Derek Roy, Danny Briere, Stephen Weiss Looking for Career Resurgence

Derek Roy
Derek Roy
Apr 8 2013 Vancouver British Columbia CAN Vancouver Canucks forward Derek Roy 15 during the third period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Rogers Arena The Vancouver Canucks won 2 0 Mandatory Credit Anne Marie Sorvin USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every year there are a few players that I look at during the off-season and say to myself “yeah, he could do better this year!” But I am often disappointed. Derek Roy, Danny Briere and Stephen Weiss have found themselves a new team during the Free Agent Frenzy and are hoping for a career resurgence, which means they are now relevant in the fantasy hockey world (possibly) again. To what degree they are relevant again is another matter.

C – Derek Roy – St. Louis Blues

Derek Roy is a player who has disappointed me for a few seasons in a row now. A guy I typically planted on my team with a sixth through eighth round pick and produced for me – he put up 26+ goals, 69+ points and 215+ shots each year from 2007-2010. I kept going back to the well and after a 35-game season in 2010-2011 and 44 points in 80 games in 2011-2012, Roy again failed to live up to prior performance with 28 points in 42 games this season.

The Buffalo Sabres – the team Roy has played most of his career with – were a plus possession team during Roy’s heyday of 2007-2010. In and of itself, that’s not exceptional. But when combined with the fact that they were a pretty good shooting team over that stretch you can see why Roy did so well. Over that stretch, Roy was a 51.5% CorsiFor playing the bulk of his minutes with Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville. Pretty good line-mates and the results showed.

Since the end of the 2009-2010, it has been a different story. Roy is still a plus-possession player, but at just 50.6%. That 0.9% might not seem like a huge difference, but 58% of Roy’s Corsi events result in a shot on goal (shots on goal divided by Corsi events, which is any shot on net, missed shot, blocked shot or goal). At a difference of 0.034 Corsi/minute of 5 on 5, that’s an extra 102 Corsi events over three years of 5 on 5 play (roughly). If 59 of those Corsi events end up in shots on net, at his career shooting efficiency of 12.4%, that’s 7-8 goals Roy has theoretically lost in the last three years simply from 0.9% less possession. Games played factor into this and the assumption is made of an 82-game season, but you can see how even a small difference in Corsi can affect a player’s production.

Roy is going to one of the best possession teams in the NHL and figures to be their number two center. He just turned 30 a couple months ago and should be healthy—health has been an issue for him. I expect a rebound this year and 20 goals/40 assists isn’t a long-shot by any means.

C/W – Danny Briere – Montréal Canadiens

His face-offs taken declined this year, so Briere is probably more of a hybrid forward now, although I expect him to play mostly the wing in Montréal with Desharnais/Galchenyuk/Plekanec/Eller there now down the middle. Let’s start off with this: Briere is coming off his worst offensive season this millennium, turns 36 years old in three months and suffered a fractured wrist and his second concussion in two years last year. Sound like a player you want to give $8-million to?

Briere’s ability to stay on the ice is a primary issue; he hasn’t reached 80 games played since 2006-2007. All that aside, I will operate under the assumption that he plays 75 games or more this year.

From 2010-2013, the Flyers were a 49.5% CorsiFor% team, however Briere over that stretch was a 48.5% CF% player. This tells me he’s a player who can’t drive possession (remember what I wrote about Roy, even seemingly negligible Corsi differences can have big impacts on production) so his value will have to come from somewhere else. Over that same stretch, Montréal was a plus possession team who typically had a good power-play, so now we’ve found Briere’s niche.

Briere has 23 power-play points out of 65 total points his last two seasons, good for a 35.4% rate. In the two years prior, Briere had 32 of his 121 points come from the power-play, a 26.4% rate. He’s becoming more specialized in what he does (less face-offs, higher power-play points/all points ratio) which is a clear indication of a player that is declining but trying to stay valuable. He still has a penchant for taking penalties (between 69-87 PIMs from 2009-2012) and can still shoot at a high rate (he could get to 200 shots), so he’s not a fantasy wasteland by any stretch. He’s going to a good possession team with a good power-play, so there’s a chance he breaks out for 25 goals and 50 points. However, with the injury history and clear indication he’s declining, this is one of those scenarios where unless his value drops considerably – later than the 10th round, as an early guess – I will let him be someone else’s problem.

C – Stephen Weiss – Detroit Red Wings

I honestly am a little confounded as to what to think of Weiss going to the Red Wings. He has typically not been a strong possession player (although, not bad either), which isn’t surprising considering he’s spent his career playing for the Florida Panthers. When he was doing well (2008-2011), he was a 49.4% CF% player (Florida was a 47.2% CF% team), which is a minus-possession player but still high considering he’s never taken more than 180 shots on net in any season. His team on-ice SV% has ranged anywhere from .929% to .907%, which tells me he may actually be a better two-way forward than given credit for, seeing as for some reason he started much more often in the defensive zone than the offensive zone in 2010-2011.

So I would argue Weiss’s numbers were depressed from being on a bad possession team and that he’s a better two-way player than we think. Now that he’s playing behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, he’ll go from attracting some of the toughest competition to hopefully easier match-ups and he should be able to avoid an abundance of defensive zone face-offs.

I worry about players like Weiss for this reason: he doesn’t shoot a lot – his career shot rate of 1.9 shots/game is good for about 155 in a full season. A player like this can be highly susceptible to fluctuations in shooting percentage, even the great Alex Ovechkin can be susceptible to this. If Weiss shoots at his career rate of 11.7% at 155 shots, we can expect 18 goals. So in this sense, he should be a 20-goal scorer. However, even a dip down to 9% (he’s shot between 9%-10% twice in his career) can mean around 13 goals, in which case he goes from serviceable fantasy player to waiver-wire fodder. Be very careful when drafts come around, a better team doesn’t always mean more production, just ask Derek Roy last year.

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Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');