Posts Tagged ‘anaheim ducks’

I’m working on a cool feature looking at the Wild using some new “puck hog” metrics, but in the mean time I wanted to look at some team-level stats and broaden it to the Western Conference. It’s still early in the season…but with the compressed schedule the timeframes get out of whack. With around a quarter of the schedule in the books, some teams that might be outperforming their true talent might be accumulating enough points in the bank that if they do regress, they could still get a bit of home-ice advantage come playoff time. And on the other hand, with a smaller sample size than usual, the “laws” of regression may not even take effect!

Anyway, what I wanted to do tonight is look at the Western Conference standings (current as of Wednesday, 2/20) and compare them to some team-level rate stats: shots for and against at even strength, and particularly Fenwick ratio. Fenwick has been shown to be a great indicator of a team’s level of play, and accurately predicted the Wild’s demise and the Kings’ surge last season alone.

It is generally accepted that the effects of home ice are less in hockey than other sports. But I still like to look at the numbers (why do people climb mountains? because they’re there…why do I analyze home/road splits? because they’re there!) On the other hand, it’s a little dicey to take a small sample and split it into even smaller samples…I heard on #MvsW the other day that the Kings have played just like 4 home games and 9 road games so far, so appropriate grains of salt necessary here. Having said that, on with the chlorophyl!

(Friendly reminder, if you need a refresher on what Fenwick is, head to my stats glossary.)

Table 1. Western Conference Fenwick Close with Home/Road Split

ss 2-20-13 west conf standings fen close

Table 2. Western Conference 5v5 Shots For and Shots Against per 60 minutes

ss 2-20-13 west conf standings sf sa 60

The Best

The Blackhawks and the Canucks are prettay…prettay…prettay good. Expert analysis there, good night everybody! It’s no surprise to me to see that Chicago and Vancouver have almost identical home and road Fenwick rates–great teams play just as well on the road as at home. The Anaheim Ducks are the darlings of the conference so far, and why not? Everyone likes a feel-good story, and the Ducks are loaded with them, from the Boudreau redemption story to the timelessness of Teemu Selanne to the Viktor-Fasth-as-Randy-Quaid-in-that-movie-about-the-old-rookie, there’s narratives flying all over the place. But notice that Anaheim is getting outshot at even strength, and their Fenwick rates are below 50%, and not just barely either. They’re the only team that has a better road Fen close than home…an anomaly most likely but still interesting and worth monitoring. The Nashville Predators are another team that’s rife with storylines, and they are at the league cellar for shots, but dang it all if they aren’t right there in fourth place. Shea Weber seems to be snapping out of his funk, and Pekka Rinne is doing Pekka Rinne things so we’ll see how long he can carry that team. San Jose is in that classic spot where they’re not really as good as they looked for the first two weeks of the season (hi Patty) but not as bad as they have looked for the most recent two weeks, so to be honest I’m just going to set them aside and see what they look like in a couple more weeks. For now, they’re still on top of the Pacific division and their Fenwick rates don’t show anything to panic over. I’m not a Niemi believer, though, so we’ll see where this team winds up.

The Bubble

“The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry when both your goalies get injured.” –Steinbeck. The Blues are putting up eye-popping Fenwick rates, particularly at home, but if the netminder can’t stop pucks, none of that matters. I learned last year not to dismiss the Coyotes, but they aren’t looking like a team that can get to the conference finals again. Kari Lehtonen is a great goalie…when he’s not injured. When healthy, he covers up a lot of their deficiencies, but when he’s out, the cracks in the armor start to show up real quick. Detroit still has as much firepower as any team out there but they’re not getting any younger, and if Jimmy Howard misses time, the Wings will have to work that much harder at winning those 5-4 games. What to say about the Wild…you can only watch so many games where you hear the commentator say, “Parise fires the team’s first shot on net here, twelve minutes into the period” before you start to wonder what it will take to get this thing turned around. I didn’t delude myself into thinking that the additions of two All-Stars would erase all the team’s problems but I had sort of hoped they would figure out a way to get a couple more shots per game.

The Rest

I know we’d all rather just continue to repress all our lockout memories, but I distinctly recall a team down in Oklahoma City that was ripping the AHL a new one. Ah, those were the days. The Oilers have got some great puzzle pieces, but it’s hard to score goals when you’re skating backwards. Devan Dubnyk has been inconsistent, but when he’s on his game, he has looked great. I keep saying the Kings will be fine, buy low on the Kings. But they keep losing, and sooner or later they have to string together some wins if they want to get back in this thing. They are showing great possession numbers, and their shots allowed are lowest in the league, but Quick needs to start stopping some pucks like he did last year. I’m still confident that they will be fine, but if they’re not careful they might run out of time. The Avalanche are just a mess. They had a really good thing going last year with Landeskog and the rest, and this year they’ve managed to piss it all away. Side note: have you seen some of Ryan O’Reily’s dad’s tweets? The dude is on this big crusade about how psychiatric medications are an evil plot by scientists, and schizophrenia isn’t a real thing and on and on and on. We’re talking Tom-Cruise-on-Oprah-level here. Calgary needs to admit they’re in a rebuilding phase–I’d do it like a band-aid and get it over with, but that’s just me. I think I’m actually buying into the Blue Jackets right now…they’ve got something like three first round picks next year, they’ve got a new GM and they didn’t get as much in return for Rick Nash as a lot of people thought they should have, but I think this franchise is starting to find its way out of the woods. It’s unfortunate when a team is playing for next year so early in the season, but rebuilding is a process, not an event.

To sum it all up, I think the Hawks and Nucks are for real, the Ducks are surprising everyone and while I’m not rooting for them to regress, their underlying stats might catch up with them. Nashville is in the same boat with their low number of shots, and the fifth seed through about the eleventh seed are just a few points apart, so I’ll want to see what the bubble teams do in the next month or so before guessing which of them are playoff contenders.

Thanks for reading, make sure to check out my fantasy hockey podcast, and shoot me an e-mail at hashtaghockey [at] gee mail [dot com and follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey


^^The podcast is embedded in this post. Click the play button above to begin streaming, or click here to download the .mp3 file.

I’m still working on figuring out how to get the podcast on iTunes, so please bear with me as I get the technical details figured out.

Today, I look around the league and suggest a couple of Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils to pick up, plus a stat toolbox on PDO and a feature on how to make effective trades. Enjoy!

Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey or e-mail me at hashtaghockey [at] gmail [dot] com.

//

The Anaheim Ducks have not made the playoffs two of the last three years, and their top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan vastly underperformed last  year as the team finished fifth in the Pacific division. It’s a safe bet that each of these players will be available in your draft a fair bit lower than last year, providing a good opportunity for value if they can bounce back. I believe the Ducks’ woes last year were due to a combination of factors: a slow start (they went 7-13-4 through November before firing head coach Randy Carlyle) combined with a weird case of vertigo for Jonas Hiller, and just pure bad luck all mashed up for a disaster of a season. Unless your league is made up of Ducks homers, expect your owners to pay more attention to other teams in the Pacific division: the Stanley Cup champion Kings, the surprising Coyotes and their new super goalie Mike Smith, or the perennially-enticing San Jose Sharks. With more stability behind the bench and a chance to press the reset button on last year’s bad luck, I am willing to bet that the Ducks’ stars will return to form. I think Perry will still be drafted in first two rounds (people don’t forget a 50-goal scorer so quickly) and Ryan’s year wasn’t so bad last season, but I am looking for Ryan Getzlaf to fall the most in drafts and thus potentially return the most value.

Fantasy Stats

The RPG line were all coming off great years in 2010-11, which certainly inflated their expectations going into 11-12. Corey Perry in particular had a phenomenal 2010 campaign, lighting the lamp a cool 50 times (32 coming at even strength) to go with 48 assists, putting him within spitting distance of the century mark with 98 points on the season. Despite suffering a really nasty facial laceration (fair warning) that put hin out of commission for 15 games, Getzlaf still managed to record (19+57=76,) good for better than a point-per-game. Bobby Ryan posted a career-high 270 shots on his way to a 34-goal, 71-point season. Then it all came crashing down in 2011-12, when Perry scored only 27 goals, though still managed a 76-point campaign, while Getzlaf posted only 9 points in his first 17 contests. Ryan, however, managed to net 35 goals on 258 shots, salvaging some value for his fantasy owners. What went wrong for the Ducks? It’s hard to say exactly–like all things their crappy season was multi causal so we can’t point to just one thing. However, a look at the advanced stats can help shed some light on the subject…

Advanced Stats

The first thing I want to point out is the RPG line’s on-ice shooting percentage, which measures the percent of shots by any teammate that turn into goals when a player is on the ice.

