Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the eleventh 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 Evan Rodrigues, Devon Toews, or any other members of the Colorado Avalanche getting 20+ minutes of ice time per game. Let’s get it!
Calen Addison, D – MIN
Addison has ran the gamut this season from exciting young PP1 defenseman to healthy scratch, and it’s fair that fantasy managers aren’t quite sure what to make of him currently. I’ve been on record saying that Addison would likely be worth rostering as long as he was on Minnesota’s PP1, but unfortunately that hasn’t been true. MInnesota’s power play has been successful, but that’s been largely in spite of rather than because of Addison. Now Addison has just a single assist and eight shots on goal in his last nine games, and if you’re still hanging on it’s beyond time to let Addison go to the waiver wire. Addison simply doesn’t provide anything beyond points and is proving to not provide a whole lot of those, either. Call me again when he’s play 20+ minutes a night.
Andre Burakovksy, RW – SEA
Not long ago, I praised Burakovsky on the Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast for taking a step this year in terms of his shot generation and iSCF/60. Since then things have taken a turn for the worse and the offense has dried up completely (one assist and fourteen shots in his last eight games). It’s hard to see positives here as Burakovsky’s ice time has also dipped with an average of 16:19 in that span, fifth among Seattle forwards and well back of his 17:15 season average. I’d like to believe that this is just a blip, but Burakovsky has a long history at this point of inconsistent play and it’s hard to recommend continuing to roster a player who is as cold as Burakovsky is currently. Seattle has never been a team to lean heavily on a few players under coach Dave Hakstol, so it feels safe to consider the 17:15 ATOI on the season to be more of a ceiling than a floor. Given what we’ve seen from Burakovsky throughout his career, I feel comfortable dropping Burakovsky for the time being and waiting for him to get hot again before looking into picking him back up.
Jake Guentzel, LW – PIT
Guentzel is a player discussed on the latest episode of the podcast, and the basic conclusion is this: he’s doing pretty much what you should have expected from him. Guentzel is a point-per-game player averaging 20 minutes per game. His shots are a little down from last year’s career high rate, but other than that everything here falls pretty much in line with his career numbers. Guentzel has taken exactly one shot on goal in each of the last five games and is pointless in his last four, but I have very little concern about him in general. In fantasy it is always key to never get over-invested in a four-game sample size versus a whole career of consistent performance. Perhaps Guentzel is not exceeding expectation, but he’s definitely meeting it. If you think he’s underperforming, I would politely suggest that you may have had an over-inflated projection on Guentzel’s performance this season to begin with.
Evan Rodrigues, LW – COL
Rodrigues was actually ruled out of Monday night’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights after he was requested for this article, so that’s the first thing you’ll need to monitor with him. Rodrigues is a player with a history of fantasy-relevant performance, as he went on an extended stretch of about 30 games last year in Pittsburgh where he produced at almost a point-per-game clip while skating on the top power play due to some injuries in the Penguin lineup. Now Rodrigues finds himself in a somewhat similar situation, skating 20+ minutes a game (albeit not on PP1) while the Avalanche contend with long-term injuries across their top-six. I can’t say that I’ve been overly impressed by Rodrigues’ play of late, but he does have four 6+ shot outings across his last ten, clearly demonstrating that shot volume profile that made him a fantasy star in the early part of the 2021-22 season. I’m interested in Rodrigues when healthy, but I wouldn’t hesitate to kick him to the curb if I had a good reason to either. He’s just one of many interesting streamer-level players to me at this juncture.
Devon Toews, D – COL
Toews is a player who is going to reflect poorly on my pre-season projections, as he’s struggled to maintain the ridiculous production profile he posted in 2021-22. Toews is still on pace for 50 points, and I’ve been encouraged by his shot attempts trending positively across him last six games or so. But it’s undeniable at this point that the injuries to Colorado’s forward group have limited Toews’ production and affected him more severely than star teammate Cale Makar. While it’s unfair to compare anyone to Makar, I personally thought that the efficiency Toews had displayed not only with the Avs last year but in his previous seasons with the New York Islanders would translate to a 60+ point pace this season. Now his numbers are suggesting that he’s a bit more dependent on his teammates to produce counting stats than I previously believed. I still think there could be some positive regression for Toews here, but a 50-55 point pace is still the odds-on bet I’d make.
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.