Fantasy Hockey Geek

Geek of the Week: Dan Boyle

As frustrating and painful as it has been to watch matters develop in the lockout, my passion for hockey and for fantasy hockey remains unchanged.  The timing has been particularly tough for me because the outlook for my team in my main keeper league is pretty decent for the coming season.  I am one of 3 or 4 teams that have a legitimate shot to win this year, but I also have some aging stars so my window may start to close soon.   This week, I was struck with a combination of boredom and opportunism so I made a trade!  Today I am going to write about how I came to the decision acquire this week’s Geek of the Week: Dan Boyle.

First, some background on our league:

We play in a 12 team keeper league that counts G, A, +/-, PPP, SHP,GWG, SOG, Hits, W, GAA, SV%, SO.  We keep 15 players (max 2 goalies) each season out of a roster of 30; rosters are 3C, 2LW, 2RW, 2W, 6D, 2G, 15BN.  Obviously in a league of this format, having great top 15 keepers is key but with such a large bench (and daily rosters) depth is incredibly important as well, making draft picks a desirable commodity.  We have already drafted for the upcoming season and my team compares favorably to most others in our league.
The deal that I made was my 2013 first rounder for Dan Boyle.  Ordinarily a player of Boyle’s caliber probably wouldn’t be available for a pick, but the opposing GM liked the deal because:
  • Boyle is 36 years old and probably past his prime.  If there is no season then he will be 37 before he contributes to a fantasy team again
  • If there is indeed no season, then my 1st round pick will be part of the lottery for our 2013 draft and could very well end up being a valuable pick that could be spent on a top prospect or an unprotected goalie
  • Furthermore, going into 2013 the opposing GM would obviously get to keep somebody instead of Boyle in his top 15.  For example: by moving Boyle, he now has room on his roster to keep a Matt Carle (who he already owns but couldn’t keep) instead of Boyle so he is essentially getting Carle and a 1st for Boyle.
  • Generally speaking, he hurt his team in the coming season if there is one but he helps his team for the future – maybe as early as next season
So now the fun part:  Why did I want Boyle so badly? Let me show you how I ran the numbers in Fantasy Hockey Geek to decide that I need this guy on my team:
A quick run through FHG shows that Boyle was actually the 37th most valuable player in my entire keeper league last year!  He was the 11th most valuable defenseman in a league filled with shrewd managers who understand the value of productive D and hoard them accordingly.  If I had Boyle last year, he would have been my second most valuable defenseman and my 5th most valuable skater.  Keep in mind that Boyle accomplished all of this in what could be considered a down year for him.
Boyle’s high value stems from a variety of factors:
  • As I have mentioned many times before, productive defensemen are incredibly valuable in fantasy hockey particularly in this 12 team league that rosters 6D per team (72 active D on any given day).  The gap between Boyle and the average top 72 defenseman is enormous.
  • Boyle’s shot total was a ridiculous 252 last season.  Only one other defenseman eclipsed 250 last year, Karlsson.  Boyle essentially gives the output of TWO defensemen in that category.  
  • PPP are one of the more elusive stats to accumulate and Boyle is a stud in that regard.  His 17PPPs last year were actually low by his standard but there were still only 13 defensemen in the league who did better.  Boyle is often in the high 20s in this category although I doubt he will get that high again as the SJ PP seems to be missing Heatley.  He could easily play at a 20PPP pace in the coming season though.
  • Boyle’s output was good to great in all categories – he has no real weakness.  He will contribute to all of my skater categories from a scarce D position
The big question for Boyle comes down to whether or not he still has anything left to give.  He is 36 years old and his point totals have decreased in each of the past two seasons.  There are two counter points to this argument that really helped me to decide to make this deal:
  • Running the FHG numbers above, I realized that even if Boyle doesn’t bounce back to over 50 points, this is a deal I need to make.  If he repeats his last year’s performance then this is still a deal that favors my team greatly.  If I could be sure to be getting the 37th most valuable player for my first rounder, I would do it in a heartbeat every single year that my team is in position to challenge for a title.  
  • Although Boyle’s point totals have been decreasing, his shot totals have increased in each of the past 2 years.  He is still getting pucks to the net and creating chances, he just suffered a career low in shooting % (.036) and his PPP totals were the lowest that they have been since he joined SJ.  If the Sharks’ PP can get a little better or if some more of his shots start going in then Boyle will easily eclipse 50 points again.  I do recognize that it is possible that neither of these things happen but again, even if these things don’t happen, Boyle is an extremely valuable commodity at his 2011-12 output levels
To help understand what Boyle’s value could be next season, FHG offers a really great option that allows you to use Dobber’s player predictions for the basis of rankings.  When I run Dobber’s predictions through FHG with my league settings, it calculates Boyle as the 27th most valuable player in the league.  Being able to see this information in this format made it incredibly easy for me to pull the trigger on this deal.  Having Boyle on my team solidifies me as an early favorite in this league if there is a season this year and even if there isn’t, at least I have acquired a top end talent to solidify my keepers going forward.  I may only get 2-3 years out of him but considering my team’s position it was well worth the price of a future draft pick.
Based on the above analysis, I would say that if there is a season this year then this deal is a homerun for me.  Boyle will be incredibly valuable to my team and my first round pick is likely to be somewhere between 10 and 12 overall next year (Okposo, Cammalleri and Ryder were taken there this season).  If this season indeed gets folded then I think that this deal will prove to be about even.  The opposing GM will get a lottery 1st and a replacement for Boyle (off of his own squad) which is a pretty huge return for a 37 year old defenseman, although  I likely will still end up with the most valuable player in the deal. 
For those of you who are in 1 year leagues or keepers of different formats, Boyle has a ton to offer you as well.  His average draft position is 69 and I can tell you that there aren’t many league formats out there where Boyle’s true value would be lower than that.  Boyle also contributes to most key categories that my league doesn’t measure such as PIMs (57 last season) and blocked shots (137 last season).  
To find out exactly how valuable Boyle is in your league, sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek today!  More importantly, if you are thinking of making some trades of your own then FHG is a great tool to understand the value that you are getting back and it can help make a tough decision really easy.  With differing opinions on when/if the lockout will end you may be able to find great value in a deal right now as I think I did with Boyle.

Published Sun, Dec 23rd, 2012