Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the fifth instalment of a weekly article I’ll be 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 Alex Tuch, Kirby Dach or any other player with a four-letter last name that ends in -ch. Let’s get it!
Vincent Trocheck, C – NYR
Vincent Trocheck Player Card – via @TJStats
You can be excused for getting a little nervous about Vincent Trocheck these days, as Trocheck has only scored points in two of his last twelve games (although he scored three in one of them and two in the other). The good news here is that nothing looks significantly out of place for Trocheck in his recent stats. He’s averaging nearly 5 iSCF/game in his last five games, and while the actual shots on goal haven’t been at quite the same level I don’t have major concerns for Trocheck’s ability to turn chances into shots and shots into goals moving forward. The on-ice numbers still look just fine, and Trocheck is still skating 20+ minutes per game. If there’s a buy-low window here with Trocheck I’m all about it.
Victor Hedman, D – TBL
Victor Hedman Player Card – via @TJStats
Here’s one development no one saw coming a week ago: Victor Hedman has been bumped off the top power play unit in Tampa in favour of the newer model in Mikhail Sergachev. Hedman has gone pointless in three straight and some are wondering if they should be looking to move off Hedman. For a guy that I projected to put up 34 power play points to lose his power play role is certainly concerning; at best you’d predict a 12-15 PPP pace for Hedman while he’s not on the top unit. Not many defensemen can sustain a 20ish point decrease in their point projection and Hedman is no exception. I still think it’s more than likely that Hedman gets that PP1 role back at some point, but if you can exit Hedman now for full price via trade, I don’t mind mitigating risk in that way.
Alex Tuch, RW – BUF
Alex Tuch Player Card – via @TJStats
Tuch has toyed with our emotions a bit so far this season, dropping six goals in his first five games and then only managing one more in the ten games since. Remarkably, Tuch’s shooting percentage on the season remains at a very high 19%, but his shot and scoring chance generation has tailed off. He recently got promoted back up to the top line, so I’d like to see how he handles that role for a game or two now, but the underlying numbers do not look good for Tuch currently. The leash is very short with Tuch right now, and if he doesn’t put up some real stats in the Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back versus Vancouver and Ottawa, I’ll be ready to put him out on the curb for someone else to pick up.
Kirby Dach, RW – MTL
Kirby Dach Player Card – via @TJStats
Kirby Dach is suddenly a huge name in fantasy, registering eight points in his last five games. But the points are pretty much the only numbers in Dach’s ledger that look good; he ranks 323rd in the league in on-ice Corsi For/60, 321st in on-ice scoring chances for/60, and 259th in individual scoring chances for/60 over those same five games. The luck metrics for Dach are screaming red with a 67% individual points percentage, 43% shooting percentage, and 23.5% on-ice shooting percentage. Dach is doing nothing that excites me for his long-term prospects other than playing alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Frankly I think it’s just as likely that Dach scores zero points in his next five games as it is that he puts up another four or five.
Thatcher Demko, G – VAN
Thatcher Demko GSAx Chart – via @TJStats
Ah yes, my favourite activity: predicting goalie performance. If this season hasn’t sold you on #ZeroG as a draft strategy yet I’m not really sure what will. I will say that Demko has fared a little better than I would have thought at even strength this year given the discourse around his play (a .907 even strength save percentage). Demko’s penalty kill save percentage currently sits at .689, which for reference would have been the worst PK save percentage among all goalies to play at least 100 penalty kill minutes last year (55 in total). And it would have been the worst by a full 100 basis points. So while Vancouver is certainly not playing well there is at least some hope that Boudreau gets fired and a new coach installs a penalty kill that doesn’t get absolutely lambasted by every team that the Canucks play. I’m not going to tell you that Demko is going to go back to a .915 save percentage goaltender again, but he’s certainly more than the current .874 iteration of himself.
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.