Breakout Goal Scorers

Mark Barbour (@18sktrs,

This week I’m taking another look at skaters who are under the age of 24 and have some “breakout” goal scoring potential. The last time I wrote this type of article I identified Dylan Cozens as a skater to watch (click here to read that article). I got lucky there as Dylan Cozens started scoring immediately after I published that article (and he’s been above a point-per-game since that time).

The skaters discussed in this article range from trade targets to free agent pick-ups. Let’s take a look at them.

A Note About The Data

The data for this article were pulled from Natural Stat Trick and include games played on or before December 28, 2022.

Under-24 Skaters With A Rising Scoring Metric

The skaters in the plot below are all under age-24. They’re ranked according to their improvement in a metric that combines a skater’s shots, scoring chances, and expected goals (a multiplier is applied to a skater’s expected goals value to give it roughly equal weight in the scoring metric). A skater’s improvement in this metric is determined by comparing his performance in his last 16 team games to his performance in his last 160 team games. All data used to compute the metric is based on a 5v5 game state.

The colour of a skater’s dot also provides useful information. It shows his Goals/60 relative to the other skaters in the plot (blue is better than orange).

All of these skaters are interesting for one reason or another. I’ll comment on a few of them here:

  • Martin Necas is at the top of the list so that got my attention. His time-on-ice has increased this season and his scoring metric is rising at the same time. That’s a nice combination. This might be a good time to acquire Necas as both his goals and assists have been down over his last 10 games. His actual goals trail his expected goals by a significant margin, and he hasn’t been getting assists at his usual rate either (his Individual Points Percentage, or IPP, is only 55% over his last 10 games). Try to buy this “dip” if you can but he probably won’t be cheap as he’s still near point-per-game this season.
  • Tim Stutzle is also a “buy the dip” candidate. Stutzle’s dot is pure orange which means that he has the lowest Goals/60 among the skaters in this plot. Stutzle has 0 goals at 5v5 in his last 16 team games. Amazingly, he also has 0 assists at 5v5 in his last 16 team games. Meanwhile, his scoring metric at 5v5 is rising as he generates scoring chances and expected goals at impressive rates. Then there’s the fact that he’s only 20 years old and has played only 162 games in the NHL. I think there’s a chance for a “breakout” here. Stutzle is nearly a point-per-game skater this season (like Necas) and likely won’t be easy to acquire, but try to buy the dip if you can. I’ve sent a trade proposal for Stutzle in one of my leagues.
  • Michael Rasmussen is getting good deployment in Detroit and he’s doing something with it. All his offensive numbers are trending up, and his scoring chances and expected goals rates are very strong. In addition to scoring, Rasmussen also provides hits and blocks at very nice rates. Will this continue? I don’t know, but I would immediately add him to my roster in a bangers league. The cost to acquire him will be nominal as he’s on a roster in only 8% of Yahoo leagues at the time of writing.
  • Filip Chytil is a skater who keeps coming up in my research. I’d like to see what he could do with more time-on-ice. If you’re in a dynasty league maybe think about getting hold of Chytil now. Otherwise, add him to your Watch List and take a look at him when the Rangers have a good schedule and you need a streamer.
  • The only defenseman on the list is Noah Dobson. Dobson gets attention for his offense, and that keeps getting better. Perhaps less attention is given to the fact that he’s also excellent at blocking shots (though that is starting to trend down). The New York Islanders aren’t the most exciting team when it comes to fantasy hockey but maybe that means you can acquire Dobson for less than he’s worth.

The End Of The Article

That’s it for this week. Let me know if you have any ideas for future articles. Cheers!

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