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Wild Game Recap 10-11-14 at Colorado – Your place or mine?

The NHL schedulemakers are starting to remind me of those people in the Hunger Games that sat up in the room and Truman-styled everybody. They knew exactly what they were doing when they scheduled this home-and-home with the Avalanche. Truth be told, the series went pretty much just like the Playoff series from last year except the Avs forgot how to score. Obviously with just two games we can’t make any conclusions but the Wild played great defensively to my eyes. Colorado made some unforced errors, sure, but credit the Wild for posting a 69.6% Fenwick rate at evens over two games. (Tops in the league.) Maybe this is the year that the Wild are able to turn the corner and finish as a top possession team. Recall that they started white-hot in terms of possession for about the first two weeks of last season too. Again, we’ll have to see more of a sample size against more teams, but it looks like injuries may be the only thing that could slow this team down.

  • I’m working on a post on Brodin that should go up Tuesday. He’s made a couple of really great plays this season. And it’s cliche but I really think it’s the type of thing that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet–just really athletic or reflexive plays that show his anticipation and ability to play effectively in the offensive zone.
  • The Wild played just as well in the first period and a half as they did at home on Thursday. They battled hard to get a two-goal lead (though several other pucks very likely could have gone in) and then shifted to a defensive strategy. You can see on the chart how score effects shifted right as MIN scored the second goal…a beauty pass from Vanek to Zucker right in the slot. He pointed right at Vanek because he was the one to really create that goal. (P.S. war-on-ice has updated their database for 14-15. check it out! they’re adding more features all the time.)

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  • It’s no secret that I have no love for Semyon Varlamov. But after watching his team hang him out to dry for two straight games, I actually started to sympathize a bit. The Wild played very physically against the Avalanche, with the new tandems of Koivu and Vanek plus Coyle and Niederreiter cruising around…and then there’s Ryan Carter who dropped out of the sky. Varly looked rattled but still made a number of great saves, so I give him props there. But the Wild were just unrelenting. Check out Coyle’s stick get inside the mask of Varlamov after the goal that was overturned. Ouch.

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Damned Lies and Statistics -The Minnesota Wild shooting tendencies under Mike Yeo

To me, one of the great things about the current state of hockey analytics is that it’s constantly changing, constantly evolving. Pople think stats like Corsi and Fenwick and our interpretations of them are very entrenched…and to a certain extent they are. But having followed the fancy stats for a few years now, one of the best things about each new season is that it brings a new crop of stats, data, and visualizations. Now…this year the change has been necessary after Extra Skater got scooped up by the Leafs. One of my favorite new additions this year is these great hex charts they have over at war-on-ice. I wrote a nifty introductory piece a few weeks back which I am very proud to say I titled, “Who Charted!?” If you need a refresher, head over to that post.

I saw a really great article over at a Devils blog called In Lou We Trust by John Fisher. The post looked at the Pete DeBoer era of the last three seasons, and examined shot patterns and how they related to personnel or systems. As pointed out in the article (and as something you should know anyway as an advanced stats connoisseur,) the league’s X-Y data for recording shots is lousy at best. There have been many studies that show how unreliable the data is. Howeverrrrr…..it’s still really fun to look at, and we have a couple of tricks we can use to reduce the effects of that bias. So let’s look at the Wild under Minnesota’s longest tenured pro head coach Mike Yeo. All data below are from the start of the 2011-12 season through the end of the 2013-14 season, playoffs excluded, 5v5 only. Continue reading

Hashtag Hockey Podcast episode 32 – Wild vs Avs: plus ca change, et cetera

Bob and Dan discuss the blazing start to the Minnesota Wild season. Granlund-Parise, Haula-Nino, and Jared Spurgeon are covered, then a couple teams that could surprise in the Central division this year. Plus, hockey birthdays and a Wait, What? on Chris Pronger.

Wild Game Notes: 10-9-14 vs Colorado Avalanche–The Shellacking

The 2013-14 Minnesota Wild season is underway, and DAMN if they didn’t put on a show tonight. I’ll try to keep these post-game writeups largely the same as last year, but the fancy stats world got shaken up a bit by the departure of ExtraSkater. Thankfully, war-on-ice.com launched their brand new Game Log pages today, and they do look sharp. Just find the Games tab on the top nav bar of their site. Let’s look at the stats for tonight’ s whupping of the Avs. Continue reading

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Koivu vs Granlund: Finnish Face-off

Earlier today, the fellas over at war-on-ice posted an article that talked about their player history and player comparison features. You can check out the post here. I figured I would dip my toes in with a look at the Wild’s top two centermen, Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund. Koivu has been a cornerstone of the franchise, and will be forever known as the first ever permanent captain of the team, wearing the “C” on his sweater since 2009. Granlund has taken great steps in his first two seasons, flashing the eye-popping playmaking ability that he has always been known for. Last year, he also showed that his physical game is improving, and he was not intimidated like he was in his rookie year. Let’s look at some of war on ice’s comparison tools as we examine Koivu and Granlund side by side. The following charts are for the last two seasons, and unless otherwise specified, all feature ten-game rolling averages. I also want to be clear that I’m just doing some exploratory research here… Continue reading

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Damned Lies and Statistics: Meet your “new” Wild first line* with GIFs

They say preseason hockey is useless, but it provides us a precious small sample size from which to wildly speculate. So, won’t you join me as I fire up the Conjecture Machine? The Wild rolled over the Penguins (without Crosby or Malkin) earlier this week, and the new lines were on full display. The combination of Parise-Granlund-Pominville sure looked impressive, with Pommer ending up with a Natural Hat Trick (last was an empty netter). Let’s check the GIFs of the first two goals–the quality of these isn’t great but I’ll figure out how to get better ones as the season goes on so bear with me. Continue reading

Hashtag Hockey Podcast ep. 30 — Vanessa Gecko is not a gecko

 

Bob and Dan discuss Zach Parise and his newfound appreciation of the controlled zone entry, plus Josh Harding kicking and Jason Zucker fighting. Then, the discussion turns to television and music: Bojack Horseman, Spoon, Walk the Moon, Motion City Soundtrack, Benjamin Booker, Hippo Campus, and Pink Floyd.

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Let’s talk about Marco Scandella for a second

I’ve watched Marco Scandella for three years now, and he seems to be developing slowly but surely to my eye. Since about the middle of last year, I have been meaning to look into his underlying numbers, because I think he could be a decent two-way player. I would say he’s a “solid NHL top-four defender,” but @Garik16 reminded me once that 67% of NHL blueliners are top-four so that’s not really saying much. However, I also think Marky Mark is one of those guys who’s been around for a while and you forget he’s still fairly young so you sort of forget about him. Continue reading

Boba Fenwick Mock Draft number 1

Hey party people- here’s the results of my second mock draft this year (thanks for not e-mailing me the results Yahoo!). ESPN finally has their mock draft client up and running, and though this wasn’t a full draft (6 people,) the autodrafters seemed to at least have set up some pre-rankings, so I think this is more or less representative of what would have happened if it was a full mock. I decided to stop at 150 picks, and in future mocks I’ll go deeper. I followed a bit of a different strategy, which I’ll write about as I get into the picks.

Round 1

1 Sidney Crosby
2 Steven Stamkos
3 Alex Ovechkin
4 Claude Giroux
5 John Tavares
6 Nicklas Backstrom
7 Corey Perry
8 Evgeni Malkin
9 Tuukka Rask
10 Henrik Zetterberg

My pick: John Tavares. I purposely put myself in the fifth slot…I just laugh when I see people go for the first or second slot, because I like to see how the first few picks shake out. Crosby/Stamkos/Ovechkin went pretty much in order, though Giroux was an interesting selection given his recent groin injury. He’s set to miss the entire preseason, so why reach for him at the top of the draft? For a few years, there has basically been a “Big Four” of Crosby, Stamkos, Ovi, Malkin…but I genuinely think Tavares will make that a Big Five this year. If not for that unfortunate injury during the Olympics last year, we’d be looking at Johnny T differently. Malkin skipped to eighth overall, which was quite the bargain. Zetterberg in the top-10 is pretty gutsy too.

Round 2

11 Tyler Seguin
12 Patrick Sharp
13 Joe Pavelski
14 Jonathan Quick
15 Carey Price
16 Ryan Getzlaf
17 Jamie Benn
18 Patrick Kane
19 Anze Kopitar
20 Erik Karlsson

My pick: Ryan Getzlaf. I thought long and hard about Erik Karlsson at the 16 spot. He’s head and shoulders above the next-best defenseman. I went with Getzlaf because because of how consistently good he’s been over the years, and particularly last year. In a hits league, he’s even more valuable. Thinking back, I could have snagged Karlsson and got another good forward in the third, but I just like to have two elite forwards at the start of a draft.

Thoughts on the round: Seguin at 11 is fine by me, but Pavelski at 13 is way too much of a reach. ESPN ranks Jonathan Quick at 14 overall, which is completely, batshit crazy. You don’t get points for postseason play, and in the regular season, Quick just hasn’t been that good! Stay far, far away from Quick in the first two rounds.

Round 3

21 Chris Kunitz
22 Shea Weber
23 Phil Kessel
24 Nathan MacKinnon
25 Henrik Lundqvist
26 David Backes
27 Zach Parise
28 Thomas Vanek
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
30 Pekka Rinne

My pick: Henrik Lundqvist. Kind of a no-brainer here, I’ve seen some people grab King Henrik in the first round, so when he was sitting there after guys like Quick and Price went at 14-15, I snatched him up. The guy is money in the bank, and I think goalies start to get a lot of question marks after the top tier (see: Fleury at 29) so I grabbed Hank and didn’t look back.

Thoughts on the round: I like Nathan MacKinnon as much as the next guy, but to draft him at 24 takes all the value out of the pick. He’s likely a point-per-game player this year, so in the end it’s probably okay, but if he falters even a little, the value is gone from the pick. Backes should not be going ahead of Parise and Vanek, unless it’s a hits league…and even then, I’d still go with the scorers.

Round 4

31 Taylor Hall
32 Daniel Sedin
33 Jonathan Toews
34 Matt Duchene
35 P.K. Subban
36 Kris Letang
37 Ben Bishop
38 Semyon Varlamov
39 Corey Crawford
40 Max Pacioretty

My pick: Kris Letang. I really wanted Subban here, but he got sniped. I had Letang last year, and to be honest I don’t feel great about the pick. I wanted a top defenseman, and if Letang can regain any of his old form, I’ll have a tier-1 player. Although, I got some insurance in the next round, as you’ll see in a second.

Thoughts on the round: Taylor Hall at 31 could be an absolute steal. Say what you will, I smell a breakout this year. Toews at 33 is a great pick too. Ben Bishop starts a mini run on goaltenders. Bishop had a solid year last year, and I think he’d be a fine no. 1 ‘tender. Might have to look into him a little closer.

Round 5

41 Duncan Keith
42 Patrick Marleau
43 Logan Couture
44 Gabriel Landeskog
45 Oliver Ekman-Larsson
46 Alexander Steen
47 Victor Hedman
48 Pavel Datsyuk
49 Henrik Sedin
50 Mark Giordano

My pick: Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Yandle or OEL, OEL or Yandle…they are ranked right next to each other, and they go very near each other. Both are solid choices, and in other mocks I’ve taken Yandle. But today I felt like rolling the dice. We haven’t seen the best of Ekman-Larsson yet, and if this is the year he breaks out…watch out man. This is about the time in the draft that I think it’s fine to make some riskier picks, which is another reason I went with OEL over Yandle, because I think he has a higher ceiling.

Thoughts on the round: I like Marleau and Couture here, they still have the ability to put up beaucoup points. I was eyeing both guys but they got grabbed. I love me some Gabriel Landeskog but I’ve only owned him in a hits league, so I would like to see him put up some more points. That said, he turns 22 this year, so he could go off any time now.

Round 6

51 James Wisniewski
52 Jarome Iginla
53 Sergei Bobrovsky
54 Marian Hossa
55 Keith Yandle
56 Cory Schneider
57 Alex Pietrangelo
58 Kevin Shattenkirk
59 David Krejci
60 Dustin Byfuglien

My pick: Cory Schneider. I love this kid. LOVE. He’s got great stats, but thanks to ye olde Marty Brodeur, the quantity of starts wasn’t there. Schneider is on a Devils team that was surprisingly good at shot supression last year, and while his win potential may be stymied a little, I am very bullish on Schneider.

Thoughts on the round: Marian Hossa. Steal of the (mock) draft. I was praying he would drop to me but he didn’t. Yandle slips a little as well, and then there’s Pietrangelo/Shattenkirk. Quality fantasy players, but I don’t see them producing at elite fantasy levels. Plus I think the system limits their offensive upside.

Round 7

61 Drew Doughty
62 Patrice Bergeron
63 Blake Wheeler
64 Jakub Voracek
65 James Neal
66 Kyle Okposo
67 Zdeno Chara
68 Jeff Skinner
69 Niklas Kronwall
70 Ryan Miller

My pick: James Neal. Not worried at all about the move to Smashville, I think this guy is exceptionally talented, and I think he’ll get his points. Maybe not to the extent that he did in Pittsburgh, but I like his talent. Won’t be surprised at all if he approaches 300 SOG, and don’t undervalue his 60+ PIMs.

Thoughts on the round: Look how far Chara has fallen. It’s not crazy either, his numbers have dropped off a bit but he still put up about 170 shots, 40 pts, and 60 PIMs. Could be a solid value, particularly in hits leagues.

Round 8

71 Jeff Carter
72 Scott Hartnell
73 Jaroslav Halak
74 Jason Spezza
75 Eric Staal
76 James van Riemsdyk
77 Torey Krug
78 Kari Lehtonen
79 Antti Niemi
80 Roberto Luongo

My pick: James van Riemsdyk. I’ll cop to it, I don’t feel great about this pick. I would have taken Carter, Hartnell, Stall, maybe even Spezza…but they were all taken. If I could do it again, I likely would have  gone with ROR, Nyquist, Thornton(!), even Semin. But when in doubt, draft shots on goal. JVR hung 279 shots last year, and he’s a 10% career shooter which is very repeatable. Plus, hey, 50 PIM. I’m trying to justify here…and ultimately this could be a decent value pick.

Thoughts on the round: Lots of value here, with the above mentioned players, plus Goalies like Lehtonen and Niemi, heck, even Luongo. I would be happy to have any one of those guys as my no. 2. Definitely some value to be had in the 8th round.

Round 9

81 Jordan Eberle
82 Ryan Suter
83 Ryan O’Reilly
84 Mike Green
85 Jonathan Drouin
86 Gustav Nyquist
87 Joe Thornton
88 Alexander Semin
89 Jaromir Jagr
90 Brandon Dubinsky

My pick: Jonathan Drouin. Go big or go home baby! If this was a live draft, I may have chosen more of a vet, but certainly in keeper leagues, Drouin is a tantalizing pick. In the middle rounds, I like to swing for the fences, hence Drouin.

Thoughts on the round: Some veteran names there in Thornton, Semin, and fantasy stud Brandon Dubinsky. Also, Ryan Suter drops way off due to his lackluster point production since joining the Wild. In a league with time on ice (which is most of them,) consider taking Suter as an ice hog, which will allow you to roll the dice on some players who produce but don’t get a lot of ice time.

Round 10

91 Milan Lucic
92 Johan Franzen
93 Wayne Simmonds
94 Brian Elliott
95 Jonathan Bernier
96 Rick Nash
97 Steve Mason
98 Ryan Johansen
99 Mike Smith
100 Martin St. Louis

My pick: Rick Nash. Draft shots! Dude puts rubber on net in high volume. He’s not getting any younger, and his postseason performance was cringeworthy last year. But people tend to overreact to playoff production, so I think Nash could be a sneaky pickup. (I’m going to save my round thoughts for the end of the piece)

Round 11

101 Paul Stastny
102 Dion Phaneuf
103 Evgeny Kuznetsov
104 Bryan Little
105 Patric Hornqvist
106 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
107 Marian Gaborik
108 Brent Burns
109 David Perron
110 T.J. Oshie

My pick: Patric Hornqvist. I love James Neal after he left the Penguins, I LOVE Hornqvist joining Pittsburgh. He’s 28 now so  I suppose we’ve seen what he’s going to be, but put him alongside either Crosby or Malkin, and watch him go. Looking for a big year from Hornqvist this year.

Round 12

111 Tyson Barrie
112 Radim Vrbata
113 Chris Kreider
114 Alex Goligoski
115 Roman Josi
116 Ryan McDonagh
117 Valtteri Filppula
118 Jimmy Howard
119 Brent Seabrook
120 Mikko Koivu

My pick: Ryan McDonah. I wanted Roman Josi but he got sniped. Not super crazy about McDonah, but he’ll put up shots and chip in on the PP.

Round 13

121 Lubomir Visnovsky
122 Brad Marchand
123 Ryan Kesler
124 John Carlson
125 Jacob Trouba
126 Andrej Sekera
127 Mats Zuccarello
128 Andrei Markov
129 Kimmo Timonen
130 Derek Stepan

My pick: Jacob Trouba. I really liked what Trouba did in his first season last year, and I’m hoping he continues his growth. Draft him as a no. 4 defenseman and enjoy the value.

Round 14

131 Aleksander Barkov
132 Cam Fowler
133 Brad Richards
134 Christian Ehrhoff
135 Ryan Callahan
136 Jake Allen
137 Jason Garrison
138 Dan Boyle
139 Jason Pominville
140 Justin Williams

My pick: Jake Allen. Alright, not a lot to say here…needed a no. 3 goalie, might as well take a guy on one of the best defensive teams in the league. Allen’s final numbers weren’t jaw dropping last year but he’s shown he can be streaky.

Round 15

141 Erik Johnson
142 Jay Bouwmeester
143 Marek Zidlicky
144 Jaden Schwartz
145 Evander Kane
146 Martin Hanzal
147 Kyle Turris
148 Matt Niskanen
149 Tyler Johnson
150 Mike Cammalleri

My pick: Evander Kane. I love Evander Kane, love love love him. Granted, I’ve owned him in my hits league so perhaps I overvalue him just a scooch, but if he puts everything together this year, watch out league.

Thoughts on the late rounds. First off, Jason Pominville at 139!!?? WHAT THE WHAT? 30 goals in the bag last year, and Mikael Granlund is only getting better. He’ll get a ton of power play opportunities too. I think my overall point is, there are a lot of good forwards available late in the draft, but defensemen are thinner and thinner, and goalies are often a crapshoot. So, I tried to grab a couple elite forwards but sprinkle in other positions. I may wait a bit longer next time to grab my next number one goaltender, but if you are smart and look ahead a bit, you can get some real values in the mid- to late-rounds.

It’s always interesting to see who moves up the list and who moves down. Also the ADP lists are a great resource, and once I get a chance to sink my hooks into that data, I’ll have some more insights.

I’d love to hear what you thought of my mock, so leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter, @Bobafenwick. Thanks for reading!