Saturday, December 30, 2017

15 NHL Players Most Above/Below Expectations in 2017/18

Every year before the NHL season, I take the time to do forecasts for the top 600-700 players. It’s something that I dont do to publish, but rather to try and win my very deep and competitive fantasy league. We are now almost at the half way point of the 2017/18 season and I did a quick check to see which players are the most above, and which are the most below expectations. This was done by taking what I projected to be each player’s points per game, then multiplying it by how many games they have played so far this season. Ergo, nobody is on the naughty list simply because they have missed time.

Also note that one of the conditions is that I made a forecast for that player before the season. There's a few guys like Danton Heinen that I did not make a predicion for who are not on this list.

Exceeding Expectations

1) Josh Bailey, NYI, age 28: According to my projection, Bailey should have been at 23 PTS at the 38 GP mark, and instead he’s sitting at 49 PTS. That’s a 106-point pace for a guy who had a career high 56 PTS last season. He’s shattering his previous career high.

2) Mathew Barzal, NYI, age 20: It seemed like a safe bet in September to forecast Barzal to get 30-40 PTS as a rookie. I thought he’d have around 16 PTS at the 38 GP mark, and instead he’s got 36 PTS. It’s remarkable what he’s been able to do at that age.

3) Claude Giroux, Phi, age 30: Giroux declined from 86 PTS in 2015 to 58 PTS last season. My projection had him with a slight bounce back to 62 PTS (same as Voracek), which would have put him at 29 PTS after 38 GP, instead he’s got 46 PTS. That pace translates to 99 PTS over 82 GP, which would top his career best of 93 PTS.

4) Jakub Voracek, Phi, age 28: I had Voracek projected to score 62 PTS this season and instead he’s on pace to score 99 PTS over 82 GP. Unless he cools right off, he should be able to beat his career best of 81 PTS. I’d like to point out that while I was way off on how many PTS Giroux and Voracek would score, I did project them to get the same number. After 38 GP they do have the same number of PTS, so that much at least I got right.

5) Nathan MacKinnon, Col, age 22: In hindsight, my prediction of 58 PTS for MacKinnon was too low. That would have put him near 29 PTS after 37 GP, and instead he’s got 43 PTS. In my defense, 58 PTS would have been the best season he’s had since scoring 63 PTS as a rookie. He’s on pace to get 95 PTS over 82 GP.

6) Vlad Namestnikov, TB, age 25: Had I known that Vladdy was going to be playing most of the season with Kucherov and Stamkos, I’d have certainly boosted my prediction of 33 PTS for this guy, which would put him at 15 PTS after 37 GP, instead he’s got 32 PTS. That’s a pace for 71 PTS over 82 GP, which would shatter his career high of 35 PTS.

7) Brock Boeser, Van, age 20: Originally, I thought it was generous to predict Boeser would get 47 PTS over his first full NHL season. That would have put him around 22 PTS after 35 GP, and he’s got 38 PTS instead, translating to 89 PTS over 82 GP.

8) Sean Couturier, Phi, age 25: I was both right and wrong. I thought that Couturier was going to set a new career best this season, I just thought it would be 42 PTS. He’s already at 36 PTS after 38 GP, which puts him on pace for 78 PTS over 82 GP. He’s smashing his previous career high of 39 PTS.

9) Jon Marchessault, LV, age 27: I was not bullish on any Las Vegas players heading into this season, as I had expected them to be historically bad. The exact opposite came true. I thought Marchessault would score near 50 PTS this season, which felt very generous. Instead he’s on pace for 84 PTS over 82 GP.

10) Anders Lee, NYI, age 27: My preseason prediction for Lee was 54 PTS in 82 GP, which would have been a career best, and put him at 25 PTS after 38 GP. Instead he has scored 39 PTS, which is a pace of 84 PTS over 82 GP.

11) John Tavares, NYI, age 27: Prior to the season I had Tavares projected to score 74 PTS, which would have been his best season since 2015 (when he scored a career high 86 PTS). That projection would put him at 35 PTS after 38 GP, and instead he’s at 49 PTS. At this pace, he should top the 100-point barrier and smash his previous career best. Good time to hit the UFA market…

12) Kevin Fiala, NSH, age 21: I downgraded my prediction for Fiala after a serious leg injury in last year’s playoffs. I thought he’d be around 13 PTS after 36 GP, instead he’s scored 26, doubling my forecast. He recovered from that injury quicker and better than expected.

13) Dustin Brown, LA, age 33: I’m not sure what happened here, whether Brown re-dedicated himself to working out hard in the offseason, or if perhaps he searched the globe and found the elixir of life. I predicted he’d score 35 PTS, and he’s already got 29 PTS after 38 GP.

14) Anze Kopitar, LA, age 30: Perhaps I put too much stock into his decline down to 52 PTS last season, as I had him scoring 60 PTS, a slight bounce back. He already has 40 PTS in 38 GP this season and is on pace for 86 PTS over 82 GP (which would be a new career high) at an age when most players start to decline.

15) William Karlsson, LV, age 25: I thought that Karlsson would have a respectable season of 39 PTS for an offensively challenged expansion team. That would have put him at 17 PTS after 36 GP, instead he’s got 29 PTS. That’s a pace of 66 PTS over 82 GP. I'm not sure anybody predicted that.

Below Expectations

1) Conor Sheary, Pit, age 25: Last season Sheary managed to collect 53 PTS in 61 GP, so my projection had him scoring 59 PTS in 74 GP (with a slight drop in his PTS per game). Turns out there has been a large drop in his PTS per game (by over 50%). I thought he’d have 31 PTS after 39 GP and instead he’s got only 15 PTS.

2) Sam Reinhart, Buf, age 22: I predicted Reinhart to get 56 PTS in 81 GP, but it’s been a very disappointing season for the youngster. Where my forecast would have had him at 31 PTS after 39 GP, he’s only got 15 PTS.

3) Max Pacioretty, Mtl, age 29: Habs fans are well aware that Maximus is coming in below expectations. I had him at 68 PTS, but he’s only on pace for 43. Fantasy hockey owners have been slow to drop him as he’s still over 90% owned. You can safely drop him in standard leagues.

4) Joel Eriksson Ek, Min, age 21: I did not expect Eriksson Ek to only have 5 PTS through 31 GP. My projection would have put him at 17 PTS at this stage of the season. He’s a blue-chip prospect who probably just needs more seasoning in the minors.

5) Jake Guentzel, Pit, age 23: It hasn’t been a terrible season for Guentzel, who has 23 PTS in 39 GP, but his PTS per GP has declined. I predicted that he would be at 34 PTS at this point in the season (he scored 33 PTS in 40 GP last year).

6) Victor Rask, Car, age 24: Not sure what happened to this guy. I predicted he’d score 52 PTS in 82 GP. That would have put him at 22 PTS after 35 GP, instead he’s got 11. He’s on pace for 26 PTS over a full schedule (when he’s averaged 46.5 PTS over the last 2 seasons). Maybe he’ll bounce back and be fine, maybe this is a problem. He’s got 4 years left on that contract.

7) Jason Spezza, Dal, age 34: Spezza has been consistently around the 60 PTS per 82 GP scoring pace the last few seasons, but it would appear as though age has finally caught up to him. He’s on pace for just 34 PTS over 82 GP at age 34, and he’s got another year left on his contract at $7.5M AAV. Ouch.

8) Max Domi, Pho, age 22: My projection for Domi was 53 PTS in 73 GP, which would have put him at 29 PTS after 40 GP, instead he’s got 19 PTS. That would translate to 39 PTS over 82 GP, which is significantly below the 52 PTS he scored as a rookie.

9) Brock Nelson, NYI, age 26: Last season Nelson scored 45 PTS in 81 GP. I thought he would make a small gain up to 48 PTS, but he’s been trending in the wrong direction, on pace for 26 PTS (which would tie a career low).

10) Nolan Patrick, Phi, age 19: I was not expecting this top draft pick to have a monster season, but thought he might reach a respectable 42 PTS in 72 GP which would have translated to 17 PTS over the first 29 games. Instead he’s got just 7 PTS, which puts him in a tie for 37th best in Rookie scoring.

11) Sidney Crosby, Pit, age 30: Sid the Kid is on pace for the worst PTS per GP average of his professional career, with fewer PTS than GP. He’s always had more points than games in his career. He’s also turned 30 years old and made deep playoff runs the last 2 seasons. He may be paying a price for his post-season success.

12) Nicklas Backstrom, Wsh, age 30: He hit a dry spell where he got hardly any points over a matter of weeks, but has rebounded lately. I thought he’d be at 38 PTS after 38 GP, instead he’s at 28 PTS. Putting him on a line with Tom Wilson seems to have made all the difference.

13) Kevin Hayes, NYR, age 25: After scoring 49 PTS last season, I thought Hayes would improve up to 54 PTS and he’s gone in the opposite direction, on pace for 35 PTS over 82 GP.

14) Markus Granlund, Van, age 25: Granlund had a breakout season in 2016/17 with a career high 32 PTS. I projected him to follow that up with a 40-point season, but he’s currently on pace for 20 PTS. He’s picked up the scoring pace after the injury to Bo Horvat increased his ice time, but that should dry up again when Horvat returns.

15) Nick Foligno, Clb, age 30: There has been a large variance in Foligno’s point output the last 5 years (39, 73, 37, 51). I had him scoring 49 PTS this season, which would put him at 24 PTS in the 39 games he’s already played. Instead he’s got 14 and is currently on pace for the lowest point total over a full season in his career.

No comments:

Post a Comment