Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the seventh 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 Tage Thompson’s breakout, Brad Marchand’s latest suspension, or anything else that should have been easy to see coming if you had the right data. Let’s get it!
Too Hot to Touch
Andreas Johnsson, LW – NJD
Johnsson has blown up in his last three games, with seven points in those three games including a four-point effort against the Flyers on Sunday. On the season Johnsson has 18 points in 20 games for a 74-point pace. As you might expect, however, Johnsson’s underlying stats are rife with signs of impending regression. The 72% individual points percentage (IPP) is high, the 26% shooting percentage (S%) is extremely inflated, and the on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) is a touch hot at 12.7% too. Johnsson is playing well to be sure, but well as in a 50-point player rest of season (ROS), not a 74-point player. One more point against Johnsson is his relatively low average time on ice at just 15:02 per game. It’s just extremely difficult for a player to maintain a high level of play without those extra minutes.
Roope Hintz, C – DAL
Roope Hintz was considered by many to be a drop early in the season when pucks just weren’t going in for him. I hope you held on because Hintz has become one of the most valuable players in fantasy over the last few weeks. Hintz is sporting an outsized 41% S% and 23.5% oiSH% over his last five games, two truly ridiculous numbers. However I’m still on board with Hintz in general. In his twenty games this season, Hintz has upped his shots/60 and individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60) numbers to truly elite levels: he ranks third in the league in iSCF/60 behind only Auston Matthews and Timo Meier. Hintz is somewhat of a case study in how you may still want to hang onto a player who is overperforming. Despite the reduced minutes (16:34 average in his last five games), Hintz is crushing his assignments with aplomb and he should easily find himself in the 70-point range by the end of the season, with upside for even more should his usage increase.
Honourable Mentions: Dmitry Orlov, D – WSH // John Carlson, D – WSH // Vladislav Gavrikov, D – CBJ // Justin Faulk, D – STL // Nazem Kadri, C – COL // Ryan Johansen, C – NSH // Michael Bunting, LW – TOR // Joe Pavelski, RW – DAL //
The Right Amount of Hot
Jesper Bratt, RW – NJD
In direct contrast to linemate Andreas Johnsson, Jesper Bratt has been slowly convincing me he’s the real deal. He’s grown his shot and chance generation rates consistently year over year and taken a significant step this year in that department which could likely be attributed to finding the chemistry he clearly has with Johnsson and Dawson Mercer. On the season, Bratt’s IPP is in line with his career averages, the shooting percentage is an unremarkable 10.7%, and the oiSH% could be a touch high at 11.9%. What’s most promising about Bratt’s advanced statistic profile is the huge jump Bratt has taken in his on-ice Corsi For and scoring chance for rates (CF/60 and SCF/60, respectively). Bratt ranks 14th in the league on the season in SCF/60, immediately following these five players: Timo Meier, Johnny Gaudreau, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Matthew Tkachuk. That’s elite company and I’m buying in.
Tage Thompson, C – BUF
Tage Thompson has forced himself onto the fantasy hockey landscape with a pair of two goal games in his last three. I was interested in Thompson’s upside this offseason and even made a bold prediction that he’d lead the Sabres in goals this season (although I still thought he’d score less than 20). Thompson has cemented himself as the Sabres’ top line and top power play pivot and is a go to shooter on that unit. On the season he’s averaging a healthy 17:37 a game and over 10 shots/60 which is a benchmark I look for in scorers. He ranks 10th on the season in individual Corsi For/60 (iCF/60), right in between Andrei Svechnikov and Matthew Tkachuk. I’m not willing to say that Thompson will maintain this pace all season long as his S% and oiSH% are both a tad on the higher side of what I’d expect, but he absolutely will be in the fantasy conversation all season long and I’m happy to have been one of the first movers on him this season.
Honourable Mentions: Kirill Kaprizov, LW – MIN // William Nylander, RW – TOR // Trevor Zegras, C – ANA // Timo Meier, RW – SJS // Artemi Panarin, LW – NYR // Aaron Ekblad, D – FLA // Evan Bouchard, D – EDM // Adam Boqvist, CBJ – D //
Colder than Ice
Tyler Seguin, C – DAL
I don’t think it’s a secret that Seguin has been awful this season, with just 9 points in 20 games and zero in his last five. In that stretch Seguin ranks 399th in the league in shots/60 and 290th in iSCF/60, both areas that Seguin has performed well in previously. If Seguin maintains his current season-long iSCF/60 rate, it would mark the fifth straight season that it’s declined. Sometimes players hit their decline earlier than others and I’m starting to wonder if this is just the new normal for Seguin. Seguin should probably have a few more points on the season (his IPP is just 43%), but his ice time has decreased and Roope Hintz’s surge has made Seguin’s contributions less important to the team than ever before in his Dallas career. Seguin finally found the scoresheet tonight as I wrote this article, but if I had Seguin anywhere I’d be desperately trying to move him on name value for anything above a streamer level play.
Nick Suzuki, C – MTL
First let’s just acknowledge that Montreal is broken and it doesn’t appear that coach Dominique Ducharme has the magic sauce to turn the ship around. Second, let’s apply the shots/60 and iSCF/60 test to Suzuki that we just ran on Seguin above: Suzuki ranks 389th in shots/60 and 354th in iSCF/60 over his last five games. Suzuki has been a wildly streaky player in his young NHL career and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him pick it up again at some point but I’m not interested in holding him to find out when exactly that will hit (if it does). There are simply better options available in almost every league over what Suzuki can offer you currently.
Honourable Mentions: Mathew Barzal, C – NYI // Vincent Trocheck, C – CAR // Josh Morrissey, D – WPG // Brent Burns, D – SJS // Oliver Kylington, D – CGY // Jonathan Toews, C – CHI // Brayden Schenn, RW – STL // Thomas Chabot, D – OTT //
Frozen but Thawing
Brock Boeser, RW – VAN
I’ve picked up Brock Boeser in leagues he’s been dropped in and it’s been trying my patience waiting for his points to come. But they’re undoubtedly coming. Boeser ranks 23rd in the league over his last five games in iCF/60 and while on the season he’s only managed 9 points in 21 games, there are very discernable reasons for that slump. There’s nothing wrong with Boeser’s individual chance generation rates, while his current CF/60 would actually be a career high. The big number here is an atrocious 6.7% oiSH% – Boeser has had an oiSH% north of 12% in both of the past two seasons so it’s entirely conceivable that almost 40% more goals should have been scored with Boeser on the ice so far this season. Combine that with a terrible 7.4% S% and it’s easy to see the path back to fantasy production for Boeser. Some people will compare the Vancouver situation to Buffalo last season and how that submarined Taylor Hall’s season, but Buffalo was trending down in every advanced stat imaginable whereas I don’t see that anywhere in Boeser’s underlying numbers.
Mark Scheifele, C – WPG
I’m pretty unworried about Scheifele. We did this song and dance with Mika Zibanejad last year too after his bout with COVID where it took a solid month for Zibanejad to get his season back on track. Scheifele’s rate stats are not good, but his luck metrics are off-the-charts bad: he’s shooting 6.3% as a guy who normally pushes 18%, and has an 8.7% oiSH% where he’s usually up around 12%. If that weren’t enough, his IPP is in the gutter at 47%. Scheifele should easily have an extra 7-8 points on the season and he’s not even playing particularly well right now – once he gets back on track he’ll be exactly who you expected as a point per game center.
Honourable Mentions: Nikolaj Ehlers, RW – WPG // Blake Coleman, LW – CGY // Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D – VAN // Jeff Petry, D – MTL // Shea Theodore, D – VGK // Jaccob Slavin, D – CAR // Patrick Kane, RW – CHI // Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, LW – EDM // Sean Couturier, C – PHI // Travis Konecny, RW – PHI //
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!