Thursday, August 2, 2018

2017/18 Weekly Fantasy Hockey Reports

Below are the links to all 23 of my weekly fantasy hockey reports for the 2017/18 season. My recommendations were mostly based on Yahoo head to head categories league scoring, where Points was treated as the most important category.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

NHL Team by Team Best/Worst Contracts (2005-2018)

What have been the 15 best and 15 worst non-entry level contracts for each NHL team in the salary cap era? These were originally compiled in the summer/fall of 2017, but have been updated in the summer of 2018. Remember that the salary cap has doubled since it was first introduced, so you will see several references to "cap inflation", where we adjust the Average Annual Value of the salary to reflect the relative cap hit.

Some of my rules for compiling these lists: preference was given to contracts that put names on major trophies. A player who has won a Stanley Cup on that contract can't appear on a "worst" list (with one exception). Generally contracts that were bought out are automatic qualifiers for the worst list (even if a different team executed the buyout). This did create a bit of a conflict with 2 different Stanley Cup winning contracts that were later bought out (Mike Richards and Brooks Orpik). And contracts that were under $1M AAV do not appear on worst lists.

Click on the team name to follow the link.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Best: Scott Niedermayer,   Worst: JS Giguere

Boston Bruins: Best: Zdeno Chara,    Worst: Glen Murray

Buffalo Sabres: Best: Ryan Miller,     Worst: Ville Leino

Carolina Hurricanes: Best: Cory Stillman,   Worst: Alex Semin

Columbus Blue Jackets: Best: Sergei Bobrovsky,   Worst: RJ Umberger

Calgary Flames: Best: Miikka Kiprusoff,    Worst: Robyn Regehr

Colorado Avalanche: Best: Nathan MacKinnon,   Worst: Ryan Smyth

Dallas Stars: Best: Jamie Benn,   Worst: Jason Spezza

Detroit Red Wings: Best: Niklas Lidstrom,   Worst: Stephen Weiss

Edmonton Oilers: Best: Connor McDavid,   Worst: Sheldon Souray

Florida Panthers: Best: Aleksander Barkov,   Worst: Keith Ballard

Los Angeles Kings: Best: Drew Doughty,   Worst: Marian Gaborik

Minnesota Wild: Best: Devan Dubnyk,   Worst: Zach Parise

Montreal CanadiensBest: Carey Price,   Worst: Carey Price

New Jersey Devils: Best: Martin Brodeur,   Worst: Ilya Kovalchuk

Nashville Predators: Best: Roman Josi,   Worst: Shea Weber

New York Islanders: Best: John Tavares,   Worst: Rick DiPietro

New York Rangers: Best: Henrik Lundqvist,   Worst: Wade Redden

Ottawa Senators: Best: Erik Karlsson,   Worst: Bobby Ryan

Philadelphia Flyers: Best: Claude Giroux,   Worst: Ilya Bryzgalov

Phoenix Coyotes: Best: Oliver Ekmanlarson,   Worst: Ed Jovanovski

Pittsburgh Penguins: Best: Sidney Crosby,   Worst: Rob Scuderi

San Jose Sharks: Best: Brent Burns,   Worst: Kyle McLaren

St. Louis Blues: Best: Alex Pietrangelo,   Worst: Jay Bouwmeester

Tampa Bay Lightning: Best: Victor Hedman,   Worst: Vincent LeCavalier

Toronto Maple Leafs: Best: Phil Kessel,   Worst: David Clarkson

Vancouver CanucksBest: Henrik Sedin,   Worst: Loui Eriksson

Washington CapitalsBest: Alex Ovechkin,   Worst: Michael Nylander

Winnipeg Jets: Best: Dustin Byfuglien,   Worst: Zach Bogosian

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

How Predictive is NHL Corsi?

The term Corsi in hockey refers to a form of shot differential plus/minus in a % form, where 50% means on the ice for the same number of even strength shots for and against. There is some debate about just how much individual players affect the shots on goal battle. When a player is 1 of 10 skaters on the ice, he would theoretically affect 10% of the game while he's playing. Centers tend to be more involved in the game action than wingers. If you place too much importance on a player's Corsi number

So how easy is it to predict what a Corsi% will be from one season to the next?

There are 4 scatter plots below showing year over year Corsi numbers for defensemen and forwards (who played at least 20 games last season and the next season). It's then broken down into players returning to the same team, or players who have changed teams (minus those who played for more than one team during the season). The total sample size from all four plots is 4885. Some players do appear more than once, but different ages.


The R^2 for forwards who have changed teams is half of what it is for those returning to the same team. Going to a new team means new linemates and a new coach who uses the player in new situations. It's clear from the pictures above that this transition creates greater variance in shot differential, making it very difficult to accurately forecast this statistic for those moving to a new team. The data above only looks at "this year" and "next year" and doesn't chart whether the players revert to career averages the longer they stay with the new franchise.

There are far more outliers when players change teams, where we see more large swings from good to bad, and visa versa.  One of the best examples is David Clarkson, who put up a 62% CF in his last season in New Jersey, then 43% his first season in Toronto. If the Leafs gave Clarkson that giant contract hoping for a good "possession" player, they were in for a rude awakening.


The first thing that becomes immediately clear looking at the images above, there is almost no correlation between Corsi For year over year for defensemen who change teams. Those returning to the same team have a much stronger correlation, where they are more likely to be used in similar situations with the same partner. This does strongly suggest that a defenseman's CF% is heavily dependent on the team he plays for.

TSN writer Travis Yost has claimed in the past that "sweaters don't make the D-Man". I disagreed with him at the time, but had not yet constructed the data set to fully disprove his assertion. There is unquestionably greater variation in year over year Corsi for those who change teams versus the ones who return to the same situations. This does beg the question, how much of the shot differential battle does a single player really have if there is weak correlation after changing teams? Their combination of linemates and the average skill level of opponents they are matched up against is what drives an individual player's Corsi Number.

It seems plausible that many hockey statistical analysts are over ascribing individual player affect on the shot differential, as it tends to depend on the other 9 guys on the ice.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Results of Free Agent Contract Predictions 2018

Prior to July 1st I made an attempt to predict free agent contracts. Some predictions were very close, others, not so much. This was done using a contract comparables analysis with other historical free agents. In hindsight, it might have been prudent to narrow the comparables list down to July signings, when the market is especially active. So far, here are the results.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Predicting NHL 2018 Free Agent Outcomes

Below are my predictions for upcoming NHL free agent contracts for the summer of 2018. This was done by compiling a list of over 3500 players and their stats the year before they become a free agent, and what contract they got in the got (in the salary cap era). What do players with similar ice time, production and age get when they become free agents? Then that range of outcomes is used to calculate a mean and median for term and salary to make a final prediction. Some of these are very difficult to predict, more so with the restricted free agents. It's easier to make open market predictions.

These are mostly an average of comparable outcomes, but you can have a 40% chance of a 2 year deal, a 40% chance of a 6 year deal, and a 5% chance of a 4 year deal; where the average is 4 years because it's half way between the most probable outcomes (but itself unlikely). In this prediction list, I'm not always choosing one extreme or the other, but splitting the difference to minimize how much I'll be off by.

AAV stands for the average annual salary.


The UFA's tend to be easier to predict that RFAs. In the case of John Tavares, he can get whatever he wants on the market. But he may accept slightly less money to play on a better team. There will be somebody offering him a $12M average annual salary (AAV), though he may not want to play for that organization. It's hard to do a comparables analysis of a player on the level of Tavares. He doesn't have a lot of contemporaries at his skill level that tested the UFA market at his age.

