Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable New Year’s Eve with family and friends. We only have the Winter Classic on tap today, so there won’t be much in the way of NHL news.
There will be a full update of the games on Monday afternoon during the Winter Classic. It’s New Year’s Eve, so I’m having dinner with my family and then heading out for the evening. I’m going to finish my look back at 2017’s stats and that’ll be it until New Year’s Day.
A happy 2018 to all the Dobber readers out there. May all your late-rounders be monsters, and your early picks not bust.
Before we get to anything, an update on Michael Frolik:
I'm told #Flames RW Michael Frolik underwent surgery to repair his jaw (obviously) and it's a 4-6 week timeline for recovery.— Kristen Odland (@Kristen_Odland) December 31, 2017
In the meantime, Calgary has slotted Jaromir Jagr with Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk. Considering he was on the fourth line or scratched at times this year, I’m curious to see if he lasts very long. He’s the guy to own as the replacement for now, I suppose.
Yesterday I went through the performance of some forwards over the calendar 2017 season. I am going to do the same for defencemen and goalies now, though a bit shorter because we have more games to cover. Again, information will come from Dobber’s Frozen Pool, Corsica, Natural Stat Trick, and NHL.
Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, and Erik Karlsson went 1-2-3 in point production for 2017 with 66, 66, and 64 points respectively. That seems about right. Fourth was John Klingberg just behind Karlsson with 63 points. Hey, remember when he “only” had 49 points last year and people were down on him for some reason? Fifth? Nick Leddy with 57. That’s right. Not Roman Josi, or Shayne Gostisbehere, or Drew Doughty, or Kevin Shattenkirk. Nick Leddy.
It’s weird because since the start of the 2015-16 season, Leddy has more points than guys like Dougie Hamilton, Shea Weber, and Mark Giordano, yet he’s never really considered as a top offensive defenceman. He doesn’t perform across the board for roto leagues so that’s probably part of it but there’s no denying that Leddy is a reliable 40-point guy (pending John Tavares’ contract).
It was Shayne Gostisbehere, not Hedman or Burns, who led all defencemen in points with the man advantage in calendar 2017 with 30. He was a preseason favourite of many a writer/editor/contributor here at Dobber, and for good reason. The core of this team is locked up for at least another year (Wayne Simmonds’s contract expires after 2018-19), so there’s no reason to think anything will change for Ghost anytime soon. He’s shooting more on the power play as well, which is always nice to see. He remains one of the top dynasty owns on the blue line, and will for years to come.
Speaking of which, you can read Dobber’s keeper defenceman rankings here.
Put The Puck In The Back Of The Net
This isn’t to smear Werenski in any way. He’s clearly an elite young defenceman and will be for at least the next decade. He’s also had a great first half of the 2017-18 season, I just didn’t figure with that power play being so awful, plus him not being a monster volume-shooter like Burns or Karlsson, that he would find his way near the top of that list. It’s amazing.
Oh by the way, when researching this, I found this out:
We’re not fully appreciating just how unbelievable Werenski has been to start his career as a whole.
Once again, to no one’s surprise, Brent Burns leads the list for shots by a defenceman, 76 more shots than second place. Second place, however, belongs to Justin Faulk with 235 in 82 games exactly. His shot rate at five-on-five is actually a career-best right now, so his production problems are likely a huge confluence of bad luck. He’s not scoring on the power play (he has zero PP goals), and his assist rate fell off a cliff.
Special shout out to Jacob Trouba being 1 of 13 blue liners with 200 shots on goal in 2017. His point production this season has been disappointing, but he’s a good player at both ends of the ice, he’s getting tons of ice time, and there is an abundance of offence on this team. Patience, my young padawans.
With all the love we just gave Werenski, it’d be disingenuous not to include Seth Jones. In calendar 2017, he was 1 of 8 defencemen with at least 10 goals, 30 assists, and 200 shots on goal. The other seven were Burns, Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Karlsson, Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, and Gostisbehere. As far as roto production goes, Jones belongs up there just outside of the elite tier. The problem, as Werenski might run into, is that pure production upside will be capped so long as that power play remains an affront to humanity. Until that gets fixed, Jones will be hard-pressed to crack the 50-point mark. Even without that high-end point production, Jones will do enough in other categories to warrant being considered a top option in roto leagues. That won’t change even if the power play drops to 5% (which it might, I’m not discounting anything here).
(note: for the goalies, I limited it to the sample of goalies with at least 40 games played)
When you think of the top goalies of 2017, surely names like Sergei Bobrovsky or Braden Holtby come to mind first, right? The thing is, it was John Gibson who posted the top all-situations save percentage for the year, coming in at a very stout .930. The next-closest was Andrei Vasilevskiy at .925, followed by Bobrovsky and Jonathan Quick at .924.
The NHL history books are littered with highly-touted goalies who amounted to very little in the league. Gibson is not one of them. To this point of his career, he has a .922 all-situations save percentage in 148 games, and he’s still just 24 years old. I consider him to be among the top-5 keeper/dynasty goalies.
Though Andersen’s contract was ridiculed (by me as well, in all fairness), he has lived up to his end of the bargain so far to start his Leafs career. Whether he is truly among the elite goalies in the league is a conversation for another day, but he is more than good enough for the Leafs to be a dangerous playoff team. If that team improves defensively over the next year or two, Andersen could be a top-5 fantasy option, given how much they can score.
Firing No Blanks
Of the 30 goalies with at least 40 games played, the only two without at least one shutout were Cam Ward and Jimmy Howard. Given how Ward has single-handedly saved the Hurricanes season over the last few weeks, it’s kind of hard to believe (I think).
Funnily enough, Howard’s all-situations save percentage was the same as Tuukka Rask’s (.911), and yet Rask had six shutouts to Howard’s none. Voodoo, indeed.
- Ramblings: What to do With Murray and Crawford Out? (Jan 18)
- Ramblings: Spezza Strikes Back, Sizzling Saros (Jan 17)
- Ramblings: Blues Riding Hutton's Hot Hand (Jan 19)
- Injury Ward: Crawford Out For Season?
- Fantasy Goaltending Studs (Jan 2018)
- Cage Match: Has Brad Marchand Surpassed Jamie Benn?
- Capped: Projecting Player Salaries (Part 3)
- Timo Meier and the Sharks Offer Value in the Week Ahead