When you talk about fantasy hockey with your buddies it wonít take long till someone brings up how many goals Steven Stamkos has or how many assists Henrik Sedin has. The discussion usually centers on goal, assist and point totals but the smart fantasy gm knows there are a few stats that are extremely important.
Points, especially goals garner all the highlights on TV but to be successful in your fantasy pool you canít just look at points. Time-on-ice per game, power play time-on-ice per game and team penalty minutes per game are underrated stats that fantasy players donít use to their potential.
Time-on-ice per game is exactly as it sounds, you are looking at the average amount of time a player gets during a game. You want to add players who average more ice time, simply put the more a player is on the ice the more they have a chance to produce a point for you. A key to remember with this stat is that you have to separate forwards from defensemen. The reason for this is that top end defenseman will usually play four to six minutes more than top end forwards. So use this stat when deciding between players of the same position.
Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith, Ryan Suter, Dan Girardi and Shea Weber were the top five regular season defensemen, averaging over 26 minutes a game.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Getzlaf and Eric Staal were the top five regular season forwards, averaging over 21.5 minutes a game.
Power play time-on-ice per game is the average amount of time a player gets during a game while on the power play. 99.9% of the time coaches are going to put their most offensively gifted players the majority of the power play time. Coaches see their players 24/7 so they know who the top offensive players are on their team and who is on a role.
Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Michael Del Zotto, Brad Richards and Campbell were the top five regular season leaders in power play time-on-ice per game averaging over four minutes a game.
Team penalty minutes per game is an interesting stat to look at because the more penalties a team takes the fewer minutes a star player gets to play. A great example of this is the Vancouver Canucks, as Henrik and Daniel Sedin donít kill penalties and Vancouver had the sixth highest penalty minutes per game at 12.8. Think about it thatís potentially 13 minutes of a 60-minute game that the twins wonít be on the ice.
Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers had the five highest penalty minutes per game total. Flyers were the highest with over 16 minutes a game compare to the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings who were the lowest with 8.5 penalty minutes a game.
This stat is two-fold, not only will star players sit on the bench more for teams that take a lot of penalties but it also gives their opponent that many more power play opportunities. When dressing your weekly/daily line-ups this is a stat you should be definitely looking at.
So when your looking at your draft lists remember to look at more then just goals and points. Look at these underrated stats. NHL.com is a great source for these stats and many more.
Aaron Brouwer is the co-creator of fantasyhockeycoach.com. FHC is a free fantasy hockey service that developed a ranking system combining post-lockout statistics, current factors and our own hockey knowledge. Brouwer writes a weekly fantasy hockey column for Bleacher Report, The Star Phoenix, Fantrax and Inside Hockey. Email Coach Brouwer at [email protected] or check us out on twitter at twitter.com/fanhockeycoach.