West: Chasing the Cup – Regular vs. Postseason Production

by Kevin Wickersham on April 10, 2017 | (1 Comments)
  • The Wild West
  • West: Chasing the Cup – Regular vs. Postseason Production

Chasing the Cup - Regular vs. Postseason Production

 

Although most fantasy seasons have ended by this week, the onset of the NHL playoffs brings new opportunities for serious owners. Playoff pool participants often draft players from teams they believe will be in the postseason for the long run, thus maximizing playing time and associated stats. In keeper leagues, playoff heroes may become overvalued while goats are undervalued based upon unimpressive, high exposure, short sample sizes of play. This can create opportunistic trade possibilities. Still other players just seem to perform better (or worse) when everything is on the line.

 

Here we take a look at key skaters and goalies on the four Pacific Division and four Central Division playoff teams to see how we might benefit from second-season dynamics. 

 

Note: “2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game” pertains just to this campaign and “Career Playoff Points/Game” refers to career playoff numbers. Postseason pool players often only use this year’s stats to make decisions, but looking at career averages can help us choose traditionally strong playoff performers and avoid those who may do well during the 82-game grind but not so well in elimination play.

 

 

PACIFIC DIVISION

Anaheim Ducks - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Points/Game Differential

Ryan Getzlaf

104

0.95

0.99

-0.04

Ryan Kesler

80

0.69

0.71

-0.02

Rickard Rakell

27

0.19

0.72

-0.53

Patrick Eaves

76

0.25

0.65

-0.40

Corey Perry

97

0.80

0.65

0.15

Jakob Silfverberg

48

0.60

0.62

-0.02

Cam Fowler

49

0.49

0.49

0.00

Andrew Cogliano

43

0.49

0.43

0.06

Antoine Vermette

78

0.32

0.39

-0.07

Nick Ritchie

0

N/A

0.36

N/A

Sami Vatanen

28

0.57

0.34

0.23

Hampus Lindholm

34

0.44

0.30

0.14

Logan Shaw

3

0.19

0.18

0.01

Ondrej Kase

0

N/A

0.28

N/A

Korbinian Holzer

0

N/A

0.22

N/A

Josh Manson

1

0.00

0.21

-0.21

Shea Theodore

6

0.00

0.26

-0.26

Brandon Montour

0

N/A

0.22

N/A

 

Anaheim Ducks – Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

John Gibson

6

2-4

2.84, .912, 1

52

25-16-9

2.22, .924, 6

Jonathan Bernier

1

0-0

0.00, 1.000, 0

39

21-7-4

2.50. .915, 2

 

Any of the four Pacific teams in this competitive, rivalry-ridden bracket could make it to the Western Conference Finals and beyond, but having secured their fifth-straight Pacific title, the Ducks enter the fray having finished exceedingly well (11-0-3 in their final 14 contests) and the favorite to go long. Obviously Cam Fowler’s recent injury rendering him out two-to-six weeks hurts the Duck blue line, but surprise bargains might be had as a result. Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are possible beneficiaries with offensive upside and little-to-no playoff experience, as is Sami Vatanen whose generally down year points-wise in addition to solid past postseason performance may provide a great pool bargain.  

Logan Shaw, finishing the year with a goal, a game-winner against Calgary, and two assists in his final four games while centering Anaheim’s fourth line may prove a late round steal, as his underwhelming totals during the regular campaign and his career will likely deter. Patrick Eaves, experiencing a career year and an even better end of the season since his acquisition from Dallas (11 G, 3 A, 20 games) is an interesting one to watch in your draft. His past playoff production hasn’t been stellar, but benefiting from a relatively healthy year, and plum place on the Ducks’ first line and top power-play unit he may be worth a high pick in spite of playoff history. Your call. Much the same goes for Rickard Rakell, having broken out this year with career highs of 33 goals and 18 assists. Whether or not you want to bet that this rate will sustain in the playoffs, not a place where Rakell has done well in the past, is again up to you.

As primary goaltender for one of the West’s top squads, Gibson should be a popular pick. His regular schedule stats warrant it as does his performance since returning recently from injury. He certainly is more rested than most top goalies due to sitting out the end of February and almost all of March, but potential exists for a re-injury or a time share with Jonathan Bernier, who was outstanding in his absence (11-0-2, 1.97, .932 since March 7). Either scenario would be a big blow to Gibson’s playoff value so don’t grab him too early. By the same token, Bernier could be a good late round pick up if you can afford the luxury.

 

Edmonton Oilers - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Connor McDavid

0

N/A

1.22

N/A

Leon Draisaitl

0

N/A

0.94

N/A

Milan Lucic

101

0.63

0.61

0.02

Jordan Eberle

0

N/A

0.62

N/A

Patrick Maroon

29

0.62

0.52

0.10

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

0

N/A

0.52

N/A

Oscar Klefbom

0

N/A

0.46

N/A

Andrej Sekera

8

0.13

0.44

-0.31

Mark Letestu

17

0.24

0.45

-0.21

Zack Kassian

8

0.00

0.30

-0.30

Drake Caggiula

0

N/A

0.30

N/A

Darnell Nurse

0

N/A

0.25

N/A

David Desharnais

38

0.34

0.29

0.05

Adam Larsson

5

0.20

0.24

-0.04

Benoit Pouliot

54

0.26

0.21

0.05

Kris Russell

36

0.44

0.19

0.25

 

Edmonton Oilers – Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Cam Talbot

2

0-1

2.59, .846, 0

73

42-22-8

.919, 2.39, 7

Laurent Brossoit

0

N/A

N/A

8

4-1-0

.928, 1.99, 0

 

Edmonton’s 11-year playoff drought gives us few points of comparison for their top guns, but here we can see how some of the Oilers’ traveled veterans fared in previous postseasons. Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon have been on the big stage before with some success and totals that slightly surpass this season’s. You have to think Connor McDavid will shine in these big playoff moments, so perhaps linemate Maroon will benefit from the extra push. Will Lucic’s playoff experience help his postseason rookie linemates Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle? It’s tough to tell. Although the playoffs are new to them, both had an outstanding final month and with the excitement surrounding their playoff return they may indeed do well.

If there is an area to be wary of over-valuing I think the defense could be dangerous. Despite relatively good stats over the course of the year, Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera may have their hands full against potent playoff offenses and not fare quite as well. History shows neither having particularly strong postseason results. I would caution to not select either overly high.

Darnell Nurse however might be worth a late-round flyer as his production has been up over the last month, his season-long statistics will cause some poolies to stay away, and his third-pairing play may produce dividends against playoff teams with less-than-stellar depth. David Desharnais, a rare playoff veteran amongst these young Oilers with 38 games under his belt and a modicum of success might be a sneaky good play as well.

You can bet that Talbot will start every game and play every minute in goal possible unless there’s an injury or blowout. Just as during the regular campaign, Talbot makes a good pick in playoff pools for an Edmonton squad that will generate much excitement with their long-awaited postseason return. With other owners focused upon bigger names from the East and elsewhere, the Oiler goalie might be available later than he should.

 

San Jose Sharks - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Brent Burns

58

0.62

0.93

-0.31

Joe Pavelski

105

0.75

0.84

-0.09

Logan Couture

80

0.83

0.71

0.12

Joe Thornton

156

0.78

0.67

0.11

Patrick Marleau

171

0.68

0.56

0.12

Tomas Hertl

27

0.59

0.45

0.14

Jannik Hansen

64

0.28

0.47

-0.19

Joel Ward

77

0.62

0.37

0.25

Kevin Labanc

0

N/A

0.36

N/A

Marc-Edouard Vlasic

108

0.24

0.37

-0.13

Melker Karlsson

24

0.33

0.33

0.00

Paul Martin

109

0.41

0.32

0.09

Mikkel Boedker

20

0.45

0.32

0.13

David Schlemko

20

0.10

0.29

-0.19

Joonas Donskoi

24

0.50

0.28

0.22

Chris Tierney

24

0.38

0.29

0.09

 

San Jose Sharks – Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Martin Jones

26

14-10-4

2.08, .923, 3

65

35-23-6

2.40, .912, 2

Aaron Dell

0

N/A

N/A

20

11-6-1

2.00, .931, 1

 

The Sharks certainly have the advantage in playoff experience over the Oilers, Flames, and somewhat over the Ducks should they meet up. Injuries to Couture and Thornton, while recent reports on both have been promising, will no doubt slow San Jose a bit, but one might find value in other playoff-tested vets. Patrick Marleau, as the team’s most experienced postseason participant can do damage from his second-line center position, and with regular season totals below his career and playoff averages he might be available in the middle rounds. Paul Martin is a similar veteran that might be worth a gamble, having produced reasonably well from the blue line in past postseasons, and achieved lower totals during 2016-17.

