Welcome back for the third installment of my series on the top NHL fantasy hockey players of 2019/20, where I dive deep into how they performed this year and try to project what their 2020/21 season might look like. You can go back and read my previous article on Connor McDavid here. Let’s get some basics on Pastrnak out of the way…
Unofficial Attractiveness Score (as judged by my wife): 4/10
Pastrnak has consistently grown his game year over year, but exploded this season to a level few NHL players have ever achieved. Most notable was the jump to a league-leading 48 goals when his previous high was 38 (albeit in 4 less games). I invested eight minutes in watching all 48 of those goals and counted maybe five or six goals that could be considered lucky but the vast majority looked like pure goal-scorer’s goals. Let’s break it down a little more:
We start with IPP as usual, where Pastrnak was up to 78.51% which is the highest mark of any full NHL season he’s played, but not totally out of line with his 2018/19 mark of 75%. His TOI/GP was in line with 2018/19 but did include a 22-second/game increase in PP time. His assist rates look nearly identical to 2018/19 so the increase in production can be pretty much solely attributed to the increase in goals for. This drives me to place more emphasis than normal on the individual chance-for stats (ixG, iCF, iFF, iSCF, & iHCF) to see if Pastrnak generated more chances in 2019/20 than before or just converted more of them. As we can see across the board he generated far more chances in 2019/20 than ever before, which lends credence to the possibility that this could just be Pastrnak’s new normal. He did shoot 1% better than in 18/19 for a third straight career-high, but also generated more than an extra shot/60.
Going a little deeper, Pastrnak did not get a big boost on the power play, which can sometimes be an unsustainable improvement. The Bruins powerplay in general has been a top-flight unit the entire time Pastrnak has been on it, and it’s hard to predict a significant regression there. 5-on-5 Pastrnak actually generated significant more chances per 60 than 2018/19 and really it looks like this is a player that has leveled up for the second time in as many years. He may get a little less lucky in shooting % and IPP% in 2020/21, but the underlying stats suggest Pastrnak was just a better player in 2019/20 than in 2018/19 and there’s no reason to suggest he’ll regress significantly in the near future. He also benefits from playing for a top-flight team with top-flight linemates in a very secure situation, which is very important when evaluating floor for your fantasy draft 1st round picks.
I’d put Pastrnak’s floor right around 100 points for the 2020/21 season assuming an 82-game season, with a ceiling around 113 points (he produced at a 111-point pace this year). I’m probably more bullish than most will be on Pasta, but he looks like a top-5 scorer in the league for the foreseeable future.
2020/21 Projection: 82 GP, 49 G, 55 A, 104 PTS
- The Pasta tastes real good
- Underlying stats make this level of production look legit, especially 5-on-5
- Will probably come just off his 111-point-pace of 2019/20 due to slight IPP% & S% regressions
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