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 Undervalued and Underappreciated 2013

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
admin Posted - 09/19/2013 : 11:44:16
Why Perry, Kopitar, Parise and Eberle will bounce back with big numbers

This week I focus on those stars with high upside and a track record who are projected to do poorly (by their standards). The ones who still possess the potential to outdo the expectations placed on them. These types of players can also be considered “Sliders”; those that are likely to fall (unjustly) in draft tables across the continent as we gear up for fantasy season. They are typically star players who have shown decreasing output and/or reasons for concern going forward, yet still harbor the potential to bounce back quickly. So don’t be a statistic and keep these skaters in mind.

Corey Perry – Just two seasons removed as the Rocket Richard trophy holder, Perry has seen his production tail off in a big way the last couple of years. He’s experienced back-to-back seasons with diminishing goal scoring. Perry went from being the only NHLer in 2010-2011 with 50 goals, to 26% down in tallies the next campaign with (a still impressive) 37. However, he followed that up with another drop off in the truncated season, which projected to 27 goals prorated over a full year. That being said, he’s still producing at a more than decent level, but it cannot go unmentioned that he dropped almost 50% off his goal-scoring rate from 2010-11.

Why he’s a good bounceback candidate:
A)He’s still in his prime

B)He’s still getting top line minutes alongside Ryan Getzlaf, with whom he’s carved an incredible rapport with—Both have been to the summit of the game together with the Ducks, Internationally (World Juniors & Olympics). Not to mention that alongside Ryan, Corey has achieved all of his top individual accolades. You can’t teach this kind of chemistry.

C)Naturally, being an Olympic year and with the depth of talent in Canada, he won’t be able to rest on his laurels if he hopes to reclaim his roster spot. Thus he’ll have that extra incentive to push the pedal to the metal in the first half.

Anze Kopitar – Indisputably the key cog among L.A. forwards in their 2012 Stanley Cup triumph, the talented Kopitar has seen his numbers take a bit of a hit in four successive seasons now.

Kopitar’s PPG (Points-Per-Game Ratio)
.99 (2009-10)
.97 (2010-11)
.93 (2011-12)
.89 (2013)

However, it should be noted that the L.A. Kings as a whole have dipped offensively across the board in that same time span; with an exception coming two seasons ago after the Jeff Carter acquisition. The trade infused a breath of fresh air in the top six and resulted in increased production down the stretch and into last season.

Kings’ GPG (Goals-Per-Game Ratio)
2.94 (2009-10)
2.67 (2010-11)
2.36 (2011-12)
2.77 (2013)

Why he’s a good bounceback candidate:
A)The deeper scoring lines which increased team scoring didn’t positively affect Kopitar’s personal production, but he’ll have a full season now to take advantage of an elite sniper in Jeff Carter on his top power play unit. Eventually this opportunity will rub off on him positively.

B)Kopitar’s left wing linemate, Dustin Brown, notched the second highest shooting percentage of his career last season (12.7%). This bodes well for Anze, a pass-first guy, if Dustin can maintain or build on that recently improved ability to find the twine.

C)Slovenia has qualified for the Olympics and Kopitar is once again the only noteworthy weapon on the squad. Therefore he knows his country will strongly depend on him, and the national team simply cannot afford to have him on his off game if they hope to save face against the juggernauts. He’ll definitely not want to disappoint, so the L.A. Kings will be the benefactor of him vying to reach the top of his game by February.

Expect a bounceback year for Anze!

Zach Parise – There’s no doubt that Parise is one of the most dynamic and enjoyable players to watch in the world today. However, he’s befuddled fantasy owners with a very under-the-radar drop in scoring over the past few years.

Zach Parise’s PPG (Points-Per-Game Ratio)
1.14 (2008-09)
1.01 (2009-10)
Injured nearly all season (2010-11)
.84 (2011-12)
.79 (2013)

The big point of reference for his lessened output would have to harp back to his injury prone 2010-11 campaign where he went under the knife. He ultimately came back close to the same player he was prior, but the results just haven’t been there.

Why he’s a good bounce back candidate:
A)His first year in Minnesota certainly had its fair share of added pressures and expectations riding on his shoulders after GM, Craig Leipold awarded him (and Ryan Suter) a monstrous new contract. The jitters should be somewhat diffused this season after accomplishing the first objective of getting Minny back into the playoffs. Next step is to spike up his individual numbers and grow with the young promising supplemental core coming up. There should be a wealth of new talent competing for and earning more minutes this year, with the Granlunds, Zuckers and Coyles of the world providing more offensive help as well as distracting opposing rearguards from “Parise-Watch” duties.

B)Its not for a lack of trying as his 182 shots last year pro-rated over a full 82 games works out to 310 attempts—the second highest tally of his career. Sometimes you walk into an outlier year, where the results simply do not materialize; but over time his immense skill set combined with a more aggressive drive to the net should average out, and this ‘valley’ period should soon become peak year.

C)He possesses demon speed, the ability to evade defenders and a nose for the net that’s not rivaled by many. This trait will always be a competitive advantage. D)He will still not have turned 30 by season’s end; He is still in his prime years.

Jordan Eberle – After a stellar sophomore season, where Eberle already became a point-per-game producer, with 34 goals and 76 points to his name, he slipped in 2013. He fell down a slope from a .97 PPG clip in 2011-2012 to a .77 rate in 2013. You can point and say that last season’s 48-game compressed schedule was an anomaly, but that’s an easy out. What is comes down to was that his shooting percentage fell from 18.9 % to 12.0%. he may need to go back to being a bit of a shiftier player, where he fooled netminders with much more regularity this way in the past. This may also be attributed to goaltenders around the league spending a little more time watching video on him in his third go around.

Why he’s a good bounce back candidate:

A)He’s 23! There’s no doubt in my mind that he still has not even had his major breakout season yet.

B)With a blue chipper collection of kids that only Pittsburgh & Chicago have boasted in the past decade, this supremely talented group is only going to get better, stronger and smarter this as they mature. Each year that passes they’re likely to ‘figure it out’ more and more. Mark my words, Edmonton is finally making the playoffs this year – and Jordan will play a big role.

C)Back to the Olympic year angle once more we go! Jordan, as well as Taylor Hall are the only two Oilers who have a fighting chance to be handed a ticket to Sochi. (RNH is injured and still too raw.) Eberle has major international experience already, dramatically winning the hearts of many Canadians at the junior level. He, along with Taylor have also been groomed at the World Championship level the past couple springs. Thus he’ll be setting out to prove that his speed & soft handed combination could be a major asset for Team Canada this winter, by doing what he does best for Edmonton. There are so many multi-layered levels of motivation for Eberle to do well this year, that I only expect a significant uptick in production from last season’s .77 rate closer to .90+.

Written by Anthony Lancione of

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slozo Posted - 09/20/2013 : 04:46:17
Interesting and well researched.

I have Parise as a keeper in my current pool, and he's not sliding off that list - but you convinced me even further that he will have a bounce-back season.

I'm curious though on the Russian stars, and how the upcoming Olympics affect them. In some ways, a star player who is guaranteed to make the team, doesn't have much to play for at all, actually . . . only to stay healthy. My prediction is, that a few of the Russian stars might have career dips statistically, due to the upcoming pressures, the need to stay healthy (and as a result be less engaged in the game), and in general . . . their focus will be elsewhere for the first half of the season at least.

Malkin I think will avoid this, as he is super consistent . . . but Ovechkin, Semin, Datsyuk especially (since he is older) . . . I see dips there for all of them.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug

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