New Year Breakout Candidates

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is going to be a stand alone article in which I detail a few players who I think have the potential to kick it into a new gear for the new year. If you’re interested in who I think are potential regression candidates, you’ll have to mosey over and subscribe to the Apples & Ginos Patreon where there will be an exclusive article for patrons on that topic. To be sure you’re not missing any new content from Apples & Ginos like this article, make sure you join the Apples & Ginos community on Discord and let me know you’d like to be added to the Content Alerts group so that you’re the first to know every time a new article drops. Ready for some breakouts? Let’s get it!

*All stats taken from Dec 28th and prior*

Auston Matthews, C – TOR

An odd start to the list, to be sure. But Matthews ranks #2 in individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60) and bears all the markings of potential positive regression moving forward. Consider that Matthews is 5% or less off his shots/60 and iSCF/60 marks from last year’s historic 60-goal campaign but is floundering with a 60% individual points percentage (IPP) and 10.9% shooting percentage (S%). Regressing those two marks to his career averages would put him at 25 goals and 49 points in 35 games, or a 59-goal, 115-point pace. He’s currently on a 40-goal, 94-point pace and I can’t see that lasting much longer. For me Matthews is still very much in the top-3 fantasy players in the league conversation and I don’t think he’s #3.

Alex DeBrincat, LW – OTT

DeBrincat is an obvious choice for me, stuck on a 9% S% with a mediocre 65% IPP and a 10.9% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) that belies the strength of his team context in Ottawa. DeBrincat’s underlying stats are through the roof, as he’s posting the best shots/60, iSCF/60, CF/60, and SCF/60 marks of his career by a country mile. He’s given up about a minute of time on ice from his days in Chicago, but he should be crushing his efficiency marks given the offensive juggernaut Ottawa looks like in comparison to the ‘Hawks. Running DeBrincat through a mid-season projection update given his rates so far this season has him on a 45-goal, 94-point pace for the rest of the season. I think you can buy DeBrincat below that price in your leagues currently and I’m all about it.

Sam Bennett, C – FLA

Bennett is a clear case for positive regression, with a 6.4% S% and 7.1% oiSH% holding down his otherwise sterling statistical profile. Bennett ranks 33rd in the league in iSCF/60 and 41st in shots/60 while skating a strong 18:04 per game. Bennett ranks 42nd in the league in CF/60 and 30th in SCF/60 as well, so it’s not like the team context is holding him back either. With a key boost to those individual and team shooting percentages, Bennett could be in line for a 70-point pace rest of season to go with his terrific shot and hit rates. I’m very interested in the possibility of buying low on Bennett in all my leagues.

Mason McTavish, LW – ANA

I’m going to join a chorus of fantasy hockey content creators in saying that I think there’s something here with McTavish and it could show up as early as this year. On the season McTavish is sporting strong numbers for a rookie with an 8.8 shots/60 and 8.3 iSCF/60 on a putrid Ducks team. McTavish has seen his ice time rise through the season despite still being a month shy of his twentieth birthday. While the Ducks as a team are certainly a cause for concern, McTavish is already skating on the top power play and any further increase in ice time could result in a real second-half breakout for him. Shooting just 7.9% on the season thus far with an 8.6% oiSH%, McTavish has plenty of room within his profile to improve his counting stats even without a significant bump in his level of play. But if he gets that positive regression and takes another step in the second half… that’s when the fireworks could start for the former 3rd overall pick.

Drew Doughty, D – LAK

Maybe I’m just here to confirm my priors as Doughty is another player I had a big projection on pre-season, but he is another player I think could have a big second half after a slow start. Doughty looks to be 5-10% underweight on IPP, a touch light on the oiSH%, and should be at least double his current shooting percentage. Early in the season the Kings were bleeding goals against with an unstable situation in net but ever since Pheonix Copley has entered the LA goal things have taken a turn for the better and Doughty’s play has jumped up as well. Over his last ten games Doughty’s shots/60 and iSCF/60 marks have taken a significant step forward, and I’m betting on the Kings as a team to gel a little more in 2023. If the team continues to trend upward, Doughty can only improve his counting stats given his monstrous 26:27 average time on ice.

Patrick Kane, RW – CHI

Kane may not have much to work with in terms of teammates in Chicago, but he has been on a tear of late in terms of his advanced stats. Kane has fired 13.9 shots/60 over his last ten games, good for fifth in the league behind only David Pastrnak, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Alex Ovechkin. While Kane’s average ice time has dipped this season to *only* 20:06 per game, the fact remains that his individual rate stats are as good as they’ve been over the last three years and his on-ice stats are not significantly worse than in 2020-21 when he posted 66 points in 56 games. Kane’s current 4.9% shooting percentage would be less than half of his career mark, and his 9.2% oiSH% would be the worst of the last five years by more than 1.5%. I had Kane down for an 88-point pace in my pre-season projections and even if you want to be extra conservative from those marks this is still a point-per-game player (with upside for more) as far as I’m concerned.

Ross Colton, RW – TBL

Ross Colton is a player who consistently shows up in my searches as a player who I think is easily capable of a 60-65 point season were he to get 17+ minutes a night. He gave us proof of concept with a 62-point pace in 25 games over the back half of 2021-22 where he got an opportunity to play up the lineup with Steven Stamkos at times, and in the early party of the 2022 playoffs where he registered eight points in his first ten games before his coaches inexplicably pulled back his ice time once again. Colton’s profile excites me as a player who consistently puts up a very high IPP (80%, 81%, and 79% in his first three seasons), a high S% (19.6%, 13.8%, and 15.1%), and a strong iSCF/60 (9.7, 9.7, and 10.0). Purely by the numbers, Colton is simply a far superior chance generator and finisher than Brandon Hagel, Nicholas Paul, Alex Killorn, or any of the other retreads Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point continue to bounce pucks into the net off of. I’m convinced that if and when Colton gets 18+ minutes a night as Hagel has been this season, he’ll absolutely go off.

Honourable Mentions:

Trevor Moore, RW – LAK

Andrew Mangiapane, LW – CGY

Arthur Kaliyev, RW – LAK

Filip Chytil, C – NYR

Alexander Barabanov, RW – SJS

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

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