Fantasy Pool Look: Top 10 statistical anomalies of 2013-14

Washington Capitals v Montreal Canadiens

Every year, in all sports, when you scan through the end-of-season statistics you raise an eyebrow more than once. Some players have no business getting that kind of number in that particular category and there’s no way it will happen again.

Here are the biggest “one-offs” that jump out at me in the NHL this year.

10. Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings
19.6 shooting percentage
Nyquist has been a man on a mission since January, actually leading the NHL in goals. Nyquist will be a star in the NHL sooner rather than later, but his forte is setting up goals more than scoring them. His high shot percentage reflects that.

9. Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning
19.1 shooting percentage
Filppula’s career high heading into this year was 23 goals. He has 25 on just 131 shots. On a high-scoring team such as the Lightning, he could flirt with 60 points again, but don’t look for such production in the goals department. Overall, expect a decline in his numbers in 2014-15 as some of the talented Tampa prospects take on bigger roles.

8. Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
18.3 shooting percentage
Pavelski’s career high was 31 goals before this year’s 39 (and counting). And while that’s not out of the ordinary for a player in his prime, his shooting accuracy is unsustainable. He’s a 30-goal guy, not a 40-goal guy.

7. Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins
Plus-34
I think as a member of the Bruins you start the season at plus-30 just as a default. Six of the NHL’s top eight players in plus-minus play for Boston, with Iginla boasting the third best number. With a previous career high of plus-27 and the likelihood that Iginla moves on as a free agent in the summer, don’t bank on another ridiculous plus/minus.

6. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
54 assists
If Keith wants to pop his head up every few years and give his fantasy owners a surprise superstar season, then good for them. But don’t draft him expecting 55 assists. He’s had 38 or fewer in six of his eight non-lockout NHL campaigns.

5. Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils
82 games played (almost there)
When you saw Jagr’s name here, you were thinking I would mention the points, didn’t you? But the points aren’t that much of a shock. Granted, he’s producing a little better than expected, but nothing too extreme. The reason his total points are so high is because he hasn’t missed a game yet. This is a guy who has struggled with groin injuries since returning to the NHL. I’m completely floored that he’s played more than 70 games. No way I would count on that next year.

4. Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Minus-25
The 27-year-old is usually a very safe pick. He gives you 82 games a season (fantasy gold), 40 to 60 points and has had four consecutive years of a positive plus/minus rating. To dip so far below that number is unexpected on a defense-first team. But much of that is due to the struggles of goaltender Mike Smith.

3. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
.901 save percentage, 57 games played
Not one goaltender who has played more than 40 games has a save percentage as low as Pavelec’s. You can take this to the bank: regardless of his contract, if Pavelec puts up another stinker of a season in 2014-15, he won’t be getting into 57 games. The closest comparable: Martin Brodeur played 37 games and has a SP of .900.

2. David Desharnais, Montreal Canadiens
One point in first 19 games, 50 points in 57 games since
I can’t say I remember anything quite this extreme. Twenty-one games into the season, Desharnais had just one point and had been scratched twice. Well beyond the threshold of any normal-thinking poolie and he was long since dropped by most. While I wouldn’t go so far as to promise a 70-point season from Desharnais next year, I can promise you that his production will be much more consistent.

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
49 goals, minus-35
Only Steve Ott has a lower plus-minus (minus-37) and nobody has scored more goals. But the worst plus-minus in NHL history for a 50-goal scorer is minus-33. Ovechkin’s statistical feat is such an anomaly that it sets an NHL record. So no, it won’t happen again.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

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