.  At what cost?  We discuss that a bit later…

 

5.     The idea that selling off a high level D prospect when he has so many to gain an upgrade either in net or at forward (most likely wing).

 

When you have Karlsson, OEL and Shattenkirk sitting on your farm, you really have to think about one of them being trade bait for a serious upgrade to your pro roster if you are involved in a horserace for the crown.  This is not something to be concerned about now, but for closer to the stretch drive.  It’s an option that may or may not need to be invoked – but should it be invoked, a careful assessment of the value in this league of all three should be made to ensure you are selling off the weakest of the 3 which may not translate as the weakest in other GM’s perceptions.

 

6.     Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending.

 

This last point was the subject of a great deal of debate as we prepared this Deep Analysis – the importance of goaltending.  As we discussed it, we came to realize that the differences weren’t about valuation, but about team management philosophy.  The discussion was enlightening, so we thought we’d share:

 

Opinion 1: Build from the net out!

 

In this league, there are two starting roster spots for goalies, with daily roster changes.  There are 10 skater scoring categories and 7 goalie categories -- so 2 roster spots (of a total of 17, 11% of your roster) are responsible for 41% of your scoring.  That’s a very large chunk.

 

What do you do if one of your healthy full-time starters is injured?  Or in a slump?  Or being outplayed by his backup?  Or the team is on a losing streak?  Or has a bad schedule for the week?  It seems that with such an incredible weight on goalie performance in this league yet such a small number of players contributing to that scoring, you want to add every possible layer of risk mitigation to that goaltending.  To us, that means a minimum of three (and preferably four) full-time starting goaltenders. 

 

Worst case scenario is that schedule conflicts mean that a few of them just ride the pine for a few days of the week, but you know that if something were to go wrong, it wouldn't really impact the performance of your team.  The added benefit would be that, since there are only 30 starting goaltenders in the league and a fixed number of teams (12) by having more good starters on your roster, it would mean fewer good starters on your opponent's roster.

 

Looking at a hypothetical weekly matchup of G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP, GWG, SOG, FOW, Hits, GP, W, L, SO, SV, GAA, SV%... to win a matchup, a team needs to win 9 of 17 categories.  If you had a greater number of established starting goaltenders, you could pick and choose strength of schedule, hot streaks, etc to get the most possible out of your starters.  Being daily starts, you’d get several extra starts per week and that would help greatly in the “quantity”-based goalie stats: GP, W, SO, SV, and would give you flexibility to pick and choose prime matchups to keep the rest of the stats (L, GAA, SV%) solid.

 

So say you could pick up 5 of the 7 goaltending stats in a matchup, you'd only need to grab 4 of the skater stats.  A number of the skater stats in this league are stats that can be found in "specialist" players -- ones that don't have a strong scoring contribution but nonetheless do very well in a particular stat: PIM, Hits, SHP, and FOW.  One could target their roster to be full of specialist players that are good at those.  That seems like a much less volatile approach to success in this league than building around scoring. 

 

We acknowledge that there are a lot of assumptions inherent in this analysis, but it comes down to this: if so much of your scoring is attributed to so few roster spots, why would you tolerate any volatility or risk in those spots?  It may make considerably more sense to put in place as many measures as possible to ensure consistency/success in those categories when compared to the rest.  There are 15 roster skaters contributing to 10 scoring categories... when something negative happens to one of those 15, the immediate effect isn't huge because it is but one contribution in a relatively large pond.  The same cannot be said about goaltending.

 

In daily starts with no max games, a really risk-averse GM would want 4 or 5 fulltime starters because the advantage would be SO great.  From this school of thought, it’s probably a mistake for Angus to trade Quick as he did, and why he desperately needs to improve his goaltending.

 

Angus could capitalize on the team’s strengths in order to address the team’s weaknesses.  Goaltending and defense are the biggest question marks, and this is a team that has been built up the middle.  Another team in the league, Biscuits & Gravy, clearly understands how important goaltending is and has built an impressive stable of Lundqvist, Rask, Varlamov, Bernier, Harding, and Emery.  His centre position is weaker though, especially when it comes to faceoffs: Kopitar, Tavares, Mueller, Gagner, Bozak, Grabovski and Ellis.  This may sound like heresy, but we think Angus should approach this owner to execute a win-win deal for both of their teams: Stamkos, choice of Angus’ farm defenders, and the 33rd overall pick for Gagner, Jack Johnson, Bernier, and the 7th overall pick. 

 

Biscuits and Gravy gets a young franchise centre who is the best player in the deal and a potential franchise defenseman.  Angus would get two young players with lower upsides than the players he’s shipping out (though they’re still respectable players, especially in these categories) and a key building block in goal.  The pick upgrade will help Angus compete this year; looking at the roster of Biscuits and Gravy, this year is probably going to be used to gear up for a run the following season.  Biscuits and Gravy can afford the hit in net, and the assets being requested coming back shouldn’t be deal breakers for him.

 

Perhaps the right offer with Richards or Stamkos could pry Rask away as an alternative?

 

Opinion 2:  Goalies, Smolies – give me offense!

 

There’s a long way and a short way to get to the guts of the discussion about this option – let’s try the short way – a preamble in brief.

 

You win H2H leagues by making the playoffs and going undefeated in them and in order to do that you have to ice a team that outperforms the opposition in more scoring categories than the other team manages to capture.  So logically if you have the most productive players at each position for the scoring categories in the league, then you should win it easily.  Well, unless you are playing against a league of complete mush heads, that isn’t going to happen.  Talent gets spread around the league due to the reverse order of finish of the drafts and your opposition isn’t going to just hand over the guys you want for a handful of second line hacks.  As you climb the standings ladder, your draft picks suffer from the law of diminishing returns and there are just so many 2-fer-1’s that guys are going to bite on, that will allow you to upgrade your keepers.

 

Preamble done.

 

So at some point, you need to look at the effective and efficient use of team resources to be as competitive as you can – the fine art of asset disposition if you will.  Mr. Option 1 says that because a high percentage of cats (goalies) are controlled by a low percentage of allotted positions, an investment in deeper and better goaltending makes a lot of sense to give you a competitive advantage – so he will have Jeff sell off Stamkos for a bench goalie.  Hello?

 

First of all, with a 3rd high quality goalie, you also get another guy competing for starts on your daily roster – game conflicts are going to mean someone is on the bench not contributing.  Yeah wonderful security and decreased volatility, but if you want a new blankie – maybe it would be better to shop at Walmart.  Taking Stamkos out of your lineup and replacing him with Geoff Lupul, so that you can start Rask a couple of times a week seems a little silly.

 

Now here’s a way of looking at Jeff’s situation that I think makes more sense.  He has two fine goalies that should pick off a couple of categories a week by default.  Occasionally they will both bomb the week because sustained high quality starts tend not to happen, but for the most part they will deliver the mail barring injury (Roloson will contribute by the way).  Trying to lock down goalie stats is like trying to grab an eel in the water with your bare hands – goalie production is much more fickle than offensive skater production – you just can’t be assured.  So the weeks your goalies choke – you are in trouble even if you have 3 all world guys in net, because you don’t have the offense to prop them up categorically – remember how you sold off 51 goals to get at Rask?  In Jeff’s league, if he can win 2 or 3 skater stats a week then he needs 6 or 7 of the goalie stats to get the match win.  Why invest heavily in controlling 8 categories that you already have a pretty decent shot at getting a fair chunk of already, when you cannot avoid the reality that you need those skater cats more?

 

So let’s look at keeping and investing in skaters for a minute. Jeff’s league has 10 skater stats.  High end skaters (a’la Hank Sedin) tend to be much more productive in a sustained way than goalies do and a strong bench ensures additional contributions because you have much more opportunity to play them.  So if you apply your resources to locking down skater stats and you are successful in catching a minimum of 60% of the categories every week (and one of them is the almighty tiebreaking goals cat – Mr. Option 1 is upset that the tiebreaker isn’t goalie wins by the way), then you only need your goalies to come with 2 cat wins to carry the match.

 

In a 10 x 7 league, odds are going to favor the team with dominant skaters over the team with dominant goalies.  If I can’t have both dominant skaters and goalies, give me the skaters every time and I think I will do okay.

 

On a final note, I think Mr. Option 1 is going through the looking glass backwards.  If you want to trade off a high end resource, how about trading Luongo and Kulemin for D. Sedin and Vokoun?  Which set is going to give you the best shot at winning?  Now I am not advocating selling off Luongo, but I am arguing that a Stamkos for Rask kind of deal is not going to do anything more than give you the security of having a really nice set of goalies – small consolation when you are getting your brains beat out in skater stats.

 

Just a tiny addendum if I might:  The moves Jeff has made recently are risky, but very shrewd – I can hardly wait to see if they pay off as much as I think they could

 

Wrapping It Up:

While the HPG team goes off for couples counseling, Jeff Angus is going to be figuring out how to win his league.  Hopefully this discussion and the tools at Hockey Pool Geek will give him the resources to do so.

The Top 200 Skater Rankings for the League

Rank Player Team Pos FHG Value GP G A +/- PIM SOG GWG PPP SHP HITS FOW

Goalie Rankings for the League

Rank Player Team Pos FHG Value GP G A +/- PIM SOG GWG PPP SHP HITS FOW