John Tavares 27 7 10.5 73.5
David Perron 30 5 5.0 25.0
James van Riemsdyk 29 4 5.0 20.0
Paul Stastny 32 3 5.0 15.0
James Neal 30 3 4.0 12.0
Riley Nash 29 3 3.0 9.0
Tyler Bozak 32 2 4.0 8.0
Patrick Maroon 30 2 2.5 5.0
Leo Komarov 31 2 2.1 4.2
Derek Ryan 31 2 2.1 4.2
Michael Grabner 30 2 2.0 4.0
Blake Comeau 32 2 2.0 4.0
Joe Thornton 38 1 3.4 3.4
Rick Nash 33 1 3.0 3.0
Matt Calvert 28 2 1.5 3.0
Jay Beagle 32 2 1.5 3.0
Antoine Roussel 28 2 1.2 2.4
Thomas Vanek 34 1 2.0 2.0
Tomas Plekanec 35 1 2.0 2.0
Cody McLeod 33 2 1.0 2.0
Ryan Reaves 31 2 1.0 2.0
Valtteri Filppula 34 1 1.9 1.9
Kyle Brodziak 34 1 1.8 1.8
Antoine Vermette 35 1 1.5 1.5
Mark Letestu 33 1 1.4 1.4
Brad Richardson 33 1 1.4 1.4
Chris Kunitz 38 1 1.3 1.3
Jason Chimera 39 1 1.1 1.1
Matt Cullen 41 1 1.0 1.0
Chris Stewart 30 1 1.0 1.0
Lance Bouma 28 1 1.0 1.0
Matt Stajan 34 1 1.0 1.0
Lee Stempniak 35 1 1.0 1.0
Jussi Jokinen 35 1 1.0 1.0
Jannik Hansen 32 1 1.0 1.0
Joel Ward 37 1 0.9 0.9
Torrey Mitchell 33 1 0.9 0.9
Jordan Nolan 28 1 0.8 0.8
Dominic Moore 37 1 0.8 0.8
JT Brown 27 1 0.8 0.8


There will surely be more contracts in the 4-7 year range for this group. The range of outcomes for comparable RFAs is diverse. Sometimes you'll see a 30% chance at a 2 year contract or a 20% chance at a 5-6 year contract. In most of those cases I'm just splitting the difference instead of choosing between the short and long term options.

Dylan Larkin 21 6 6.0 36.0
William Karlsson 25 6 6.0 36.0
Jason Zucker 26 4 5.0 20.0
William Nylander 22 4 5.0 20.0
Mark Stone 26 3 5.8 17.4
JT Miller 25 3 4.5 13.5
Tomas Hertl 24 3 4.0 12.0
Vladislav Namestnikov 25 3 4.0 12.0
Kevin Hayes 26 3 4.0 12.0
Tom Wilson 24 3 4.0 12.0
Elias Lindholm 23 3 3.5 10.5
Anthony Mantha 23 3 3.5 10.5
Sam Reinhart 22 3 3.5 10.5
Boone Jenner 24 3 3.0 9.0
Ryan Spooner 26 2 3.0 6.0
Brock Nelson 26 2 3.0 6.0
Riley Sheahan 26 2 2.5 5.0
Ryan Strome 24 2 2.5 5.0
Andreas Athanasiou 23 2 2.2 4.4
Devin Shore 23 2 2.0 4.0
Jared McCann 22 2 2.0 4.0
Sven Baertschi 25 2 2.0 4.0
Nick Ritchie 22 2 2.0 4.0
Joel Armia 25 2 1.8 3.6
Jimmy Vesey 25 2 1.8 3.6
Phillip Danault 25 2 1.7 3.4
Markus Granlund 25 2 1.5 3.0
Miles Wood 22 2 1.5 3.0
Ryan Hartman 23 2 1.5 3.0
Mark Jankowski 23 2 1.5 3.0
Anthony Duclair 22 2 1.5 3.0
Adam Lowry 25 2 1.4 2.8
Dmitrij Jaskin 25 2 1.3 2.6
Drake Caggiula 23 2 1.2 2.4
Jake Virtanen 21 2 1.2 2.4
Tobias Rieder 25 1 2.2 2.2
Nail Yakupov 24 2 1.0 2.0
Matt Nieto 25 1 1.4 1.4
Nick Shore 25 1 1.1 1.1
Joakim Nordström 26 1 0.9 0.9


