Sunday, December 9, 2018

NHL 2018 Week 10 Fantasy Hockey Report

This is my week ten fantasy hockey report for those competing in head to head categories or rotisserie leagues. There are both standard and deep league acquisition targets. This is more of a “waiver wire” report, looking for those who are more likely to be available in your league as opposed to the universally owned players. I also do not recommend any players who play 2 games or less over the next 7 days (Monday to Sunday), with a preference for those with 4 or more games.

Best Standard League Adds (20% to 60% Yahoo ownership):

1) Gustav Nyquist, W, Detroit, (39% Yahoo ownership): Nyquist has been red hot lately, scoring 11 PTS in his last 8 GP and it just so happens the Red Wings have a great schedule next week. We’ll see how long this hot streak can last but in the short-term at least he’s a fantastic streaming option.

2) Dustin Brown, W, LA, (40% Yahoo ownership): While the King's season can most aptly be described as embarrassing, Brown is still doing his thing. His 15 PTS in 19 GP would translates to about 64 PTS over a full schedule and he scored 61 PTS last season. He continues to put up elite shot and hit totals. Count me among the people who thought his scoring from last season was unsustainable, but so far it has been sustained and the Kings play 4 games next week.

3) Mike Green, D, Detroit, (49% Yahoo ownership): If you need a defenseman and Mike Green is still on your waiver, there aren’t many better choices next week. The veteran has scored 13 PTS in his last 15 GP and faces some weak defensive teams. Even at age 33, Green can still create offense. That scoring rate should slow down as the season carries on. Great streamer next week though.

4) Jimmy Howard, G, Detroit, (51% Yahoo ownership): Jimmy is not a guy I want to own for an entire season, because he runs hot and cold with the best and worst of them. Lately he’s been mostly good and the Red Wings play 4 this week. Over his last 9 GP, Jimmy sports a 2.57 GAA and .924 SV % with 5 wins.

5) Nick Schmaltz, W, Arizona, (20% Yahoo ownership): Schmaltz has been productive since arriving in Phoenix playing with Galchenyuk and Keller, scoring 8 PTS in his last 8 GP. The Coyotes play 4 games this week and Schmaltz has dual position eligibility in Yahoo. Good streaming option, even in standard leagues.

Last Week: Reilly Smith, Mikko Koskinen, Shea Theodore, Tyler Johnson, Alex Tuch

Best Deep League Adds (under 15% ownership):

1) Bryan Little, C, Winnipeg, (12% Yahoo ownership): Little has only scored 1 point in his last 6 games while Laine has gone on a mini cold streak. The Jets do have a fantastic schedule next week, so Little is a very tempting streaming option. Despite the recent cold streak, he still has 10 PTS in his last 14 GP.

2) Tyler Bertuzzi, W, Detroit, (8% Yahoo ownership): As stated earlier, the Wings have a nice schedule and Tuzzi has scored 7 PTS in his last 9 GP. The time on ice has not been very consistent over that span, ranging from 12:58 to 18:21. He’s had 1 shot or less in 7 of his last 10 GP. At the very least he’s a good short-term play in deep leagues.

3) Alec Martinez, D, LA, (11% Yahoo ownership): The Kings play 4 games next week and Martinez has scored 4 PTS in his last 7 GP. Martinez also puts up elite block totals, but if you’re in a deep league which counts that category, he’s probably already owned.

4) Anthony Stolarz, G, Philadelphia, (4% Yahoo ownership): Stolarz has played in 4 consecutive games for the Flyers and has put up quasi respectable numbers with a 2.94 GAA and .907 SV %. There is not a better option available in more leagues. If you are desperate for starts in a deep league, add this guy for so long as he’s holding down that #1 starters position.

5) Andreas Johnsson, W, Toronto, (6% Yahoo ownership): Johnsson was high on the Hockey News sleeper list heading into the season and stumbled coming out of the gate. Now suddenly he has scored 10 PTS in his last 7 GP, tied with Auston Matthews for 2nd in Leaf scoring over that time. There are a few too many mouths to feed on the Leafs forward lines right now, but it's hard not to reward a guy putting up these numbers.

Last Week: Alex Chiasson, Drake Batherson, TJ Brodie, Colin White, Adin Hill

The 1% (best adds 1% owned or less):

1) Christian Fischer, W, Arizona: Fischer scored 2 PTS in 13 November games, and already has that many in 4 December games. At age 21 there is plenty of long-term upside with this kid. In the short-term at least, the Coyotes play 4 games next week.

2) Lucas Wallmark, C, Carolina: The Hurricanes play 4 games next week and Wallmark has scored 6 PTS in his last 8 GP (albeit just 1 in his last 5). Decent streaming option for the deepest leagues who can also help your hit totals.

3) Adrian Kempe, C, LA: After a very slow start to the season, Kempe has picked up the scoring lately, scoring 3 in his last 4 GP. He’s available in 99% of leagues and the Kings play 4 games next week.

Last Week: Mark Jankowski, Erik Cernak, Gavin Bayreuther

Safe to drop in Standard Leagues:

1) Wayne Simmonds, Philly: There are signs that the power forward has started his decline now that he’s over 30 years old. Simmonds has been a fantasy stud for years, but is no longer a must own in shallower leagues.

2) Justin Faulk, Carolina: The defenseman is still owned in 58% of Yahoo leagues despite only putting 1 point in his last 12 GP. You are still getting good shot and hit numbers from him and the Hurricanes do play 4 games this week. But his days as a must own player are probably behind him.

Last Week: James Van Riemsdyk, Will Butcher

Sunday, December 2, 2018

NHL 2018 Week 9 Fantasy Hockey Report

This is my week nine fantasy hockey report for those competing in head to head categories or rotisserie leagues. There are both standard and deep league acquisition targets. This is more of a “waiver wire” report, looking for those who are more likely to be available in your league as opposed to the universally owned players. I also do not recommend any players who play 2 games or less over the next 7 days (Monday to Sunday), with a preference for those with 4 or more games.

To view my list of the most added players in November, click here. To view the most dropped November players, click here.

Best Standard League Adds (20% to 60% Yahoo ownership):

1) Reilly Smith, W, Vegas, (52% Yahoo ownership): After a 2 PTS in 12 GP swoon from late October to early November, Smith has been hot, producing at an impressive clip with 10 PTS in his last 8 GP. Vegas plays 4 games this week and that line with Smith-Karlsson-Marchessault has been on a roll.

2) Mikko Koskinen, G, Edmonton, (49% Yahoo ownership): The Finn has wrestled the Oilers starting duties away from Cam Talbot and the team plays 4 games this week. In his last 6 starts Koskinen has 4 wins with a 1.82 GAA and .938 SV %. It’s always good to own Hitchcock goalies. He's worth adding for next week and beyond, so long as he keeps getting a majority of Hitchcock starts.

3) Shea Theodore, D, Vegas, (50% Yahoo ownership): It was a slow start to the season for the youngster, but he’s finally found his rhythm. He’s scored 7 PTS in his last 8 GP with a +9. In October Theodore only managed to produce 3 PTS in 12 GP, but completely turned things around in November with 12 PTS in 15 GP. He’s hot and needs to be added.

4) Tyler Johnson, W, Tampa, (48% Yahoo ownership): The Bolts play 4 games next week and Johnson has been seeing time on the top line with Point and Kucherov. You may want a piece of this action for the upcoming week. He does have 6 PTS in his last 10 GP and has a really high upside any given week because of his explosive linemates.

5) Alex Tuch, W, Vegas, (45% Yahoo ownership): Tuch has been steadily rising in ownership since missing the start of the season, as the kid has now scored 20 PTS with 29 hits in 20 GP. He can add a physical component if you play with hits in your league. I added him in my Yahoo standard league two weeks ago as a streamer and haven’t been able to drop him.

