Fantasy Hockey Geek

Deep Analysis: Deep Analysis - Glengarry Giants

Welcome to Hockey Pool Geek’s Deep Analysis.  Our goal is to dig deep into the team and league that is being analyzed in order to bring out some insight and push you into really getting the most out of your team and ultimately taking down the rest of the league. 

 

Matt Poirier, aka TwoPuckCanuck on the DobberHockey forums, was the second winner of our contest.  His team league is deep!

 

This is Matt’s first H2H league, so he expressed some uncertainty about how his team would fare.  He says his draft strategy was to take a goalie early, then go for the Best Player Available.  He’s a little concerned about the age of his defense.

 

He’d like to go for the win this year, but thinks the competition will be stiff.  If not this year, then soon!

Format: H2H League – Daily Line ups, Full Dynasty (keep all), 20 Teams and no max GP

Rosters: 23 player pro roster, 12 player prospect roster - 3 Centers, 3 Right Wings, 3 Left Wings, 4 Defensemen, 1 Goalie, 1 Utility and 8 Bench Spots

Scoring categories: Goals, Assists, Points, Powerplay Points, Shorthanded Points, +/-, Hits, Game Winning Goals, Blocked Shots, Penalty Minutes, Wins, Saves, Goal Against Average, Save %, Shutout

Number of keepers: Keep All – Full Dynasty                 

Hosting service:  Yahoo!

Roster slot GP:  No limit

Draft: 35 round snake draft – draft lottery for order in inaugural year – ONLY 5 man prospect draft every year after inaugural

Season add/drop limit: 30

Trade deadline: Same as NHL Trade Deadline

 

The Team:

 

C: Ribeiro, Weiss, Ott, Gaustad

LW: Kovalchuk, Morrow, Cole, Smyth, Landeskog

RW: Brown, Doan, Brouwer, Vrbata, Condra

D: Chara, Seabrook, Pitkanen, Clitsome, Lydman

UTIL: Cooke

G: Lundqvist, Lindback, Bishop

Farm: Da Costa, Lander, T. Johnson, Danault, Howden, Avtsyn, Telegin, N Deslauriers, Marincin, Orlov, Gudbranson, Rundblad

A Look at League Strategy:

First stop is a look at the scoring system. 

This league is a head-to-head multi-category league, which means either you want to go for balance -- our preferred route because it lets you weather slumps and injuries – or you target specific categories.  Because it’s based on weekly H2H matchups, there is bound to be scoring volatility that skews the result a bit… but that’s just the nature of the beast.  There are 15 scoring categories in this league, so if you take the approach of just going for the most points, you’re going to be left in the dust.

Goaltending represents 5/15 scoring categories, which is one third of the total for a week.  With just one goalie starting position, it quickly becomes obvious that spot is critical to success.  Three of the five goaltending categories are ones that are likely improved by playing your goalie (W, SV, SO) whereas SV% and GAA could get hurt by additional starts. 

 

When first trying to wrap your head around a league, it’s important to understand how the different positions are valued relative to each other.  We’ve got your back on that one, with the League Breakdown, which shows the average owner player at each position and gives you rough targets for each category.  For Matt’s league, it looks like this: 

Position G A P +/- PIM PPP SHP GWG BKS HITS W GAA SV SV% SO
C 23 38 61 3 44 18 1 4 37 71 - - - - -
LW 25 31 55 3 43 14 1 4 27 84 - - - - -
RW 25 33 58 2 47 17 1 4 30 82 - - - - -
D 9 32 41 2 48 16 1 2 111 88 - - - - -
G - - - - - - - - - - 35 2.38 1,598 0.92 5

 

What does this tell us about strategy in this league?

Hits, blocks, and PIM are a huge source of value in this setup. They do not typically correlate with the rest of the scoring categories that most GMs intuitively understand and target – so this is a major opportunity to differentiate a roster.

As is the case for many leagues, centres are generally less valuables that wingers, though because this is such a deep league, the spread is fairly narrow – on average, a centre would put up approximately 5 more points than a winger.

The average owned defenseman in this league produces 41 points, which is relatively high. There are two equally valid ways to interpret this: there is a great deal of talent available at D so you’d better have strong options in order to stay competitive or it’s relatively easy to find scoring at D so focus on the rest of your roster first.

That takes care of strategy as it relates to skaters. But what about the goaltenders? 

As there’s only one goalie starting slot, despite this being a 20-team league, the average goaltender in this setup performs rather well. 

Having top-notch goaltending is critically important in this league, as it’s 33% of the scoring in just one roster spot. It would be wise to ensure that the goaltender you’ve got for that starting spot is very strong, and since it’s daily starts, you’d have a significant advantage by having more strong goaltending on the bench.

 

The Team:

Let’s look at Matt’s roster.  We’ve generated rankings customized for this specific league setup using last year’s statistics as a benchmark.  Why last year’s stats?  Mostly because we don’t want to give away Dobberhockey’s 2011/12 projections for free in this article – they’re available to HockeyPoolGeek subscribers, though.  A summary of the players and their stats and total HPG value are found below.  We’ve also given a sneak peak of the players’ HPG value using Dobberhockey’s projections. 

 

    2010/2011 SEASON Dobber 2011/12
Player POS GP G A P +/- PIM GWG PPP SHP HITS BKS HPG  HPG 
Value Value
Ribeiro C 82 19 52 71 -4 28 4 23 0 95 33 17 8
Weiss C 76 21 28 49 -9 49 1 19 2 52 44 -17 -5
Ott C 82 12 20 32 -9 183 4 10 4 252 44 61 28
Kovalchuk LW 81 31 29 60 -26 28 9 21 0 28 12 3 29
Morrow LW 82 33 23 56 -3 76 5 13 1 225 43 50 30
Cole LW 82 26 26 52 -1 49 9 8 2 225 34 52 5
Brown RW 82 28 29 57 17 67 2 15 0 300 29 59 51
Doan RW 72 20 40 60 5 67 6 21 0 172 28 55 30
Brouwer RW 79 17 19 36 -2 38 5 13 0 262 36 8 23
Chara D 81 14 30 44 33 88 2 15 2 153 111 83 40
Seabrook D 82 9 39 48 0 47 1 20 2 227 154 67 55
Pitkanen D 72 5 30 35 -2 60 1 12 0 66 130 -3 0
Clitsome D 31 4 15 19 2 16 0 10 0 67 29 -67 -2
Cooke LW 67 12 18 30 14 129 2 0 6 192 39 46 2
Starting Skaters   294
Gaustad C 81 12 19 31 7 101 3 2 1 128 44 -15 -45
Smyth LW 82 23 24 47 -1 35 2 14 0 25 18 -37 -34
Vrbata RW 79 19 29 48 5 20 2 17 0 42 22 -25 -29
Condra RW 26 6 5 11 -1 12 2 1 1 4 21 -103 -54
Lydman D 78 3 22 25 32 42 0 2 0 141 178 10 -30
Landeskog LW                       N/A -31
Rundblad D                       N/A -39

 

Now on to the goalies:

 

  2010/2011 SEASON Dobber 2011/12
Player GP W GAA SV SV% SO HPG  HPG 
Value Value
Lundqvist 68 36 2.3 1,813 0.92 11 101 26
Lindback 22 11 2.6 527 0.92 2 -156 -128
Bishop 7 3 2.8 151 0.9 1 -214 -136

 

That’s a fairly good-looking starting roster – most of the HPG values are above zero, which means that this team is a better-than-average team for this league.  It won’t be a perfect correlation with the individual stats because it doesn’t capture the distribution in each category, so the HPG team ran the numbers for the whole league based on Dobber’s 2011-12 projections and here are the estimated finishes based on a whole-season setup. 

 

To make this happen, we treated it as a rotisserie league – since the only difference between that setup and this one is that a rotisserie league looks at the totals in each category based on a whole-season finish, whereas because this is an H2H league that has weekly matchups, there will be statistical noise (ie weird short-term aberrations) that causes a slightly different result.

 

Team Estimated Total Roto Points
Goodyear 231
Glengarry 230.5
Urbana 225.5
Boston 219.5
Lethbridge 201.5
Lancaster 198.5
Sin City 177.5
Glendale 173.5
Sheros 172
York 169
Aurora 166.5
Huntington 163.5
Buffalo 155
Sacramento 148.5
Columbus 120
Vancouver 111
Calgary 92
Thunder Bay 86.5
Montreal 71
Orlando 37.5

  

This is based on a few rough assumptions:

  1. Dobber projections for 2011-12
  2. That live rosters stay intact for the whole season (which they won’t)

This confirms to us that the Glengarry Giants should be a strong challenger for the title.  How can the team improve?  Using the Team Evaluation Tool, we can get a feel for which stat categories are a need.  The tool analyzes a league setup to determine approximately what value in each category would get you to the top of the heap in that category, and then compares that target value to what the roster (including the probable contributions from the bench) will likely produce.

 

We unfortunately can’t show you the detailed results because it would mean giving away Dobber’s projections for all these players.  We can, however, give a summary of the scoring categories that Matt needs to focus on:

 

Priority Category Selected Required Remaining
1 W 41 64 23
2 SV 2006 2876 870
3 P 879 1123 244
4 PPP 277 349 72
5 A 536 706 170
6 G 343 417 74
7 BKS 1065 1174 109
8 +/- 40 57 17
9 GWG 53 67 14
10 SO 9 10 1
11 SV% 0.922 0.92 -0.002
12 SHP 21 19 -2
13 GAA 2.26 2.38 -0.12
14 PIM 1149 965 -184
15 HITS 2590 1728 -862

 

There are two needs being pointed out by the Team Evaluation Tool: more goaltending, and extra scoring (G, A, P, PPP).  It’s good to know what areas of the roster that Matt can deal from, and hits stands out here!  The Glengarry Giants would be a team of tough competitors, and should be able to deal off some of that hitting and PIM to address their other needs.

 

What about the H2H aspect of this league?  How can that come into planning for the future?  A few extra GP make a huge difference on a roster when it comes down to playoff crunch time, so let’s see what kind of an edge we might be able to eke out by looking at the NHL schedule.  From March 12 to April 7, 2012 – the last three weeks of the season, and the most important weeks in the head-to-head schedule – certain teams have a better schedule than others:

 

11 GP: BOS, FLA, MIN, NYR, PIT, SJ, TB*, VAN

10 GP: BUF, CBJ, DAL, DET, EDM, LA, NSH, NJ, NYI, PHI, TOR, WSH, WPG

9 GP: ANA, CAR, CGY, CHI, MTL, OTT, PHX, STL

8 GP: COL

 

Tampa also has 4 games in the last week of Yahoo H2H playoffs.

 

General Thoughts:

 

We love this roster – it’s built to compete strongly.  While it doesn’t seem all that flashy, this roster is built to produce well in every stat category and will be a contender for the league title.

 

The team is loaded with grit (especially hits… wow!), which is great for production, but the flip side of that is that it’s bad for trade value because most GMs don’t intuitively perceive extended categories like they do the basic points ones. 

 

The point production depth on the main roster depth isn’t that great, but he has some nice kids.  The fact that he might need to do some waiting on them doesn't seem compatible with winning a title... or at least not "efficient" in doing it. 

 

Forwards:

 

This is a well-balanced group across the categories, but much like the rest of Matt’s team it’s heavy on the grit and light on the firepower.  That’s the biggest need we see.

                           

Defense:

 

It’s pretty clear that Matt’s D is a strength, but not necessarily in terms of point-producing.  As with the rest of his roster, it’s an assortment of great hitters and blockers that will add serious value to his team – clearly Matt was paying close attention to the extended categories when he drafted.  Adding some more production to the back-end at the expense of some grit would be a strong play. 

 

Matt mentioned to us that he was a little concerned about his defense being old.  It’s old?  Really?  Perhaps there’s a concern about Chara and/or Pitkanen being on their last legs?  Both are steady, steady options. 

 

The big concern could be with Chara: after all, he’s the anchor of Matt’s blueline.  Don’t worry about Chara!  There are two ways players tend to fall off with age: they lose a step or their body breaks down.

Chara has never been good because of his skating, so losing a step likely won't affect his game too much. As for his body breaking down, he's been durable for quite some time... and he's known to be a fitness freak, which should prevent him from needing too much duct tape and WD40 to keep it together.

He's 34 now. I wouldn't expect too much of a change in his game until 38-39... so you've got (at worst) 4 good years out of him. Your team looks pretty competitive, so that's the perfect type of player to have.

 

With Rundblad and Orlov on the farm, there are good reinforcements coming.

 

Goaltending:

 

Matt’s starting goaltender is as strong as it gets with Henrik Lundqvist… but boy it would be nice to have a little insurance, especially with goaltending being so important to the scoring setup.  Past Lundqvist there’s a great deal of uncertainty in net… though who knows – either Lindback or Bishop could really surprise.  If we were to get behind just one of them, Lindback is a much stronger candidate.

 

Prospects:

 

In general, Matt’s farm team is deep at C, but weaker on the wings.  We’d much rather see that the other way around. 

 

We did a quick review of his prospects to make sure they’re aligned with team needs:

 

Player Team Position Dobber Prospect Ranking Comments
Landeskog COL LW 5 Definite keeper, could be on the Giants starting roster this season.
P. Danault CHI C N/A 1st round pick 2011, keep - farm
A. Lander EDM C 91 Gritty guy, with good opportunity. Keep.
Condra OTT RW 107 Keep– likely see roster time on active roster this season
Avtsyn MTL RW 113 Keep
Da Costa OTT C 137 May get ice time this season - keep
Howden FLA LW 142 Keep
Telegin WPG LW N/A Rangy winger - keep
Rundblad OTT D 1 Definite keeper, could contribute to the Giants starting roster this season.
Orlov WSH D 8 Strong offensive skills - keep
Clitsome CBJ D 16 Gritty with opportunity to produce this year – keep or maybe trade bait
Gudbranson FLA D 17 Big and mean with scoring potential - keep
Marincin EDM D 20 Big and gritty - keep
Deslaurier LA D N/A Dump him – enough D and need the farm roster space
Lindback NSH G 35 Studly backup for now, and the Preds breed good goalies. Goalie Guild Rank 2nd in goalie prospects and could contribute this year.
Bishop STL G 38 Will be NHL starter someday according to Goalie Guild, ranking 23rd in goalie prospects - keep

 

This is a farm team stocked with well-rounded players that will fill up the scoring categories of this league very nicely if/when they mature.  Is that the right approach?  Yes and no.  Matt’s team is incredibly well balanced but it’s missing that “top gear” offense… so a set of prospects that are well rounded (like the rest of the roster) but also lack high-end skill might just be too redundant.  More scoring please! :)

 

 

The Next Moves:

 

Matt has a somewhat “hail Mary” on his roster in Ben Bishop (who know’s how much playing time he’ll get?) but there’s a very compelling option right there on the FA list for him: Martin Biron.  Why on earth would we be advocating for Martin Biron?

 

First off, we think that Henrik Lundqvist will play somewhere in the range of 60-70 games this year.  That means that for between 12 and 22 games, someone else will be suiting up for the New York Rangers – and that’s likely Biron.  With Biron on the roster, Matt would ensure that he is getting 82 goalie games played, which is more than he can say he’ll get out of Bishop.

 

Matt’s roster should be very competitive for a title, so we’re left to wonder how much of the assets he has that are focused on the future might be more effective if they were converted to something a bit more productive in the near term. 

 

Looking at the farm, Rundblad and Orlov fill the direct need of scoring from the back end, and they could be producing sooner rather than later.  Sounds like a very good succession plan!

 

We advocate trading Landeskog, or at least shopping him around.  In this league setup, he is an extremely valuable prospect: he will be that all-around player that hits, mixes it up PIM-wise.  That’s a good thing for this scoring setup… but it’s not a good thing for Matt’s roster at the moment.  Matt is loaded with grit, but short on scoring – and Landeskog is loaded with grit but doesn’t look to have the high-end scoring upside that Matt needs. 

 

Furthermore, we think Matt should be in the thick of things during the H2H playoffs where Colorado has a terrible schedule, playing just 8 games in that period and just two during the final matchup!  That’s a big disadvantage.  In the end, what we see is a player that is not a good strategic fit for this team – Landeskog likely will contribute in a way that doesn’t improve the Glengarry Giants’ performance overall performance, and he won’t be playing much when the chips are down. 

 

To us, Matt’s needs are clear: more scoring from the skaters and more goaltending GP from the bench. This team is competitive now, and should remain so as it has a good balance of producers and a nice pipeline of replacement players.  However, Matt’s team has gone so far into chasing multicat performance that it can ironically be improved by just chasing points. :)

 

The good news is that other teams in the league will have significant need for those type of players, so we’re hopeful that Matt can find some mutually beneficial swaps that will put his team over the top.

Landeskog and Lydman seem to us to be prime trade bait.

 

Wrapping It Up:

 

This is a very strong team, so it’s hard to say too much here.  Best of luck with the season, Matt!

The Top 50 Skater Rankings for the League

Rank Player Owned? Team Pos FHG Value GP G A P +/- PIM GWG PPP SHP HITS BKS

Goalie Rankings for the League

Rank Player Owned? Team Pos FHG Value GP G A P +/- PIM GWG PPP SHP HITS BKS