John Carlson is in a similar situation to Tavares, and should get at least one offer at $12M+. Would he take less to play for a better team? It's possible, but he did just win the Stanley Cup, so he might not be as desperate to win right away as JT. There a really good chance he's taking the best offer. Kempny is a tough one to judge. His regular season numbers suggest a 2 year deal in the $1.5M range, but his playoff performance is likely to earn him significantly more than that.
John Carlson 28 7 12.0 84.0
Michal Kempný 27 4 4.0 16.0
Mike Green 32 3 4.5 13.5
John Moore 27 3 3.5 10.5
Luca Sbisa 28 3 3.5 10.5
Jack Johnson 31 3 3.0 9.0
Nick Holden 31 3 2.5 7.5
Brandon Manning 28 2 2.5 5.0
Dan Hamhuis 35 2 2.5 5.0
Ian Cole 29 2 2.5 5.0
Thomas Hickey 29 2 2.1 4.2
Calvin De Haan 27 2 2.1 4.2
Luke Schenn 28 2 1.5 3.0
Christian Folin 27 2 1.5 3.0
Alexei Emelin 32 1 2.0 2.0
Johnny Oduya 36 1 1.4 1.4
Kevin Connauton 28 1 1.3 1.3
Toby Enström 33 1 1.3 1.3
Josh Gorges 33 1 1.0 1.0
Roman Polák 32 1 1.0 1.0
Andrej Sustr 27 1 0.8 0.8


Like with the RFA forwards, this is a tough group to predict. It's worth pointing out that I gave Trouba and Ceci lower term than their comparable averages, simply because I don't think they want to lock in 5+ years with their current franchise.

Matt Dumba 23 6 6.0 36.0
Noah Hanifin 21 5 4.2 21.0
Darnell Nurse 23 4 4.0 16.0
Colin Miller 25 4 4.0 16.0
Shea Theodore 22 3 4.0 12.0
Brandon Montour 24 3 3.5 10.5
Brady Skjei 24 3 3.1 9.3
Jacob Trouba 24 2 4.5 9.0
Joshua Morrissey 23 3 3.0 9.0
Cody Ceci 24 2 3.6 7.2
Joel Edmundson 24 2 2.7 5.4
Ryan Pulock 23 2 2.5 5.0
Patrik Nemeth 26 2 2.5 5.0
Troy Stecher 24 2 2.0 4.0
Ryan Murray 24 2 1.7 3.4
Matthew Benning 24 2 1.5 3.0
Jamie Oleksiak 25 2 1.5 3.0
Robert Hägg 23 2 1.5 3.0
Matt Grzelcyk 24 2 1.3 2.6
Brandon Davidson 26 1 1.4 1.4
Alex Petrovic 26 1 1.3 1.3

Sunday, March 11, 2018

NHL 2017/18 Week 23 Fantasy Hockey Report

Welcome to my Fantasy Hockey Report Playoff Edition. It is week 2 of the Yahoo standard league fantasy playoffs, head to head categories leagues, so this will focus on players who play 4 games from March 12th to 18th. Here are my top 10 players to add for next week specifically that are between 20% and 60% ownership in Yahoo leagues.

Players for Yahoo Standard League Playoffs (week 2):

1) Paul Stastny, Wpg, (37% Yahoo ownership): He’s been a point per game player since arriving in Winnipeg, playing with Ehlers and Laine (who is red hot). The Jets play 4 games next week and Stastny is available in a lot of leagues. He is not available in my standard league because I added him yesterday.

2) Matt Duchene, Ott, (45% Yahoo ownership): Duchene started slow in Ottawa but got much better once his team dropped out of the playoff race. In the absence of pressure, he’s been very good, scoring 12 PTS in his last 14 GP.

