The Truth #13

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the thirteenth 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 Jake Walman, Jake Guentzel, Jake Gyllenhaal, or any other Jake’s you can think of. Let’s get it!

Jake Guentzel, LW – PIT

Looks like we have to have the Guentzel talk again. I have to think that if Guentzel had just spread out his two recent multi-point games we might be avoiding this conversation but regardless everyone is flipping their lid because Guentzel only has four points in his last nine games. There was a stretch prior to those two multi-point games where Guentzel had a concerning five-game run where he only took one shot on the goal, but he followed that up by averaging 10 shot attempts per game over his next three. The shots/60 is down for Guentzel this year relative to last season’s career pace, but it is the only thing that can be nitpicked in his season-long stats. The amount of questions I’m having regarding Guentzel makes me think I should be sending trade offers for him right about now, as I have very little concern about him continuing to be a point-per-game player rest of season.

Scott Laughton, C – PHI

Scott Laughton has pushed his way on the collective consciousness by racking up twelve points in his last ten games, or essentially matching his point output from the thirty games prior. No, this is not some 28-year-old breakout season from Scott Laughton. His three-point game also happened to be one in which he did not register a single individual scoring chance for (iSCF). This is pure variance, and you should expect it to come crashing back down to normal very soon. Laughton is working on one of the better shot rates of his career and the on-ice numbers don’t look as dire as we might have guessed pre-season given the Flyers are exceeding expectations offensively. But while Laughton is seeing an additional two minutes per night over last year’s career high, he simply doesn’t move the needle enough to be a sustained fantasy hockey presence. Laughton is a deep bangers cats stream and nothing more.

Nino Niederreiter, LW – NSH

Niederreiter is an interesting player, one who shows flashes of brilliance before falling off the map completely for long stretches at a time. Lately, we’ve been getting the good side of Niederreiter as he’s averaged nearly four shots and over four iSCF per game in his last nine games, resulting in a couple of goals and four assists for six points. Niederreiter is a classic stream-when-hot play, someone who can rattle off a five game point streak before going pointless for ten straight. Right now Nino is hot, and worth picking up, but I caution anyone viewing this late stretch as more than just a good stretch of play. I’ve seen this movie one too many times with Niederreiter, and it’s pretty tough to believe that a move from Carolina to Nashville could be the thing that unlocks a new level of production for him at age 30.

Lucas Raymond, RW – DET

Raymond has had a very disappointing sophomore season in my book after a terrific rookie campaign that saw him become a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. Similar to teammate Moritz Seider, Raymond’s second-year ascension to star status has not gone to plan as he’s on pace for a good-not-great 59 points. Under the hood, things look even worse for Raymond has his shots/60 and iSCF/60 have both taken a hit and he’s dropped nearly a minute per game of ice time. Realistically, he’s been overperforming to reach the 59-point pace he’s currently on, with a very high 18.3% shooting percentage and 11.5% on-ice shooting percentage. He put together back to back three-point outings last week, but I still don’t see an uptick in those individual stats or ice time to suggest that he’s likely to take another step for the Red Wings here in the second half of the season.

Jake Walman, D – DET

Walman is a very interesting player for me. For starters, he ranks 10th amongst all defensemen in shots/60 and has historically rung up shots at a similar rate, albeit in relatively small samples across the last four seasons. Lately, Walman’s ice time has started to rise and he’s hit 21:48 or better in four of his last five. The pucks have started to go in for Walman as well, as he’s got three goals plus an assist in those same five games. Walman’s current deployment alongside Moritz Seider on the top pair gives him the kind of top pair, second power play pedigree that we’re looking for in defensemen largely available on the waiver wire this time of year. It does seem like Walman’s ceiling is likely capped by the presence of Seider and Filip Hronek in terms of power play usage, but if Walman can continue to be a solid contributor in hits and blocks while providing a ton of shots you can view him as Brady Skjei-lite. That’s a useful player for fantasy for as long as this deployment lasts.

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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