Last Week: Brandon Montour, Brady Tkachuk, Casey DeSmith, Sam Reinhart, Andreas Athanasiou

Best Deep League Adds (under 15% ownership):

1) Alex Chiasson, W, Edmonton, (11% Yahoo ownership): It’s been difficult trying to play McDavid linemate roulette in fantasy this season, but Chiasson is the latest lottery winner and has scored 5 goals in his last 8 GP. If you are in a deep league and want that McDavid exposure, Chiasson is available. It’s possible that Hitch will rotate through line combinations so it’s hard to trust these things long-term. The Oilers do have a nice schedule this week, making this a good time to roll the dice.

2) Drake Batherson, W, Ottawa, (6% Yahoo ownership):  Batherson has played 9 games in the NHL and has scored 7 PTS playing on the Matt Duchene line, which is red hot. At his age he has yet to really establish his ceiling or floor. Whether or not you want to be a part of that journey in the long-term, he’s at least worth a short-term streaming spot next week.

3) TJ Brodie, D, Calgary, (11% Yahoo ownership): Brodie may have only scored 4 PTS in his first 18 GP but the veteran has scored 7 PTS in his last 8 GP. The Flames play 4 games this week, making TJ a solid streaming option. His peripheral statistics are not great, so he’s really only someone you want on your roster while PTS are coming in and they have a good schedule.

4) Colin White, C, Ottawa, (4% Yahoo ownership): White is officially under-owned having scored 16 PTS in 24 GP this season (55-point pace). If he were a winger that ownership would probably be closer to 40% than 4%. So, whether or not White appeals to you depends on if you have room in your line-up for another center. The rookie has been my 5th center in an 18-team league since preseason and I’m in first place. Just saying…

5) Adin Hill, G, Phoenix, (11% Yahoo ownership): Antti Raanta is injured again, or may be back soon, who really knows, and Adin Hill is the latest replacement. In his first 2 starts, he’s got 2 wins stopping 60 of his first 61 shots. It’s hard to trust him in the long-term, but he’s worth a short-term gamble if goalies are scarce in your league.

Last Week: Kevin Hayes, Alex Kerfoot, Bobby Ryan, Bryan Little, Tristan Jarry

The 1% (best adds 1% owned or less):

1) Mark Jankowski, Calgary: Jankowski has managed to score 5 PTS in his last 6 GP despite playing mostly 4th line without talented wingers. He would need to be bumped up the depth chart for me to trust as anything more than a one-week streamer. The Flames play 4 games next week, so this is a decent streaming option in very deep leagues.

2) Erik Cernak, Tampa: If you need hits next week in your deep league, take this guy, who has 31 in his last 10 games. That’s just about the only thing Cernak will do for you, pad your hit totals in a streaming role, and next week is a great time to do so if you need more hitting.

3) Gavin Bayreuther, Dallas: The Stars do not have a great schedule this week, but Bayreuther is a defenseman to keep an eye on in the deepest leagues. Over the last 8 games he’s been averaging over 20 minutes of ice time (including power play), scoring 4 PTS. Obviously when Klingberg gets back everyone gets bumped down the depth chart. Still, this kid is intriguing in the short-term.

Last Week: Frans Nielsen, Cody Ceci, Mikkel Boedker

Safe to drop in Standard Leagues:

1) James Van Riemsdyk, LA: If you were expecting a 40-goal scorer when you drafted JVR, you have been sorely disappointed. He has still only played 9 games in Philly and has only scored 1 goal. The ice time has been declining and the PTS are few and far between. 62% owned is way to high for this guy.

2) Will Butcher, New Jersey: This has not been a good sophomore season for Butcher, who has only scored 3 PTS in his last 15 GP. The power play PTS have completely dried up and he’s not giving you good peripheral stats. He should not be 38% owned.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Top 10 Fantasy Hockey November 2018 Fallers

Which NHL players saw their fantasy hockey stock fall the most in the month of November? This is calculated by using Fantasy hockey ownership rates in Yahoo on Nov 1 versus Dec 1. Players who dropped because of injury are not being included. These are guys who played most of their teams games in November. Click here to view the list of the top 10 October fallers.

Goalies not included.

