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The Truth #5

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, the fifth 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:

Alexis Lafreniere, LW – NYR

It’s safe to say Alexis Lafreniere’s career hasn’t started as well as he might have hoped, with a meager two points (both goals) in sixteen games to open his rookie season. Lafreniere has averaged 14:31 of ice per game and has seen consistent PP2 deployment thus far. There’s good news for Lafreniere, and most of that is his incredibly bad on-ice luck – he has an on-ice shooting percentage of just 3.9% on the season, also reflected in a 2.9 xGF/60 vs a 1.3 GF/60 ratio that is almost unbelievably low. Lafreniere’s IPP is low at 40%, meaning not only have there been less goals scored while he’s been on the ice than there should have been, he has also factored in on less of them than he should. Before tonight’s game, Lafreniere had gotten a look on a big line alongside Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. However I think it’s fair to say that Lafreniere hasn’t been putting his best foot forward thus far either, generating just 5.7 shots/60 thus far. His 9.1% personal shooting percentage is frankly not abnormal or likely to improve to a significant extent unless he “figures it out” and begins to drive play on his own at a significantly improved rate. I think it’s fair to project Lafreniere around a 40-point pace ROS based on the information we have at hand.

Verdict: Likely to be nothing more than an occasional streamer ROS

Pavel Buchnevich, RW – NYR

We go back to back with Ranger wingers here and catch up with Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich has put together a solid start to the season with 12 points in 16 games. He’s playing a remarkable 19:42 ATOI, mostly due to a brand new penalty killing role where he’s seeing almost three minutes a night. The shot rates are good not great, which could be a bit of a metaphor for Buchnevich as a player. Buchnevich has conflicting positive and negative regression factors with a high 86% IPP but a low 8.3% on-ice shooting percentage. Overall the two should wash out or end up as a slight negative for him. Panarin’s abrupt absence shouldn’t have a major effect on Buchnevich as he has typically played with Zibanejad and Kreider, with the possible exception of the power play where he has been on and off the top unit. Overall, I think it’s safe to say that Buchnevich is exactly who you thought he was when the season began.

Verdict: Bottom of the roster/streamer type

Maxime Comtois, LW – ANA

Maxime Comtois has made a little noise in the early going of the season as one of the few Anaheim Ducks players to garner any fantasy managers’ attention. Comtois has 7 goals and 11 points in 19 games to start the season while skating 14:48 a night. Comtois has spent most of his last few games skating alongside the snake-bitten Rickard Rakell and Isac Lundestrom (+10 points for your house if you knew that name before now), but the results have not been encouraging. On the season, Comtois is shooting nearly 22% with a 92% IPP – strongly unsustainable numbers by any measure. There is some potential in his on-ice xGF being lower than his actual GF; whenever those pucks start going in for Rakell, Comtois should be one of the beneficiaries. But the shot rate and scoring chance generation is not impressive here, is trending in the wrong direction of late, and tComtois is not a regular on the Ducks’ PP1 (such as it is). While Comtois certainly adds hits to your fantasy ledger, he’s little more than a “hits-plus-pray-for-a-power-play-goal” type of late-week streamer when he’s got a nice weekend schedule.

Verdict: streamer option only

John Tavares, C – TOR

Tavares has been a puzzling player for many fantasy managers this season. On one hand, the counting stats look OK if not great with 17 points in 21 games thus far. On the other hand, it’s been tough to see Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner light the North Division on fire and have your Tavares shares put-put around, seeming stuck in fourth gear and never breaking into difference-maker territory. The numbers back up that feeling, as Tavares hasn’t been quite as effective at 5v5 as years past, with both individual and on-ice rate stats taking a slight dip. However, it’s also fair to say that Tavares should probably have an extra goal or two at 5v5 to his credit, as he’s shooting just 5.1% there on the season which is nearly half his career average. With linemate William Nylander being cold of late (at least, until his two-goal game tonight), Tavares hasn’t had a reliable running mate either and that’s reflected in his low 5v5 on-ice shooting percentage of 6.25%. Tavares has been making hay on the PP, but with the Leafs opting to run two units most of the time Tavares has lost half a minute of PP time per game thus far, and is averaging under 18 minutes a night on the season. Overall, I see a slight positive regression as probable for Tavares in the goal scoring department, but that reduced deployment is certainly concerning, especially if the Leafs continue to run rampant in the North division and don’t need to rely on Tavares as much to come from behind in games. All told, I’m projecting Tavares in the 70-75 point pace range from here on out, leaving you probably exactly the way you felt about him so far this season: just okay.

Verdict: adjust expectations a little; if deployment changes could improve back to PPG levels

That’s all for this one folks! Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter or join the Apples & Ginos Discord server for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have.

Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!

Nate

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Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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