(Ed. Note: We’re once again pleased to partner with Dobber Hockey to provide fantasy hockey insight throughout the NHL season. Here’s Steve Laidlaw, the Managing Editor of DobberHockey, as your new fantasy hockey smarty-pants!)
By Steve Laidlaw
This week we will take a look at Individual Point Percentage (IPP) and its potential impacts for your fantasy league.
First of all, what is IPP? Quite simply, it is the percentage of times a player recorded a point on all the goals scored while he was on the ice. The higher your IPP, the more involved (or luckier) you have been offensively. The best point producers in the league will typically be involved in 75-80% of the scoring that takes place with them on the ice. We see top scorers like Connor McDavid, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in this range, to name a few. But it’s not all that helpful to look at guys who we know are talented scorers. Instead, lets look at some of the folks who have not been involved in their team’s offense despite playing a sizeable role.
The best defensemen will typically get in on 50-55% of their team’s scores. Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson have topped out at 57% over the last three years. For defensemen to boast a high IPP they need to be drivers of offense but also need to be involved on the power play, where they are more likely to get in on the action. Here is a selection of defensemen who boast an IPP below 40% this season:
Muzzin, Faulk, Gostisbehere, Vatanen and Carlson all stand out as defensemen featured on the top power play unit of their respective teams’ who have simply be iced from the action. These are highly owned and highly touted defensemen who you should be actively trying to pursue.
Vlasic, Chara, Trouba, Brodie, Campbell and Dumba, fall into a lower range. These guys, while well known, are used in a lesser offensive capacity than the group above. Most of them see secondary PP usage rather than primary and are also used in more of a shutdown capacity at even strength. They have potential to do more damage in a larger role but do not consider their offensive struggles a mere result of bad luck. Vlasic and Dumba both jump out as players owned in far too many leagues.
Stralman should probably join the group of defensively oriented defensemen. His IPP isn’t far off his rate from the previous three seasons. The Lightning power play is also leaning more heavily on their “second” unit featuring Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman now that Steven Stamkos is out. With Stamkos potentially out for the year, we should see the minutes continue to tilt away from Stralman. Also, not having Stamkos to pass to in the left slot will remove a lot of assists from Stralman’s hip pocket. He was a 40-point defenseman at best but falls into the 30-point range with all the machinations around him.
Stecher warrants consideration in the top grouping because of his usage. He is skating on the Canucks’ top power play unit and is exhibiting an elite shot rate averaging around three SOG per game. His play is reminiscent of Torey Krug, an undersized defenseman with a big shot who emerged as the Bruins’ top defenseman. Krug’s career IPP is in the elite range of 47%. We cannot know for sure that Stecher is underperforming in IPP because this is his rookie season but his profile certainly suggests he might be. The more I watch Stecher, and the deeper I dig into his underlying numbers, the more impressed I become.
The top defenseman performer in IPP this season is Andrei Markov at 69%. Markov is a beauty but I think you can figure out that his scoring rate isn’t sustainable.
As for forwards who are underperforming by IPP, here is a selection of guys under 55%:
This is a “who’s who” of buy-low candidates. It’s worth noting that guys like Boedker, Williams, Ladd, Backes, Iginla and Dubinsky aren’t just suffering from poor luck by not being involved offensively, but are also seeing diminished roles. We have also seen Brassard shuffled off of the Senators’ top power play unit recently so he may suffer similarly.
Jokinen is suffering on all fronts. He’s been hurt, his team isn’t scoring and he can’t get in on the rare occasions they do ruffle the twine.
Kuznetsov, Thornton, Bergeron and Palmieri are all screaming, “BUY!”
Toews appears on this list but he is overrated in fantasy. Some folks won’t buy an injured player but others will see his injury as a chance to “buy low”. Shop him around and see if you can’t find someone more productive.
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