Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, this time looking into potential buys and sells after the second week of NHL action. First I want to take a second to invite you to join the Apples & Ginos Discord server where you can ask questions and chat with other like-minded fantasy managers on anything fantasy or hockey-related. With that said, let’s get into the buys and sells of the week.
Guys you should put on your watch list:
Martin Necas, C/RW – CAR (7% rostered on Yahoo)
Martin Necas was starting to heat up in a big way before leaving Thursday’s tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks with what appeared to be a concussion. It sounds like thankfully Necas will be able to return this week, and he could provide fantasy managers with a big boost on a Carolina second line alongside a rejuvenated Vincent Trocheck. Necas is a positive in all categories too, recording over a block per game along with over a hit per game thus far. He’s being trusted in all situations and saw 20:52 and 21:00 of ice in the two games prior to the game he was injured in. As far as underlying stats go, all arrows are pointing up: Necas is shooting more, generating more scoring and high danger chances, and contributing to strong on-ice possession and xGF numbers. He’s one to watch for sure; if he continues his strong start, a 50-55 point and 200 shot pace is likely to go with those solid peripherals.
Tanner Pearson, LW – VAN (19% rostered on Yahoo)
I start my case for Pearson with a caveat: he’s dipped down to just 13:57 and 13:54 of ice time in his last two games. But over his last three games he’s averaged 4.33 shots per game, including a mind-boggling 18.76 shots/60 rate at 5v5. The Canucks have been shuffling their lines as they search for any kind of spark, but Pearson has arguably been their best even strength forward during this stretch and contributes across the board with 23 hits in his 15 games. He may not have a huge points ceiling, but Pearson should be rostered in every 12-team league with hits as a category.
Honourable Mention: Ty Smith, D – NJD (42% rostered on Yahoo)
I’ve said my piece on Smith already; if you’ve got the spot I believe he’s worth stashing when New Jersey comes back from their COVID postponements. Lindy Ruff has played around with Damon Severson and PK Subban on the top PP unit but Smith is outplaying both of them and I expect a continued ascension into valuable fantasy defenseman status throughout the season.
Hot Streaks to Believe In:
Andrei Svechnikov, LW – CAR
If you don’t know by now I’ve tried very hard to associate the Apples & Ginos brand with Svechnikov and defend him against detractors. All he’s done to reward my faith is to take another step forward shooting the puck while maintaining his outlandish CF/60 and xGF/60 rates despite an extra minute of ice time per game, including ranking 2nd in the league in 5v5 xGF/60. I’m projecting him the rest of the way at a 40-goal, 83-point 82-game pace despite a relatively low 17:45 ATOI. If he were to start seeing 20 minutes a night… we’d be talking about the new David Pastrnak. Oh, and he hits, too (146-hit pace).
Conor Garland, RW – ARI
The only player that beats Svechnikov at on-ice xGF/60? That’s right, it’s Arizona phenom Conor Garland, who has been shooting like a man possessed averaging four shots per game. I don’t know if he’s a point per game player all year long but the fact that he’s still unowned in more than half of Yahoo leagues is a crime against humanity: we’re talking about a guy who’s generating scoring chances at a Max Pacioretty/Nathan Mackinnon level right now. I can only imagine the possibilities if Garland was playing with a true passing 1C, but for now we’ll have to be content with a 35-40 goal pace the rest of the way for him.
Honourable Mentions: Alex DeBrincat, LW – CHI // Filip Forsberg, LW – NSH // Vincent Trocheck, C – CAR
Hot Streaks to Fade:
Brock Boeser, RW – VAN
I put Boeser in this exact spot last week and the bugger dropped 3 points in 4 games. I’m back to tell you nothing’s changed. Boeser ranked 163rd in the league the last three games in ixG/60 but continues to fall ass backwards into points. While some of that comes with the territory playing on a potent Vancouver power play, Boeser’s underlying stats have uniformly declined year over year and I am willing to sell this start to anyone who wants him. I’d take any of my honourable mentions listed in the section above over him rest of season.
