Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the fourteenth installment of a weekly article I’ve been writing all season long in which I 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 Jeff Skinner or any other player I was telling you to pick up before anyone else was 🙂 Let’s get it!
Josh Norris, C – OTT
Josh Norris has enjoyed a terrific goal-scoring season, dropping 18 goals in 34 games on the season (a 43-goal pace). He’s only complemented that scoring with 8 assists for 26 total points, but it’s still an impressive season from Norris. Oddly enough, Norris has scored two goals in a single game twice in his past eight games, but those are his only points in those eight games. Norris has also been a bit feast or famine in terms of his individual scoring chances (iSCF), putting up more than two iSCF only (you guessed it) twice in those eight games. I’m inclined to cut Norris and the Senators a bit of slack on this front. They’ve played the second-least amount of games thus far, meaning there’s a lot of games coming up for Norris and the Sens. It’s concerning that Norris wasn’t able to generate more than a single shot and iSCF against the similarly putrid Blue Jackets in Sunday’s game, but Norris was probably due some regression given his 20% shooting percentage (S%) and 13% on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%). I still have Norris as a 60-point pace player ROS, and given that he’s going to play more games than just about anyone else on your roster from here on out, I’m inclined to ride him out for the season at this point.
Verdict: May be a bit hit or miss game to game, but Norris is in a prime spot to be a valuable fantasy contributor for the rest of the season
Drake Batherson, RW – OTT
Batherson obviously has the same enviable schedule as Norris in his corner for the remainder of the year, and I’m a big fan of Batherson’s abilities especially in bangers leagues where his hits really add up. I won’t dispute that Batherson hasn’t been terrific of late (314th in the league in shots/60 over his last five games) but this is a player averaging 19:24 a night as an integral part of the Ottawa lineup who is going to hit a ton and provide you a 65-70 point pace ROS unless things really come off the rails for him. I recently acquired Batherson in both redraft and dynasty formats and I’m ecstatic about having him in both spots.
Verdict: Not likely to keep up a point-per-game pace, but 65-70 with a lot of games in hand is a very valuable thing to have on your roster
Lucas Raymond, RW – DET
Raymond has cooled significantly off his torrid early-season pace, managing just five points in his last 11 games after starting the season with 28 points in 33 games. Raymond has mixed in a 4- and 5-shot game among his last five games including a 6iSCF performance against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. These games are giving me some hope that Raymond may not be hitting the rookie wall as I previously feared and there might be more to give here yet. Raymond will certainly be given every opportunity to succeed; he saw 21:46 of ice in Saturday’s contest and hasn’t been below 17 minutes in a game since December 14th. If I had Raymond I’d hold him just a little longer and see if these uptick games can translate into some longer term production for us fantasy managers.
Verdict: Next few games will be instructive for Raymond managers; still lots of opportunity for him to rebound
Jakob Chychrun, D – ARI
It’s been a season of disappointment for Chychrun and his managers, as the rearguard put up a meagre eight points in 29 games while registering an appalling -31 plus/minus for those of you still stuck in plus/minus leagues. Chychrun has been relegated to Arizona’s PP2 unit due to the acquisition of Shayne Gostisbehere, and in Arizona’s most recent game Chychrun skated just 19:19, his lowest mark of the season (if you don’t count the Dec. 10th game he was injured in). On top of this we now have trade rumours; a trade seems like the only opportunity for Chychrun to regain some of his fantasy value, at least for this season. I am not in the business of projecting or predicting trades so for me Chychrun is currently a drop (assuming of course there’s something of use on your waiver wire) until we see something change for him. .
Verdict: It’s sad but it’s officially wait-until-you-see-it time with Chychrun
Jeff Skinner, LW – BUF
I’ve been on Skinner and his linemate Tage Thompson pretty much all season long, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m a bit effusive about Skinner here. This is a guy everyone left for dead producing at a 34-goal pace in one of the worst offensive environments in the league. A guy whose worst game in the past six still resulted in 7 individual Corsi For (iCF) and 4 iSCF. A guy who ranks 5th in iSCF/60 over his past five games and sits 24th on the season. Yeah, Skinner’s still got it and Ralph Krueger can think about his misdeeds long and hard while he doesn’t coach in the NHL (I’m not bitter). I don’t know how you could say that Skinner can’t keep this up with those numbers – the IPP, S%, and oiSH% are not crazy here and at worst Skinner should be a 30-goal pace player for the rest of the season.
Verdict: Skinner is good keep Skinner pls
Before you go, I want to make sure you’re aware of the Apples and Ginos Fantasy Hockey Podcast and I would be much obliged if you were to give it a listen. There are two 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 Ian Gooding from Dobber Hockey and Elan Dubrofsky from Keeping Karlsson on the show and I’ve added a midweek podcast with my friends Josh Hutchinson and John Binkle who are a ton of fun on the mic.
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 free 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: Lost Souls by Caskets
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick