Martin St-Louis had 20 points in 18 playoff games this season. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
The prevalent theory out there, several years ago, was that Vincent Lecavalier was the superior player over Martin St-Louis. A first overall pick versus a player not even drafted. A player who had 108 points in 2006-07 versus a player who managed “just” 102. In fantasy circles, Lecavalier was gold and it seemed many were waiting for St-Louis to falter.
But today it’s clear St-Louis is the man behind the stars.
Lecavalier didn’t drag St-Louis’ point total upwards with his 108-point season; it was St-Louis who pushed Vinny’s total sky-high. How do I know this? Simple: when St-Louis was put on Steven Stamkos’ line, what happened? Well, for one thing you saw Stamkos post back-to-back 90-point campaigns. For another, you saw Lecavalier struggle just to reach 70 in 2009-10.
Here are the numbers, in terms of shift percentage:
St-Louis played even-strength with Stamkos: 24.24%
St-Louis played even-strength with Lecavalier: 3.6%
St-Louis played even-strength with both Lecavalier and Stamkos: 7.95%
Results: Stamkos 1.11 points-per-game; Lecavalier 0.83 points-per-game
St-Louis played even-strength with Stamkos: 18.36%
St-Louis played even-strength with Lecavalier: 15.64%
St-Louis played even-strength with both Lecavalier and Stamkos: 14.77%
Results: Stamkos 0.72 points-per-game; Lecavalier 1.06 points-per-game
In other words, when the number of St-Louis’ shifts with Lecavalier increased and the number with Stamkos decreased, the latter produced less and the former produced more.
So what does all this mean, my fellow fantasy fanatics? It means the fates of Lecavalier’s and Stamkos’ production in 2011-12 lies in the hands of their linemate. Stamkos could very well get 100 points next season, but if St-Louis is back playing with Lecavalier, Stamkos could see as few as 75.
Lecavalier, assuming he makes it to 75 games with all the nagging injuries he’s battling on and off, could range anywhere from 65 to 90 points. It all depends on who he sees when he looks to his right on the ice.
One thing is certain, however: St-Louis could be playing with you at center and myself on left wing and still get 85-plus points. Even at 35, he’s still money in the bank.
The Pittsburgh Penguins should have scored 275 goals this season. I arrived at that number by taking the 257 from the season before, factored in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both inching closer to their prime and, voila, 18 more goals.
They never had a chance. Jordan Staal didn’t even get out of the gate because he was downed by foot problems. Malkin struggled with knee issues before finally giving in around the midpoint, while Crosby stopped playing in January because of a concussion. The result was 19 fewer goals.
When I’m projecting, I project based on players building upon the number they should have had and not the number they actually had. Staal is 100 percent, Malkin is, by several accounts, ahead of schedule and Crosby should be just fine next season. That means 280 or more goals in 2011-12 for Pittsburgh, which is an 18 percent increase over this season.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.
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