Joel Ward also fits the bill as a San Jose veteran that has had a down year after a surprising 2015-16 campaign. Manning the wing to Marlaeu’s right, Ward’s 0.62 playoff game average far outpaces his 2016-17 totals and may present a bargain. While also a disappointment this year, Joonas Donskoi’s postseason success en route to the 2016 Finals and current opportunity due to injuries among Shark forwards may make him a late-round gamble worth taking. Conversely, if Thornton and/or Couture are available late they too may be worth selecting given potentially imminent recoveries and previous success.

Martin Jones is a true workhorse and will put up a good number of wins and other goalie stats should the Sharks get hot. The problem is they just don’t seem fresh, are banged up, and will be facing younger, healthier squads from the start. While I’d like to see San Jose go far I just don’t see them making it past Edmonton. If you agree, keep your expectations for Jones’ overall production in check. Not a bad one to have on your squad but don’t reach for him.

 

Calgary Flames - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Johnny Gaudreau

11

0.82

0.85

-0.03

Sean Monahan

11

0.55

0.71

-0.16

Curtis Lazar

6

0.00

0.75

-0.75

Mikael Backlund

11

0.18

0.65

-0.47

Matthew Tkachuk

0

N/A

0.63

N/A

Dougie Hamilton

19

0.53

0.62

-0.09

Michael Frolik

38

0.47

0.54

-0.07

Kris Versteeg

89

0.49

0.54

-0.05

Mark Giordano

4

0.25

0.48

-0.23

TJ Brodie

11

0.45

0.44

0.01

Troy Brouwer

98

0.33

0.34

-0.01

Michael Stone

2

0.00

0.23

-0.23

Micheal Ferland

9

0.56

0.33

0.23

Sam Bennett

11

0.36

0.32

0.04

Dennis Wideman

55

0.58

0.32

0.26

Alex Chiasson

10

0.20

0.30

-0.10

Deryk Engelland

24

0.08

0.20

-0.12

 

Calgary Flames - Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Brian Elliott

37

15-19-3

2.49, .911, 1

49

26-18-3

2.55, .910, 2

Chad Johnson

0

N/A

N/A

36

18-15-1

2.59, .910, 3

 

While slightly more playoff-tested than Edmonton, the Flames also are a bit hard to read given their dearth of postseason experience. With their first round matchup against a Ducks squad that likes to slow it down and create a more physical game, Calgary might find goals harder to come by.

That being said, late season pick-up Curtis Lazar might be worth considering. His season average is based on the smallest of sample sizes, but he could be a sleeper/late pick-up given his acclimation to the club and recent uptick in ice time. This a different Mikael Backlund than the one with negligible averages in his previous postseason play, so look at his regular season totals instead when determining whether or not to draft him. If you can get him relatively cheaply while others go for flashier names do it.

As those with the most postseason experience Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer might be wise selections. Although their in-season performances approximate their postseason averages, they are certainly not the first names that pop up when one thinks about Calgary, and as the lowest seed in the Pacific but quite dangerous, they are worth the small, late round risk that others may avoid.

After his ridiculous hot streak Brian Elliott’s numbers have dipped significantly (1-4-0, 3.29 GAA, .894 SV% in his last five contests). With Chad Johnson’s recent injury and unimpressive late season play there are serious concerns about the Flames in goal entering the postseason. Elliott is definitely worth a roster spot but with a squad that may struggle to get out of the first round, take another option if available. If you have a late pick to burn, the young Jon Gillies may be worth a flyer should first two Calgary options go sour. The 6-6, 223-pound rookie was very impressive in his April 6 win versus Los Angeles allowing just one goal and it’s not too far-fetched to envision him at some point in the playoffs being their last and best option.

