There’s this thing I discovered this week called the ESPN Player Rater. It’s been in front of my face the whole time, but I’ve never really noticed it. It’s been in front of your face too, but since no one has mentioned it to me, I’m going to assume you hadn’t seen it either.
I’d seen the numbers beside the stats in my main team window, but they didn’t seem to have much use for me. Jakub Voracek is a 2.69 in the PR15 column? Yeah, don’t know what that means. All I know is that he’s not scoring goals like I expected, but he seems to be taking shots and collecting assists.
As it turns out, this is an insanely powerful research tool, and I’m kicking myself for not digging into it sooner.
Follow along by clicking the Player tab, and then the Player Rater link.
First, some basics: as you know, our fantasy league tracks 11 different scoring categories: 8 for skaters, 3 for goalies. The Player Rater takes every single NHL player and their stats, calculates the average score for each category, and assigns each player a number based on where they fall in the league relative to every other player. If the player is rated 0.00 in a category, they are league average. A high positive rating means they are among the best in the league in that category, while high negative rating means they are among the worst in the league.
ESPN also breaks down these ratings in various timeframes so you can see trends. PR7 is the rating in the last 7 days, PR15 is last 15 days, and so on.
To understand it, let’s look at the Goals category. Right now, the average player in the NHL has slightly less than 3 goals. If a player has 2 goals or less, they have a negative rating, and if a player has 3 goals or more, they have a positive rating. Here’s how that looks using some examples.
- Jamie Benn has 18 goals this year. His rating in Goals is 4.66.
- Ales Hemsky has 3 goals this year. His rating in Goals is 0.04.
- Andrew Ference has 0 goals. His rating in Goals is -0.89.
The overall Player Rating is determined by adding up each rating given in each category, so it follows that the most valuable players will be the ones that are above average in a lot of categories.
So what does this mean for you? Two things.
First, the Player Rater can help you take a sober look at your lineup and determine if you’ve been hanging on to a player that may not be helping you as much as you think he is. Here’s an example from my own misfortune: Jakub Voracek, my third round pick in the draft, has an overall rating of 3.81, good for second to last on my roster. I’ve stuck with him despite his struggles scoring, figuring that his luck was bound to change soon, right? Plus, I figured, he was contributing in other ways. But man, with a rating that terrible, it’s obvious that his contributions in other catagories really aren’t as much as I thought. Sure, he’s positive in several catagories, but he’s minus in four others. Why am I clogging a roster spot when I could add someone who is actually contributing? Can I afford to wait it out until he starts scoring again?
Second, the Player Rater can help you determine who is best to add to your roster. Take goaltending for example (yep, it works for goalies too). James Reimer at 10.05 and Jhonas Enroth at 9.73 are the two highest rated free agent goalies right now. Great overall rating, but Enroth’s rating in Wins is -1.91 while James Reimer is 1.01. If your team is constantly losing the W category, Enroth is probably a poor bet. But if you nee to improve your SV%, Enroth’s 5.61 rating suggests that he might be better to add than Reimer’s 4.22 rating.
Look, there’s a ton of info to dig through here, way more than I can fit in this opening essay. I’m going to do another midweek post that digs in a bit deeper, but know I’ll also be adding some of the player ratings into the waiver wire discussions this week, and going forward.
And take my advice: there’s a ton of info buried in the Player Ratings that’ll help you make your team better. Dig into it.
*note: the stats are dynamic, so unless you’re reading this Monday morning, the actual numbers I’ve cited will look a little different
Goaltending was the big story this week. Frank’s team put up a stellar 1.997 GAA with .9130 SV%…and it wasn’t good enough, because Brett’s tandem put up a blistering 1.805 GAA and .9462 SV%. They tied overall 4-4-1.
On the other side of the equation, Davin’s 2.09 GAA and .9255 SV% easily took a 7-3-1 victory over a Carey Price-less Chris, who got 4.299 GAA and .8409 from a struggling Jake Allen.
