FanPost

Does ATOI really matter?

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Mike Ribeiro is one of five players amongst the NHL's top 12 scorers who are averaging under 20 minutes per game.

Photo by Michael Miller via upload.wikimedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Pens_Through_My_Lens

When I first got into fantasy hockey, my strategy was to stockpile my roster with as many top line forwards and offensive defensemen as I could get my grubby paws on. Of course, I learned pretty quickly that everyone wants these players, and eventually I become more comfortable with cruising the waiver wire for streaking snipers and what not. I assumed that lots of ice time was a good indicator of goals and assists, knowing full well that most blueliners regularly log more TOI than forwards. However, it seems that scoring output is best predicted by quality, not quantity.

The NHL's top scorer is unsurprisingly a healthy Sidney Crosby, who's tallied nearly two points per game (47). His winger, Chris Kunitz, checks in second with 39 points with a fairly conservative 18:17 ATOI. On the man advantage, the point differential is even smaller (15 to 12), including eight power play goals for Kunitz and just two for Sid. James Neal, Pittsburgh's wunderkind from last year, has 17 goals and 12 helpers with 17:49 ATOI. The Flyers' latest breakout, Jakub Voracek, has racked up 31 points in 28 games by playing a paltry 16:59 per contest. Mike Ribeiro has had a great first year in Washington despite clocking less than 18 minutes per game, and recent some recent surgers, such as Montreal's Michael Ryder and the Blues' Chris Stewart, have less than 16 minutes ATOI, yet have seen lots of time on the man advantage. That's the key: ice time on a line with a superstar and/or the power play is far superior to total TOI.




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