Compare Aho / Point, Connor / Gaudreau, and more; Parayko Signs – September 2 – DobberHockey
We have Bubble Keeper week coming up here in a few days and it’s always a fun time of the year. Fantasy Leagues aren’t usually won in the first five rounds of a draft, but they can often be won at the end of a draft. Fantasy teams can overcome the absence of a player or two early on, depending on waiver movement and trade ability. Teams probably can’t get over the lack of one or two late-drafted superstars. These guys can replace or supplement the early hiccups. This is what helps put a fancy list on top.
Before I move on to Bubble Keeper Week, I want to talk about some shallower keepers. Not all goalie leagues are a 16-team league, or a 15-team league, or a 12-team draft or something like that. Plus, with the training camps plaguing us, this might be my last chance to talk strictly about comparing top players. So let’s do it.
For that, we are going to get out of the Yahoo! ADP. That’s all we have right now and it’s an easy way for readers to check where these players are going right now. Their ADP is in parentheses, rounded up or down.
Sebastien Aho (20e) vs. Brayden Point (20e)
Aho has been in the headlines recently, so indirectly via Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet. In his last three seasons, he’s been exactly one points-per-game player with 206 points in 206 games. He had 57 points in 56 games in 2021, but his shooting rate fell from over 3.0 to 2.6. That’s over 30 shots in a full season and around three goals. If his shot rate doesn’t improve in 2021-2022 and he can’t repeat his 16.2% shot, that goal rate might decrease a bit. They also lost Dougie Hamilton and he would have set a career-high PPP last season had they played 82 games. Can he repeat this PP success without Hamilton? He’s in his prime, as are his likely line mates, so maybe he can. It is a concern, however.
Point’s production, uh, dropped in 2021, but he was still on track for 70 points in a full year. Recall that Nikita Kucherov has missed the entire season, which has been a massive loss for Point: over the past three seasons, the team has scored a goal and a half less when Point is on the ice without Kuch compared to when he is on the ice with him (to all strengths). In a 1,500-minute-played season, that would mean about 30 fewer goals scored with Point on the ice, or about 20 fewer points for the 25-year-old center in a full season. So, remember how Point was close to scoring 70 points in 82 games last season? If Kuch was there, a good bet would be 90 points over an 82-game season.
It depends on the league. In point formats only, I can lean here. If we include face-offs and shots, that is, multi-cat leagues, it can be Aho.
Kyle Connor (51st) against Johnny Gaudreau (52sd)
As someone who traded for Connor at the end of last season, I’m very aware of the inequality of his year. He finished with 26 goals and 50 points in 56 games, which is a wonderful season. He had a streak from mid-April to mid-May where he scored two goals and two points in 10 games. But, we’re not shocking players with three consecutive 30-goal seasons and a potential 30-goal fourth season in 2021, just because of a bad 10-game streak. He’s as close to a lockdown with 30 goals, 60 points and three shots per game as he is in the NHL, with the exception of Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews and David Pastrnak. He still has Mark Scheifele as a center and this Jets side should be the best since Dustin Byfuglien left.
Coincidentally, my Ramblings two days ago spoke about the Calgary roster and how Darryl Sutter has helped the team. Even with that said, Gaudreau’s 82-game pace over the past two seasons is around 24 goals and 70 points. If that’s all we’re getting from him, including a shot rate that has dropped by a full shot per game over the past two years, that’s not good enough. Not good enough for a 5e-choice round, and not good enough to choose Connor. In that sense, we’re counting on a rebound from Gaudreau just to be equal to Connor. For Gaudreau to be the choice here, he must improve a fairly large amount; probably on a point per game player. I think it’s just too much to ask. Unless the ADPs change, Connor is the choice here.
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Alex DeBrincat (38e) vs. Steven Stamkos (32sd)
After dropping in 2019-20, DeBrincat has rebounded in a huge way with 32 goals and 56 points in 52 games during the last campaign. That brings him to 119 goals in 286 career games, or 34 goals in every 82 games. That he has more career goals than assists is a bit worrying because if he is pulling his career average instead of 20.6%, he finishes well below a point per game. This is the concern here: how much decline will there be in his goal score? If it drops to 15% on shooting, it’s still a 37-goal season. If it drops to 12%, or 10%, well… Returns from Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews should help, although it’s hard to imagine DeBrincat improving his 2021 season. If he can stay close to the status quo , it should be fine. Something close to his 2018-19 season seems right.
We’re talking about Stamkos’ downfall, but he has 91 goals and 198 points in his last 177 games. That’s over 40 goals and around 85 points per season. If it can do it, it’s similar or better than what DeBrincat can do. However, Stamkos’ injuries are well known. He missed more than 10 games in 2019-2020 and missed 18 in 2021. Less than 75 games and Stamkos probably can’t produce a healthy DeBrincat. That’s Stamkos’ big concern, on top of the short offseason for the 31-year-old. He’s also shot less than three shots per game in three of the past four seasons. Chances are, fantasy owners will be able to draft both if they plan their choices properly, but DeBrincat seems like the clear choice.
Morgan Rielly (58e) against Roman Josi (60e)
Two teams and players headed in opposite directions. Rielly may be in his final season with the Leafs in contention for the Cup while Roman Josi is long term with the Predators retooling.
I don’t know how many people know this, but Rielly hasn’t been good at fantasy for a few years now. He had 27 points in 47 games in 2019-2020 and 35 points in 55 games in 2021. That equates to 50 points in every 82 games, but considering the team’s offensive talent, that’s an underperformance. (He had 52 points four seasons ago and 72 points three seasons ago, to advance my point.) Additionally, Rielly has lost almost a full shot per game compared to his average over the past two. seasons, which I believe is a Toronto point. In other words, I doubt he’ll get those snaps back. If he’s a 50-point, 150-shot defender with decent peripherals, well, that’s not special.
Josi also experienced a downturn himself last season. The thing is, it wasn’t part of a trend. He had at least 53 points in five of the six seasons leading up to 2021. He was injured for much of the year and still clocked 56 points / 82 games. In other words, in a lean year in which he was injured, Josi was consistently more productive per game than Rielly has been in the past two seasons. While Josi’s shot rate also declined, he was over 2.9, more than a full shot per game over Rielly. Rielly’s only advantage is the number of hits, but Josi makes up for it in blocks. There might not be a category outside of hits where Rielly outshines Josi, which makes that decision easy. Josi could end up being one of the best draft values if people keep drafting him around the 10th.e defender off the board.
Marc-André Fleury (37e) against Igor Shesterkin (39e)
Fleury won the Vézina in 2021 but had a few tough seasons before that; there was a legitimate reason why Vegas brought in Robin Lehner. The concern here is Fleury going from a great Vegas team to a defensively horrible Chicago team. It was a team with the second worst xGA / 60 in 2021 and was 25e in goals against. If the team does not develop by leaps and bounds defensively, they must perform in 2021-2022 as they did in the shortened 2021 campaign. Without it, it could be bombed fairly regularly. Before the “durr Toews and Dach” comments, they were just as gruesome in 2019-2020, and you can tell how much better the blue line is. He will probably have to be superhuman to pay for his ADP.
We all know the Rangers weren’t defensive, right? They were in the middle of the pack by xGA / 60 5v5, which isn’t great, but it’s definitely not the caliber of the Blackhawks. They were also in the middle of the field on goals against. K’Andre Miller is a year older, Adam Fox is a Norris candidate and they should be able to feature three good lines. They won’t be an elite defensive team, but they should be a lot better than Chicago, and that’s important. While Shesterkin doesn’t have a big sample, he’s atop the league in a number of goalie measures for his short career. If we want to bet, I’ll bet on the youngster from the best team.
Colton Parayko has signed an eight-year extension worth more than $ 6.5 million per season. He has had a few difficult consecutive years, largely related to injuries. Its value in real life or in captive leagues will depend on its ability to bounce back. Much of its fantastic value comes from peripherals and its ability to supplement those with 30 points. He can do it this year, as long as he stays on the ice. It still might not be worth it in the cap leagues, however.