Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stat Thursday - faceoff %

really, some leagues do actually have this as a category. now it's a waste of stats imo but there is still some value to be seen here. for NHL teams that employ a puck control offense then faceoff % can be a valuable indicator of fantasy value. besides it's the only reason that Yanic Perreault still has an NHL job. did you realize that Perreault has led the world in faceoff % in the NHL for what 3 years running? i didn't actually look that up but given certain assumptions i believe i'm right on that one.
anywho. faceoff guys are on the ice in every situation, late in games and often with whatever offensive studs are around on their NHL squad. they get assists, their +/- is usually good and if they have a nose for the net then there's always the garbage rebound to look out for.
i'm hoping there's some fantasy value for you to see here reader. i go with some basic assumptions: i won't look at a guy who doesn't take at least 15% of his total team's faceoffs, otherwise he's not even considered among the top 5 C's on his own team; i won't look at a guy at this stage of the season who doesn't have at least 100 faceoffs to his credit, unless he was injured then i'll make some allowances; and finally i get the final say as to who i look at, you got a problem with that then feel free to suggest a fantasy option that i didn't look at and then defend it.

the first stat listed is faceoff% and the second stat is percentage of team faceoffs taken.

Yanic Perreault CHI (69.2)(17.6) - once again the world leader, the best faceoff man on the planet. he surprised the fantasy world with 19 goals in 49 games for Phoenix last year, was traded to the Leafs at the deadline and was good for 2 goals in 17 games for them last year. what does that say about Yanic? it says that he needs opportunity on the top lines in order to produce. as a Yote he got a chance to plug a few goals but as a Leaf he didn't get that chance, he was there to play a defensive forward role, and take some faceoffs in his own zone late in games. i think that he has value on a young team like the Hawks if they give him a shot at some ice time with their best forwards, that isn't happening. once again he's in a defensive role and his 4 pts in 16 games so far is showing why. now if you count F% as a category and you need a C4, then absolutely add him. otherwise, uh, not so much.

Randy Robitaille OTW (66.2)(13.1) - i note my first exception but the reason is that he's only played 9 games this season and yet has built up his % of total faceoffs to 13.1 already. Robitaille is a viable fantasy option for deeper leagues and has seen a spike in value of late because Jason Spezza has been injured for the last 4 games or so. Robitaille's 5 pts in 9 games will not continue at the same pace once Spezza is back, and he is. still, he's viable as a C4 where F% is considered.

Joe Thornton SJ (62.0)(32.4) - big Joe is a fantasy STUD. too often he gets forgotten because few east of his time zone stay up late to watch him work his magic. not only does he contribute to his team offensively more than any other guy on his entire coastline but also he takes one in three faceoffs and wins 2/3rds of those. if you're playing in a league with F% as a category then Joe should be drafted 1st overall. yes, i said it.

Manny Malhotra CBJ (61.1)(26.9) - i find it interesting that on a team with Mike Peca and Sergei Fedorov as main shutdown defensive forward options it is this guy who is the best dot man. to top it all off he's got 9 pts on the season, doesnt give the puck up and is pretty adept at takeaways. he's an interesting option but doesn't produce enough in other categories to be considered anything more than a C5.

Kyle Wellwood TOR (60.9)(10.3) - ok, another exception but i do so because i like this guy and people don't realize the value he can provide to a fantasy team. he could rank up there as a C3 and if he cashes in on the significant PP time that he's in line for then he could end up as a highly ranked C3. he's only played 4 games so far but if he's sitting on your waiver wire he's well worth a flyer, ok he's easily worth Derian Hatcher, he's a Flyer.

Michael Zigomanis PHX (60.3)(21.0) - not worth rostering in a fantasy league, especially if he only shoots once every couple weeks. but he can draw the puck though. he dominated Boston in the dot on Oct 6. still, move on.

Kris Draper DET (60.2)(27.7) - this is one of my fave defensive forwards in the game, and he was once traded for a buck; literally, it cost the Wings one dollar to get him from the Jets. it's curtains for Drapes as a high end offense option (did you like my turn of phrase there? aw, nuts it's wasted on you guys) but as a checking center he's still among the best around. he went through a very hot streak right at the beginning of the season and guys were actually talking about picking him up but in 99% of leagues that would be a wasted transaction. now if you count F% though, he's not a waste on your roster.

Bobby Holik ATL (58.3)(30.5) - i can just hear the boo-ing from my chair right now as every hockey fan in the New York area screams about how much of a waste of money this man is, well ok i think Islander fans are fine with other NY area teams wasting money. the fact is though, Holik does a lot for a hockey team, particularly one without a superstar C in the lineup. he gets his nose dirty and carries a large load of defensive responsibility for the Thrash so that snipers like Kovalchuk and Hossa can work their magic. he may not be well liked but he still has value as a C4 in a good season.

Chris Gratton TB (57.7)(19.2) - the buzz around Gratton when he first came on the NHL scene was that he could be Mark Messier one day. it turns out that he ... wasn't. he was to be a power forward who could beat you at the dot, beat you to the net and then beat you over the head as he raises his hands with the biscuit in the basket. now it turns out that he's just pretty good at the stuff in the dot. that still has value though since it's not like Tampa is devoid of talent so he just needs to win the draw, pass it to Marty, over to one of the Vinny's and instant second assist. still, it's probably just a pipe dream for Gratis at this stage.

Patrick Marleau SJ (57.7)(16.0) - is it any wonder that the Sharks don't like to employ much of a dump and chase offense if they can just employ more of a puck control offense. they have two of the best faceoff men in the league taking about half their draws total, of course they're going to have the puck a lot. i think it would be a mistake for the Sharks to trade Marleau anywhere, especially to the Habs (ptui) but maybe that's just me. Marleau has slumped huge this season but don't believe that will continue. in fact now could be a great time to offer up someone like Saku Koivu or Mike Comrie for him (dare i say).

that's the top 10 and i had to sort through 80 names to find them. the next 10 guys who qualify are pretty telling too.
Michael Peca (another Jacket, interesting), Antoine Vermette (about time a Senator hit the list), Chris Drury (well paid for a reason), Jarret Stoll (overlooked and underused fantasy resource), Jason Spezza (i have him in a keeper league, YAH for me), Rod Brind'amour (this guy does stuff like this EVERY year), Daymond Langkow (last season was not a blip, there's more to come), Sidney Crosby (i hear he's pretty good), Boyd Gordon (who?), Henrik Zetterberg (also pretty good but really who's that Gordon guy?), Mats Sundin, Scott Gomez, and then we start back into names that you don't want to hear about. if you thought i was trying to say that Boyd Gordon is worth looking into ... i wasn't. i consider myself to be fairly well versed in the NHL and there's no way that i'd even do a search to find out who Gordon is right now.

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