Bangers With Benefits

Mark Barbour (@18sktrs,

Most fantasy hockey leagues reward more than simply goals and assists. Three “peripheral” stats that typically have some value are shotshits, and blocks. Today I’m going to look at these three stats and identify which skaters offer an attractive blend of bangs (hits and blocks) with offensive benefits (shots … and therefore maybe goals/assists).

The data for this article were pulled from Natural Stat Trick and (using hockeyR). The data include games played on or before December 13, 2022.

Forwards Who Bang

The plot below shows the forwards who have the most hits + blocks this season. The hits + blocks data is displayed on the x-axis, with the highest values appearing on the right side of the plot. The y-axis provides data about each skater’s shots, with the highest values rising to the top of the plot. The colour and size of each dot also provide information about the skater’s shots. The dots turn from orange to blue as they approach the top of the plot (i.e., more shots), and the dots go from small to big based on the skaters shots/60 (i.e., a bigger dot means a higher shots/60). So what does all that mean? The big blue/purple dots at the top of the plot represent the bangers who offer the most offensive benefits. A dot in the top right corner is a skater who does it all.

Let’s talk about some of these skaters:

  • At age-37 Alex Ovechkin is still a nice skater to have on your roster. He’s not exactly an under-the-radar option though.
  • Vincent Trocheck is a little more interesting. He’s pacing at a career high in hits/game, and the only time he had a higher shots/game was in the 2017-18 season (when he had 75 points). There were some negative vibes around Trocheck recently, but now he has 5 points in his last 4 games. He’s a skater to look at if you need to add some bang to your roster and can find someone who’s trying to “sell high” after Trocheck’s recent performance. Just don’t get too carried away with the purchase price.
  • Sam Bennett is similar to Trockeck in that he’s pacing at a career high in hits/game and is near a career high in shots/game. Unlike Trocheck, though, he has only 1 point in his last 5 games. With negative vibes currently swirling around the Panthers this might be an opportunity to “buy low” on Bennett.
  • I did not expect to see Jason Zucker here, and I don’t know if Zucker will continue to collect hits at such a high rate. In the meantime, Zucker could be your guy if you’re in the free agent pool looking for some banger stats with a chance for offensive upside (he’s currently on a roster in 25% of Yahoo leagues). Zucker was actually pacing around point-per-game earlier in the season but the points have been more sporadic recently. I would give him a shot right now in a bangers league.
  • An interesting observation: Brady Tkachuk is not here. Tkachuk’s hits/game are way down this season, currently at 2.5/GP (with a career high of 4.43/GP). In 5 of his last 9 games Tkachuk has either 1 or 0 hits. Is he playing with an injury or has he changed his style? Credit to Reddit user rbrudz who first brought this to my attention.

Defensemen Who Bang

Now let’s do the same thing for defensemen.

Let’s talk about some of these skaters:

  • Jacob Trouba is another skater who’s feeling some negative vibes right now, with 0 goals and fluctuating time-on-ice. There’s nothing negative about his spot in this plot though – top right corner is the best place to be. If you can acquire him at a discount in a bangers league right now then I would look at doing that.
  • Ivan Provorov is pacing at career highs in both hits/game and blocks/game, while still providing a chance at some offensive benefits. The Flyers aren’t scoring a lot of goals this season but Provorov is still pacing for 33 points, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that pace increased a little bit over the rest of the season. He might be a free agent in your league right now (he’s on a roster in 55% of Yahoo leagues) so give him some attention if you’re looking for a depth defenseman in a bangers league.
  • I’ll briefly mention a couple of other defensemen who could be streamer-level skaters, depending on the size of your league: Brayden McNabb and Adam Larsson. Both guys are likely to provide some value on any given night.
  • Finally, did you notice that Rasmus Sandin is on this plot? Not bad for a guy who’s 5’11 and is currently playing on PP1 (at the age of 22, no less).

The End Of The Article

That’s it for this week. Let me know if there’s a topic that you’d like me to cover in a future article. Cheers!

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