Hey Folks, welcome back. This week we’re taking a closer look at two players. They aren’t top-of-the-line-up game-breakers, although they held varying degrees of top-line optimism while they developed but they do make for a good discussion from a fantasy hockey perspective.
There was no methodology for picking these names. I scrolled through NHL depth charts and looked for younger players whose shine had faded somewhat over the last couple of years. Rocket science.
Without further ado…
Fantasy Hockey Deep Dive
Taylor Raddysh, RW, Chicago Black Hawks
He was drafted 58th overall in the 2016 NHL draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Raddysh hype didn’t really take off until his draft year plus one – when he blew up with 42 goals, and 67 assists for 109 points.
His development has been slow. Slow for the hype. Not horrible for a second-round pick. He spent another year in junior and three in the AHL before finally tasting the NHL. Once he made the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning were chasing a championship and boasted a very deep line-up. Opportunity didn’t knock.
That is, until 2022-23 with the Chicago Blackhawks. That is when he found meaningful ice time and a spot on the power play. In his first full NHL season, Raddysh put up a respectable 20 goals and 37 points.
He’s not off to the best start this year, but really, no one on the Blackhawks is. I don’t pay much attention to early point totals. Two good games often reset projections. What I do notice though, his shots on goal remain steady at 1.7 per game. His ice time is down slightly about 40 seconds, or one shift per game, marginal. And his shooting percentage is down 5% (15.5% to 10.5%), like points, this can change quickly.
But there are a couple of interesting stats that intersect. His offensive zone starts (OZ Start %) are up from 48.2% last year to 60.7%, which is good. But, his points per 60 minutes (PTS/60) are down from 1.7 to 1.0, which is bad.
What is worse, his individual point percentage (IPP) is up from last year, from 56.9% to 60%. Normally, this is good. When we factor in his PTS/60 is down 0.7 from last year, it’s not good. It means he’s involved in a higher percentage of scoring when he’s on the ice, but there is less scoring overall when he is on the ice. His percentage of time on the power play has been cut drastically, from 62.8% to 29.3%. From first unit to second. This is going to impact his ability to repeat his 15 power-play points.
His Corsi-For (CF%) is almost identical to last year at 45.2%. An expected number considering how bad Chicago is. Beyond the Black Hawks’s poor start (honestly, it’s not just the start, they will be bad all year). The one remaining saving grace is his 5 on 5 shooting percentage, it is at an unsustainable low of 1.6%. Goals will come.
It’s early, a lot of his poor production will balance out. That said, it is going to be a long year for Raddysh and the Black Hawks. It will be difficult for him to build on last year. It is the Black Hawks, the only locks on the first power play unit are Connor Bedard and Taylor Hall. All other pieces are moveable. He should get some looks with the first unit, at some point.
I know it is early, but there’s very little indication he is due to take a big leap forward this year. Raddysh owners will need to be patient and deal with little offensive progress. There will be a couple of hot stretches. unless his power-play exposure improves closer to his 2022-23 percentages, it will be a long year.
This isn’t an encouragement to sell Raddysh. Perhaps it is a little bit of a reality check though. At 164 games played, Raddysh is set to hit his breakout threshold mid-way through the season. There’s more here than he has produced, you will just need to wait until 2024-25 to reap any real reward.
Joel Farabee, LW, Philadelphia Flyers
Drafted 14th overall in 2018, expectations on Farabee were high. The United States Development Program was pumping out high-level prospects. A lot have turned into NHL stars. Expectations on Farabee were no different. Unfortunately, entering his fifth NHL season he has yet to live up to that hype.
In his second NHL season, 2020-21 he produced 38 points in 55 games, a .69 point per game pace. Things looked good. Then, in 2021-22 he dropped to .54 points per game, and in 2022-23, he dropped again to .48 points per game. Not the direction you want a young player’s production to be going.
Last year Farabee had a horrible third quarter of the season, with one point in 19 games. This slump derailed what otherwise would have been a good year (50-point pace in the other 63 games). The year wasn’t as bad as it may seem.
From 2022-23 to 2023-24 Farabee has seen a decline of 1:43 in ice time, per game. He has also seen his time on the power play drop from 41.9% to 30.4%.
In the 12 games he has played this year, he has played 70% of his 5 on 5 minutes with Bobby Brink and 53.8% with Noah Cates. With Sean Couturier back and healthy, this pushed Cates to the third line. It’s hard to argue with Farabee playing a bit less while glued to Cates and Brink though. As a line, their Corsi For (CF%) is 63%.
Farabee’s individual CF% is 56%, easily the highest of his his career. In the last two years, his CF% was 45.9 and 46.4%. Farabee and his line are driving the play a lot more this year than in years past.
He is also shooting an extra half-shot a game (2.3) more than last year (1.8). Even though his overall ice time and power play time have dropped, Farabee is carrying the play a lot more.
I’ll end by pointing out he sits at 265 games played, meaning he passed his expected breakout threshold mid-way through 2022-23. He tanked after hitting his threshold rather than taking off as expected. But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
There are significant improvements in all his possession numbers. He has increased his Corsi and shots per game, and his points per game sits at a career-high, .77/game. He should blow the doors off his previous career high in points, 39.
Don’t close the door on Farabee in fantasy hockey just yet. There’s a top-six winger in there still. The buy-low window is closing, but after four years of diminished returns, it’s not closed yet. If you own him, don’t sell yet. This is what you’ve been waiting for.
All stats pulled from frozenpool.dobbersports.com
Thanks for reading.
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