3) Dion Phaneuf, LA, (40% Yahoo ownership): Since arriving in LA, Phanoof has been putting up PTS and Shots. He hasn’t been taking many penalties, but as a guy who does fight, he’s got that added dimension in a standard league. In his last 14 GP he’s got 7 PTS and 29 Shots and the Kings have a good schedule.

4) Philipp Grubauer, Wsh, (19% Yahoo ownership): Washington has the best schedule this week and Holtby has been struggling. In his last 5 games, Grubauer has a 1.20 GAA and .956 SV%. He’s been getting a greater share of the starts over his hot streak. There is a lack of strong goaltending options between 20% and 60% ownership on the teams who play 4 games this week.

5) Tom Wilson, Wsh, (40% Yahoo ownership): He might win you a category, with some chance of not hurting you in others. Washington has the best schedule this week, so he’ll have plenty of opportunities. He does get by far the most PTS and ice time of all the top PIMs guys.

6) Travis Konecny, Phi, (46% Yahoo ownership): The kid has been great in the second half and has scored 10 PTS in his last 14 GP. His ice time has dropped over his last 2 games, but Philly does play 4 games next week, so he’ll get you some points.

7) Teuvo Teravainen, Car, (51% Yahoo ownership): The talented Fin has scored 11 PTS in his last 14 GP. It’s unlikely that the Ron Francis departure from the GM chair will immediately affect the on-ice product, not that it could get any worse. Despite the team losing, Teuvo is still producing.

8) Brendan Gallagher, Mtl, (51% Yahoo ownership): Gallagher is in the top 15 in NHL Shots this season and shows no signs of slowing down (he’s taken 52 Shots in his last 14 GP, scoring 10 PTS).

9) Anthony Mantha, Det, (39% Yahoo ownership): Mantha has been very streaky this season, with a few extended slumps. But the kid can shoot, taking 40 Shots with 7 Goals over his last 16 GP. It’s not an easy schedule for Detroit next week, but they do play 4 games.

10) Matt Niskanen, Wsh, (37% Yahoo ownership): If you need a D and want somebody with a great schedule next week, here’s a guy. The Caps get the Islanders goaltending fiasco twice next week, and Niskanen has 8 PTS in his last 15 GP.

Going Deep: players owned in 10% of leagues or less:

1) Thomas Chabot, Ott, (4% Yahoo ownership): The kid has put up a nice little sample late in the season, scoring 7 PTS in his last 15 GP. A strong sleeper for next season, who can help you this week in deep leagues.

2) Andreas Athanasiou, Det, (4% Yahoo ownership): The Red Wings play 4 games next week and the speedster has 9 PTS in his last 15 GP. He takes a ton of shots too.

3) Carl Soderberg, Col, (2% Yahoo ownership): Soderberg might have more PTS in the last 2 months than he scored all last season. He’s been playing well and his team is fighting for a playoff spot. They won’t be resting him.

4) Mike Cammalleri, Edm, (2% Yahoo ownership): The Squid hasn’t been scoring goals, but he has 9 assists in his last 13 GP. Strong candidate in deep leagues if you want to improve that category.

5) Justin Abdelkader, Det, (7% Yahoo ownership): Over his last 16 games, Abdelkader has 9 PTS, 15 PIMs, 2 PPPs, 23 Shots, 31 Hits. If those categories mean something to you, he can help.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

NHL 2017/18 Week 22 Fantasy Hockey Report

Welcome to my Fantasy Hockey Report Playoff Edition. It is week 1 of the Yahoo standard league fantasy playoffs, so this will focus on players with the best schedules from March 5th to 11th. Here are my top 10 players to add for next week specifically that are between 30% and 65% ownership in Yahoo leagues. Be warned that Toronto, Carolina, LA, San Jose, and St.Louis only play 2 games this week.

