FANTALYTICA: A fantasy approach to NHL prospects
Fantasy hockey has always been about the NHL. Period. For years, fantasy rosters have only contained NHL players. But what about the prospects? Aren’t prospects just as important to a fantasy owner? If you asked a dynasty league owner, they’d tell you yes.
Although prospects don’t accrue daily fantasy points for your dynasty squad, they might be the dark horse saviors who finally puts you over the top next year. For the casual dynasty hockey league team owner, prospects are secondary assets overlooked. Not anymore!
Welcome to the Fantalytica weekly analysis column, where we delve deep into a group of prospects every week to help you learn about prospects through an analytical lens to pump up your dynasty team’s future.
This week, we’ll take a closer look at the CIBC Team WHL.
Fantalytica is a weighted fantasy league metric that creates a tangible, predicted value of an NHL prospect before they set foot on an NHL sheet of ice. The goal of this metric is to provide casual, competitive, and diehard fantasy hockey owners with a glimpse into the future of NHL players. These algorithms provide all fantasy hockey owners with additional knowledge to use when evaluating a prospect. Fantalytica combines the rules of any fantasy league to provide the most accurate predictions for all NHL prospects. Although Fantalytica provides a predictive value for a prospect, it does not represent the value a prospect may have to an officialNHL organization – it provides a fantasy driven prediction that should only be used to evaluate a prospect on what they couldprovide from a Fantasy perspective. The system displays a value that simulates a close prediction of a player’s fantasy production starting after his 200th game in the NHL (82 game season).
Current Value: The broadest metric of Fantalytica, the Current Value metric represents a conservative prediction of a prospect, the best and simplest visualization for an owner to understand the value of a prospect to their online club.
Age Adjusted Potential Value: Providing a conservative metric for prospects wasn’t enough. We needed to provide more, to really understand the ceiling of a prospect. The Age Adjusted Potential Value is a loftier prediction of a prospect’s future production. This value weighs age differently, therefore creating a large discrepancy between any two prospects. This metric was created to give owners a better understanding of the potential a prospect can have, and how different all prospect can develop at different stages of their career.
Potential Multiplier: This metric is a complimentary accessory to the two main metrics we use to determine a prospect’s fantasy value. In simple terms, this metric is the different between the Age Adjusted Potential Value metric, and the Current Value metric. This provides two things: The amount of potential growth a player has, and how much the player has already grown. Players with a high Current Valueand a high Potential Multiplierare predicted to have the most successful fantasy careers. Players with a low Current Valueand a high Potential Multiplierare players deemed as ‘projects’, or rather, a player who has a lot of growing to do before his/her full potential is reached.
To kick this column off, I decided to take a deeper look into Team WHL – one of the four teams that recently competed in the 2018 CIBC: Canada Russia Series. The algorithm used these fantasy league rules to prepare values:
Goals (4), Assists (2), Hits (0.5), Blocks (0.5), Plus/Minus (1), SOGs (0.75), Powerplay Points (1), Short Handed Points (2), FOW (0.2), FOL (-0.1)
Team WHL consisted of:
Ian Scott. PHOTO: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images.
The data is comprised of all statistics of each player from the start of the 2017-2018 season, up until November 26thof this current 2018-2019 season.
Jumping right in to Figure 1, I took the Current Value of all skaters from the team and sorted them from highest to lowest.
Kirby Dach? Yeah. Kirby has electrified the CHL with his incredible strength, silky puck handling skills, and playmaking abilities. Its little surprise to see him top this list because he has the skillset to provide elite level effort at the highest level. Following closely behind is Stelio Mattheos, Cody Glass, Connor Dewar, and Trey Fix-Wolansky. These four players should provide great fantasy production due to their shot volume and selfless playing styles. Should all four make it past the 200 NHL game threshold, Cody Glass will most likely arise as the primary asset among the group. Drafted in the top 10 of the 2017 NHL draft, Glass leads by example and provides relentless production on a nightly basis.
Cody Glass. PHOTO: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images
The middle of this pack is represented by Brett Leason, Dylan Cozens, Jordan Bellerive, Ty Smith, and Nolan Foote. Brett is currently an undrafted player who missed out this past June in the 2018 NHL draft. Although his name was not called, NHL teams sure missed out on a steal. Brett is lighting up the WHL right now and is currently leading the league in points. A breakout year has put this man on the map and once he becomes available for dynasty owners, be sure to take a flyer on him. Cozens and Foote round out two strong potential 1stround choices in the upcoming 2019 NHL draft. Both young men stand at 6 foot 3 inches, making them great peripheral fantasy players of the future. Ty Smith is the top defender from Team WHL and rightfully so. Ty was unable to get his first taste of an NHL game this year as he was one of the last training camp cuts of the New Jersey Devils. A 1strounder from this most recent draft, Ty provides an uncanny ability to make offensive distributions from both ends of the ice. Don’t be surprised to see him in a Devils uniform next year.
As the list dwindles from middle to bottom, players to watch out for are Calen Addison, Josh Brook, Bowen Byram, and Jett Woo. Although the list heavily sways towards forward production, dynasty leagues love peripheral stats. Woo and Byram both provide lock-down defense in all 3 zones. Byram is eligible for this year’s draft, so keep an eye out on his development.
To solidify the Current Valuemetric, I also compiled the Age Adjusted Potential Valuefor this group. Below you will see Figure 2:
With some slight differences in value, the groups change.
This metric injects more emphasis on the age of a prospect to determine what their true fantasy ceiling could be. The caveat behind this metric is understanding that these values sit more accurately next to players who become full time NHLers. Not every player from this list will produce these points because they all will not make the NHL. It was disheartening to see Bowen Byram continue to sit low on the list due to his current projection in this next draft. Time will tell, but this won’t be the last time you’ll see Bowen in this column.
Bowen Byram. PHOTO: Doug Westcott
To highlight these two metrics, I have also provided the Potential Multipliermetric to show the growth that could happen for some of these players.
Figure 3 displays the general growth these prospects will have in their careers.
This list drastically changes. Foote, Dach, and Byram are three players who still have significant growth in the CHL before they suit up. Foote is still finding his footing (pun intended) in the WHL and will most likely need another year in Junior before taking a professional’s job. Seeing Dach at the top of this list proves he has been as good as advertised. The sky is the ceiling for this young man, and with a comparatively worse supporting staff on his team than other draft eligible skaters, prepare for him to be taken towards the top end of fantasy prospect drafts this summer.
But why is Ty Smith and Cody Glass at the bottom? They must have glaring potential left, right? Yes, they do. This graph visualizes the strides they have made as NHL prospects. They’ve taken the WHL by storm and clearly are ready for stronger competition.
For Figure 4 I decided to get fun and sort through to find comparables for prospects, assuming they all meet the 200 game NHL benchmark. These comparables are solely paralleled by Fantasy projections and are not corresponding to a real world comparison.
Despite the defencemen being lower on this list, their comparables suggest they are still very valuable in a fantasy ecosphere. Players drafted earlier have a significantly larger chance of meeting their conservative comparable. Kirby Dach, Cody Glass, Nolan Foote, and Ty Smith are all highly touted, and therefore have a better chance of superseding their conservative comparisons.
To conclude this column, I’d like to remind you all that these are educated fantasy hockey projections and must be taken with a small grain of salt. Not every player from this year’s Team WHL will be NHLers. Historically speaking, many players from past Team WHLs have played in the NHL, but not all have reached the 200 game threshold.
Next week we will cover Team OHL.
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