One statistic several people are referencing as to why they think the Philadelphia Flyers’ offense will rebound is shooting percentage. Of the 24 skaters to suit up for at least one game for the Orange and Black this season only Tye McGinn (42.9), Vincent Lecavalier (19.2), Braydon Coburn (15.4), and Brayden Schenn have (12.0) have shooting percentages over 10 percent. According to QuantHockey.com, the average shooting percentage across the NHL hovers around the 9.0 mark, as the average right now is 8.89, last season’s average was 9.11, and the 2011-2012 campaign produced 8.94. Philly, as a team, has a shooting percentage of 5.797, which is the worst in the NHL.
What this means is players like Jakub Voracek (4.3 shooting percentage), Wayne Simmonds (3.7), Claude Giroux (0.0), and Scott Hartnell (0.0) are expected to start finding the back of the net. At the same time, a player like Alex Steen, who is currently fourth in the NHL with 18 points, is expected to see a drop in goal production sooner or later thanks to his 31.6 shooting percentage. The forward is on a seven-game point streak, where he’s accrued eight goals and two assists. His eight goals came on 24 shots for a shooting percentage of 33.33 over his point streak, as he has four games with a shooting percentage of 50.0. Steen, who is averaging top-line minutes with St. Louis, will most likely see his numbers drop.
According to ESPN, he is owned in 100 percent of the website’s leagues, so if you own Steen you might want to look into trading him for high value. He will contribute to the Blues’ offense all year long, but nowhere near this pace, so you might be able to steal a player or two from an opponent.
As for the slumping Flyers, according to ESPN, Lecavalier isn’t owned in 100 percent of the leagues. He is owned 98 percent of the leagues, so if you’re in one of the rare leagues where Lecavalier isn’t owned, grab him, especially since he’ll be back in action on Tuesday.
A few other interesting Flyers to keep an eye on are Simmonds, Voracek, and Hartnell. If you have faith in Philly to start scoring again in the near future, make sure you grab one of these players, especially if you’re in a league that gives you points for PIMs. Voracek is owned in 84.4 percent of ESPN leagues, while Simmonds is owned in 54.2 and Hartnell is owned in 36.6.
Sadly, the Flyers are the only team league wide that has a team shooting percentage under six percent. Just above six percent are the Buffalo Sabres, with 6.052, and the New York Rangers, with 6.266.
In terms of grabbing a Sabre on waivers with promise, there doesn’t seem to be much hope. Matt Moulson, who leads the team with 13 points, and Cody Hodgson, who has 12 points so far, are owned in 100 percent of ESPN leagues. The only player that you may want to consider picking up is Steve Ott, as hilarious as that sounds. Ott is averaging over 19 minutes of TOI per game and has four points in 16 games with a 6.9 shooting percentage. More importantly, if you are in a league that rewards you for PIMs and hits, Ott could be your MVP. Although he only has 26 PIMs at the moment, more fighting majors and undisciplined penalties will come from Ott, who sits sixth across the NHL with 49 hits.
As for the Blueshirts, there are a ton of players available that you should consider picking up. For one, Derek Stepan, who has 10 points in 13 games, is available in 7 percent of the ESPN leagues. If he isn’t available, Chris Kreider, who’s owned in 16.3 percent of ESPN leagues, and Carl Hagelin, owned in 4.8 percent of ESPN leagues, may be worth taking a look at.
If you’re set on the offensive side, let’s now look at a goaltending situation that may require addressing. The situation happening in the Colorado Avalanche’s crease, where Semyon Varlamov has looked great on the ice, but not so much off the ice, may lead to a fantasy chance for you. With the allegations and evidence that suggests Varlamov assaulted his girlfriend Evgenia Vavinyuk, Varlamov should be expecting some time in court as well as some possible time in jail in the near future.
In the severely less important matter of how this impacts your fantasy team, it means if you own Varlamov, or are in need of a temporary starter, it’s time to take a look at J.S. Giguere. Owned in 89.7 percent of the ESPN leagues, several others have caught on to the idea of grabbing the one-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner, but there is still time for you to snatch him off of waivers. Appearing in just four games this year, Giguere has two shutouts, a 0.75 save percentage, and a .977 save percentage. Very small sample size, but with Varlamov having strong numbers as well, you have to give thought as to whether it’s the goaltending performance of the two or if the Avs are just playing that strong in front of their netminders. Either way, you should pick up Giguere now rather than waiting until news breaks that Varlamov will officially miss time and everybody else is rushing to waivers to grab him.
TEAMS WITH BACK-TO-BACKS THIS WEEK
Buffalo Sabres- @ Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and @ Anaheim Ducks on Friday
Calgary Flames – @ St. Louis Blues on Thursday and @ Colorado Avalanche on Friday
Chicago Blackhawks – @ Dallas Stars on Saturday and at home against the Edmonton Oilers Sunday.
Edmonton Oilers – @ Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and @ Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
Florida Panthers – @ Ottawa Senators on Saturday and @ New York Rangers on Sunday.
New Jersey Devils – @ Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and @ Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
New York Islanders – @ Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and @ Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.
New York Rangers – Hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday and @ Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Phoenix Coyotes – Hosting the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night and @ Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Hosting the New Jersey Devils on Friday and @ Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Vancouver Canucks – @ Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and @ Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Washington Capitals – @ Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday and @ Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
LEAGUE LEADERS WHO AREN’T 100 PERCENT OWNED
Goals – Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks – Eight goals, tied for seventh in NHL. Owned in 96.4 percent of ESPN leagues.
Assists – Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals – 10 assists, tied for ninth in NHL. Owned in 43.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
Plus/Minus – Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks, Rob Klinkhammer of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Justin Braun of the San Jose Sharks – Plus-12, tied for first in the NHL. Penner is 3.2 percent owned, Klinkhammer is 2.5 percent owned, and Braun is 66.6 percent owned in ESPN leagues.
PIMs – Derek Dorsett, New York Rangers – 66 PIMs, first in the NHL. Owned in 3.3 percent of ESPN leagues.
Power-Play Points – Derek Stepan, New York Rangers – Seven power-play points, tied for sixth in the NHL. 93.0 percent of ESPN leagues.
TOI – Andrew MacDonald, New York Islanders – 26:57 average TOI, fourth in the NHL. Owned in 29.8 percent of ESPN leagues.
Shots on Goal – Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings – 57 shots on goal, tied for eighth in the NHL. Owned in 98.9 percent of ESPN leagues.
Goalie Wins – Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild – Six wins, tied for 11th in the NHL. Owned in 98.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
Save Percentage – James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs – .942 save percentage. Owned in 88.0 percent of ESPN leagues.