Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, this time looking into potential buys and sells after the fifth week of NHL action. First I want to take a second to invite you to join the Apples & Ginos Discord server where you can ask questions and chat with other like-minded fantasy managers on anything fantasy or hockey-related. With that said, let’s get into the buys and sells of the week.
Guys You Should Put on Your Watch List:
Kaapo Kakko, RW – NYR (11% owned on Yahoo)
It may feel a bit odd to see Kakko touted here despite just being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list by the Rangers, but there’s good reason here. Kakko had been on an under-the-radar hot streak everywhere but the counting stats, earning a place on the top PP unit and top line alongside Artemi Panarin in the process. Over his last four games Kakko averaged 17:59 a night, ranking 20th in the league in individual scoring chances for/60 over that time period and 31st in on-ice expected goals for/60. His counting stats were held down by a horrific 4.3% on-ice team shooting percentage, but Kakko had all the earmarks of a player who was about to pop: rising underlying rate stats and increased deployment. Jack Quinn is known to throw his lines in the blender but if Kakko comes right back onto the Panarin line and top PP unit he will absolutely be worth an add.
Kevin Labanc, RW – SJ (4% owned on Yahoo)
I featured Labanc on last week’s article but clearly it wasn’t enough to get his ownership up as he’s still just 4% owned despite skating 17 minutes a night on the Sharks’ top line and top PP unit. Labanc came through for me last week with three points in three games and will help your peripheral cats as well, averaging about a hit per game and 2.5 shots per game on the season. I guarantee that there are significantly worse players being rostered in all of your leagues right now, and if you find a need for a winger add, you could do much worse than Labanc.
Honourable Mentions: Martin Necas, RW – CAR (11% owned), Joel Eriksson Ek, C – MIN (33% owned), Ty Smith, D – NJD (36% owned), Jesse Puljujarvi, RW – EDM (27% owned).
Hot Streaks to Believe In:
Tyson Barrie, D – EDM
Barrie has been on an extended bender with 14 points in his last 12 games. Over his last five games, Barrie ranks 4th among all defensemen in on-ice xGF/60 and SCF/60, and is averaging 3 shots per game. Barrie’s on-ice team S% is undoubtedly high at 16.7% in those same five games, but his IPP is only 41.7% over those games so I’m not too concerned at all. Barrie is about as locked in as any defenseman in the league and while Evan Bouchard’s recent surge has turned some heads I don’t see anyone taking Barrie’s job anytime soon while he continues to facilitate McDavid and Draisaitl’s brilliance.
Kyle Palmieri, RW – NJD
Palmieri has exploded upon the Devils’ return to play, dropping six points in their four games this week. Palmieri is skating 17 minutes a night alongside Jack Hughes is making the most of it, firing 10.6 shots/60 (51st in the league) including 12.4 individual scoring chances for/60 (21st in the league). The on-ice and person shooting percentages are high at 16.3% and 25% respectively, but Palmieri is legitimately driving scoring chances. His on-ice team scoring chances for/60 ranks 45th in the league over those four games. No one is suggesting Palmieri is now suddenly a point-per-game player or better, but the 25-30 goal, 55-60 point player we all knew he could be appears to be back.
Honourable Mentions: Sidney Crosby, C – PIT, Bryan Rust, RW – PIT, Kevin Fiala, RW – MIN, Elias Pettersson, C – VAN.
Hot Streaks to Fade:
Auston Matthews, C – TOR
I’m going to float something here that’s going to sound like heresy: now is the time to trade Auston Matthews if you have him. I’m not saying you have to, and the reasons not to are obvious to everyone. But that physical revulsion you felt when you read that first sentence is exactly why it could be time to dangle him. He’s shooting a little less than usual and clicking at 35% over his last 5 games, which should surprise no one; you have to be insanely efficient to approach the kind of pace he’s put up so far this season. His individual scoring chance for rates are 7th in the league over his last 5 games and 4th on the season. He’s helping in hits and blocks as well which is added value. But if you can extract a king’s ransom from that Leaf fan in your league (and let’s be serious, there’s always one), you should at least consider it. I would be looking for minimum two elite-level pieces in return – a Jack Eichel plus Dougie Hamilton type return.
