A Reasonable Look at Ryan Getzlaf's Keeper Value

April 07, 2014


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.

Goal Scoring

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.


I made a big mistake last season keeping Eric Staal. This year I have Ryan Getzlaf and Nicklas Backstrom to choose from. What do you recommend?

Andrew - I'd need to know your scoring settings before I could give you a solid answer on that. In most categories, you're not going to notice much a difference between the two players. But if your league counts Hits, for example, you'll see a decided advantage for Getzlaf.

Hi Mike,
Thanks for the reply. I guess I was hoping for a cut and dry response, but its not that simple. I'm in a ten-team roto league. We track G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, FOW, HIT, BLK.

These two guys are very close in this type of scoring system. They'll put up similar numbers in most categories, but Backstrom wins PPP and Getzlaf wins H & BS. You could look at your other keeper players and see if there is a weakness in one of these three categories I listed above. If so, pick the guy that fills in the hole. Barring that, when players are close in value, I lean toward the younger guys in keeper leagues.

Any advice on 2 keepers out of:

My league looks at G, A, PIM, +-, PPG, PPA, shorthanded points, GWG, Shots, FW, Hits, Blocks

My first thought is Kopitar and then either Marleau or Kunitz...or Subban. but then Wheeler also looks like he could step up higher. Does your younger guys argument come in here? I kinda think Marleau and Kunitz may be on the downward trend due to age...


Kopitar would be on my list too out of those players. I would also keep Subban. He's a rare talent on defense and someone you would lose pretty early in the draft if you let him go.

Good analysis,

I'm wondering whether the use of the deviation away from career average sh% as entirely a measure of luck is actually based on data. Is there an observed trend of players hovering around the same sh% all of their careers or does it sometimes permanently change with player improvement or changes in circumstances? It would seem that players should theoretically get better at shooting as they progress (to a certain point) and so career sh% would tend to be lower than current for most players. Should a player such as Steen who may be clicking with the right line mates be treated differently than getzlaf who is in similar circumstances as previous years when it comes to assessing the role of luck in the deviation of sh% away from career average?

This is interesting... I am torn between 4 players. I can only keep 3. Toews, P.Kane, Seguin, and Niemi.

I traded for Kane last season, and had Niemi as my other keeper. This year I drafted Seguin to be my 3rd keeper but then traded for Toews later in the season. So now I have too many people to choose from. (we're adding one keeper every season)

My 10 team H2H league is heavily weighted in the goalie category (7 out of 17 cats w/ 21 bench spots) so to let Niemi go would be a bad decision since 7 out of 10 teams will probably have 1 elite goalie keeper going into the draft. I also don't have a 1st rd pick going into next years draft and most good goalies go by the 2nd (I will have either 19th or 20th overall as my first pick) so I would be at a disadvantage next season or pay a premium in a trade.

my categories are G, A, +/- PIM PPP GWG SOG FW HIT BLK

I think it basically comes down to Kane & Seguin.

What say you?