Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the sixth installment of a weekly article I’ll be writing all season long in which I’ll deep dive some hot and cold players and determine if they’re worth trying to acquire or sell off. Before we dive in, be sure to check out the Apples & Ginos community on Discord and the Apples & Ginos Patreon for even more content. I’m in there every day and would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Cale Makar’s highlight reel, my grandmother’s bacon-wrapped turkey, or anything else that makes me drool uncontrollably. Let’s get it!
Too Hot to Touch
Nazem Kadri, C – COL
I almost considered not putting Kadri here since everyone and their grandmother has beaten this drum already. But Kadri is on an absolutely unbelievable streak, one that is actually pretty hard to quantify. Kadri is currently on a five-game MULTI-point streak. That’s right, he’s scored two or more points in five straight games. His points/60 predictably leads the league during this stretch, but to put it into context his points/60 is more than double the points/60 of the skater ranked 18th in the league in points/60 the last five games. Kadri is literally lapping the competition currently, and I like a lot of what I see: He’s 31st in the league in individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60) in these last five games while skating a very healthy 19:33 per game. But Kadri has all the earmarks of regression: an 82% individual point percentage (IPP), a 22% shooting percentage (S%), and an ungodly 20% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%). I projected Kadri for a 55-point pace on the season and I still think that’s not a bad line considering his deployment will undoubtedly take a hit when Mackinnon comes back.
Lucas Raymond, RW – DET
Raymond has been absolute dynamite this season including five points in his last five games. But there are some warning signs under the hood here. Raymond ranks 171st in the league in iSCF/60 during that stretch with a 100% IPP and 29% S%. The team context isn’t much better as Raymond ranks 260th in the league in on-ice scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) over these five games. Rookies are typically unpredictable and subject to more wild ups and downs over the course of the season, and we could be heading into a bit of lull for Raymond. If you want to sell high on Raymond now and you can get a more established player with equivalent production in return I would support that move simply to take the risk of a rookie slump away.
Honourable Mentions: Zach Sanford, RW – OTT // Kaapo Kakko, RW – NYR // Trevor Zegras, C – ANA // Steven Stamkos, RW – TBL // Sonny Milano, LW – ANA // Andrew Mangiapane, LW – CGY // Dylan Larkin, C – DET // John Carlson, D – WSH // Rasmus Dahlin, D – BUF // Alex Goligoski, MIN – D // Zach Werenski, D – CBJ
The Right Amount of Hot
Cale Makar, D – COL
If you haven’t followed my work previously, you might not know that Apples & Ginos is a Cale Makar stan account:
Makar is doing some pretty ridiculous things right now, with eight points in his last five games including six goals. As you might imagine, there’s some unsustainability in Makar’s numbers with a 24% S% and 16% oiSH%. But the 57% IPP is not obscene for a player of Makar’s caliber and don’t forget that Nathan Mackinnon’s imminent return to the Colorado lineup will only help matters further. Makar ranks 14th in the entire league in shots/60 and 5th in individual Corsi For/60 (iCF/60) over these past five games, a tremendous achievement for a forward let alone a defenseman. Suffice it to say that Makar is currently generating offense at a level no other defenseman in the league is even capable of. He’s not going to score 40 goals, but he could certainly be a point per game defenseman and I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to say about anyone else in the league currently.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW – CGY
Gaudreau is on an absolute bender right now and in a world without Nazem Kadri, Gaudreau’s hot streak might be the talk of the league. Johnny Hockey has eight points over his current five-game point streak and leads the league in every individual rate stat imaginable in those five games: shots/60, iCF/60, and iSCF/60. Oh, and he’s also first in the league in on-ice SCF/60 during that period. His oiSH% and S% are a touch high at 14% and 18%, respectively, but Gaudreau is looking more and more like a point-per-game pace may be completely sustainable on the year. I’m hanging onto Gaudreau wherever I have him and riding him until something changes.
Honourable Mentions: David Pastrnak, RW – BOS // Matthew Tkachuk, RW – CGY // Brandon Saad, LW – STL // Timo Meier, RW – SJS // Roman Josi, D – NSH // Jamie Drysdale, D – ANA // Tony DeAngelo, D – CAR // Garnet Hathaway, RW – WSH // Denis Gurianov, RW – DAL
Colder than Ice
Brent Burns, D – SJS
I don’t know what exactly is going on with Brent Burns right now, but the man is averaging a putrid 1.38 shots/60 over his last five games. That ranks 539th in the league over that period! It’s getting harder and harder to shake the idea that we could be looking at the last leg of Burns’ decline into fantasy irrelevance. It’s a sad day but I am not interested in rostering Burns currently and would be looking to trade him for what I could at this point. Burns still provides blocks but the hits have completely dried up in recent years meaning when he doesn’t get a point he’s not worth having in your fantasy lineup. It’s tough to give up on any defenseman getting 26 minutes of ice time a night, but I am very pessimistic on Burns’ upside rest of season.
Alex Iafallo, LW – LAK
Iafallo went from the hottest thing to the coldest player in the league with incredible alacrity. It’s really hard to get excited about a guy who is currently spending his 5v5 time alongside Rasmus Kupari and Brendan Lemieux and has been bumped off the top PP by everyone from Viktor Arvidsson to rookie Arthur Kaliyev. Iafallo ranks 222nd in the league in shots/60 over his last five games and 181st in SCF/60 – there’s just not a lot here to work with. Iafallo remains a guy you can stream when he’s on the Kopitar line and the top power play unit, but should be off your radar as soon as he’s not. In fact, that’s pretty much how you should treat any Kings forward not named Kopitar: if they’re on the first line and top power play unit, they’re rosterable. When that changes, kick them to the curb.
Matt Grzelcyk, D – BOS // Keith Yandle, D – PHI // Moritz Seider, D – DET // Blake Coleman, LW – CGY // Brock Boeser, RW – VAN // Jonathan Toews, C – CHI // Dominik Kubalik, LW – CHI // James van Riemsdyk, LW – PHI
Frozen but Thawing
Elias Pettersson, C – VAN
I’m very interested in buying Elias Pettersson if his current manager is fed up with him. This one feels a lot like Mika Zibanejad’s start to the 2021 season and I think Pettersson could definitely bounce back in a big way from his ice-cold start to the season. On the season, Pettersson’s shot rate is higher than any of his previous three seasons and his 53% IPP, 5.4% S%, and 8% oiSH% all scream positive regression. Of late, Pettersson has improved his shot rate and iSCF/60 even further and I just can’t see how a player this talented can be held off the scoresheet forever. Vancouver may be making changes as an organization, but Pettersson is a foundational building block and I have zero doubts about his ability to score points in the National Hockey League.
Andrew Copp, RW – WPG
After a scalding start Copp has come back down to earth and latest practice lines have Copp on a clear cut PP2 unit. But there are some very positive signs for Copp in his last five games where he’s only managed a single assist. He’s skating 21:03 a night and ranks 19th in the league in shots/60 despite that heavy usage. His oiSH% of 6% won’t stay there long either – Copp has taken a significant step playing consistent minutes with the high end talent in Winnipeg’s top-six and I have no reason to believe he’s about to stop anytime soon. If your league’s Copp manager is getting antsy because of Copp lack of production prior to 2021, I’d be ready to swoop in and make an offer.
Honourable Mentions: Travis Konecny, RW – PHI // Sean Couturier, C – PHI // Matt Roy, D – LAK // Mark Giordano, SEA – D // Vladimir Tarasenko, RW – STL // Ross Colton, RW – TBL // Jesse Puljujarvi, RW – EDM // Sam Reinhart, RW – FLA
That’s all for this one folks, I hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it! 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. If you want to learn more about any of the advanced stats I mentioned in this article, be sure to check out my article on applying advanced stats to fantasy hockey, or check out Natural Stat Trick’s advanced stats glossary.
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!