Fantasy Hockey Geek

Alexander Ovechkin - Just How Great IS He?

Alex the Great: this past season, the hockey world was abuzz calling him the NHL's most exciting player.  That's wonderful and all, but you want to know who is the best player in your fantasy hockey league!   Let's look at the past NHL season from a fantasy hockey value perspective, analyzing the NHL's biggest star and how he fares in various league setups.

The whole basis of this analysis will be comparing Mr. Ovechkin to an average player at the same position (which we touched on in the Fantasy Fundamentals – Position article).  Enough yammering – here are the goods: 

Alex Oveckin has established himself as the NHL's best sniper and he plays like a bull, content to either dangle around confused defenders or plow right through them.  In the 2008-2009 season, he placed in 2nd in NHL scoring with 110 points. 

But that doesn't tell the whole story -- each fantasy hockey league is different so to really understand Ovechkin's value, we need to look at a few different league setups:

League 1

This league doesn't distinguish between forward positions and only counts points.  There are 12 teams, each of which has 6 forwards.  Averaging out the top 72 point producers (12 teams x 6 forwards per team), we find that the average forward scores 73 points.  In that scenario, the top 5 forwards were: 

Rank

Player

Position

Points

Compared to Average

1

Evgeni Malkin

F

113

40

2

Alexander Ovechkin

F

110

37

3

Sidney Crosby

F

103

30

4

Pavel Datsyuk

F

97

24

5

Zach Parise

F

94

21

Ovechkin's value: Only 8% off the lead, but a solid #2.

League 2

 This league again has 12 teams and 6 forwards per team, but distinguishes between forward positions (2 C, 2 LW, 2 RW) and only counts points.  Averaging the top 24 at each position, we get:

 

Position

Average Points

Centre

79

Left Wing

71

Right Wing

66


In that scenario, the top 5 forwards were:

 

Rank

Player

Position

Points

Compared to Average

1

Alexander Ovechkin

LW

110

39

2

Evgeni Malkin

C

113

34

3

Sidney Crosby

C

104

25

T4

Jarome Iginla

RW

89

23

T4

Zach Parise

LW

94

23

 

Ovechkin's value: When the league differentiates for position, Ovechkin starts to distance himself from the pack.  Here he's a solid #1, worth 15% more than his closest competitor. 

League 3

This 12-team league again distinguishes between forward positions (2 C, 2 LW, 2 RW) and counts the standard rotisserie categories of goals (G), assists (A), plus/minus (+/-), penalty minutes (PIM), powerplay points (PPP) and shots on goal (SOG).  This is where the analysis can get daunting, but hey – this is just a good time for the Hockey Pool Geek!  Going back to the stats, the average scoring at each forward position is:

 

Position

Average G

Average A

Average +/-

Average PIM

Average PPP

Average SOG

Centre

28

51

11

51

29

225

Left Wing

33

39

7

48

25

244

Right Wing

28

38

4

44

23

224


In that scenario, the top 5 forwards are shown in the table below.  The RS columns shows the player's real statistics, and CA shows that statistic compared to the average at their position.  Adding up all the CAs gives you a raw player value. 

The very astute among you might be thinking 'Now wait just a second!  Not all stats are created equal' any NHL plug can put a shot on net, but it's way harder to put in a goal!' – and you're right.  The final column below takes the sum of all the stats and normalizes them so they are on even footing. 

 

Published Sun, Jul 26th, 2009

Rank

Player

Pos

RS

CA

RS

CA

RS

CA

RS

CA

RS

CA

RS

CA

Value

G

A

+/-

PIM

PPP

SOG

1

Alexander Ovechkin

LW

56

23

54

15

8

1

72

24

41

16

528

284

111

2

Evgeni Malkin

C

25

-3

78