Individual Points Percentage
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A simple metric that we can take advantage of in fantasy hockey drafts is that of Individual Points Percentage (IPP). IPP measures the contribution of a player toward his team scoring a goal. The calculation for IPP is rather simple; you take the number of points awarded to Player X and divide it by the number of goals scored by Player X's team while he was on the ice. Multiply that fraction by 100 and you have your IPP value. Typical values of IPP are 70% for forwards and 30% for defensemen; of course, elite players will exceed these values (for example, Evgeni Malkin maintains IPP values in the 75%-85% range).
If Player X scores a goal or assists on a goal, he earns a contribution toward his IPP. Since goal scoring and playmaking are considered talents in the NHL, then IPP serves as a metric for player talent. But, since goal scoring and assist generation are both processes that are subject to random fluctuations (luck), the overall IPP of a player is also subject to random fluctuations. And it is these random fluctuations that we will use to our advantage when drafting in fantasy hockey leagues. Similar to the techniques we pioneered involving shooting percentage (SH%), we're going to try to find players with IPP values way beyond their career norms and use these numbers to predict a regression in points in the 2018-2019 season.
Case Study: Claude Giroux
In the fantasy hockey drafts leading up to the 2017-2018 season, Claude Giroux was being selected late in the sixth round. Managers had grown weary as Giroux's point production had dropped from 86 to 73 to 67 to 58 during a four-year span. His shot production in 2016-2017 reached levels not seen in six years and his shooting percentage dipped to just 7%. Giroux was just 29 years old heading into fantasy drafts last Summer, but managers were behaving as if he were in significant decline.
There were signs, though, that Giroux was not in a precipitous drop; instead, he may have been on the receiving end of seriously bad luck in 2016-2017. One of these signs was Giroux's IPP value. Figure 1 reveals the career history of Giroux's IPP values heading into the 2017-2018 season. His career average IPP value heading into the 2017-2018 season was 72.5%.
Over the course of his career, Giroux had stayed roughly within ± 10% of that average. But something tremendous happened in 2016-2017. Giroux’s IPP value plummeted to 52.9%. Only two players on that Flyers team had lower IPP values that season: Dale Weise and Pierre-Edouard Bellamare.
Giroux's IPP value in 2016-2017 was nearly 30% lower than his career average. This was a clear sign that his point production during that season was an anomaly and that he would likely experience a significant bounce-back season in 2017-2018. As early as August of 2017, we were promoting Giroux on social media (and in our draft kit) as a player who was being selected way too late in drafts.
Giroux's massive drop in IPP gave us confidence to continue our public push for managers to draft Giroux earlier than his sixth round position well into September. His case was one of the most extreme examples of an IPP shift that we had come across in a decade and Giroux did not disappoint managers who heeded the call. He finished second in NHL scoring with 102 points.
Case Study: Jiri Hudler
During the 2014-2015 season, Jiri Hudler set personal bests in goals (31), assists (45), and points (76). He had a monster season and fantasy hockey managers took notice. Hudler, who was typically drafted in Round 14 prior to the 2014-2015 season, was now being selected by the end of the 7th round heading into the 2015-2016 season. This average draft position (ADP) meant that managers valued him as a top-50 forward for the 2015-2016 season.
That same Summer, our team was sounding the alarm about Jiri Hudler. In our 2015 draft kit, at our website, and on Twitter, we strongly discouraged managers from drafting Hudler too early. We held firm in our conviction even as Hudler’s ADP continued to move higher.
How did we know that Hudler was overvalued in drafts in 2015? We used his historical IPP values as our guide. In Figure 2, you’ll see Hudler’s IPP values (relative to his career average of 74%) for seven seasons leading into the 2015 draft.
What you see here is a steady ride at, and around, 70% IPP (what you would expect from a typical forward in the NHL). But in 2014-2015, Hudler’s IPP jumps to 90% (about 16 points above his career average). It is clear that Hudler earned points at a rate that exceeded his talent level. Some of these points were the result of a high SH%. But the rest of the points came from an unusually high amount of assists.
Given that Hudler had an atypical IPP value in 2014-2015, we projected him to see a significant drop in production for the 2015-2016 season. Hudler finished the 2015-2016 season with 15 goals and 30 assists, giving him only half the point totals he had in the previous season. His IPP value for 2015-2016 was 71% (a value consistent with his career numbers and on par with typical, non-elite NHL forwards).
Jiri Hudler (in 2015) is the prototypical example of how to use historical IPP values ahead of your fantasy draft to guarantee that you avoid overvaluing players.
Using IPP in Fantasy Hockey
If you're wondering which NHL players will see huge gains or drops in point production in the 2018-2019 season, then your research should start with individual points percentage. Our 2018 Fantasy Hockey Draft Kit is the only draft kit that includes career IPP data and last year's IPP data - allowing you to make an informed decision on which players will see the biggest changes.
If you're looking for a chance to draft players with great projections that are being ignored by the other fantasy hockey websites, then consider downloading one of our fantasy hockey draft kits this season. You won't be disappointed. We'll use your scoring system to craft customized player projections and rankings so that you can dominate your fantasy hockey draft.
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