1) Ilya Kovlachuck, LA, -30%: It was not a good month for Russian sniper, who has seen his production and ice time plummet in the 2nd half of the month. Fell from 84% owned Nov 1st to 54% on Dec 1st.

2) Maxime Lajoie, Ottawa, -22%: The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. The rookie who got off to that sensational start has predictably cooled off, and his ownership numbers have reflected that. 7 PTS in his first 11 GP, 5 PTS in his last 15 GP, currently owned in 23% of leagues.

3) Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg, -20%: Morrissey did see an ownership jump to 50% on Nov 1st when he was seeing top power play time. In the 30 days since he's scored 3 PTS in 12 GP and was dropped in many leagues.

4) Duncan Keith, Chicago, -19%: In October Duncan scored 7 PTS in 13 GP and was 69% owned on Nov 1. Over the last 13 GP he has only scored 2 PTS, dropping his ownership down to 50%. It has room to drop even lower.  

5) Josh Manson, Anaheim, -17%: Manson's Nov numbers were very similar to his Oct numbers, albeit with fewer hits and shots. He did miss 3 games, but not enough to have affected his ownership that much.

6) David Perron, St. Louis, -16%: After scoring 10 PTS in 10 GP to start the season, Perron has produced just 5 PTS in his last 14 GP. He cooled off, and that's reflected in his ownership, currently sitting at 17%.

7) Reilly Smith, Vegas, -15%: Smith went through a 3 week period with just 2 PTS in 12 GP and shed a bunch of owners, but he's started to gain some of those back by heating up in the last 2 weeks of November, currently sitting at 52%.

8) Erik Johnson, Colorado, -14%: The big man has scored just 3 PTS in 14 Nov games to see his ownership decline to 41%. Most of the people who are still hanging on to him in standard leagues are doing so for his hits.

9) Will Butcher, New Jersey, -14%: Butcher has scored just 3 PTS in his last 15 GP, which is far less than you were hoping for on draft day. Butcher was 72% owned before the season and is now sitting at 39%. It has not been a good sophomore campaign thus far.

10) Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa, -14%: Very similar to the player above, Sergachev is having a sophomore slump. He was 85% owned before the season and scored 4 PTS in 15 Nov GP, dropping his ownership from 75% Nov 1 to 61% Dec 1. At some point he'll be good again, just maybe not this season.

Top 10 Fantasy Hockey November 2018 Risers

Which NHL players saw their fantasy hockey stock rise the most in the month of November? We are basing this on their Yahoo ownership on Nov 1st versus Dec 1. Click here to see the list of top October Risers.

Goalies not included.

1) Neal Pionk, Rangers, +46%: Pionk was 14% owned on Nov 1st, then proceeded to score 9 PTS in 14 GP for the month to bump his ownership up to 60% by Dec 1.

2) Colin Miller, Vegas, +35%: Miller had a an unproductive October with only 2 PTS in 12 GP, dropping his ownership down to 16% by Nov 1st. He followed that up with 10 PTS in 15 GP in November and is currently sitting at 51% ownership.

3) Matt Duchene, Ottawa, +33%: Duchene's 22 PTS in November were second only to MacKinnon and Kucherov, which saw his ownership climb from 44% to 77%.

4) Josh Anderson, Columbus, +27%: Anderson saw his ownership consistently climb throughout the month while his scoring production remained relatively stagnant. He had 7 PTS in 11 GP in October to get him to 17% owned, then in November scored 7 PTS in 15 GP to get to 44%. That has to be because of his shot and hit numbers that his ownership grew that much without a scoring spike.

5) Alex Tuch, Vegas, +25%: Tuch missed the start of the season with an injury and scored 17 PTS in 15 GP in November. He is currently 45% owned.

6) Mark Stone, Ottawa, +22%: Stone had a very good November, scoring 20 PTS in 15 GP, pushing his ownership up to 83%.

7) Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton, +22%: Klefbom's ownership has been swinging up and down this season, back on another upswing since the hiring of Hitchock.

8) Mike Green, Detroit, +21%: Green continues to show he can score PTS, with 11 in 13 GP last month. His ownership had sunk down to 21% by Nov 1 after Green missed the start of the season with a viral infection. It's currently sitting at 42%.

9) Blake Coleman, New Jersey, +20%: On Nov 1 Coleman was just 3% owned. After scoring 12 PTS in 15 Nov GP, he's up to 23%. Also provides hits and faceoff wins from a wing eligible player.

10) Ryan McDonagh, Tampa, +20%: McDonagh had a strong November with 11 PTS in 15 GP raising his ownership to 83%.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Super Star Mega Contracts in Salary Cap Don't Make Every Player Rich

There seems to be a belief in within some circles of sports media that when a super star athlete gets an exceptionally large contract that other less skilled players in the league get richer. In theory if the ceiling gets pushed higher, other normal players will be able to negotiate more on their next contracts. When Connor McDavid signed his 8 year $100M contract in July 2017, hosts on Vancouver sports radio were congratulating other NHLers for getting richer. Guys who had nothing to do with McDavid and were not close to his skill level were being told that they'd make more money on their next contract because the best player in the league just struck a giant deal.

In a league with a salary cap, that notion does not make sense. McDavid's contract simply raised the ceiling for the very few who have a comparable skill level. That's a short list. It's not going to make middling players more money, quite the opposite. A salary cap means that players are sharing a pie that is a fixed size. If McDavid takes a bigger piece of pie, then that's less pie for everyone else. The only way that other players get more pie is in the growth of hockey related revenues. That's the only way to make the pie bigger under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement.

This summer Auston Matthews is in a position to push the ceiling upwards even further. The maximum amount that a player is allowed to sign for is 20% of the salary cap, which zero players have received since the cap's inception. McDavid's contract came in at under 17% of the cap, so technically he did leave some money on the table. Sidney Crosby's last contract started under 14% of the cap (although that was a 12 year back dive that is now illegal). We have not seen a single super star hockey player take the maximum amount of annual salary, but Auston could do so.

If Matthews sets a new ceiling this summer, that won't mean every single player got richer. Other Leaf players negotiating new contracts afterwards are going to feel the pinch. They'll be told the team can't possibly meet their demand because they are paying all that money to Matthews and Tavares. The only way Auston makes his teammates richer is to sign for a discount, leaving more for the team to spend on the rest of the roster. He may have to take less because the team is likely going to have cap problems, but that's a different matter entirely.

Patrik Laine will also be signing a new contract this summer, and he could push the ceiling for elite goal scorers, but that won't make other non-snipers richer. Players need to have similar statistics to Laine if they are going to argue to an arbitrator that they deserve the same salary. His tier of top goal scorers could get a boost, but not everyone in the league. If he takes more pie, there's less for others to eat, unless revenues go up and the cap goes up.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

NHL 2018 Week 8 Fantasy Hockey Report

This is my week eight fantasy hockey report for those competing in head to head categories or rotisserie leagues. There are both standard and deep league acquisition targets. This is more of a “waiver wire” report, looking for those who are more likely to be available in your league as opposed to the universally owned players. I also do not recommend any players who play 2 games or less over the next 7 days (Monday to Sunday), with a preference for those with 4 or more games.

Best Standard League Adds (20% to 60% Yahoo ownership):

1) Brandon Montour, D, Anaheim, (49% Yahoo ownership): Cam Fowler’s broken face and an injury to Hampus Lindholm have created a great opportunity for Montour to get a ton of ice time. The Ducks have a great schedule this week and Montour has 5 PTS in his last 6 GP, with 19 shots, averaging 24.5 minutes of ice time per game. I added him in my 12-team standard league.

2) Brady Tkachuk, W, Ottawa, (41% Yahoo ownership): The rookie has 5 PTS in his last 7 GP with 21 shots and 12 hits. The Senators play 4 games and Tkachuk can help you in multiple categories. The kid has a bright future in fantasy hockey, especially in leagues that count hits and penalties. At his age consistency may be an issue over the course of a full season, but even just as a short-term streaming option he’s a good add for this week.

