Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, the third part of a series in which I try to determine the truth about puzzling players. First I want to take a second to invite you to join the Apples & Ginos Discord server which is where I gathered ideas from the members on which players to investigate. With that said, let’s discover the truth:
Claude Giroux, C – PHI
Let’s start with the positive: Giroux’s IPP is in line with previous years, the shooting percentage is low which indicates potential positive regression, his ice time is pretty much the same as last year, and his all strengths xGF/60 is right in line with last year. But there’s a big problem: Giroux is shooting quite literally half as much as last year (4.47 shots/60 vs 9.02 last season). That’s extremely concerning, and it hasn’t been increasing of late either (4.38 shots/60 in his last three games). Beyond that, Giroux’s 5v5 xGF has dipped and if it weren’t for an overachieving power play, Giroux’s point totals could look very different. At the age of 33, it gets hard to ignore shifts in a player’s chance generation profile like this. Even if Giroux snaps out of it, I don’t see the downside to trying to sell Giroux for an equivalent player without the red flags in their underlying stats.
Verdict: Sell high
Travis Konecny, RW – PHI
Konecny is another Flyer who has had an odd start, starting hot and then being a healthy scratch just a week later. Fantasy hockey managers were hoping for big things from Konecny after he scored 61 points in 66 games in 2019/20. I had Konecny pegged for some regression due to a high S% and high IPP in 19/20. Unfortunately for Konecny owners, his eight points in twelve games thus far have come on the back of a further increased IPP and S%; his 88.9% IPP and 31.2% shooting percentage are comically unsustainable. Konecny’s shot rates have decreased significantly year over year and weren’t spectacular to begin with. His on-ice xGF/60 has decreased to be more in line with his 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons than last year’s 3.48 mark. I have serious reservations about Konecny from here on out; this is a player whose value will almost certainly get worse before it gets better.
Verdict: Sell high
Evgeni Malkin, C – PIT
This is one player that everyone wants to know what to do with. He’s been a little better of late, but the fact still remains that Malkin is not performing anywhere close to his standards by any measure. His shot rate has dropped to 2/3rds of his normal standard, and his individual scoring chances for and shooting percentage have dipped inline with that decrease. The IPP is very low by Malkin’s standards at 54.6%, but Malkin simply hasn’t been the play-driving force that consistently put up IPPs in the high seventies for a decade. Malkin’s all strengths xGF/60 has shockingly submarined to an unbelievable 2.48 (4.36 last year). I’m a bit at a loss with Malkin, he’s completely lost his game and is performing more like a 60-point player than the 110-point-pace beast he was last year. If you can get somebody who seems like a more sure bet, I won’t fault you for moving off Malkin, especially in a shortened season.
Verdict: Sell if you can get value; hold and pray otherwise
Teuvo Teravainen, RW – CAR
I’ve seen lots of people wondering what to do with Teravainen after a slow start (2 points in 7 games). I’m here to assure you that the trust you put in Teravainen back in your draft was not in vain(en). Aside from bad jokes, I can offer than Teravainen is shooting more often at 5v5 (offset by a reduction on the power play, which we’ll get to) and while his xGF/60 has declined fairly significantly, it has actually increased at 5v5 despite the second and third line deployment everyone has been crying over. In fact, Teravainen’s ATOI reduction that has most people so worried is only a 49-second reduction at 5v5; another 47 seconds off his power play time despite maintaining PP1 with no hiccups; and lastly 40 seconds off his shorthanded time on ice which is largely irrelevant for fantasy purposes. The PP TOI reduction I expect to be a blip on the radar and once Carolina draws a few more power plays it’ll come back up. Teravainen’s power play rates have declined across the board which may concern people somewhat, but generally I take 5v5 rates to be an indication of how well a player is performing and expect power play rates to normalize over time unless something drastic has changed (new coaching, new personnel, etc.). With neither of those being the case for Teravainen, I expect them to eventually bump back up and him to return just about exactly the value he was drafted at.
Verdict: Buy low
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!