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The Truth #16

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the sixteenth 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 Matt Boldy, Trevor Zegras, or any other exciting players from this year’s rookie crop. Let’s get it!

John Carlson, D – WSH

John Carlson Player Card – via @TJStats

Carlson has been one of the steadiest point producing defensemen in the league over the past five years, averaging a 74-point pace per 82 games during that span. This year Carlson has seemingly taken a slight step back to a 64-point pace, but I don’t see any signs in Carlson’s underlying stats that his game is slipping. Looking at his last five games, you can see that outside of his shots/60, his metrics in his last five games all look just as good or better than both his career and season averages. In this recent stretch Carlson has been held back by a subpar individual points percentage (IPP) and on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%), both metrics that will undboutedly rebound throughout the rest of the season. I have zero concerns about Carlson’s ROS production and you shouldn’t either

Verdict: Stud point producer who will continue to stuff the stat sheet for the foreseeable future

Matt Boldy, LW – MIN

Matt Boldy Player Card – via @TJStats

Boldy has exploded onto the NHL scene with ten points in his first ten NHL games, cementing a top PP role and seeing plenty of usage early in his young career. His 18.4 individual Corsi For/60 (iCF/60) ranks 45th among all players over the last five games, but there are certainly signs of potential regression with Boldy as well. The 15.5 oiSH% is a bit outlandish, and while the on-ice Corsi For (CF/60) and scoring chances for (SCF/60) rates are good they aren’t point-per-game great. Combine that with a 16.7% shooting percentage which seems a touch high and it’s hard to say that Boldy is going to sustain a point per game while skating 16-17 minutes a night. I’d expect Boldy to settle in around the 60-point pace mark if he sustains these rates. Those are good numbers for a guy you picked off the waiver wire, but you shouldn’t expect him to be an overnight star.

Verdict: A useful player for sure, but some regression needs to be accounted for moving forward

Patrick Kane, RW – CHI

Patrick Kane Player Card – via @TJStats

A lot of what I said about Carlson above could apply to Kane here. His shots/60 are above his career rates on the season and significantly so over his last five games, and while his individual scoring chance for (iSCF/60) rate is down, he’s also down on his S% and oiSH% luck this year. It’s certainly true that his on-ice chances are down on the season but even those have shown signs of rebounding of late. I have no qualms about recommending Kane as a 90+ point player for the rest of the season and if his current manager isn’t valuing him that way I’d be happy to step in with an appropriate offer. There’s a few players on season-long hot streaks (Filip Forsberg, anyone?) who I would certainly consider moving for Kane.

Verdict: Still a star, and a potentially undervalued one given the ‘Hawks struggles

Patrik Laine, LW – CBJ

Patrik Laine Player Card – via @TJStats

Laine strung together three straight multi-point games before the All-Star break, rekindling dwindling hopes that he was finally finding his game. You might be surprised to know Laine has 21 points in 24 games this season (a 72-point pace). I’m not sure that Laine will sustain that level of production, but it’s nice to see the shots/60 and CF/60 up in his last five games and that he’s been rocking the highest iSCF/60 mark of his career this season despite the lack of complementary talent in Columbus. I’m cautiously optimistic in Laine as a 65-point guy rest of season, but he will need some support from the Oliver Bjorkstrands and Zach Werenskis on his team if he’s to keep up his surprisingly solid underlying stats to date.

Verdict: Surprisingly doing very well; I’m feeling optimistic about Laine for the first time in a long time

Tuukka Rask, G – BOS

Tuukka Rask GSAx by Game – via @TJStats

Rask’s return to action was much heralded but went sideways quickly, getting re-injured after appearing in just four games for the Bruins. From the reports we’ve had it sounds like the injury is related to the injury Rask was working back from, which is obviously a big red flag. Jeremy Swayman has been recalled to split the net with Linus Ullmark for the time being and you simply can’t count on Rask for the rest of the season. He could be back in a week or two or be completely done with hockey – the range of outcomes here is immense. I’d be willing to drop Rask if I needed the IR slot as he was far from inspiring in his four performances, with two wins and two five-goal losses.

Verdict: Can let go of Rask if necessary or let him sit in IR; I’m not expecting anything from him ROS

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!

Nate

Player Stats Cards: Created by @TJStats

Soundtrack to my writing: Free Spirit by Khalid

Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick

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Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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