Years ago, I was in a baseball roto league (the ERL). The league had a dozen owners and was probably the most competitive thing I’ve been a part of as an adult (seriously). I eventually had to leave the ERL because “playing well with others” isn’t really my forte.
Anyway, I learned a ton about baseball during my decade in the ERL. For instance, if you want to find an inexpensive starter who can post wins the following season there’s a method to identify him. It goes like this: healthy pitcher with a k/w ratio of 3-to-1 (or thereabouts) and a won-loss record that does not reflect his pitching this season. If you can get a pitcher who starts his home games in a big ballpark that’s an added advantage.
It’s also true that if you have a starting pitcher with an 18-7 won-loss record but a terrible whip and k/w ratio, this would be a good time to offload said starter. Chances are next season will bite him (and you) in the ass. That’s the kind of season Ryan Jones had in 10-11. Poor k/w but a nice won-loss.
NHL Prediction for 11-12: 64, 5-11-16 (.250)
- This is a guy who scored 18 goals a year ago, and you’re projecting 5! Right.
- You do know his shooting percentages have been excellent going back to college, right? Sure.
- What is your problem? I just don’t think he’s going to play as much as he did a year ago. Last season, Jones played 11 minutes at evens, 2 on the PK and 1 on the PP a year ago. Total: 14 minutes. I project him to play 8 at evens and 2 on the PK this season, plus a little on the PP.
- He’s coming off his best season and you have him playing less! Oh yeah, I think that has a very good chance of happening. Oiler wingers ahead of him are Hall-Eberle, Smyth-Hemsky and Paajarvi-Omark. And there’s Eager-Brule and Hordichuk too. Lots of talent.
- What role will he play? Hmmm. I’ll say the Dave Hunter-Dave Lumley or Pat Hughes role, except he’ll play less at even strength.
- How many forwards do you project to play more than he does at evens? 11. All of the guys you’d expect plus Hartikainen.
- How many forwards do you project to play more than he does on the PK? Belanger and Horcoff among centers and I have Jones, Smyth and Eberle about even on the 4×5.
- Why can’t he repeat last season? It would be very difficult. Jones scored 15 goals at even strength, tied with men like Teemu Selanne and David Booth. Jones scored his 15 EV goals in 881 minutes, Selanne took 1055 minutes and Booth 1302.
- Maybe he’s a late bloomer. Could be, and maybe he scores 25 goals this season. That would be nice. He finished 1.04/goals per 60 minutes at 5×5, same as Marian Gaborik.
- So there’s no chance you’re wrong? I think the odds favor a fallback in scoring and the Oilers have other options. I mean, let me ask you: who does he replace among the top 6 wingers?
- Paajarvi. Paajarvi. Okay, you’re going to demote a 20-year old kid coming off a pretty strong NHL debut and a guy who didn’t get a feature role one year ago (at least until the injuries). He’s displayed some chem with Omark and playing on the 4line means Eager is on his wing. I don’t really see the point.
- Jones had the same 5×5/points-per-60 as MP a year ago. Right. One was having his career season and the other was a 19-year old rookie.
- What about secondary numbers? Jones had the worst CorsiRel among NHL forwards on the team. Paajarvi’s was much better even though he was a rookie. Jones was one of the few Oiler forwards whose zone start was better than his zone end (although it was pretty much equal). He scored all those goals against butter soft opponents, something you’d think Renney might want to give the rookie RNH this fall.
- Maybe Jones can ride shotgun with the kid. Bleeding out is a slow, painful death. He’s not the guy who is going to be on the right side of the puck often and honestly I don’t know that there’s a worse option on the roster for Nugent-Hopkins wingman.
- How bad could it be? Celsius and fahrenheit meet at -40.