A Reasonable Look at Ryan Getzlaf's Keeper Value
Ryan Getzlaf currently sits second, only to Sidney Crosby, in the NHL scoring race. He has produced over 30 goals and 50 assists and spends most of his time on the ice with linemate Corey Perry. He has a career shooting percentage (SH%) of 12.4% and recently signed an eight-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks.
Choosing Getzlaf as a keeper for next season appears to be a no-brainer. Who wouldn't want the the number-two point producer in the NHL? Follow along for a few minutes more while we introduce a bit of doubt into your decision-making process.
One of the core ideas we present in our fantasy hockey draft kits is that goal scoring is made up of three components: a player's base talent, a player's behavior, and luck. To attach these abstractions to something more tangible, we consider a player's career SH% to be his base talent level; we consider shot production in recent years to be a player's behavior; we consider luck to be natural variance that occurs in a player's year-to-year shooting percentage. The last of these items is something that can neither be controlled nor predicted. But a player's career SH% and his recent shot production can be used to create accurate projections of future goal production. We have a successful algorithm that we've tested on a decade worth of data that we use in our draft kits each Summer.
Ryan Getzlaf currently sits at 31 goals (and is on pace for 34 goals over a full 82-game season). If you were to use this number as your starting point for next year's data, you would likely be very disappointed in the return. In fact, Getzlaf has never produced a 30-goal season in his career (until now). So, where is a good place to start?
Getzlaf's career SH% sits at 12.4%. For the 2013-2014 season, he has scored with a success rate of 15.6%. This difference (15.6% compared to 12.4%) would be considered luck, or variance. Getzlaf's 31 goals are partially a by-product of luck and any projection of next year's goals must remove this luck to maximize accuracy. So, instead of using 15.6% as a starting point, you're better off using his career number of 12.4%. But these are just shooting percentages and we want goals. No problem. Getting from SH% to goals is simple: just multiply by total shots on goal (SOG). Without giving away our draft kit secrets, we'll simply use a three-year average of Getzlaf's SOG totals here. That number comes in at 197 SOG. So what's a ballpark projection for Getzlaf's goal totals for next season: 12.4% of 197 yields about 25 goals.
Rather than go into our formulas for assist production by individual players, we want to instead focus on how linemates can influence a player's assist totals. Ryan Getzlaf's most frequent linemate is Corey Perry and there is no reason to expect that to change next season. A quick look at Perry's SH% this season reveals that he, too, has been scoring at rates above and beyond his career numbers (a proxy for his talent level). You see where this is headed. If Perry is scoring at inflated rates (and he is), then Getzlaf is certainly being awarded assists at an inflated rate. And so it's our job as the creators of your customized fantasy hockey draft kits to find out the level of this inflation.
First, some data. Perry is on pace for 44 goals this season. Our data reveals that Getzlaf has assisted on 60% of these goals. Based on arguments similar to the ones made above, we believe that Perry's goal output would typically be closer to 36 goals. A reasonable estimate then tells us that if Perry's totals drop by eight goals next season, we can expect Getzlaf's assist totals to drop by about five (60% of eight). With Getzlaf on pace for 60 assists this season (over 82 games), an estimate of 55 assists for next season is not unreasonable.
Getzlaf's 2014-2015 Expected Performance
If we combine the expected goals and assists output for Getzlaf in the 2014-2015 season, we come up with a total points projection of about 80 points. A total of 80 points might land Getzlaf into the top ten scorers in the NHL next season - and that might mean keeper level material for your circumstances. But 80 points is a significant deviation from the 94 points he is on pace for in the current year, and we haven't yet accounted for Getzlaf's age.
You now have a good starting point for making your decision on whether to keep Ryan Getzlaf in your keeper league for the 2014-2015 season. If you think this type of analysis on all NHL players can give you an edge in your fantasy league next season, consider ordering our customized fantasy hockey draft kit. We'll customize it to your league's scoring settings and, if you act soon, you can get three kits for the price of only one.