 

CENTRAL DIVISION

Chicago Blackhawks - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Patrick Kane

123

0.98

1.09

-0.11

Artemi Panarin

7

1.00

0.90

0.10

Jonathan Toews

124

0.87

0.81

0.06

Artem Anisimov

39

0.44

0.70

-0.26

Duncan Keith

122

0.66

0.66

0.00

Marian Hossa

201

0.74

0.62

0.12

Richard Panik

8

0.38

0.54

-0.16

Brent Seabrook

119

0.50

0.49

0.01

Nick Schmaltz

0

N/A

0.46

N/A

Ryan Hartman

0

N/A

0.41

N/A

Tanner Kero

0

N/A

0.34

N/A

John Hayden

0

N/A

0.33

N/A

Vinnie Hinostroza

0

N/A

0.29

N/A

Trevor Van Riemsdyk

11

0.09

0.28

-0.19

Niklas Hjalmarsson

124

0.23

0.25

-0.02

Marcus Kruger

83

0.18

0.24

-0.06

 

Chicago Blackhawks - Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Corey Crawford

83

48-33-11

2.26, .920, 5

55

32-18-4

2.55, .918, 2

Scott Darling

5

3-1-0

2.22, .936, 0

32

18-5-5

2.38, .924, 2

 

The Blackhawks enter the postseason as the Western Conference favorite to reach the Stanley Cup, and should dispense with Nashville relatively quickly to move on to the second round. As such, they will feature many popular draft picks in playoff pools. It’s a good bet that their top snipers Kane, Panarin, Toews, Hossa, and Keith will go early. Artem Anisimov, projected to return from injury for the first game of the playoffs might slip down the draft board and make a sensible value pick, as some will delay selecting him. Take advantage of that. In spite of their absence from postseason play, Nick Schmaltz on the left wing of Chicago’s first line, and Tanner Kero with the momentum of centering the Kane-Panarin line could be valuable late selections.

Corey Crawford is a rock and you can benefit from his efforts during a likely, lengthy Chicago postseason. Take him early as your number one goalie if you can get him. He has the experience and past playoff success and might be on the best team left standing.

 

Minnesota Wild - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Mikael Granlund

29

0.55

0.85

-0.30

Eric Staal

48

0.90

0.79

0.11

Mikko Koivu

45

0.49

0.72

-0.23

Nino Niederreiter

29

0.59

0.70

-0.11

Charlie Coyle

34

0.38

0.69

-0.31

Martin Hanzal

23

0.52

0.55

-0.03

Zach Parise

89

0.76

0.62

0.10

Jason Pominville

76

0.66

0.61

0.05

Jason Zucker

21

0.33

0.60

-0.27

Jared Spurgeon

34

0.44

0.51

-0.07

Ryan Suter

73

0.36

0.48

-0.12

Joel Eriksson Ek

0

N/A

0.47

N/A

Matt Dumba

16

0.38

0.44

-0.06

Erik Haula

20

0.60

0.37

0.23

Jonas Brodin

34

0.15

0.37

-0.22

Jordan Schroeder

5

0.20

0.35

-0.15

 

Minnesota Wild – Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Devan Dubnyk

16

6-10-0

2.84, .896, 1

64

40-19-5

2.25, .923, 5

Darcy Kuemper

9

5-3-1

2.13, .911, 1

18

8-5-3

3.13, .902, 0

 

Prior to their season-finishing four-game winning streak the Wild were limping to the finish line. With two of their final four against NHL-worst Colorado, and their other victories coming against Arizona and Carolina it’s not a sure thing that their troubles are behind them. Having gone 4-11-2 since the beginning of March, that’s a lot of trouble. And the Blues have been really good lately. I don’t think Minnesota will make it far in the playoffs, and they may have many popular picks with Granlund, Staal, Koivu, Niederreiter, Coyle, Suter, and Parise likely popular selections. Don’t ignore them by any means, just make sure not to reach as they may not have many games to rack up points for you. Of them all, I would take Staal as the most likely playoff-tested candidate to lead them out of their funk and put up some big numbers.

By the same token, Devan Dubnyk generally had a fantastic year but went way downhill from March on (7-8-2, 2.86, .897). If the Wild doesn’t play many playoff games he can’t help you too much. Clearly this is a different club than those Minnesota teams with whom he collected the above stats, but taking a look at them has to give us reason to pause before selecting early.

 

St. Louis Blues - Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Vladimir Tarasenko

33

0.79

0.91

-0.12

Jaden Schwartz

38

0.55

0.71

-0.16

Alexander Steen

51

0.47

0.67

-0.20

Paul Stasny

48

0.67

0.61

0.06

Alex Pietrangelo

46

0.48

0.60

-0.12

David Perron

31

0.42

0.56

-0.14

Colton Parayko

20

0.35

0.43

-0.08

Patrik Berglund

49

0.45

0.41

0.04

Magnus Paajarvi

3

0.33

0.41

-0.08

Zach Sanford

0

N/A

0.38

N/A

Ivan Barbashev

0

N/A

0.40

N/A

Jori Lehtera

25

0.44

0.34

0.10

Vladimir Sobotka

40

0.30

1.00

-0.70

 

St. Louis Blues – Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Jake Allen

12

3-5-0

2.29, .902, 0

61

33-20-5

2.42, .915, 4

Carter Hutton

3

0-0-0

3.01, 667, 0

30

13-8-2

2.39, .913, 4

 

The Minnesota/St. Louis first round series could be a real entertaining one. While Minnesota picked their game back up with four wins in a row at the end of the year, St. Louis’ big, tough squad has been highly focused since Mike Yeo took the helm and their big names should do well.

Don’t be deterred by the lack of playoff experience for Ivan Barbashev. He’s shown a lot of toughness and scoring prowess in his short NHL stint (3 G, 6 A in 18 games and only 12:23 of ice time), and now with increased minutes while centering the Blues’ dangerous top line he could be a real steal. Many poolies will see his relatively low totals over the year and not necessarily know his backstory. Vladimir Sobotka makes a very interesting potential late selection after tallying a goal in his first game back in St. Louis and manning the left wing on St. Louis’ third line. He seems charged up upon returning from the KHL and may energize the club as well. He has a good deal of playoff experience as well. As with Barbarshev, he is likely to go under the radar and could play a solid role for a sleeper team that has a real good chance of making it out of the first round.

Jake Allen won’t likely be one of the first goalies off the board in your draft and might be a bargain if he can ride a wave of St. Louis success into the later rounds of the postseason. Bet on the Blues to do some damage.

 

Nashville Predators – Skaters

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Points/Game

2016-17 Regular Season Points/Game

Differential

Viktor Arvidsson

14

0.14

0.76

-0.62

Ryan Johansen

20

0.70

0.74

-0.04

Filip Forsberg

20

0.50

0.71

-0.21

Roman Josi

30

0.33

0.68

-0.35

P. K. Subban

55

0.69

0.61

0.08

James Neal

58

0.60

0.59

0.01

Mike Fisher

114

0.41

0.58

-0.17

Ryan Ellis

23

0.39

0.54

-0.15

Colin Wilson

33

0.61

0.50

0.11

Calle Jarnkrok

20

0.15

0.38

-0.23

Craig Smith

19

0.42

0.37

0.05

Kevin Fiala

1

0.00

0.30

-0.30

Mattias Ekholm

20

0.40

0.28

0.12

Austin Watson

0

N/A

0.22

N/A

Matt Irwin

13

0.15

0.19

-0.04

 

Nashville Predators – Goalies

 

Career Playoff Games

Career Playoff Record

Career Playoff

GAA, SV%, Shutouts

2016-17 Regular Season Games

2016-17 Regular Season Record

2016-17 Regular Season GAA, SV%, Shutouts

Pekka Rinne

48

22-26-5

2.51, .912, 1

61

31-19-5

2.42, .918, 3

Juuse Saros

0

N/A

N/A

21

10-8-3

2.35, .923, 1

 

The Predators have some quality playoff experience and you may pick up a few solid point totals from Johansen, Subban, Fisher and Wilson as well as Arvidsson, Forsberg, Josi and Neal who haven’t had great point totals in previous postseasons but did well during this past 82-game schedule. Just be aware that they likely will be eliminated from the playoffs in five or six games. I’d rather take a Blackhawk or Duck with lesser season-long production but the potential of playing many more postseason contests.

Rinne or Saros might be able to steal a game or two in their first round matchup with Chicago, but I don’t think they’ll make it beyond that. Not a great priority to pick up a Nashville goalie at this juncture. Maybe consider using a final round pick on Saros if you have a deep squad and can afford it as he’s prone to hot streaks. Anything’s possible in a short series or two.

***

 

Follow me on Twitter @KWcrosscheck. 

 

 

 

  • Keegan Gilchrist

    Thanks for the round up! Will the Eastern Conference report be published today or tomorrow?