Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, the thirteenth 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:
Brayden Point, C – TBL
Brayden Point has been a relatively boring but useful fantasy asset all year, but the recent injury to Steven Stamkos brings new questions. Point has played five games now since the Stamkos injury occurred, and it’s been largely business as usual for him as far as the advanced stats go. His shot, chance generation, and on-ice scoring chance for rates are all within 10% of his season averages in those five games. The only puzzling difference here is a slight drop in ice time from 18:24 on the season to 17:27 in the past five. Overall, there’s not much to be concerned with. I don’t anticipate losing Stamkos to be a positive development for Point, but it seems like he’ll be able to carry on without his captain just fine.
Verdict: Should be on point ROS
Tim Stutzle, LW – OTT
Stutzle has had an up and down rookie season which was to be expected on a young Senators squad that was unlikely to be highly competitive this season. He’s put together four points in his last five games, but I’m not terrible confident in his ROS outlook. His running mate Drake Batherson has earned a promotion to the Brady Tkachuk line which has left Stutzle to toil next to Evgenii Dadonov and Chris Tierney. You don’t need to be a fantasy hockey expert to realize that even with his PP1 usage, Stutzle has an uphill battle to put up consistent point production alongside those two at even strength. He’s averaging 14:58 over those last five games with heavy 18.4% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%), meaning he’s likely gotten a little fortunate to find those four points. Long term I’m pretty bullish on Stutzle, who has put up a 46-point pace on the season as a teenager, but for this season I’ll let him fade.
Verdict: Bright future, but not much here for this year
Casey Mittelstadt, C – BUF
Not many players have been more consistent than Mittelstadt of late, who hasn’t gone back to back games without a point since March 29th. He’s seeing run on Buffalo’s top PP unit with Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson, averaging over 17 minutes a game with a solid if unspectacular shot rate in his last five games. The 50% individual points percentage (IPP) looks solidly underweight, but that is counterbalanced by a 25% shooting percentage (S%) and 16% oiSH%. The scary number for Mittelstadt is the on-ice scoring chances for rate (SCF/60), 330th in the league over his past five games. I don’t think Mittelstadt is close to the point-per-game player he’s approximated over the past 10-12 games, but he’s a reasonable power play points streamer for this week with that tasty Friday/Sunday split.
Verdict: Not some huge breakout (yet), but can be streamed
David Pastrnak, RW – BOS
David Pastrnak caused some concern with a four game pointless stretch a couple of weeks ago, but of late it seems he’s found his stride again with six points in his last three games (and an assist tonight already as I write this). His deployment (just 16:46 average time on ice) and shot production (173rd in shots/60) have fallen off in his last five games which is concerning for a player of Pastrnak’s stature. Realistically though, you’re going to play Pastrnak regardless of his rates and especially in this seven game stretch this week and next where he plays Buffalo six times. Pastrnak won’t need to be at his best to help your team bring home the chip this year.
Verdict: Oddities in his profile, but still an auto-start in your fantasy playoffs
Martin Necas, RW – CAR
After becoming a fantasy hockey darling in the midseason, Necas has rapidly fallen off with eight pointless games, one game with one point, and two games with two points since his March 27th four-point explosion against Tampa Bay. His ice time has declined significantly to 15:51 in his last five, in part since he was bumped from the top power play unit in favour of Vincent Trocheck. His 5v5 line still looks good on paper with Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, but Necas’ underlying stats have me looking elsewhere for point production in my fantasy playoffs. His SCF/60 is 250th and shots/60 is 258th in the league over his last five games, and those numbers are simply not good enough. Carolina’s four game schedule this week and next week makes Necas enticing, but Necas himself is going to have to turn it around in a hurry to give me any kind of confidence in him going into next week.
Verdict: Very concerned about his point production ROS
Colin Blackwell, RW – NYR
Blackwell is an attractive streamer this week given the Rangers’ four-game schedule and his position on Artemi Panarin’s line at 5v5. I’m pretty unconvinced with Blackwell’s ability to produce and even hold the spot to Panarin’s right. Coach Dan Quinn has rotated wingers through that spot this season, and that has to be considered when evaluating Blackwell’s fantasy value. Blackwell’s oiSH% is at an unconscious 19.6% over the past five games and his shot rate is in the gutter (390th in the league over those five). I’d rather have any of the Buffalo PP forwards (Reinhart/Olofsson/Mittelstadt) than Blackwell for this week.
Verdict: A low-end streaming option solely based on schedule
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick
Title photo credit: Keith Srakocic, Associated Press