Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the fifteenth 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 Dylan Larkin, Jake Guentzel, or any other underappreciated stars. Let’s get it!
Too Hot to Touch
Anton Lundell, C – FLA
Lundell may have catapulted himself into the Calder conversation with his five-assist performance on Monday night against the Blue Jackets, but I have serious reservations about Lundell’s ability to maintain his current 61-point pace. On the season Lundell is taking 6.45 shots/60 with a slightly better individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60) mark of 7.56. Neither number is indicative of a 20+ goal scorer (and indeed Lundell is pacing for just 19 goals). That makes Lundell’s production primarily dependent on his teammates, and while you might be ready to call Mason Marchment the next elite scorer, the betting money is best placed elsewhere. Sam Reinhart’s current role on that line boosts Lundell and Marchment, but once Lundell’s unbelievable 14% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) starts to regress, I am sure it won’t take long for that situation to change as well. With Florida off until February 16th, I’m not holding Lundell or Marchment on hopes the magic is still there in two weeks.
Filip Forsberg, LW – NSH
Forsberg has had a magical season, shooting 25% (versus a previous career high 14.5% S%) with a 14% oiSH%. As much as I’d love for Forsberg to continue this torrid pace, the numbers suggest that without significant personal improvements in the shots/60 and iSCF/60 departments, he’s likely to fall off that pace and revert back to a state much more like his previous seasons. I like Forsberg for a 65-70 point pace ROS, but his current 60-goal pace is a bit much to stomach. Somehow Forsberg has been even hotter of late (38.5% S% in his last five games), but I don’t see how he can possibly sustain even a 20+% shooting percentage from here on out.
Mason Marchment, LW – FLA // Brandon Saad, LW – STL // Mats Zuccarello, RW – MIN // Dylan Strome, C – CHI // Vladimir Tarasenko, RW – STL // Brock Nelson, C – NYI
The Right Amount of Hot
Jake Guentzel, LW – PIT
Somehow Jake Guentzel still feels massively underrated despite currently pacing for his third straight season averaging over a point-per-game. Guentzel ranks 6th in the league in iSCF/60 over the past five games while skating 20:30 a game. Despite having six points in those five games, Guentzel still has just a 50% individual points percentage (IPP) and 8.7% S% and has registered at least 5 iSCF in six of his last seven games. The Pittsburgh top line of Guentzel/Sidney Crosby/Bryan Rust is absolutely on fire currently and I have no problems projecting Guentzel to continue his 90+ point pace for the rest of the season.
Dylan Larkin, C – DET
Larkin has really impressed me of late, increasing his shot volume and quality of chances. He’s posted less than 4 iSCF just once in his last five games, ringing up four goals and two assists in that span. Larkin is vastly outpacing his Detroit teammates in shot production and has absolutely been the straw that stirs the drink in Motown. I certainly have concerns about Larkin’s 18% S% and 12.4% oiSH% on the season, but even if Larkin regresses a bit from his current point-per-game pace, I don’t see him being less than a 70-point pace guy at any point in the remainder of the season which is really impressive stuff for a guy that a lot of people had written off prior to the season.
David Pastrnak, RW – BOS // Sam Bennett, C – FLA // Bryan Rust, RW – PIT // Mikael Backlund, C – CGY // Tage Thompson, C – BUF // Alex Tuch, RW – BUF // Michael Bunting, LW – TOR // Tyler Ennis, RW – OTT //
Colder than Ice
Alex Pietrangelo, D – VGK
I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly what is going wrong with Pietrangelo currently, but nothing looks good for the star defenseman currently. Pietrangelo ranks 107th among NHL defensemen in on-ice scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) in the last five games and just 45th in shots/60, a category he normally fares very well in. Given that Pietrangelo’s season-long numbers all show a similar (if less extreme) drop in his ability to generate chances for his team, I’m very worried about Pietrangelo’s upside ROS. Shea Theodore is all but established as the PP1 quarterback at this point which already limit’s Pietrangelo’s ceiling as a fantasy asset; combine that with ineffective play and you’re looking at a recipe for a prolonged slump.
Ivan Barbashev, LW – STL
Barbashev had a meteoric rise to fantasy relevance, reaching a 73-point pace on the season with a 4-point performance against Nashville on January 17th. Since then, Barbashev has run off five straight pointless games with declining ice time, only generating more than a single shot on goal once in that stretch. One has to wonder if the clock has finally hit midnight for Barbashev, who still harbors a 21% S% and 13.7% oiSH% on the season. I am not viewing Barbashev as more than a streaming option for the rest of the season, and with St. Louis only playing a pair of games next week I’d be comfortable dropping him if need be.
Max Comtois, LW – ANA // Ondrej Kase, RW – TOR // // Nico Hischier, C – NJD // Garnet Hathaway, RW – WSH // Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW – CBJ // John Klingberg, D – DAL //
Frozen but Thawing
Timo Meier, RW – SJS
You can be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed that Meier was on a bit of a cold spell, with just a single assist in his last five games – after all, he’s been one of the most bankable assets in all of fantasy this season. Until a zero-shot clunker against Tampa Bay this week, Meier had run off an eleven-game streak with at least 3 iSCF or more. That kind of consistency is exactly what has elevated Meier to fantasy star status this season, and I don’t believe it’s about to end now. Meier is third in the league in shots/60 and fourth in iSCF/60 on the season despite averaging 19 minutes of ice time per game, and those are numbers you simply can’t fake. If this cold spell lasts a bit longer I would be very interested in acquiring him from a panicking manager.
Dominik Kubalik, RW – CHI
Kubalik is a curious case, as he’s not someone I’m actively targeting in redraft leagues. For whatever reason Kubalik seems to have fallen out of favour in Chicago and has been forced to play with the likes of Kirby Dach and Philipp Kurashev down the lineup. Despite the lack of prime deployment Kubalik’s individual numbers are not all that far off his career averages and I do think this could be a bit of a Jeff Skinner situation with a player who needs to be unleashed offensively in order to reap the benefits of his skill set. With the Blackhawks an absolute tire fire this season, I’m not likely to pick up Kubalik anytime soon but I am consciously putting in a reminder for myself for next year that Kubalik has more to give than he’s shown this season. It’s also a great time to give him a look in dynasty leagues as I’m sure many of his current managers are fed up with his lack of production.
Evgenii Dadonov, RW – VGK // Conor Garland, RW – VAN // Tomas Hertl, C – SJS // Jaccob Slavin, D – CAR // Jakob Chychrun, D – ARI // Nathan Bastian, RW – NJD // David Perron, RW – STL // Jordan Eberle, RW – SEA // Sean Monahan, C – CGY // Pavel Buchnevich, LW – STL //
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: Sticks and Stones by New Found Glory
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick