Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the ninth installment of a weekly article I’ll be writing all season long in which I’ll deep dive some hot and cold players and determine if they’re worth trying to acquire or sell off. Before we dive in, be sure to check out the Apples & Ginos community on Discord and the Apples & Ginos Patreon for even more content. I’m in there every day and would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Sidney Crosby, Jennifer Aniston, or anyone else who appears unnaturally younger than they actually are. Let’s get it!
Too Hot to Touch
Drake Batherson, RW – OTT
I love Batherson like my aunt Ruth loves giving sloppy kisses on the cheek at Christmas, but I have to call this one like I see it: Batherson is vastly overperforming currently. Batherson is on a six-game point streak currently that includes three multi-point games in his last four. Don’t get me wrong, Batherson has shown improvement in every metric I like to see on the season, from shots/60 to individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60). His ice time is up significantly (over 19 minutes a game) and he’s a fixture on the top line and top PP in Ottawa. But no, this latest stretch is not a sign that Batherson is ascending into point-per-game territory. In fact, over his last five games all of Batherson’s individual and team metrics track lower than his season marks, but his on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) is whopping 19% to go with an 85% individual points percentage. Batherson could flirt with a 70-point pace rest of season and will undoubtedly be a valuable asset, but you can’t reasonably expect him to sustain this type of production.
Tomas Hertl, C – SJS
I was a bit surprised to find Hertl in such an unsustainable place, as I do have him on a roster or two and didn’t recall seeing many game logs that made me question his production. But Hertl is rocking a 20% oiSH% while ranking 390th in the league in on-ice scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) over his last five games. Hertl is shooting an unconscious 46% in that stretch with an 80% individual points percentage (IPP). On the season Hertl looks to be very much the same old Hertl, with a slight uptick in shot production but a downturn in on-ice chance generation stats. I’m not saying that Hertl will suddenly regress to a 50-point player you might think about dropping in a 12-team league, but expecting more than 60-65 points from Hertl may be a bridge too far. Keep an eye on who Timo Meier is playing with as well; when Meier is on Hertl’s line (as he is currently) it significantly improves Hertl’s fantasy outlook.
Honourable Mentions: Sebastian Aho, C – CAR // Mark Stone, RW – VGK // Chandler Stephenson, C – VGK // Alexandre Texier, C – CBJ // Max Domi, C – CBJ // Cam Atkinson, RW – PHI // John Tavares, C – TOR // Devon Toews, D – COL // Nino Niederreiter, RW – CAR // Ivan Barbashev, C – STL // Adam Fox, D – NYR // Jacob Trouba, D – NYR //
The Right Amount of Hot
Sidney Crosby, C – PIT
Crosby seems to have found the fountain of youth so far this season, ranking 9th on the young season in SCF/60 and bumping his iSCF/60 numbers back up to levels he hadn’t achieved in almost five years. He’s seeing a minute less ice time, but despite shooting just 8.9% on the season he’s over a point per game and everything looks 100% sustainable. It’s hard to imagine that Crosby can do much better, but consider that he’s done much of this without one of Bryan Rust or Jake Guentzel and has continued to produced since Guentzel went down recently with the likes of Kasperi Kapanen and Evan Rodrigues on his wings. Crosby looks like a locked and loaded point per game option and could have upside for even more when the aforementioned wingers and Evgeni Malkin find their way back into the lineup.
Joel Eriksson Ek, C – MIN
Eriksson Ek has heated up of late along with the rest of the Wild, potting seven points in his last five games. Remarkably, his production in this stretch doesn’t look incredibly unsustainable. “JEEK” might be running a little hot with a 13% oiSH%, but his very nice 69% IPP and 11% shooting percentage (S%) won’t scare you away. He’s up to an average of 19 minutes a game and at that level we could be looking at a 65-70 point player if things break right for him the rest of the way. The key here has been his ability to generate significantly more shots and iSCF while benefiting from the Kaprizov/Hartman connection on the Wild’s top PP unit. I’m willing to acquire JEEK during his next small cold streak if he’s able to sustain this kind of chance generation profile.
Honourable Mentions: Ondrej Kase, RW – TOR // Vladimir Tarasenko, RW – STL // Morgan Rielly, D – TOR // Nathan Mackinnon, C – COL // Tim Stutzle, LW – OTT // Pavel Buchnevich, LW – STL // Evan Rodrigues, LW – PIT // Taylor Raddysh, RW – TB // Roman Josi, D – NSH // Cale Makar, D – COL // Noah Dobson, D – NYI
Colder than Ice
Kirby Dach, C – CHI
Dach has been one of the biggest disappointments of the 2021-22 season so far, given every chance to succeed as a #1 center between Chicago stars Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat and he has utterly and completely failed to date. Dach has been given 19 and a half minutes a night to work with and has returned a shots/60 rate that ranks 373rd in the NHL. I’m not ready to write Dach off as a bust or anything that extreme, but I am willing to say that he’s going to have to take a significant step for me to even think about rostering him in a redraft league. Dach has been bumped down the lineup of late in favour of known stars like Henrik Borgstrom and Dylan Strome; don’t fool yourself into thinking Dach is going to do something next time he gets that L1 or PP1 chance just because he’s there.
Mikhail Sergachev, D – TBL
Sergachev has been having a lowkey terrible season for a little bit now. Pointless in his last five games, Sergachev ranks 170th among defensemen in individual Corsi For/60 (iCF/60) and 160th in SCF/60 during that stretch. For fantasy purposes he’s been truly atrocious outside of solid but unspectacular banger stats (six hits and nine blocks). It’s hard to imagine that Sergachev is suddenly regressing at age 23, but looking at his season-long stats he has taken a clear step back in every advanced stat I care about. I’ll probably hold on to see if things can turn around for him when Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point return to the lineup, but I’d also definitely entertain moving him for a different defenseman trending in the other direction such as Noah Dobson. If there’s a deal out there that makes sense for your squad I wouldn’t fault you for moving on from Sergachev.
Honourable Mentions: Owen Tippett, RW – FLA // Miro Heiskanen, D – DAL // Scott Perunovich, D – STL // Dawson Mercer, C – NJD // Tom Wilson, RW – WSH // Brandon Saad, LW – STL //
Frozen but Thawing
Dougie Hamilton, D – NJD
Dougie Hamilton has been a fantasy stud for a long time at this point, but his fantasy managers have to wondering what’s going on with his current five-game pointless skid. The main answer is bad variance; Hamilton has a 4.8% oiSH% in those five games despite a 38.6 SCF/60 mark that ranks 9th among all defensemen in that span. Individually Hamilton’s shots/60 isn’t as stratospheric as it normally is but the iCF/60 still ranks 7th among all defensemen in these five games so I’m not concerned. Really this looks like an absolute open-and-shut case – bad variance that will self-correct (and likely sooner rather than later). If there’s a small buying window on Hamilton here with his current manager in your league I would definitely explore that.
Mackenzie Weegar, D – FLA
I could copy and paste much of the paragraph I wrote above for Hamilton here for Weegar. Weegar has just a single assist in his last five games despite ranking 27th among defensemen in SCF/60, 14th in iCF/60, and 4th in shots/60. The oiSH% is the culprit once again at a mere 5.5%, and obviously the IPP and S% are going to show up low given his lack of point production. Luckily Weegar has still been giving you a few hits and blocks in these five games while we wait patiently for the point production to come back. If your leaguemate is disproportionately worried about Barkov’s injuries and is willing to move Weegar (maybe for your Sergachev?), I would certainly be interested in acquiring his services at a reduced price.
Honourable Mentions: Andrei Svechnikov, LW – CAR // Anthony Beauvillier, LW – NYI // Alexander Kerfoot, LW – TOR // Evan Bouchard, D – EDM // Aaron Ekblad, D – FLA // Noah Hanifin, D – CGY // Sam Bennett, C – FLA // Andrew Mangiapane, LW – CGY // Andreas Johnsson, LW – NJD // Blake Coleman, LW – CGY // Dominik Kubalik, LW – CHI //
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: I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it by The 1975 and What It Means To Fall Apart by Mayday Parade
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick