Chess in the East, Hungry Hungry Hippos up North

What's Happenin'?


Sven back with another article. Let's consider this a little food for thought when looking at the rest of the fantasy season (as if the "Covid 15" didn't plump you up enough). We took a deep dive into team statistics from last season with the goal of being able to better predict offence and defence. Looking at each team gave us an idea of how each division faired with respect to statistics like high danger chances for and against (HDCF/HDCA).


From these stats, we are hoping that it can give us an idea of which matchups will produce more offence, and which will be more favourable to goaltending. Here is a brief summary of the statistics:



The total for each team was added up to produce a total for the division. The four divisions were compared and ranked (1 being most, 4 being least). Here are a couple of key findings:



NORTH – Most “fun”






It was no secret that this Canadian division was going to be a blast to watch. McDavid VS. Matthews, nine Battle of Alberta’s, but we certainly thought the team defence and goaltending would be better than this. This division as a whole had slightly better offensive numbers compared to the other three divisions, which wasn’t much of a surprise given the individual player rankings from last season.


However, this division is significantly worse than the others when it comes to defence. They gave up 100 more shots than any other division, 200 more chances, and more than 800 high danger scoring chances (next highest was 772). This not only makes this division the most favourable for skaters, but also the least favourable for goaltenders.


Taking a look at individual teams, two teams gave up more high danger chances than they produced: Winnipeg and Toronto. These are evidently the two teams that get made fun of for having great goaltending but terrible defenders, so it actually kind of makes sense.


What does this mean for this season? Certainly don’t trade away Carey Price or Connor Hellebuyck, but just keep these findings in mind when looking to add a Canadian division goalie. On the other side of the coin, keep this in mind when adding players. Andrew Copp is a perfect example of a player that would certainly have a harder time producing on a team like the Islanders compared to Winnipeg. Lastly, teams that may be undervalued on the surface can provide quite the offensive punch to your lineup. The Senators have great numbers for offence, even if they have just one win this season.




EAST – Most “boring”






On the complete other side of the spectrum from the Great White North, is the East division (or as I like to call it, the Group of Death). The Metropolitan Division had enough parity in it last season, why did they have to throw in the best team from the Atlantic division in Boston and a team that keeps getting better on paper each season in Buffalo. Though I felt really bad for the Devils going in, their goaltending is keeping them in every game. Which brings us to the next point:


Not only did this division produce the worst offensive stats, but they also had the best defensive stats. On the surface, this would make the East an absolute no go for skaters and the best division for goaltenders, but let’s do a little more digging.


First, the Sabres were the only team to have given up more chances than they produced. Let’s see what Taylor Hall has to say about that. Next, these goaltenders have nothing to worry about if the opposing team isn’t even getting chances. FIVE teams in this division were in the top 10 for least chances allowed last season! Only the two New York teams cracked the top 10 for HDCF, so here are the takeaways:


Not every night will play out this way and offence has seemingly been way up so far this season, but I like the chances for success most nights Semyon Varlamov, Tuukka Rask, or Carter Hart are starting for their respective teams. Vitek Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwood have been a pleasant surprise, while Tristan Jarry and the Rangers goalies have clearly struggled, but everything will slowly start to even out.


As far as offensive output goes, the star players will still produce no matter how difficult the matchups. That being said, there are a few players whose production may be hurt by their team’s defensive structure. For example, teams like the Flyers and Islanders seemingly roll their lines and rely on grinding down their opponent. This creates less free space and additional ice time for their top players. Maybe shy away from acquiring a player like Travis Konecny for this reason.


That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for another weekly article, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.


Take care,


FP Sven

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