Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the twenty-third installment of a weekly article I’ve been writing all season long in which I 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 Robert Thomas, Brock Nelson, or any other centers that don’t shoot the puck. Let’s get it!
Jordan Kyrou, RW – STL
There are questions about what to do with Kyrou coming off a three-game absence due to illness. As I write this Kyrou is on a line with Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev and has taken up his usual spot as one of the Blues’ two 50/50 PP units. All things being equal I’d rather him be on the Tarasenko/Perron unit, but it’s still plenty of opportunity alongside talented players in Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas. On the season Kyrou’s numbers might be a touch inflated but this is a player who has taken a big step this season and I still expect a minimum 60-point pace from him. You’re holding him through at least his three off-night games this week and re-evaluating on Saturday if he doesn’t crack your starting lineup then.
Verdict: Definitely holding through Friday at a minimum
Kevin Fiala, RW – MIN
Fiala has been very productive of late but some managers are beginning to worry about him given that his even strength linemates are now Frederick Gaudreau and Tyson Jost. The concern is valid, but I’m going to need to see Fiala go cold for three straight games before I’m even considering dropping him. The Wild have three games and two off nights this week but four games the following week and seven in the 12-day Week 26 if you’re playing your finals that week. Fiala has shown himself to be capable of generating his own offense and I think he’s still a 60+ point pace player even with poor linemates.
Verdict: Wild schedule is too nice for me to consider dropping Fiala unless he goes ice cold
Gustav Forsling, D – FLA
I’m not entirely sure when Forsling became the best offensive defenseman in the NHL, but he’s clearly on a bender right now with three goals, five points, and fifteen shots in his last three games. It’s really impressive stuff even given that Forsling hasn’t been playing against the NHL’s elite of late (BUF/NJ/CHI). I’m plenty happy to ride Forsling if I need a 4th or 5th defenseman and the waiver pickings are slim. I don’t expect him to continue firing five shots a game, but he’s skating 21+ minutes a game on a dominant Florida squad and he’s as good an offensive bet at defenseman as you can make right now in a lot of leagues.
Verdict: Certainly worth picking up for a week or two as long as he’s this hot
Robert Thomas, C – STL
Thomas has elevated his game of late with nine points in his last five games. He remains allergic to actually shooting the puck (only one game with more than one shot in his last seven) but as long as he’s centering Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich he doesn’t need to. Thomas is a much better play in points leagues but he’s a smash play for the Blues’ current four-game, three-off night week and the Blues play four games again next week. Thomas is a bubble player due to his lack of shots or really any peripherals whatsoever, but as long as he’s on that Tarasenko line I’m hanging onto him in points leagues.
Verdict: Proximity to Tarasenko & Buchnevich + schedule makes him a points league hold
Brock Nelson, C – NYI
Another week, another check-in on Brock Nelson. Nelson has now gone back to back games without a shot on goal and has gone four straight games with 2 iSCF or less. I’m definitely worried. I wrote last week that I’m holding Nelson until he goes cold; we’ve got two games back to back that are the definition of cold and the two games before that don’t jump off the page either. I’m probably waiting to see what happens with Nelson’s game Tuesday against the Dallas Stars but if he continues to struggle to generate scoring chances there’s little chance I’m holding him until his next game on Friday. It’s playoffs, folks. That means it’s go time and if Nelson isn’t “going” I’m not gonna pray for his previous levels of production to come back.
Verdict: Nelson has one more game to prove himself to me again or else it’s time to move on in most formats
Before you go, I want to make sure you’re aware of the Apples and Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast and I would be much obliged if you were to give it a listen. There are two 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 Ian Gooding from Dobber Hockey and Nick Alberga from NHL Fantasy on Ice on the show, and I’ve added a midweek podcast with my friends Josh Hutchinson and John Binkle who are a ton of fun on the mic.
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 free 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 Natural Stat Trick’s advanced stats glossary.
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!
Soundtrack to my writing: COSMIC by Bazzi
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick