vTOI: An Introduction

If you are new to DFS Hockey, you’ll quickly find that the key to a good night is largely dependent upon scoring a bunch of goals and assists with your skaters and finding a goalie who wins and gets a decent amount of saves. That sounds logical doesn’t it?

Similar to baseball, on any given night the stars of the league could end up with scores under 2.0, and bottom feeders guys could end up with 10+.  It’s not a drastic spread with the high scores seen in baseball, but there are days when below average players dominate. Yes even third and fourth liners will end up with a hat trick every now and then.

Like football and basketball, hockey is reliant on volume. We can classify this volume by ice time. You want your guys to be out there as much as possible on the power-play and to a lesser extend at even-strength. You could care less if they are out there killing penalties, in fact you’d rather not have them out there taking slappers off the shins.

If you are a hockey veteran you’ve probably looked at time-on-ice numbers and roughly tried to gauge what you could expect from a skater on a given night and used that number to project a floor and ceiling for the player you’d like to roster. The problem I faced last year was constantly surfing between tabs on my browser looking at both numbers and trying to do some quick math in my head.

With the DFS Projections Model that’s become a whole lot easier. No more doing the math in your head. What I’ve come up with is a new metric called vTOI. It’s not a revolutionary number, but becoming familiar with and using it will lead to more profitable days. What I’ve done is weigh the ice time that each player commands. 

The key is to look at team scoring rates in each scoring situation. Currently teams score a goal in even strength play at a rate of 2.27 goals/60 minutes. If there were no power-plays in a game, the average game would have 4.54 goals scored. Scoring rates certainly go up on power-plays. The scoring rate on the power-play is roughly triple the scoring rate at even strength at 6.66 goals/60 minutes. Ice time is roughly three times more valuable on the power-play than it is at even-strength.

When we start breaking down players by volume, some stark realities of who really has the opportunity to generate points start to become apparent. I’ll break each position down in future articles, but in general terms, defensemen dominate. Of the top 20 players in the league in vTOI, only three of them are non-defensemen. Of the 17 defensemen in the top 20, there are four who stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, led by Erik Karlsson. 

What conclusions can you draw from these numbers? Partly because defensemen log such heavy time at even strength, those that carry high PP times become even more valuable for your rosters. Finding linemates that have comparatively high vTOI scores will give you higher expected GPP totals. Players who are at the top end of the charts, like Karlsson, Subban and Doughty; we already know what their production is going to be. They’ve hit their ceiling; but which players are flying up those same charts? Which lower price players are in a position to produce. How do you value vTOI when judging it against an opponent for the night? These are just some of the things to think about when creating lineups. This is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Adam Jazdzewski

I am the founder and owner of DFS Datalytics. I've been stats minded even as a kid. I used to write down my own stats in NHL '95, I've played season long fantasy sports since the mid 90’s and have made the jump to DFS three seasons ago. I specialize in NHL and NASCAR. Catch my on twitter @LedgerSko and @DFSDatalytics #DataForWinning

ledgersko has 223 posts and counting.See all posts by ledgersko

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