Drew Doughty, D – LAK
Doughty has caught fire of late, putting up eight points in his last five games and making a lot of fantasy managers ask the question: is the old Doughty back? The short answer: no, he’s been pretty wildly lucky. There’s the 66.7% IPP, the 12.5% S%, or the 18.8% on-ice S% in the advanced stats. Doughty ranks a pedestrian 86th among defensemen in on-ice scoring chances for/60 and 120th in shots/60. While he certainly makes up for some of those rate stats with the 25 minutes a night he skates, it’s safe to say that the Kings are very hot right now and Doughty is benefiting while not providing a lot of added value with his own play. Doughty’s hot streak could end as quickly as this week against the Blues and Wild.
Honourable Mentions: Cam Atkinson, RW – CLB, Anze Kopitar, C – LAK, Josh Morrissey, D – WPG, Pavel Zacha, C – NJD, Brock McGinn, LW – CAR.
Slumps that Won’t Last:
Evgeni Malkin, C – PIT
I may be fudging the lines of a “slump” with this one given that Malkin has three assists in his last couple of games, but I feel like the point needs to be made: Malkin’s underlying rates are (finally) on the rise. The individual numbers are still a bit more mediocre than we’d prefer (90th in iSCF/60, 66th in shots/60 over his last five games), but Malkin’s on-ice numbers are more than just OK. Over those last five games, Malkin sits 9th in the league in xGF/60, 11th in CF/60, & 8th in SCF/60. Combine that with a below-average on-ice S% of 8.2%, and you can see the potential for Malkin to start to turn up the heat now, especially with red-hot Bryan Rust back on his right wing.
Dougie Hamilton, D – CAR
Hamilton has put up some astonishing rate stats over the last little bit, ranking in the top 10 among defensemen in almost every worthwhile advanced stat imaginable over the last five games. 1st in shots/60. 6th in iSCF/60. 2nd in CF/60. 3rd in xGF/60. 4th in on-ice SCF/60. The on-ice S% doesn’t look crazy low at 9.3% but take a look at Hamilton’s IPP: 14.3%. We’re talking about a defenseman who should be a top 5 fantasy asset and scoring at a 20-goal pace but instead has just a single goal on the season. The dam will burst for Hamilton eventually, but if you can convince your league’s Hamilton owner otherwise, you might be able to find a steal of a deal.
Honourable Mentions: Max Pacioretty, LW – VGK, Dylan Larkin, C – DET, Roman Josi, D – NSH, Timo Meier, RW – SJ, Matthew Tkachuk, RW – CGY, Johnny Gaudreau, LW – CGY.
Slumps that Will Last:
Tom Wilson, RW – WSH
Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? I had Wilson as an honourable mention in last week’s article for hot streaks that won’t last, and now we have a five game stretch where Wilson has recorded one point (a goal) on four shots, and even his customary hits have dried up over the past three games (just four). Wilson ranks 513th in the NHL with 2.77 shots/60 over those five games, and marries that with a 2.68 xGF/60 that ranks 225th. Wilson will continue to carry value in bangers leagues, but he’s going to need to give his head a shake to get back to any kind of points-scoring pace in his upcoming games.
Josh Anderson, RW – MTL
Anderson’s line of Nick Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin has gone ice cold of late, and Anderson has unfortunately been part of the problem. He’s still throwing his weight around with 26 hits in his last five games, but the shots have dried up with just 5 in those same five games. He’s 156th in CF/60, 279th in SCF/60, and 424th in xGF/60 in those five games and while the 4.3% on-ice shooting percentage portends to better things, Anderson himself is shooting 20% in those five games with one goal on those aforementioned five shots. He might pick up some cheap points when Suzuki and Drouin get a little more lucky, but Anderson is not creating any luck for his line currently and needs to find his game back in a bad way.
Honourable Mentions: Claude Giroux, LW – PHI, Jonathan Drouin, LW – MTL, Kailer Yamamoto, RW – EDM.
That’s all for this one folks! Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter and join the Apples & Ginos Discord server for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have.
Thanks for reading, you are much appreciated!