The Truth #8

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the eighth 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 Aleksander Barkov, Anthony Cirelli, or anyone else who hasn’t played much hockey lately. Let’s get it!

Aleksander Barkov, C – FLA

Aleksander Barkov Player Card – via @TJStats

Before talking about Barkov’s stats we have to acknowledge that he’s missed five straight games and is set to miss a sixth on Tuesday due to a non-COVID illness. That’s bizarre to say the least but at least Barkov has returned to the ice and is looking to return. There’s certainly a chance here that Barkov is far from optimal playing shape after being off sick for a couple of weeks, but of course you have to feel that Barkov will get things back on track sooner rather than later. Barkov’s play before the illness was exemplary in every way except for point production; his on-ice rate stats were even better than last season and his individual numbers were right in line. On top of all that, Barkov was averaging 22:41 a night, up 2:23 from last year. I have zero concerns about Barkov’s production rest of season provided the illness doesn’t impede him for too long.

Anthony Cirelli, C – TBL

Anthony Cirelli Player Card – via @TJStats

Clearly, we don’t have a lot to go off in terms of stats for Cirelli this season. He had a nice little season debut against Toronto, assisting on two goals while getting off three shots in 12:51 as he eased back into things. In my opinion, we’ve seen enough of Cirelli at this point to be pretty confident in assessing him as a fantasy option long-term. Cirelli posted a career-best 53-point pace in 2019-20, and it’s pretty difficult to see a scenario where his deployment improves to the point that his ceiling is dramatically increased. Cirelli is not a strong individual shot or chance producer, and so he’s very rarely on my radar as a strong streamer. Cirelli will have some hot streaks here or there when he gets some exposure to the top Tampa forwards, but I don’t view Cirelli as anything more than a streaming option and not a particularly exciting one at that.

Dougie Hamilton, D – NJD

Dougie Hamilton Player Card – via @TJStats

Hamilton has been something of an enigma for much of his career. Whether it be due to injury, a COVID-shortened season, or a down year personally, Hamilton has never exceeded 50 points in a season. There are plenty of reasons to believe that Hamilton can and will blow past that number routinely if he can stay healthy, but I think a lot of the fantasy hockey community’s frustrations with Hamilton come from that inconsistency. On the season, Hamilton ranks second in shots/60 and first in iSCF/60 among all defensemen while averaging a healthy 21:41 per game. The fact that Hamilton put up a sub-40 point pace last season for New Jersey is still fresh in some people’s minds, but that was a very different team and the Devils are looking like an absolute wagon this year by every metric imaginable. I still believe Hamilton has a 60-point pace in him for the rest of the season despite this recent cold stretch, and if there are managers out there willing I’d be happy to buy low.

(For more on Hamilton, check out Monday’s Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast episode).

Brock Nelson, C – NYI

Brock Nelson Player Card – via @TJStats

Nelson has established himself as a true offensive threat this year, up to 25 points in 26 games. Everything is up across the board for Nelson: shots/60, iSCF/60, CF/60, SCF/60… you name it and it’s higher than last season. Combine that with a one-minute jump in average ice time over last year and you have a recipe for sustained success. I don’t see anything too unsustainable in Nelson’s luck metrics either: the individual points percentage (IPP) is lower than his career average, the shooting percentage (S%) is in line, and the on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) is a tad hot at 12.5%. All in all I don’t see a reason why Nelson can’t be a 70-75 point player this year and I don’t think many are valuing him that highly. I’d be happy to acquire him for someone with a little more sex appeal to opposing managers like a Matty Beniers.

Tyler Toffoli, RW – CGY

Tyler Toffoli Player Card – via @TJStats

Toffoli has been a bit up and down of late, running five straight games without a point before scoring four points in his last four games. Calgary’s struggles as a team have been well-documented, but Toffoli has been largely immune, posting his customarily terrific shot and iSCF rates while his on-ice context has actually improved to the point where it would be the best on-ice numbers of his career. Toffoli has a 58-point pace on the season, and I think that pace is pretty bankable moving forward. The potential excitement with Toffoli is if he ends up averaging closer to 18 minutes a game and Calgary as a team finally starts to get untracked, there’s real 70 point potential here as his top line and top power play usage seems reasonable secure. Toffoli doesn’t have a massive ceiling, but there’s enough optimism about the team context improving here that I think Toffoli provides a safe floor with decent upside rest of season.

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.

Much love,


Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: