In my introductory post last week, I mentioned the relevance of a metric like vTOI in projecting the output of a player we draft on any given day. I also wrote about it on Friday when mentioning why Nick Leddy projected to be a good play. Even though that one didn’t pan out on that particular day, Leddy was still in a great position to produce points.
Today I’ll look at the vTOI numbers for left-wingers. Some of these players may be classified differently by site, so there will be a bit of overlap from site to site as I go through the vTOI numbers for all the forward positions.
Tier One – Alex Ovechkin
What should jump off the page to you right away is how far Alex Ovechkin is separated from the pack. In fact Ovechkin is the only left-wing who lands in the top 50, slotting in at 12th overall. Ovie is in a tier all by himself in vTOI.
Tier Two – Hall through Filppula
The next tier of wingers ranges from Taylor Hall through Valtteri Filppula. Some notable players here. Patrick Sharp now playing for Dallas instead of Chicago, is combined with Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin who you will see on the center rankings. Expect good things for this unit going forward, and for Sharp to climb this rankings firmly into tier two. You also see a pair of teammates in Parise and Vanek (who just misses tier two); the latter can provide some really nice production usually at a lower price. The last guy in their tier is Filppula. I’d slide him down the projections and expect to see him fall off this list soon. With the emergence of the triplets in Tampa and with a presumed increased role for Jonathan Drouin for the Bolts, Filppula will likely see his power-play time fade. This is why it’s always vital to check lines every night. I use Daily Faceoff.
Tier Three – Vanek to Cammalleri
In this tier you have an interesting mix of players. I mentioned Sharp and Vanek who just missed tier two. You have guys on this list you should keep an eye on production-wise if their numbers increase, especially Landeskog. The Avalanche have shown at least through two games that they can score at home. This will be a team to watch especially when playing home games; as they were awful on the road last year. You also see some productive veterans like Pacioretty and Gaborik listed in this tier.
Now, what notable omissions are there? Here are a few, Evander Kane, Rick Nash and Johnny Gaudreau. Evander Kane has a fresh start in Buffalo, and the on the ice returns have been positive so far. Can Gaudreau take a jump in his sophomore campaign? How many minutes can he be given? With Rick Nash, look at how productive he’s been without some of the power-play time of players ahead of him on this list. The Rangers have been rolling three scoring lines pretty easily the first few games. It helps when rookie Oscar Lindberg scores four goals in just three games.
How can all of this help you in lineup creation. Guys near the top of the list facing a weak power-play become even more valuable. When Ovechkin faces a poor power-play you should look to add him in your lineups as much as possible. Guys further down the list like Rick Nash aren’t as dependent on the power-play for production. If the Rangers are facing a great power-play, that doesn’t mean Nash shouldn’t be played.
Lastly, always look for guys further down the list who are going to see an increase in power-play time. Ice time on the power-play is about three times as valuable as time at even strength.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images