Forensics: Player A vs. Player B

We are analysing two players that can play two positions and have similar stats. The difference is on average one was drafted in the fifth round and the other in the 15th.

  GP G A P +/- PPG PPP PIM HITS BKS FOW SH SH%
Player A 66 14 35 49 18 3 7 6 18 11 250 144 9.72
Player B 55 20 27 47 1 5 11 8 18 25 0 144 13.9

From what you see here which player would you want in fantasy? Depending on the type of league we can make a case for either player. If you play in a league with blocks and faceoff wins then you will have to decide which one you need more. Maybe the difference in blocks is not significant enough to go with Player B, but the faceoff wins are that much more significant to go with Player A. Also, Player A’s shooting percentage is lower which could mean it could be more stable than Player B’s. It all depends on their career shooting percentage, but if there is a big difference then you have to see if any changes were made in their game. You might be leaning towards Player A because the stats are similar and you can tell that he is on a much better line with the plus-minus. To get a better indication of who to choose, we need to check out their ice times.

PP TOI/G %Team’s PP Time/GP TOI/G
Player A 2:05 46.6 16:39
Player B 3:26 64.6 18:53

Here we have a clean sweep with Player B dominating. Now we have a better indication of why Player B has so many power play points. He plays a significant role on the power play each game and gets a bit more ice time because of it. If you don’t need faceoff wins are you leaning towards Player B? We need to look at the monthly performances to see if there are any anomalies. Let’s check out the splits.

Player A:

Month GP G A P +/- PPG PPP SH SH% TOI/G
October 12 3 7 10 10 1 3 42 7.1 17:38
November 15 2 8 10 1 1 3 25 8.0 15:44
December 13 3 5 8 1 0 0 22 13.6 16:10
January 12 2 7 9 4 1 1 29 6.9 17:18
February 14 4 8 12 2 0 0 26 15.4 16:43
March 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18:41

Player B:

Month GP G A P +/- PPG PPP SH SH% TOI/G
October 11 6 8 14 0 3 5 30 20 19:24
November 11 1 3 4 -3 0 1 28 3.6 20:27
December 8 0 3 3 1 0 0 12 13.8 18:39
January 10 4 5 9 -2 1 3 29 13.8 18:39
February 12 7 4 11 0 1 2 36 19.4 19:05
March 2 2 4 6 5 0 0 9 0 18:02

Both players came shooting out of the gates with good October stats. Player A remains somewhat consistent while Player B starts to fade in November and December. This might have been caused by Player B’s injury with only playing eight games, but started to rebound in January. The biggest drop offs are Player A’s plus-minus and shot volume. We can clearly see that his line was really good in October and then the league adjusted. His 42 shots was an anomaly and we should be expecting him to shoot in the 20’s. Both players got real hot in February and Player B has carried that success into March. Player B shoots the puck more often than Player A while playing more minutes. Now that we have a sense of how each player was doing each month let’s look at the advanced stats.

PDO 5 on 5 SH% Off. Zone Start % PTS/60 IPP CF%
Player A 1066 12.82 47.6 2.6 62.8 49.84
Player B 1000 9.24 43.12 2.7 67.1 53.22

For those who love advanced stats, Player A is riding a high PDO, which is a sum of a players on-ice shooting and save percentages. The league average is 1000, meaning his production may not be stable. This is the case because his IPP runs low. IPP is the percentage of times a player recorded a point on all the goals scored while he was on the ice. Most of the top-end players are to be involved in 70 or 80% of the scoring and we can see Player A is only in the low 60’s. Corsi for percentage (CF%) is the percentage of shot attempts a player’s team generators while he’s on the ice. We can see that Player A also loses this category by a bit. The positive is he starts more times in the offensive zone than Player B but only by a bit. Player B is in a stable range for PDO and 5 on 5 shooting percentage. We can also see that Player B is a little more involved when his team scores because of his higher IPP. So now the question is, who are they?

Player A is William Nylander and Player B is Evgenii Dadonov. Dadonov has provided the same amount of value, has shown to be better, and you could have gotten him in the 15th round. For the final assessment we need to look at who these guys play with.

Even strength: Hyman – Plekanec (Matthews) – Nylander
Power play: Marleau – Nylander – Kapanen – Brown – Gardiner

Even strength: Dadonov – Barkov – Bjugstad
Power play: Huberdeau – Barkov – Trocheck – Dadonov – Yandle

This is obviously a big win for Dadonov since Matthews is injured, but this wasn’t always the case. Mike Babcock started Nylander with Auston Matthews (October) then was bouncing around between the third/fourth lines, and then finally put him back with Matthews. His production is high when playing with Matthews and dips when not. The Leafs finally take Leo Komarov off the power play unit and should be better because of it. When Matthews comes back, maybe this unit scores more, but they still see less time than the first unit. Dadonov on the other hand, started on a stacked line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov and then got injured. The Florida Panthers since then have spread out the scoring and are playing a lot better. In February, the Panthers had the best power play in the NHL and it should be no surprise when looking at that unit. They’ve made some changes to it and now they’re having success.

When choosing between players there’s a lot of factors to consider. I give the edge to Evgenii Dadonov. Right now, Florida is a hungry team trying to get into a wild-card spot. They’re not only one of the hottest teams right now, but they are also tied for the most games remaining. Even with Matthews coming back, Dadonov has the edge with PP time, and most importantly with the remaining schedule. Pick up Dadonov and enjoy the rest of the season.

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