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Fantasy Friday: 10 interesting fantasy stats

by Matt Cubeta

Fantasy hockey is all about numbers and statistics. Whether it's the generic goals, assists and points or the new advanced metrics, statistics are the bread and butter.

So in the latest edition of Fantasy Friday, I'm going to look at 10 of the most interesting or strange statistics in the NHL right now and how they relate to fantasy hockey.

1. Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has 50 shots on goal (SOG) and no goals to show for it. That's the most shots of any player without a goal this season. Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown is second, with 48 shots and no goals. Voracek, who has had three straight 20-goal seasons and had 81 points last season, continues to play alongside Claude Giroux and it's only a matter of time before he starts scoring again. Now is probably your last chance to buy low on him. Brown, owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues, has been playing mostly with Anze Kopitar of late, but he hasn't been a useful fantasy player for the past two seasons (unless you're in a hits league). I would leave Brown on waivers.


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2. While he does have credit for one goal this season, New York Rangers forward Rick Nash is still searching for his first goal where he actually shoots the puck. On Oct. 22 against the Arizona Coyotes, Nash was awarded a goal because he was obstructed from shooting into an empty net when Arizona had its goalie pulled. So technically, Nash, like Voracek and Brown, is still in search of his first real goal despite having 33 shots on goal through 12 games.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Eric Fehr has two goals (both shorthanded) on three shots in his first two games with his new club. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Fehr is the first player in NHL history to score shorthanded in each of his first two games with a team. Despite that statistical nugget, I don't expect Fehr to carry any fantasy value, unless he somehow ends up on one of the top two lines. He's averaging 12:22 of ice time per game while currently playing on the fourth line with Matt Cullen and Sergei Plotnikov.

4. Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin is currently the No. 1 fantasy player in Yahoo leagues despite the fact he has yet to record a single penalty minute (PIMs). His 20 points and 60 shots on goal lead the NHL and his 12 assists are tied for the most. It turns out you can still be the best even without contributing in an entire fantasy category. If Seguin stays healthy for the full season, he has the ability to remain the best player in fantasy hockey.

5. Speaking of Seguin, he had 10 SOG in one game on Oct. 13 against the Edmonton Oilers. The only other player to accomplish that feat this season is St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, who had 10 shots on Oct. 29 against the Anaheim Ducks. Parayko, now owned in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues, is the 11th-best fantasy defenseman to this point with four goals, five assists, a plus-7 and 35 SOG. His four goals are tied for the NHL lead by a defenseman. Parayko is averaging a shade over 20 minutes of ice time per game, including 2:19 of power-play time, and should be owned in all leagues.

6. While the Stars' Jamie Benn, Seguin and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks are right there at the top of the goal-scoring leaderboard, there are a few unexpected names among the list as well. Here are three of the oddest:

Dale Weise, Montreal Canadiens -- 8 goals

Joel Ward, San Jose Sharks -- 7 goals

Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets -- 7 goals

Joel Ward
Right Wing - SJS
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 12
PIMS: 0 | SOG: 23 | +/-: 3
I wouldn't expect any of these three to come close to these rates for a full season. All three have seen improved lineup placements than in seasons past, but I don't trust any of them to exceed the 20-goal mark. Ward has the best chance to though; he scored 24 goals in 2013-14 with the Washington Capitals and had 19 last season with them. Jenner has never had more than 16 in his short NHL career, but then again, he's dealt with injuries. Weise scored a career-high 10 goals in 79 games last season but never had more than six in any other season. Bottom line: sell high on all three players if you've got them on your roster.

7. Sharks goalie Martin Jones allowed two goals in winning his first four games this season. Since then, Jones has allowed at least two goals in each of his next six starts, including four goals in three of them (2-4-0 record during that time). Jones is still the sixth-ranked goalie in Yahoo leagues, but a lot of that has to do with him recording two shutouts in his first four games. It will be interesting to see how he holds up in his first season as a No. 1 goalie, but if I owned him in any of my leagues, I'd look to deal him now.

8. No surprise, but Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury are tied for the NHL lead with five games with one goal against or less. What is surprising is that Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller is also tied with them. Miller has one shutout this season and has allowed one goal against in four other games (12 total starts). After a relatively disappointing first season with the Canucks in 2014-15, Miller is off to a terrific start and could end up a top-10 fantasy goalie by the end of the season.

Alexander Steen
Left Wing - STL
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 11
PIMS: 16 | SOG: 45 | +/-: 3
9. For those of you in need of consistent penalty minute production, you might want to consider targeting Alexander Steen (Blues), Derek Dorsett (Vancouver Canucks), Dion Phaneuf (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets) or Brooks Orpik (Capitals). Each of these five players have recorded at least one penalty in seven games. Steen is obviously the surprise on this list. Last season he had 33 PIMs in 74 games and this season he has 16 PIMs in 13 games. Byfuglien has 20 PIMs to go along with eight points and he's currently the second-best fantasy defenseman in Yahoo leagues. Phaneuf has 18 PIMs and eight assists and ranks as the 14th-best fantasy defenseman. He's available in 23 percent of leagues.

10. Five players have scored two empty-net goals this season: David Krejci (Boston Bruins), Bobby Ryan (Ottawa Senators), Troy Brouwer (Blues), Trevor Lewis (Kings) and Chris Tierney (San Jose Sharks). But only one player has three empty-net goals: Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec. He's currently the 15th-best player in Yahoo leagues, but you have to consider the fact that three of his six goals have come with no goalie in net. Regression could be coming for Plekanec. Lewis and Tierney's empty-netters are their only goals of the season. Brouwer has just one non-empty-net goal. Ryan has three non-empty-net goals.


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