And then we have Rhys’ lopsided victory over Jace, a 7-2-2 score that was teetering on the brink of going either way. If Devan Dubnyk’s hadn’t have been injured this week, Jace ties W, almost certainly wins SV% and GAA, and we’re looking at a 4-4-3 tie. On the other hand, if Ryan O’Reilly doesn’t score a PP goal in the second period of Sunday’s game, Rhys ends up 9-2-0 on the week.
Rhys’ victory vaults him into first place with at 58-35-6 while Jace slips to second at 53-37-9. Davin makes up ground as he tops 50 wins (50-40-9). Chris had another tough week, ending up at 41-48-10, and Brett continues to steadily make up ground in the standings, sitting at 36-51-12. Frank had his second straight week ending in a tie, and is at 30-57-12 on the year.
This week is Rhys vs Davin, Chris vs Frank, and Jace vs Brett.
Best and Worst This Week
Goals – Rhys & Jace 20 / Chris 11
Assists – Chris 31 / Brett 13
+/- – Davin +17 / Brett -10
PPP – Chris 14 / Davin 7
SHP – Rhys 1 / everyone else 0
FOW – Davin 266 / Brett 103
ATOI – Chris 21:38 / Davin 19:37
SOG – Rhys 188 / Frank 116
W – Rhys 4 / Chris 0
GAA – Brett 1.774 / Chris 4.299
SV% – Brett .9459 / Chris .8409
Remember how close these were last week? Yeah, not so much this time. Davin is still the king of Plus/Minus and FOW and Brett owns SV% again, but all the other categories have a new leader.
Oh, and Chris’ Weeks Without a SHP streak now stands at 9.
There’s only a handful of current NHL players shorter than 5′ 8″ Johnny Gaudreau, and he packs a ton of skill into that unlikely frame.
Gaudreau picked up the nickname Johnny Hockey during his years playing at Boston College, and despite showing a ton of talent as a kid, his small size scared away a lot of teams and he fell all the way to the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft, where he was picked up by the Calgary Flames 104th overall.
Since then, it’s been nothing but success for Gaudreau. He won Gold with Team USA and scored a tournament-high 7 goals at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships. He won the Hobey Baker (given to the best player in the NCAA) in 2014. And when he moved to the NHL in 2015, he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, tied Mark Stone for rookie scoring, became the first Flame since Jerome Iginla to score more than 50 points (he ended up with 64), and was selected to the All Star Team.
This week he picked up 4 goals and 1 assist in 2 games, including a hat trick against Boston, and now sits at 26 points in 26 games, tied for 10th in the league. No sophomore slump for this guy.
Watching the Waiver Wire
– Davin picked up Keith Yandle off of waivers from Chris this past week.
– This week’s hottest free agent is…Ron Hainsey? The Carolina defenceman collected 1 G, 3 A, +3 with 9 SOG and 22:35 ATOI this week, earning a 6.20 PR7, bringing his overall PR to…-1.28 for the year. Okay, he’s still got some work to do.
– A much better argument can be made that Jeff Petry is actually the best free agent D-man available. Petry PR of 10.81 on the year, and this week picked up 2 assists, a SHP, and 20:59 ATOI.
– I know I talked about him two weeks ago, but someone needs to pick up Kyle Palmieri. This guy is a goal scoring machine, picking up 3 more goals this week to make it 11 on the year, with 20 points. He’s tied for 15th in the NHL for goals! On New Jersey! He has 9 PPP! His PR is 7.99! It’s insane.
– Nazem Kadri is finally collecting the goals he was robbed of earlier this year. In addition to picking up a pair in Saturday’s game against St Louis to make it 5 on the year, Kadri hit 101 SOG for the year, only the 7th player to do so this year. His career shooting percentage is 11.3%…this year it’s currently 5.0%. Think those goals will keep coming? I do.
– Ryan Kesler and the Ducks have had a rough go of it, but their fortunes appear to be turning around. Kesler should be good for about 45 points a year, and he’s on track to do so despite the team’s slow start. He’s also a faceoff machine, currently sitting 7th in the league with 323 FOW.
– The Flyers have looked terrible this year, which is why it’s a surprise to see Michal Neuvirth’s excellent numbers. His PR is 7.29, stemming from a .934 SV% and 2.12 GAA. With Steve Mason struggling, it looks like Neuvirth will see more starts.