Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the fourteenth installment of a weekly article I’ve been writing all season long in which I 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 including a weekly waiver wire article detailing all the best streamers and pickups for the upcoming week. I’m in the Discord every day and would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Chris Kreider, Mike Bossy, or any other of the greatest goal scorers the league has ever seen. Let’s get it!
Too Hot to Touch
Chris Kreider, LW – NYR
Let me be clear: Kreider is playing the best hockey of his career by every statistical measure possible. The average time on ice (ATOI) is up, the shot rate is up, the individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60) are up, it’s all good for Kreider. But on the season Kreider is running a 70% individual points percentage (IPP), which would be his highest mark of the past four seasons by more than 15%. Combine that with a 21.9% shooting percentage (S%) versus his career 14.7% average, and you have a cocktail ready for regression. Kreider has undoubtedly raised his floor significantly, but I will give you good odds that he will not end the season as the league leader in goals.
Mats Zuccarello, RW – MIN
It’s time to pump the brakes just a little on the runaway Minnesota train. Zuccarello has greatly enjoyed his position as the third member of the Kaprizov/Hartman top line in Minny, and he should continue to be fantasy relevant for the rest of the season. But Zuccarello is on a nine-game point streak accumulating 16 points in that stretch, and that’s simply not going to continue. Zuccarello is a clear third wheel on the Minnesota top line in terms of chance generation, which means he’s much more dependent on Kaprizov and Hartman than they are on him. If and when things go cold for a stretch (which Zuccarello’s on-ice shooting percentage suggests is a near certainty), Zuccarello’s production is likely to suffer the most.
Brayden Schenn, RW – STL // Nick Schmaltz, C – ARI // Mika Zibanejad, C – NYR // Adam Fox, D – NYR // Jeff Carter, C – PIT // Nico Sturm, C – MIN // Sam Reinhart, RW – FLA // Vincent Trocheck, C – FLA
The Right Amount of Hot
Sean Monahan, C – CGY
I’m not here to predict a return to point-per-game form from Sean Monahan. But Monahan has three goals in his last five games, and I don’t think it’s crazy to think Monahan could be fantasy-relevant the rest of the season. The Flames have played just 38 games on the season meaning they have some catching up to do and a lot of that is coming in the next few weeks. Monahan has ripped off five straight games of at least 3 iSCF, and as the fourth forward on Calgary’s PP1 unit he always has potential to find a point there even if his 5v5 deployment isn’t terrific.
Evgeni Malkin, C – PIT
Malkin hasn’t wasted much time getting back into the superstar groove, dropping nine points in his first eight games back from injury. Malkin is currently on a five-game point streak and has 3 iSCF or more in four of those five games. His ATOI has crept up to pre-COVID levels of late as well and I expect him to all systems go from here on out. Malkin is the definition of an injury-prone player, but his contributions to your lineup are well worth the risk.
David Pastrnak, RW – BOS // Timo Meier, RW – SJS // Roope Hintz, C – DAL // Teuvo Teravainen, RW – CAR // Jeff Skinner, RW – BUF // Sidney Crosby, C – PIT // Alex Formenton, LW – OTT // Matthew Tkachuk, LW – CGY //
Colder than Ice
Neal Pionk, D – WPG
Pionk is a tough study. On the season it looks like his lack of point production is due to a 9% drop in his IPP year over year and a little less luck in the oiSH% department. His on-ice stats including Corsi For/60 (CF/60) and scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) are actually better than they’ve ever been before. But Pionk is trending the wrong way, with just six shots on goal in his last five games despite seeing more than 22 minutes of ice time in each game. I’m not ready to write off Pionk, but he’s getting into that “watch closely” kind of territory with his play of late.
Logan Couture, C – SJS
Couture has gone cold of late with just two assists in his last six games. To some extent, Couture is hampered by the fact that San Jose really has a single top-six caliber winger in Timo Meier and he and Tomas Hertl have been dominant together on the Shark top line while Couture has been tasked with carrying a line alongside the likes of Alexander Barabanov or Jonathan Dahlen. But Couture’s individual chance generation seems to have dried up of late, and not all of it can be blamed on his linemates. In tonight’s tilt with the Capitals Couture and Meier were reunited at 5v5 and Couture gathered an assist (despite yet again not generating many chances of his own accord). For me Couture is nothing more than a streaming play unless Meier is on his line and I’d be trying to trade him for something a little more steady where possible.
Keith Yandle, D – PHI // Kirby Dach, C – CHI // Alexis Lafreniere, LW – NYR // Jonathan Toews, C – CHI // Phillip Danault, C – LAK // Jakob Chychrun, D – ARI // Dustin Brown, RW – LAK
Frozen but Thawing
Jordan Eberle, RW – SEA
Eberle is mired in a massive slump, with zero points in his last seven games. But I foresee better things ahead for Eberle, who is averaging 4 iSCF per game and nearly 3 shots per game in that stretch. This looks to be just some bad luck for Eberle, who is producing right in line with his numbers from the last few years with the Islanders if you look at his season stats. Eberle’s status as the top line RW and PP1 specialist seem very secure and I would have no trouble acquiring Eberle in a deeper league or streaming him for a week in a shallower one.
Jamie Benn, LW – DAL
It’s been a season to forget for Benn, who has just 17 points in 40 games and zero points in his last ten. But there are signs of life here with Benn, who has generated at least 3 iSCF in four of his last five games and should be benefiting from the suddenly hot Tyler Seguin on his line and the resurgence of Denis Gurianov. Benn is playing better than his 2020 self and I would expect better things to come for him in the near future. I don’t see a 60-point pace as too realistic, but if Benn can give you a 50-point pace and maintain his tremendous hit production you’ll be content to roster him in your bangers cats league.
Dylan Coghlan, D – VGK // Zach Werenski, D – CBJ // Brent Burns, D – SJS // Noah Dobson, D – NYI // Josh Anderson, RW – MTL // Sean Durzi, D – LAK // Craig Smith, RW – BOS // Arthur Kaliyev, RW – LAK
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: Purpose by Justin Bieber
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick