Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the ninth installment of a weekly article I’ll be writing all season long in which I’ll try to determine the truth about puzzling players. I pull suggestions for which players to write about for these articles from the Apples & Ginos community on Discord and the Apples & Ginos Patreon members. Be sure you check out those spots to catch up with me and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Andrei Svechnikov’s average time on ice, traffic, or anything else that makes me irrationally angry. Let’s get it!
Andrei Svechnikov, LW – CAR
I really didn’t want to write about Svechnikov; just seeing his name makes me angry these days. To be clear, it’s nothing to do with Svechnikov himself, who I believe has clear top-15 fantasy asset upside. I just have absolutely no confidence in Rod Brind’Amour to do the right thing and play Svechnikov 18+ minutes a night alongside Sebastian Aho for the rest of the season. Svechnikov has zero points in his last four games and a single goal in his last seven, but the shot and individual scoring chance for/60 (iSCF/60) rates look great – Svechnikov is 14th in the league in iSCF/60 over his last four games after missing a game with an upper body injury. If you could tell me that Svechnikov averages 18+ minutes a night for the rest of the season, I would tell you he’ll score at an 80-90 point pace. But I would place the odds of that happening at something less than 10% given how Brind’Amour has steadfastly stuck to rolling out the Jesper Fasts of his lineup over Svechnikov half of the time. I view Svech as a 65-70 point guy with great banger stats currently – a great fantasy asset but one that will constantly leave me wanting more.
Verdict: Love the player, hate the coach
Ondrej Kase, RW – TOR
Ondrej Kase is a player I’m pretty excited about for the immediate future. With Mitch Marner on the shelf with a shoulder injury, Kase has laid claim to Marner’s spot on the top line and top power play and has put up five points in his last five games. Kase’s ice time has jumped up to 18:10 and 19:04 in the last two games and he ranks 30th in the NHL in shots/60 and 45th in iSCF/60 over the last five. Kase could legitimately put up a point per game as long as his deployment holds – he’s been generating chances all season long. Longer term Kase’s outlook is much more unclear as he’s been a dynamite member of the Leafs’ shutdown third line and he would realistically have to switch to left wing to maintain a spot in the top six once Marner comes back. I think it’s best to view Kase as a two or three week pickup and enjoy the ride while it lasts but not worry too much about hanging onto him if he’s dropped back to the third line when Marner returns.
Verdict: Terrific pickup for the immediate future, long-term rosterability much less predictable
Jesper Bratt, RW – NJD
I’m a fan of what Jesper Bratt has done this season and I don’t think it outlandish to put him on a 65-point pace ROS with upside for a little more if things break right. He seems to be cemented on the top power play unit and is averaging over 18 minutes a game of late. But I am a little considered that Bratt’s shot and iSCF/60 have started to slip of late. The points are still there but it feels a little bit like the floor is getting pulled out from underneath that production and there could be an incoming dip. The next few games will go a long way to determine what I think of Bratt for the rest of the season, but I think even if the production falls off a bit he will remain fantasy relevant as long as he maintains this level of usage.
Verdict: Could be in for a bit of a downturn unless he picks up the pace a bit, but should be a rosterable player ROS
Eeli Tolvanen, LW – NSH
I like Eeli Tolvanen, and his recent bump to the second line and top power play piqued my interest. The 9.79 iSCF/60 to go with 17:04 ATOI over his last five games is a very solid combo for fantasy production. Unfortunately, the Predators currently have both Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen which has left Tolvanen playing with Luke Kunin and Colton Sissons at even strength. While Tolvanen can certainly rack up hits and shots for you in his newfound 17 minutes per game, I don’t think we can reasonably expect much more than a 45-point pace for him with his current linemates. Tolvanen is a solid streaming option for me, but I’m going to need him to maintain top six and top PP deployment in order for him to be anything more.
Verdict: A streamer with some upside, but current injuries make it hard to trust him for many points
Jake Oettinger, G – DAL
Jake Oettinger has been terrific since his call up Nov. 13th. The counting stats are gaudy: a 1.52 GAA and .951 SV% in seven starts. Oettinger hasn’t had a single outing with a save percentage less than .909 yet. But despite that performance, lately Braden Holtby has been commanding the lion’s share of the goalie starts in Dallas, starting three of four games this past week and getting into what’s looking like a two games in, one game out routine. My unshakeable belief that Holtby is bad at hockey makes me think that this arrangement is temporary, but I’d be lying if I tried to tell you when that dropoff in performance and consequent increase in opportunity for Oettinger might arise. Unfortunately, it looks like for the time being Oettinger is simply one of the best backups in the league.
Verdict: Like the player a lot, but hard to say when the opportunity will match the talent. A streaming level goalie until Dallas breaks the current goalie start routine
Before you go, I want you to know I recently launched the Apples and Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast and I would be much obliged if you were to give it the time of day. I’ll be providing weekly shows focused on the strategy elements of fantasy hockey and I’m very excited about providing more value to the fantasy hockey community in this way. I’ve already had terrific guests like TJ Branson from Five Hole Fantasy Hockey and Elan Dubrofsky from Keeping Karlsson on the show and I believe the content is top notch.
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!
Soundtrack to my writing: Greatest Hits – Ne-Yo
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick