Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the tenth 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 Chris Kreider, Thomas Chabot, or any other players not yet cashing in on their elite level team context. Let’s get it!
Matt Boldy, RW – MIN
Matt Boldy is a very interesting case and a difficult one to boot. This is a player who scored 39 points in 47 games (68 point pace) last year averaging 15:22 of ice per game and has seen a big boost to 17:53 this year. However Boldy’s point pace has fallen off significantly on the season, down to a 58 point pace in his 31 games thus far. I do think there’s some room here for Boldy to increase his individual points percentage (IPP), currently below the league average for forwards at 55%. But his 12.5% shooting percentage (S%) and 11.8% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) both feel very appropriate, so if there is to be some improvement in Boldy’s point production it feels like he just has to get more involved. Given that Boldy is playing down the lineup without a strong linemate to play off of, I can’t say I see huge upside for Boldy rest of season unless someone emerges to elevate Boldy the way Kevin Fiala did last year. I’ll put my chips in on a 60-65 point pace for Boldy rest of season, with some big hot streaks and long cold streaks mixed in along the way.
Jesper Bratt, RW – NJD
Jesper Bratt has picked right up where he left off last year, matching or exceeding all on the advanced stats he posted last year. Bratt is undoubtedly more of a distributor than a scorer, but he’s already one of the league’s best in that department in my estimation. Bratt ranks third in the league in both on-ice Corsi For/60 (CF/60) and scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60), trailing only the Tkachuk brothers in those categories. Bratt has gone quiet over the last four games with zero points in that stretch, but I see nothing under the hood to concern me long term. In fact, Bratt is averaging 18:30 of ice per game over his last five games, which would represent a solid increase over his season average of 17:17. Bratt is a solid point per game player in my estimation, with upside for 90 points if he maintains that extra minute or two per game over the rest of the season.
Thomas Chabot, D – OTT
I’ve defamed Chabot somewhat in recent podcasts, calling him a volume guy. I don’t think that Chabot deserves to be mentioned in the upper echelon of fantasy defensemen, this much is true. But with the infusion of forward talent in Ottawa, Chabot’s on-ice numbers have taken huge jumps this year: an 18% increase in CF/60 and a 37% increase in SCF/60 means that suddenly Chabot’s point ceiling has increased by 5-10 points simply by virtue of the play of his teammates. I still think Chabot is best viewed as a 55 point defenseman with upside for more, but 55 is starting to feel more and more like a floor than a ceiling. Chabot has real 65-point-pace upside ROS as long as Ottawa can remain healthy, a task that has proven to be more difficult than anticipated for the Senators so far this season. If you can acquire Chabot now as a 55-point defender I think you have a consistent performer who could easily run hot from here on out and outperform his current trade value.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW – CGY
To say that things haven’t gone according to plan for Huberdeau in Calgary this year would be the understatement of the year. Huberdeau is on a 54-point pace and somehow the advanced stats make him look even worse. Huberdeau ranks 312th in shots/60 and 316th in iSCF/60, and to boot he’s not seeing the volume of ice time required to make those rate stats less noticeable: he’s averaging 17:10 a night, which would be the lowest average time on ice he’s seen in a season since 2014-15 if it continues. There are some positives for Huberdeau here as well, as he looks to be underweight in the “luck metrics” (IPP, S%, and oiSH%). Combine that with a CF/60 mark that is even better than last year’s banner season in Florida, and you can squint at these numbers to tell yourself a story in which Huberdeau emerges from this shipwreck to salvage a solid second half. But unless he starts improving his individual stats Huberdeau is going to be very reliant on his teammates to convert their chances, making him overall more risky than the average player. I’m estimating Huberdeau for a 70 point pace rest of season, with the knowledge that a return to form and some extra ice time could see him boost back up above the point per game mark.
Chris Kreider, LW – NYR
Kreider is definitely running cold of late with just one point in his last six games. His ice time has dipped in this stretch as well, with only one game above 18 minutes in that span and one below 15. Still, it’s hard to get too worked up about Kreider’s long term prospects when the on-ice numbers are the best of his career by far and he’s running a touch light across all of the luck metrics so far on the season. Simply put, the Rangers as a team are far more dangerous this year than they’ve ever been and Kreider doesn’t need to garner a huge share of that to improve on 60-point pace he’s registered so far. If you’re expecting last year’s 52-goal version of Chris Kreider to magically re-appear you’re going to be waiting a long time, but 40-goal Kreider should be back before long.
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.