Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the sixth 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 Let’s get it!
Owen Tippett, RW – PHI
Tippett is an interesting player, sent to Philadelphia at last year’s trade deadline in the Claude Giroux deal. The Flyers are a good spot for a burgeoning young winger to ply his craft with plenty of opportunity to play up the lineup. Tippett has fired at least three shots in eight of his last nine games including a 2-goal, 6-shot, 17-individual Corsi For effort against Montreal this past Saturday. Tippett’s ice time has risen significantly of late including two games over 20 minutes in his past four. The Flyers have been a surprisingly solid even strength team as of late by the advanced numbers so I’m not writing Tippett off just for the jersey he wears. As long as Tippett is getting 18+ minutes a night, he’s going to be a rosterable player for fantasy purposes.
Thomas Chabot, D – OTT
Chabot’s recent concussion was the latest hurdle in a season that hasn’t exactly gone his way so far. Chabot has just six points in fourteen games so far and given how things have gone it’s hard not to think Chabot is looking over his shoulder at rookie defenseman Jake Sanderson, who is getting PP1 reps while Chabot is absent. From my perspective that’s the only thing making me nervous about Chabot in the long term, however. The shot rate isn’t much off his career average, the ice time is still there, and Ottawa has taken a clear step forward in terms of offense generation with the additions of star forwards Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux. Chabot’s 29% IPP is as much to blame as his play for the low number of points so far this season, and once that starts to regress up to his normal 45% range no one will be questioning his fantasy value. Chabot is still hoping to make his return to the lineup this week.
Bryan Rust, RW – PIT
Rust is a case for me where a bunch of different variances have worked against him so far this year. His season-long shots/60 and iSCF/60 numbers look fine and his on-ice numbers are actually pacing to be the best of his career so far. But Rust’s shooting percentage, IPP, on-ice shooting percentage, and time on ice are all just a little bit worse than normal and combined they have had a significant effect on Rust’s bottom line. Rust is certainly cold at the moment, scoring one goal and one assist against Winnipeg on Saturday and registering zero points in his other eight most recent games. Rust’s shots on goal and iSCF have taken a hit during this stretch too, and it’s hard to avoid speculating on a possible minor injury that could be hampering him. I can’t recommend moving off of Rust currently, but I am watching him very closely over the next few games as I need to see those underlying numbers bounce back to have some confidence that there’s not a greater issue at work here.
Brandon Hagel, LW – TBL
Hagel is a classic case of a third wheel on a top line that you absolutely want to get onto your fantasy roster. But that’s not to say that Hagel doesn’t have merits of his own. Hagel went six straight games generating four or more individual scoring chances before missing that mark Saturday versus Nashville. I’m happy to roster Hagel anywhere as long as he’s continuing to play 19+ minutes on Tampa’s top line and top power play. I’m not convinced Hagel is a hold if and when he drops down the lineup once again, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, ride Hagel until the wheels fall off.
Matt Boldy, LW – MIN
Boldy is one of the toughest nuts to crack for me currently. On one hand, I absolutely believe that Boldy is a top-flight (if not truly elite) scoring winger in the league. On the other hand, I absolutely believe that the Wild have no one to unlock Boldy’s true ceiling outside of Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, who have been essentially joined at the hip as the Wild’s first line wingers since Kaprizov arrived in town. Boldy does get some exposure to those two on the top power play unit, but even if Boldy puts up 25 power play points this season, it’s hard to see him eclipsing 55 points by a whole lot without someone in the Wild lineup making a significant leap. Maybe when Ryan Hartman returns to the lineup he and Boldy can get on the same line and the same page, but can you bank on that? In general I prefer to bet on talent to overcome situation, but this is about as tough a situation as it gets. I’m willing to “buy low” on Boldy if the price is low enough, but I can’t say I’m bullish.
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.