Players for Yahoo Standard League Playoffs (week 1):

1) Daniel Sedin, Van, (35% Yahoo ownership): Maybe don’t pick him up as a long-term play in dynasty leagues, but with the Canucks season circling the toilet drain, he’s scored 6 Goals in his last 6 GP. The Canucks have a great schedule this week, and Mr. Sedin is worth a shot.

2) Mikael Backlund, Cgy, (24% Yahoo ownership): He may not be the best player on this list, but his team certainly has the best schedule. Scoring 6 PTS in his last 7 GP is good, and feels even better when you look at the goalies Backlund will be facing this week.

3) Jake Guentzel, Pit, (63% Yahoo ownership): He has already been added to my standard league roster for the playoffs. The Penguins do drop down to 2 games next week, but certainly for week 1 of the playoffs, if you can add Guentzel, he’s going to help you.

4) Ryan O’Reilly, Buf, (58% Yahoo ownership): O’Reilly has returned to form in the 2nd half and has been putting up PTS on a consistent basis. He will also help you in Shots and Power Play PTS. If your league counts Face-off wins, then O’Reilly is already owned.

5) Bo Horvat, Van, (34% Yahoo ownership): He’s got a great schedule this week and in his last 14 GP has scored 11 PTS, with 4 PP PTS and 40 Shots. Horvat is a strong add for week 1 of the fantasy playoffs and he’s widely available.

6) Antti Raanta, Pho, (49% Yahoo ownership): If you need another goalie who has been playing well and often with a strong schedule next week who is probably available in your league, here’s the guy.

7) Sam Reinhart, Buf, (35% Yahoo ownership): Terrible first half, good second half. In his last 14 GP he has scored 13 PTS with a +4, 8 PIMs, 2 PPP, and 43 Shots. He can help you in multiple categories and has a favourable schedule next week.

8) Alex Edler, Van, (25% Yahoo ownership): He’s not the player he used to be, but he’s certainly the #1 guy in Vancouver right now. A good bet for power play points and an easy schedule make him a strong target for week 1 of the playoffs.

9) Zdeno Chara, Bos, (42% Yahoo ownership): If you’d like to add a player with a predisposition to taking penalties who won’t hurt you too bad in the other categories, Chara is a strong option this week. The Bruins play 4 games, facing the Blackhawks goaltending nightmare twice.

10) Jakob Markstrom, Van, (33% Yahoo ownership): Markstrom is by no means a great goalie, but the Canucks have a juicy schedule next week and he’s the #1 guy.

Going Deep: players owned in 10% of leagues or less:

1) Jon Gillies, Cgy, (8% Yahoo ownership): The Flames have 4 games next week and Mike Smith is at least a week away from returning. Gillies appears to be the better of the two goalies battling for playing time on a team desperate to make the playoffs.

2) Jake DeBrusk, Bos, (4% Yahoo ownership): This kid should be owned in more than 4% of fantasy leagues this week. The Bruins play 4 games and DeBrusk has scored 5 PTS in his last 5 GP (on pace for 47 PTS on the season).

3) Nick Holden, Bos, (4% Yahoo ownership): A sleeper pick on defense for week 1 of your fantasy playoffs, though probably not at standard league level. Since arriving in Boston via trade, Holden has played 2 games averaging over 20 minutes of ice time, scoring 2 PTS and taking 10 Shots on Goal.

4) Sam Bennett, Cgy, (5% Yahoo ownership): The Flames have the best schedule this week, so if you’re in a league with 14 or more teams, Bennett can help you. 5 PTS in his last 12 GP isn’t exactly a hot streak, but 3 of his 4 games are against the Islanders, Sabres, and Senators, who have given up a ton of goals collectively.

5) Vinnie Hinostroza, Chi, (2% Yahoo ownership): The Blackhawks have a 4-game week and Vinnie has scored 6 PTS in his last 8 GP. He’s worth at last a short-term play in really deep leagues if you need to squeeze some extra games into your roster.