3) Casey DeSmith, G, Pittsburgh, (49% Yahoo ownership): Matt Murray is injured again, which is almost irrelevant since DeSmith was already starting a majority of Penguins games. He needs to be added in more leagues, with a 2.50 GAA and .925 SV % in his last 6 games. DeSmith may even retain the primary starters role when Murray returns from injury.

4) Sam Reinhart, W, Buffalo, (46% Yahoo ownership): Newsflash, turns out the Buffalo Sabres might be good and Reinhart is playing on the top line with Skinner and Eichel, scoring 7 PTS in his last 8 GP. So long as that line deployment continues, including first power play, Reinhart is worth holding on to beyond just this week.

5) Andreas Athanasiou, W, Detroit, (28% Yahoo ownership): This has to be the first time I’ve recommended Athanasiou as a standard league pick-up, but he’s a strong streaming option for the upcoming week. The Red Wings play 4 games and AA has 5 goals and 29 shots in his last 7 GP. You shouldn’t burn a permanent roster spot on him just yet, this is a short-term streamer.

Last Week: Jonathon Drouin, Chris Kreider, Neal Pionk, Louis Domingue, Tom Wilson

Best Deep League Adds (under 15% ownership):

1) Kevin Hayes, C, Rangers, (14% Yahoo ownership): The Rangers play 4 games this week, including a home and home against the Ottawa Senators, who can’t keep the puck out of their net. Hayes has scored 11 PTS in his last 10 GP. He’s almost addable in a standard league for those 2 games against the Sens and should be owned in most deeper formats.

2) Alex Kerfoot, W, Colorado, (13% Yahoo ownership): Kerfoot has been scoring at a point per game clip over the last 12 games. Despite only playing on the second power play unit, he has managed to produce 4 PP PTS in the last 7 GP. The Avalanche have a strong schedule this week and Kerfoot will get you PTS, albeit with weak peripherals.

3) Bobby Ryan, W, Ottawa, (8% Yahoo ownership): Don’t look now, but Bobby Ryan has actually been productive lately, scoring 7 PTS in his last 7 GP, giving him 16 PTS in 23 GP on the season. That contract may be terrible, but he’s good enough to play hockey in the NHL and somebody worth taking a look at for next week.

4) Bryan Little, C, Winnipeg, (10% Yahoo ownership): Patrik Laine is on a hot streak and Little is reaping the benefits, with 9 PTS in his last 7 GP. There have been concerns early in the season that Little might be holding Laine back, but suddenly the big Finn has 11 goals in his last 4 GP.

5) Tristan Jarry, G, Pittsburgh, (7% Yahoo ownership): With Murray out the starting duties will fall to DeSmith, but Jarry will get some starts here and there. He’ll get at least 1 next week on back to back. He stopped 35 of 37 shots in his first game Friday against the Bruins.

Last Week: Cody Eakin, Dmitry Orlov, Chad Johnson, Jimmy Vesey, Tanner Pearson

The 1% (best adds 1% owned or less):

1) Frans Nielsen, Detroit: If you play in a deep enough league where 1% players are commonly owned and Nielsen is on your waiver wire, grab him for the upcoming week. He has scored 4 PTS in his last 6 GP playing over 17 minutes per game. Streamer, not a keeper.

2) Cody Ceci, Ottawa: If you’re looking for a defenseman who is widely available, has a good schedule next week and can help your hits and blocks while chipping in a few PTS, grab Ceci. They play 3 games in the next 4 nights.

3) Mikkel Boedker, Ottawa: Boedker is a decent streaming option in deep leagues, with the Senators playing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, you can squeeze some extra games into the first half of your week. With 6 PTS in his last 15 GP, Boedker isn’t exactly exciting as a long-term pick-up.

Last Week: Nick Holden, Nick Bonino, Marcus Sorensen

Safe to drop in Standard Leagues:

1) Jake Muzzin, LA: Muzzin is owned in 50% of Yahoo leagues and has 2 PTS in his last 12 GP. You don’t need to burn a permanent roster spot on him. I’m just not buying stock in the LA Kings right now. Use him as a streamer when you like the schedule. Although the Kings do have a good schedule this week, so keep that in mind.

2) Craig Anderson, Ottawa: Nobody should be burning a permanent roster spot on Craig Anderson in shallow leagues. His GAA on the season is 3.91 and he’s allowed at least 4 goals in 6 of his last 7 GP. You should only ever use Anderson on an emergency basis when you need to reach your minimum starts in a week. Otherwise he’ll do more harm than good to your numbers.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Correlation Between NHL Statistics and Free Agent Salary

How much do individual statistics affect the amount of money that NHL free agents get on their next contract? We are looking at player statistics for 2439 pending free agents (from 2008-2018, excluding 2013), and how much money they received on their next contract (as a % of the salary cap), breaking it down by forwards and defensemen. The most important variable is exactly what you'd expect, points. There are not many surprises, with the most interesting conclusions coming in the differences between positions.

There are some interesting results, primarily on the differences between forwards and defensemen. Here is a summary of my conclusions.

*Defensemen ice time per game almost as important as Points: Points are the most important variable affecting forwards salary, but for defensemen, time on ice per game is just as important as scoring PTS. The D-men who play the most time on ice tend to be the most well-rounded players who are effective at both ends of the ice. Specialists tend to get more limited minutes. Being able to effectively log heavy minutes is a valuable commodity on the blueline. It's still important for forwards to be able to play big minutes (over 75% correlation), it's just less important than scoring.

*Power Play Ice more important for forwards: Defensemen who can quarterback a power play will almost always get a wage premium on the open market, however time spent on the ice for the man advantage has a stronger correlation to salary for forwards on average. Part of that would come from the increased importance on PTS for forwards, with PTS being strongly correlated to power play time. It's easier for a defenseman to hit a big pay day without being a point producer (see Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik, Danny Dekeyser, Andy Greene, etc).

*Ability to kill penalties much more important for defensemen: Forwards don't need to kill penalties to get paid, they need to score PTS. It's the forwards who have trouble scoring PTS that need the skill to simply get NHL employment. Teams generally make sure to have a few forwards who can kill penalties on the 3rd and 4th lines. Penalty killing is not something you get paid to do, unless you are a defenseman. It's just harder for teams to roster defensemen who can't kill penalties

*Physicality more valuable to defensemen: Hitting isn't really a skill that gets you paid as a forward. Every so often there will be a point scorer who can hit, and that type can get a wage premium (see Milan Lucic, David Backes, Brandon Dubinsky, Dustin Brown, etc), but mostly it's the lower tier players who do a majority of the hitting. They don't do it to get extra millions, they do it to get a job. It’s similar to killing penalties.

We do see heavy hitting defensemen getting higher pay days than their forward playing counterparts (see Dustin Byfuglien, Zdeno Chara, Dion Phaneuf, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber, Brooks Orpik, etc). Those who can both score points while collecting big hit totals certainly get some of the largest contracts at the position.

*Faceoff wins don’t matter for defensemen: Duh. There is a 35% correlation between forward faceoff wins and salary, which mostly comes in the form of a wage premium for centers. Players don't tend to get paid much extra to be good at face-offs, it's just hard to find good centers, so market scarcity does inflate their price.

*Defensemen Paid For Blocks?: There is a greater than 50% correlation between defensemen blocks and future salary. That doesn't necessarily mean that they got paid for blocking shots, but rather paid to get hit by pucks. It's a defenseman's job to be between the shooter and the net. Even if he's not trying to block them, he's going to get hit by certain percentage just for being in the way. Defensemen are rarely out there making saves. Most of these are the result of being in the right spot. Block totals can also be a reflection of how much time a defenseman spends in the defensive zone. Those with a higher % defensive zone starts are going to get hit by more pucks. 

Many of the defensemen who put up high block and low point totals are not highly rewarded on the free agent market (with some exceptions). It’s not a skill that by itself gets you paid. We see that correlation mostly because all defensemen get hit by pucks. The average number of blocks for a defenseman who plays at least 80 games is 126, and 75% with over 80 GP will get at least 100 blocks. It’s an occupational hazard.