The Truth #17

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the seventeenth 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 Nikolaj Ehlers, Valeri Nichushkin, or any other enigmatic European wingers. Let’s get it!

Nikolaj Ehlers, LW – WPG

Let’s get one thing straight: Ehlers is an elite-level shot and chance generator. Here’s the list of players with a higher shots/60 rate over the past three seasons: David Pastrnak, Nathan Mackinnon, Auston Matthews, Timo Meier, Max Pacioretty, Brady Tkachuk, Alex Ovechkin. That’s it. This level of production and consistency gives Ehlers a very significant floor for fantasy, but it’s always been the untapped ceiling with Ehlers that has driven fantasy managers crazy. The latest episode in the ongoing saga is Ehlers coming back from the All-Star break to receive 13:10 of ice time and be held off the top power play unit in favour of the geriatric Blake Wheeler. Unfortunately this always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride role seems to be Ehlers’ lot in life and therefore his fantasy managers’ lot as well. Even without top power play usage Ehlers is a safe 70-point pace projection for me, with upside to 90 points with PP1. As for his likelihood of regaining and then maintaining PP1 deployment… your guess is as good as mine.

Ryan Hartman, C – MIN

Hartman was a popular streaming pickup this week with Minnesota set to play four games on all four off-nights in the NHL schedule. He’s put together some uneven results of late, alternating games with big shot totals with total blanks. But as long as Hartman remains in his current spot as the top line center between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello it’s difficult to imagine that he won’t be fantasy relevant. Hartman spent a good chunk of the 2021-22 season lighting it up in that exact spot and has proven that when hot he can produce shots and scoring chances in bunches. I feel that this week provides a great entry point on Hartman; get those off night games played in your lineup and re-evaluate at the end of the week. Of course, if Hartman gets demoted once again I wouldn’t hesitate to look back to the waiver wire for a new scoring option.

Travis Konecny, RW – PHI

Konecny was one of the players discussed in our most recent episode of the Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast, mired in the midst of an eight-game pointless streak. It’s one thing to not convert in the points column but Konecny has managed just five shots in his last four games despite averaging well over 20 minutes in that span. It’s a concerning look for a player that had been one of the biggest breakouts of the season before this cold streak began. Even after these eight pointless games, Konecny is still sitting at a point per game pace on the season. In the end the safest money is on Konecny to regain some but not all of his previous pace, most likely settling in the 65-70 point pace range for the remainder of the season.

Juuso Valimaki, D – ARI

Valimaki has emerged from the rubble in Arizona to claim the top power play spot with Jakob Chychrun being held out for potential trade and Shayne Gostisbehere injured. Valimaki has registered six assists in his last three games including four in Saturday’s tilt against the hapless St. Louis Blues. Valimaki has also registered nine shots on goal in those three games while averaging 21:52 of ice time. The Coyotes have every reason to see what they have in Valimaki, a former first round pick of the Calgary Flames who never caught on there despite playing in 82 NHL games across three seasons. I’m far from certain that Valimaki can even reproduce what Gostisbehere was producing in the same role earlier this season, but I am certainly willing to take the flyer on Valimaki this week and see if he can become a long term hold. The Coyotes also have a great schedule in the fantasy playoffs, making Valimaki all the more interesting.

Valeri Nichushkin, RW – COL

Nichushkin is a story not all that dissimilar to Konecny, pointless in his last five games despite averaging nearly 22 minutes a night. The key difference with Nichushkin is that the underlying stats all look great for him, as he’s averaging over three shots and four individual scoring chances for per game despite not finding the scoresheet. I have zero qualms about Nichushkin’s play currently and expect him to return a 70+ point pace through the end of the season. Of particular interest with Nichushkin is Colorado’s terrific schedule through the fantasy playoffs, making him perhaps even more valuable than a point-per-game player on a team with a worse schedule.

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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