Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, the fifteenth and final 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:
Trevor Zegras, C – ANA
Zegras has turned some heads with three points in his last four games, and I’m in. I said earlier in the season that I thought Zegras could be a viable fantasy option if given top line top PP deployment, and that’s exactly what he’s been seeing the last few games. Centering Maxime Comtois and Troy Terry, Zegras has elevated his game to the point that he’s now 63rd in the league in shots/60 and 38th in on-ice scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) over those four games. Combine that with upward trending ice time (20:17 in Anaheim’s last game), and we might just have our first truly relevant Anaheim player since Comtois had that early season run. I’m definitely OK with running Zegras out there for his Wednesday/Friday/Saturday end to the week.
Verdict: A viable streamer in Anaheim, the rarest and most precious of sights
Mark Stone, RW – VGK
Stone has been producing at his customary clip of late, with six points in his last five games. But in those games there are serious concerns under the hood. Stone ranks a shocking 367th in the league in shots/60, 207th in individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60), 156th in on-ice expected goals for/60 (xGF/60), and 184th in SCF/60. Those are hardly star-level numbers but actually aren’t that far off Stone’s season-long numbers. Stone has been able to compensate for his sub-standard performance with insane shooting numbers: he’s got a high 12.7% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) and an absolutely wild 23.6% personal shooting percentage (S%). Combined with a 79% individual points percentage (IPP), you probably haven’t noticed Stone’s reduced level of play. But while I can’t in good conscience tell you to cut Stone, I’m not opposed to playing other options over him on a heavy night, especially if linemate Max Pacioretty doesn’t return immediately.
Verdict: Concerning downward trend in everything but points; would start other options over him
Quinn Hughes, D – VAN
Hughes has three assists in his past five games, which is about what you’d expect. Hughes has never been a big shooter or goal scorer, but ranking 163rd among defensemen in shots/60 over his past five games is a bad spot to be in – that’s Travis Dermott and Erik Gudbranson territory. Hughes usually makes up for the lack of shot volume by dominating possession stats, but he’s just 68th in SCF/60 and 103rd in xGF/60 in the same time span. Vancouver appears to be going through the motions trying to get out of this hellish season and Hughes is not immune. I’d be at least considering other options over him.
Verdict: Not the set-and-forget guy we were promised
Sean Couturier, C – PHI
I’m riding the Couturier train all the way to the station. Couturier has another goal tonight while I’m writing this and I don’t see a reason why the fun has to stop: he’s 17th in the league in iSCF/60 and 32nd in xGF/60 over the past five games, both very healthy numbers for a guy consistently averaging over 20 minutes a night. If Couturier got you this far, let him bring you home.
Verdict: Stud doing studly things like a stud should
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick
Title photo credit: Rick Scuteri – The Associated Press