Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the ninth 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 Filip Forsberg, Clayton Keller, or anyone else trying solo-carry an entire team’s forward corps. Let’s get it!
Mikhail Sergachev, D – TBL
Sergachev was the talk of town after supplanting superstar teammate Victor Hedman on the vaunted Tampa Bay top power play unit. Now that deployment has flipped back with Hedman manning the top spot while Sergachev is left the scraps on PP2 once again. Sergachev is still averaging a healthy 2 shots/game over his past five games while averaging more than 22 minutes a game. Certainly Sergachev’s ceiling is nowhere near the same as when he’s on that top unit, but 22+ minutes on a top team like Tampa is still a healthy recipe for point production, and Sergachev will always have that contingent upside of getting back on the top unit. I’ve got Sergachev for a 45-point pace when on PP2 and 55-60 point pace when on PP1. All told Sergachev is too risky to invest much into long term and if you can move him based on his performance thus far rather than his potential sans-PP1 you should probably go ahead and do that.
Clayton Keller, RW – ARI
Keller followed up what might have been the worst three-game stretch of his season with two stellar outings, including Sunday’s hat-trick performance in which he fired five shots and skated a tremendous 23:42. On a team like Arizona Keller’s production is bound to be inconsistent, and I find it hard to believe in his current point-per-game pace for the season. The shooting percentage (S%) is up at 19.2% and the on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) is high as well at 13.5%; I expect both of those numbers to come back down a bit and Keller to settle in around a 70-point pace for the rest of the season. I’m a little concerned that Keller’s shot and individual scoring chance for (iSCF) rates have declined this season, but his tremendous usage should at least lend volume to his ledger even if he can’t manage to be as efficient as he was last year.
Filip Forsberg, LW – NSH
Forsberg feels like a very predictable player to me. He’s a terrific individual producer, with great shot and iSCF rates and a consistent 18-minute-per-game role. But any fantasy managers looking for him to re-capture last year’s magic where he shot 18.6% and registered an oiSH% mark of 14.9% should consider that this year’s marks of 10% and 10.9%, respectively, are much more in-line with his career averages. I think it’s fair to think that Forsberg could slightly improve on those two percentages for the rest of the season but realistically it’s hard to see a path for Forsberg to be more than just a very good, point-per-game level player without more crazy efficiency coming into play. With Forsberg’s teammates failing to sustain their play from last season as well, it’s best to adjust expectations on Forsberg and take him for what he is.
Arthur Kaliyev, RW – LAK
It’s going to be hard for me to stay objective when talking about Kaliyev, one of my favourite sleepers and a player I made a bold prediction about last year. Now Kaliyev is getting a chance to prove his worth on the Kings’ top line and I’m waiting with bated breath. Kaliyev has been a scoring chance producing machine so far this year, sporting the 7th-highest iSCF/60 in the league (above notables like David Pastrnak, Kirill Kaprizov, and Nathan Mackinnon). He found the scoresheet with an assist in 17 minutes of work on Sunday and I’m very curious to see if he can make this deployment stick. In an absolute ceiling case Kaliyev could carve out a 35-40 goal pace rest of season, but staying objective I think it’s probably likely that Kevin Fiala and Adrian Kempe remain Anze Kopitar’s most common linemates for the remainder of the season. I would definitely take a chance on Kaliyev now if he’s available in your league simply because of that potential ceiling, but you can’t expect him to produce consistent results for your fantasy team from the third or fourth line so you’ll have to monitor his deployment constantly if you do pick him up.
Seth Jarvis, RW & Teuvo Teravainen, LW – CAR
The request on this one was for all Carolina forwards, but to me Teravainen and Jarvis are the most interesting and the most likely to be moved onto or off your roster in the next few days. In three games since returning from injury, Teravainen has averaged 17:16 of ice time to Jarvis’s 15:08. Jarvis has seen better on-ice chance rates, better individual scoring chance for rates, and kept pace with Teravainen in shot rate. Essentially we’re left with a situation where Jarvis is the exciting player with upside while Teravainen is the tried and true veteran with the ice time. I still prefer Jarvis, but you have to realize that in Carolina none of these players are likely to exceed 17 minutes a night on average no matter how well they play. That makes it tough to expect consistent fantasy performances and as such, the Canes forwards not named Aho, Necas, or Svechnikov are all simply streamer level plays until further notice.
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.