Jeff Petry, D – MTL
I hesitated putting Petry here because I don’t think I’m exactly blowing your mind by suggesting that Petry’s 96-point pace is unlikely to continue. And Petry has some nice stats in his favour, including a bump up to 7.35 shots/60 (5.65 in 2019/20) and an accompanying boost in iSCF/60. However he’s shooting an absolutely unconscious 18.75% and similarly Montreal is shooting 18.63% when he’s on the ice. What’s most worrying about Petry however is that his deployment has dipped to just 21:46 per game in 12 games so far this season, down from 23:38 last year. If Petry can sustain his new level of play for the full season he might be able to offset that reduced ice time in terms of point production, but if there’s anyone in your league thinking Petry is experiencing a breakout to elite status at age 33, sell him now. Bonus points for asking their advice on every other player on your team and doing the opposite.
Honourable Mentions: Darnell Nurse, D – EDM // John Klingberg, D – DAL // Tim Stutzle, LW – OTT // Mattias Janmark, LW – CHI // Rasmus Ristolainen, D – BUF
Slumps that Won’t Last:
Jake Guentzel, LW – PIT
The window to buy Jake Guentzel (and, it could be argued, the window to say he’s in a slump) may have closed Saturday with Guentzel’s two-point effort, but if you can find a Guentzel owner a little jumpy about Pittsburgh’s odd start to the season I can assure you Jake Guentzel is just fine and ready to produce from here on out. In his last three games, Guentzel is 27th in 5v5 iSCF/60 and 22nd in xGF/60. For a sniper of Guentzel’s capabilities, that’s more than enough to sustain the kind of stats you were hoping for when you drafted him in the second or third round.
Anthony Duclair, RW – FLA
Duclair has been a shot producing monster of late, firing 4, 4, and 5 games in his last three. The Panthers got out the line blender in today’s loss to the previously hapless Detroit Red Wings, but I believe Duclair should remain on the top line married to Barkov and start cashing in on his chances sooner rather than later. Over those three games Duclair ranks 9th in the league with 16.9 iSCF/60, a tick ahead of the red-hot Auston Matthews. It’s not like we haven’t seen this from Duclair before; he went on a tear early in the 2019/20 season before going ice cold in the latter half. He got a look today on the top power play unit and for a guy with his goal scoring history a 24% rostered mark is ridiculous. Go get him.
Slumps that Will Last:
Blake Wheeler, RW – WPG
Wheeler threw in an oddball 3-assist night in the midst of a five game stretch where he was held pointless in the other four. Worse, his ice time has nosedived in the last two games, recording 13:14 and 16:16 marks which are a far cry from his 19-20 minute normal state. His rate stats have taken a similar nose dive to the point that I’d put money on the fact that Wheeler is playing through injury right now. What that injury might be and whether it’s something he can recover from while playing is anybody’s guess, but right now Wheeler is a risk I don’t want to have in my lineup. I’m looking to move him.
Miro Heiskanen, D – DAL
I picked Heiskanen as a player to fade for fantasy in drafts this year and so far I’m feeling vindicated. He’s salvaged some value with a bunch of secondary assists with an unsustainable 63.6% IPP, but he has yet to score and his shot rate is MIA (2.62 shots/60 versus 6.06 in 2019/20). A lot of the hype on Heiskanen was due to his unbelievable 2020 playoff performance in which he had another unsustainable 67.6% IPP coupled with an 11.3% shooting percentage and a monstrous 26 minutes of ice time per game. Those numbers inflated his value considerably but John Klingberg hasn’t gone away yet and Heiskanen has been relegated to PP2 and “only” 22:52 of ice per game. Even more concerning is his on-ice xGF/60 dropping to 2.27 after he sustained 3.0 or greater in the 2019/20 regular season and into the playoffs. Dallas shooting 13.75% and the aforementioned IPP have kept Heiskanen from being an utter trainwreck thus far, but if he doesn’t pick up the pace soon it will be disastrous for fantasy managers who spent a mid round pick on him.
Honourable Mentions: Shea Weber, D – MTL // Jakub Vrana, LW – WSH // Kailer Yamamoto, RW – EDM
Thanks for reading, you are much appreciated!