Kirby Dach And Other Rising 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. Let’s go.

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’ve already discussed some of them in recent articles so I’ll comment on only a few of them here:

  • I did not expect to see Ryan McLeod at the top of this list. McLeod plays in Edmonton’s bottom six and gets a little time on the power play. His goal scoring numbers have been decent recently (on a per/60 basis) and he should probably also have a few more assists. He might be worth a speculative add in a deep keeper league if you have some room on your roster. I doubt he becomes relevant in a standard redraft league this season.
  • Trevor Zegras has enjoyed a spike in goal scoring recently, especially over his last 10 games. The biggest improvement in his underlying numbers is an increase in scoring chances, pushing above 10 SCF/60. I don’t see his recent performance (7 goals in his last 10 games) being a sustainable breakout, but it’s encouraging to see Zegras trending in the right direction. I think most people expect Zegras to keep improving so I doubt there’s much opportunity here. My only advice is not to get too excited about the recent goal totals.
  • Kirby Dach plays for the Montreal Canadiens and that’s a tough place to be right now. His current circumstances notwithstanding, I think he’s the most intriguing skater on this list. Dach’s personal stats are mostly trending in the right direction (and that includes stats like hits and blocks). He’s being given an opportunity to contribute to his team’s offense and he’s taking advantage of it. Dach’s underlying numbers are not breathtaking, but the former 3rd overall draft pick could be gaining momentum here. I think he makes a fine streaming option when Montreal has a good schedule. In keeper formats you should give some thought to acquiring him now (especially after the news that Caufield is done for the season, making Montreal seem even more desolate for fantasy purposes).
  • You might want to put Morgan Frost on your Watch List. He’s been creating more dangerous scoring opportunities recently and that’s how he made it on the list. Let’s see if that trend continues.

The End Of The Article

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back here next week with another original data-driven article. In the meantime you can find my daily posts on Consider following me on Twitter at @18sktrs if you want to be notified about the content I’m creating here, there and anywhere.


Mark (18 Skaters)

The Data

The data for this article were pulled from Natural Stat Trick and include games played on or before 2023-01-24.

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