Specifically John Tavares, PA Parenteau and Matt Moulson. While anyone can tell you that Parenteau isn’t going to record 115 points as his current pace suggests, and Tavares probably isn’t going to bulge the twine 82 times, there is a number that helps explain why these three players have been so successful this year. Unfortunately for Islanders fans and fantasy enthusiasts alike, it also explains why this production isn’t going to continue. That statistic is Offensive Zone Starts % (Ozone%), and is the percentage of shift opening face-offs that a player has in the offensive zone.
While the stat isn’t perfect, it does a good job of showing how a player’s point production can be influenced with how the coach is using them. As this isn’t a statistics blog, I won’t get into the nitty gritty numbers, but I think it is pretty straightforward to everyone that a player is more likely to record a point on a shift in which he begins play in the offensive zone versus the defensive zone.
So let’s have a look at these numbers for the three Isles in question. Moulson, Tavares and Parenteau are currently clocking in with Ozone% of 75.0%, 74.3% and 71.9% respectively. This is an unsustainable number. To put these numbers in perspective, last season the trio finished at 54.2%, 55.6% and 56.0% respectively.
While players do on occasion crack the 70% plateau over the course of a season, it is very rare. Last season, the only players to do so in over 55 games played were Canucks Henrik, Daniel, and Burrows. The difference here is that the Canucks were a dominant team that had a high percentage of their draws occur in the offensive zone. It is unreasonable to expect a young, less talented team like the Islanders to have an equal proportion of their draws occur in enemy territory. There are only so many offensive zone draws to go around on any given night, and it’s hard to expect that these three Islanders will continue to get such a large portion of them.
On the other side of the coin, Michael Grabner, Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau have the three lowest percentages on the team, so we can hopefully expect better numbers from them if their Ozone% increases.
Some other guys to keep an eye on are Wayne Simmonds, Jaromir Jagr, James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek in Philadelphia, Marcus Johansson, Michael Cammalleri, Evander Kane and Andrew Brunette.
While this stat certainly isn’t the be all and end all of anything, it is another tool that you can add to your fantasy arsenal.