After two seasons of seeing on-ice Sh% in the double digits (10 to 12 is pretty standard for star-level players,) Getzlaf and Perry both tanked into the 7-8 range, which you would expect to see from the grinders on the team. Ryan’s on-ice Sh% did not drop as drastically–he was still in the upper-9 range in 2011, but a look at his TOI with Getzlaf & Perry shows that he only skated with those two around half the time, which explains part of that difference.

Another notable factor for the trio was their increased level of competition: all three players have seen steadily tougher competition over the years, as measured by CorsiRel Quality of Competition, where league average is about zero, plus-one represents very tough opponents, and negative-one is what we would lovingly classify as “Cupcake.”

In 2009, Bobby Ryan got the toughest minutes of the three with .501, representing middle of the pack competition, while Getzlaf saw .348 opposition and Perry a rather low .203–it’s safe to say he was not skating against the other teams’ stars. Then, in 2010-11 the linemates saw slightly tougher opposition, and in 2011-12 Perry was being matched by .905 competition and Getzlaf .843. You can imagine the opposing coaches saying to themselves, “Derp, there’s that guy that scored 50 last year, I better send out my shutdown line when he’s skating herp.” Bobby Ryan’s QualComp remained pretty stable, staying in about the .500 range. Special teams are not a factor, as the statistic only uses 5v5 data, and even with a coaching change, it’s notable to see that consistency.

Despite much stiffer competition, the RPG line was still driving play for the Ducks last year, with Getzlaf and Perry posting CorsiRels of 14.5 and 15.9 respectively, and moving play into the offensive zone (each had an OZ Start % of about 48 and OZ Finish % of just over 52. With Anaheim’s depth chart looking mostly the same as last year, we can expect their top line to keep getting the bulk of the tough minutes. If their younger players can step up, it would go a long way towards freeing the RPG line to focus on putting the biscuit in the basket.

A brief aside here to look at the difference between CorsiOn and CorsiRel. In 2010-11, the year the RPG line all had 70 point seasons, they all posted good CorsiRel numbers, 7.9 for Ryan, 12.5 for Getzlaf, and 14.2 for 50 Shades of Goals Corey Perry (sorry.) Recall that CorsiOn is simply the rate of the team’s combined S+MS+BS per 60 mins when a player is on ice, while CorsiRel looks at a players’ Corsi while on the ice compared to all other players cumulatively when the player was off the ice. Each player’s CorsiOn was negative in 10-11, meaning that although relative to the rest of the Ducks they were driving possession, they still saw more pucks directed at their own net than the opponent’s.

What this tells us is that Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan had to really capitalize on their opportunities that year, which they certainly did. Perry shot 17.2% after converting 10.0% the previous year, which to me hints that for all the bad luck in 11-12, their 10-11 numbers were the result of some favorable puck luck.

After seeing all negative CorsiOn values in 10-11, all three posted positive Corsi numbers in 11-12: 1.31 for Ryan, 6.82 for Getzlaf, and 7.6 for Perry. So while they were on their heels but scoring profusely one year, they were skating downhill the next year but not finding the twine. What this suggests to me is that going forward, it’s safe to think their production will wind up somewhere between those two years–with increased QualComp they may not achieve what they did two years ago but they aren’t as bad as they appeared last year.

Offseason Moves

This space intentionally left blank.

Teemu Selanne re-signed with the team for another year, and while he did lead the team in points last year with just 66, the guy just turned 42 years old. He wouldn’t have signed on for another campaign if he didn’t think he could produce, but let’s be really real right now, his days of scoring on an elite level are over. As I write this, the Lubomir Visnovski kerfuffle has not been completely sorted out, but it appears he is likely gone. But for the most part, the roster will remain mostly the same as last year.

Bottom Line

Corey Perry will be drafted highest of the three, possibly still in the first round, but I think he could fall into the second or maybe even farther. Depending on how the early picks shake out, I’d take him as early as seventh overall (keep your eyes peeled for my preseason ranks in the next couple of weeks,) but in the unlikely scenario he was still available in the second or even third round I would snatch him up faster than a fat kid gets out in dodgeball. Bobby Ryan has scored in the mid-thirties for two years in a row now, while throwing a ton of rubber at the net. Owners will notice his consistent production, and stat-heads will notice that he is still facing middling competition. Ryan was drafted in the early rounds last year (ADP 22.1 ESPN, 12.4 Y!) but I could see him slipping a few rounds this year because people will likely not notice his consistency. I’ve seen him on as the 75th ranked *forward*, so he could be a fantastic value pick if he’s still on the board in the double digit rounds. I really want to get into some mock drafts to see where he starts going.

After Getzlaf’s free fall last season, he will very likely experience a similar fall down the draft board. Obviously the lower he goes, the more potential value he could return if he bounces back, so while I think somewhere in the seventh or eighth round would be alright, I will be inclined to pass him over and see just how far he goes. There is nothing wrong with a little gamesmanship on draft day, so I might loudly bring up just how bad he was last year and then scoop him up a few rounds later. He is being ranked in the same ballpark as guys like Jeff Carter and Jeff Skinner, both of whom I would rather have. My home league counts hits (not my call, don’t judge me) so he does have a little more appeal to me than in standard leagues.

All three of these guys are still in their mid-twenties, so I don’t take their bad performance last year as much indication that their skills are deteriorating. As I mentioned before, I think it was sort of a perfect storm for the Ducks, and between a slow start that led to a coaching change and Hiller getting messed up between the ears, the whole team just fell into a funk. I’m willing to bet that last year was just bad beats all around and this year will be better. As a man much wiser than myself once said, “Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear, well…he eats you.” <That some kind of Eastern thing?>

Having said that, I do think the Anaheim roster is thinning out (just like 15′s hair BOOM!) After the top line, they have Koivu and Selanne who are a combined 79(!) years old, and their bottom six is nothing to write home about. Expect opposing coaches to continue to focus their best shutdown players on the RPG line this year, but there is such a thing as positive regression to the mean, so I am willing to bet on a bounce back season. Getzlaf in particular could be a great value pick if his production doesn’t continue to…<sunglasses>…recede.

I know I haven’t updated in over a week–I have been working on a piece about Ryan Getzlaf, but last weekend was spent in the hospital visiting a friend who was badly injured by a drunk driver. Here’s your PSA for the week, please be responsible out there if you’re having a few cold ones after the game. The drunk driver and the driver of my friend’s car walked away from the crash relatively unscathed, but she took the worst of it with a punctured lung, a brain bruise, a broken clavicle, and some liver damage. It’s not just your own life you are taking into your hands when you get behind the wheel, but everyone else’s on the road…
Alright, enough depressing stuff. This weekend I am traveling from LA back home to the STATE OF HOCKEY, the greatest state in these United States, or any place on God’s green earth! I plan to do some disc golfing while I’m there, and then pour lots of craft beer down my gullet. I’ll take some photos and post them here in case anyone’s interested.

While I have some time on the plane, I’ll get a chance to finish the Getzlaf piece (spoiler: I think last year was just sort of a perfect storm for the Ducks and I like them to bounce back this year,) plus hopefully get a good start on some other work (moar spoilers, have you checked out Devan Dubnyk’s numbers from last year?) And if I’m feeling ambitious, I will try my hand at some positional rankings.

In the meantime, here is a really good piece looking at Corey Perry’s down year, and speculates that he will bounce back. The author is new to advanced hockey stats but he does a good job mixing in Corsi Rel and on-ice Sh% with some more traditional analysis.

And here is some much anticipated information about NHL 13′s new GM Connected mode. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy this feature. Not sure if I will have a chance to do it but it’s definitely a step forward for the franchise.

Thanks for reading, make sure to check back soon!