Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the eighth installment of a weekly article I’ll be writing all season long in which I’ll try to determine the truth about puzzling players. I pull suggestions for which players to write about for these articles from the Apples & Ginos community on Discord and the Apples & Ginos Patreon members. Be sure you check out those spots to catch up with me and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Oliver Bjorkstrand, Oliver Twist, or any other Olivers who make us say “Please sir, I want some more”. Let’s get it!
Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW – CBJ
Bjorkstrand has gone ice-cold after a red hot start to his season, and it’s not just bad luck. In his last five games Bjorkstrand has a paltry single assist and a grand total of three shots on goal. Considering that Bjorkstrand was 31st in the league in shots on goal before this stretch of futility began, it’s wildly concerning. There is a real possibility that Bjorkstrand is playing through an injury that causes him pain when he shoots, but considering his current level of play is not good enough for… well anything positive at all, he should probably take some time off if that’s what he needs. Keeping Karlsson did some excellent work on the Bjorkstrand situation in their latest podcast and I would recommend that listen to all. I would try to move Bjorkstrand just to de-risk myself if I’m holding him, but depending on the general savviness of your league that may or may not be possible. I’m not ready to drop him yet in the couple of places that I do have him, but if this shot production doesn’t improve soon I’ll have to think seriously about dropping him.
Verdict: It’s a hold for now or sell if you can but Bjorkstrand has some very troubling trends
Patrick Kane, RW – CHI
Kane has been a little up and down of late, with four points in his last five games but zero points in the three games before that stretch. Kane has probably not been playing his absolute best hockey, but he’s also been separated from fellow Hawks star Alex DeBrincat at 5v5 and that’s undoubtedly had some effect on Kane’s production. Kane’s 18.4 individual Corsi For/60 (iCF/60) in his last five games is still very good and his on-ice scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) still looks terrific. His 5.9% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) and 67% individual points percentage (IPP) give some hope for positive regression; I’m not worried about Kane at all and would be very comfortable projecting him for a 95-point pace rest of season.
Verdict: Same old Kane, just a bump in the road
Travis Konecny, RW – PHI
There’s no two ways about it: the Flyers have been putrid and Konecny’s 10 points in 22 games before tonight reflect that reality. Before tonight’s two-assist performance, Konecny had a single assist in seven games, a truly horrendous stretch for a player of his talents. I’m not worried about Konecny’s ability to put up a 55-60 point pace as he’s been that player for quite some time now. His regression metrics all point to positive things to come: a 55% IPP (career norms around 75%), 7.6% shooting percentage (career norms around 13%) and 9% oiSH% (career norms around 10%) all say he should be doing much better in the points department than he has been thus far. In fact, under the hood Konecny is providing some of the best rate stats of his career with an increase in ice time to 17:16 per game. His shots/60 and individual scoring chances/60 both pushing that 10.0 mark I like to see players hit is interesting. Of late, Konecny’s advanced stats have taken a small dip, but I think he’s clearly the third best forward on the team after Couturier and Giroux and think he’s a solid 55-60 point player with upside if he continues to see PP1 usage and 17+ minutes a game for the rest of the season.
Verdict: Cold right now, but I’d rather pick him up too early than too late
Sonny Milano, LW – ANA
I’m into Milano, and even moreso after his goal and assist in 22:23 (!) of ice time tonight against the Capitals. It looks like at least as long as Ryan Getzlaf is out the Zegras/Milano/Rackell line will be leaned on very heavily and Milano answered the bell tonight with five shots and three blocks to boot. I’ve previously shown a lot of love to both Zegras and Rakell, primarily on Twitter, and even if Milano is just a solid third wheel, I’m interested in him as a strong streamer and even potential hold right now. On the season Milano’s stats are undoubtedly inflated with an 18% S% and 13% oiSH%, but he’s also never gotten this extended audition with a couple of talented linemates before and he’s responded with the best shots/60 and iSCF/60 marks of his career to date.
Verdict: Very much worth a speculative add if you need a scoring forward this week, he should be rostered in most leagues at least until Getzlaf is back.
Rasmus Dahlin, D – BUF
Dahlin has found himself showing up on the scoresheet more often than not of late, with 15 points in 24 games on the season and three in his last five. I’ve been pessimistic about Dahlin’s ability to contribute to fantasy lineups as an every day starter this season, but everything under the hood looks decently sustainable; the IPP might be a touch high but realistically Dahlin’s current 51-point pace looks doable. Give him 50 points plus or minus 5 on the season and you have a very rosterable defenseman in most formats. Dahlin is seeing 23:20 a night which is the highest mark of his career and while he’s not a peripherals beast, he hits and blocks just enough to make him more than just a point scoring defenseman for your bangers leagues. As long as Dahlin continue to see this increased role I don’t see why we can’t project him for a 45-50 point pace ROS with upside if he gets hot.
Verdict: He’s winning me over, but you have to be prepared for some cold streaks in BUF
Before you go, I want you to know I recently launched the Apples and Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast and I would be much obliged if you were to give it the time of day. I’ll be providing weekly shows focused on the strategy elements of fantasy hockey and I’m very excited about providing more value to the fantasy hockey community in this way. I’ve already had terrific guests like TJ Branson from Five Hole Fantasy Hockey and Elan Dubrofsky from Keeping Karlsson on the show and I believe the content is top notch.
That’s all for this one folks, I hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it! Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter and join the Apples & Ginos Discord server for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have. If you want to learn more about any of the advanced stats I mentioned in this article, be sure to check out my article on applying advanced stats to fantasy hockey, or check out Natural Stat Trick’s advanced stats glossary.
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!
Soundtrack to my writing: Skinny Dipping by Stand Atlantic & thank u, next by Ariana Grande
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick