Expected Goals is a metric that attempts to quantify how many goals a team should have scored based on the shot location and a variety of other factors. Our projection model leans heavily on longer-term trends and thus we are mostly making in-season adjustments based on vegas odds at this point to our macro ratings. This is further confounded by the fact that the NHL has been changing shot location information which has made these models slightly less reliable than in previous years.
The fancy stat boys typically say that these trends stabilize around 20-25 games as for as predictive value for the rest of the 2019-20 season.
We explored this early at a team level, but for tonight’s medium-sized slate I thought it would be useful to dive into some individual trends. Note, this analysis is based on individual performance rolled up at the line level — it does not explore a line’s specific chemistry as some of these lines may have only been skating together for a limited sample size.
Underperforming Stacks to Target
The Coyotes top line has moved Dvorak up in place of Stepan but still features power play correlation. While the performance hasn’t quite been there to start when we have been on them, the usage has and there is a reason for optimism. Clayton Keller specifically has an expectation of 3.43 goals versus just 1 actual. As a secondary tournament target for most with just a 3.1 implied team total, the Coyotes offer everything we look for in tournaments – full correlation, reduced ownership and better performance than meets the eye.
LA Kings 2
The Kings were a below-average club last year that has started with some decent fancy stats. The Kopitar lead line has 9 goals and performed in line with expectations. The line anchored by Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli has not, with 8.85 xG and just 5 actual goals. While they are fairly down our stack rankings, there is at least some reason for optimism and just 3 DK points (2 shots) separates most of our $10,000 stack rankings. I think the LA Kings 2nd line is an interesting line to target for game stacks with Vancouver 2 or if paying up for Tampa Bay 1.
Started Too Hot
St. Louis 1
6.6 Expected Goals / 13 actual goals and regression is incoming. And that is without factoring in the loss of Vlad Tarasenko. With a decent 3.2 implied team total tonight against a Minnesota Wild team on the Back-to-Back I think the top line is a compelling fade if the ownership chases the recent production. Our projections have this a virtual coin flip with Arizona 1 who I think represent a better play on correlation and comparable projection.
The Armia-Drouin-Domi combo has 9 expected goals which makes it a top 6 line on the slate, but the 14 actual goals have it tied with second. Now on the road against the Coyotes team that has allowed the fewest goals against per 60 minutes in hockey seems like a suitable time to take a pass at a $17,500 price tag.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are always going to be holes you can poke in analytics. For Expected Goals, it is that the metric takes into account shot locations but not the pre-puck shooting movement, passing, or individual shooter talent. While the Edmonton Oilers top line may look to be outperforming on paper, it can be explained by the brilliance of McDavid. Every line McDavid has played on the past two seasons has consistently outperformed their xG metrics and there is no reason to expect that trend to be bucked this year.
Other Targets to Watch
James Van Riemsdyk – 3.5 owed goals
Jamie Benn – 3.4 owed goals
Wayne Simmonds – 3.03 owed goals
Max Pacioretty – 2.7 owed goals
Adrian Kempe – 2.7 owed goals
Alexandre Barkov – 2.5 owed goals
Nick Ritchie – 2.5 owed goals