2014-15 NHL Season Preview: The Pacific Division

Photo by "Kaz Andrew", via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Kaz Andrew, via Wikimedia Commons

Whenever I put together something as broad as a division preview, especially since the divisions have expanded, I usually try to slap something together that helps me get a quick impression of the teams as compared to one another. This time around, I put a little work into generating a 5v5 simulation of this coming season, specifically among the projected top 6 forwards, top 4 defensemen, and goaltenders. As 5v5 play comprises a little over 80% of all NHL gameplay, and these players tend to more consistently drive results (as players of around 3/5 to 2/3 of gameplay), focusing on their 5v5 performances from last year bring us to use a bit more stable indicators of future team performance. The quick-and-dirty approach here benefits from the fact that most of the Pacific lineups are quite similar from last year, and the top 6 and top 4 players tend to be deployed in the same roles from year to year. So, I took the average 5v5 Corsi-For% of the entire of the top 6 and top 4 for each team, the average 5v5 shooting percentage of the same group (for Johnny Gaudreau, I assumed a forward league-average 9%), and the career 5v5 save percentage of the projected goaltenders (for Fredrik Andersen I assumed a goaltender league-average 92.1%), and ended up with a projected 5v5 season that looked like this:
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Five Players to Avoid in Your Fantasy Draft

Image from Ivan Makarov via Wikimedia Commons

Image from Ivan Makarov via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy hockey season is just around the corner, and many drafts will take place in the upcoming two weeks. I’ve identified five players whose underlying (and in some cases overlying) numbers suggest their 2013-14 statlines may contain some mirage-like components, and who are getting picked higher than they likely should be.

1. Joe Pavelski

Pavelski finished third in league goal scoring last season with 41 goals, shattering his previous career high of 31 goals set in 2011-12. What should be concerning to potential fantasy owners is that the spike in goal scoring was driven by a jump in shooting percentage, not an increase in shots on goal. In fact, Pavelski’s 2.74 shots on goal per game was his second lowest mark since his sophomore 2007-08 season. His drop in shots was more than made up for by his shooting percentage jumping up to 18.2%, well up from his previous career mark of 10.0%.

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