Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. This is the nineteenth 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 Ryan Hartman, Drake Batherson, or any other players I traded for just before they stopped producing fantasy points. Let’s get it!
Evander Kane, LW – EDM
Kane is an interesting case for me, with conflicting stats to examine in the last five games in particular. Kane is getting 19+ minutes a night on the Draisaitl line and PP1 unit, and his individual scoring chances for/60 (iSCF/60) looks as fantastic lately as it has all season. But the actual shots on goal have gone away and Kane’s on-ice stats are inexplicably low. The Corsi For/60 (CF/60) and on-ice scoring chances for/60 (SCF/60) are significantly lower than you’d expect for a player of Kane’s caliber getting great deployment in Edmonton. On the whole I’m inclined to hang my hat on the 3+ iSCF Kane has generated in six straight games (and in all but one of his games this season) and attribute the on-ice numbers to the quality of opponents Edmonton has faced lately (MIN, TB, FLA, & CAR). I’d be happy to continue to roll Kane for the rest of the season.
Verdict: On-ice numbers probably due to opponents; Kane is still generating scoring chances if not shots so I’m holding/buying at cost
Jordan Kyrou, C – STL
Kyrou is red hot at the moment with three goals and three assists in his last four games, despite a slight step back across the board in his advanced stats relative to his season-long numbers. I’m still bullish on Kyrou as a ROS option given his production this year and St. Louis’s terrific fantasy playoff schedule. I’m not much down on Kyrou’s deployment – the Blues run their top 3 lines at essentially equal time on ice for 5v5 play and the PP time is similarly split nearly in half. Kyrou’s point-per-game pace may not stand the test of time, but he absolutely looks like a 70+ point guy and if you’re looking to strengthen your team during the playoff season Kyrou is that guy.
Verdict: A slight downturn may hit, but Kyrou should be a 70-point guy and is worth acquiring for the fantasy playoffs
John Tavares, C – TOR
This stat card was generated prior to Tavares’ two-assist performance against the Capitals on Monday night, but I have the benefit of adding that data point to my assessment. Tavares has undoubtedly let his fantasy managers down of late, with a 13-game goalless streak and six games in that span with 1 or less shots on goal. Of even more concern is that fact that Tavares’ ice time has slipped of late, with only one game above 18 minutes in his last nine. I still think Tavares is capable of providing the offense you drafted him for, but it’s certainly possible that his ceiling is capped by this reduced level of usage. I have a feeling that Tavares is one of these guys you’re stuck with; you’re not going to get full price for him on the trade market and if you’re looking to acquire him, his current manager will want full price to move him. Unfortunately, this is probably a spot where you just have to roll with him and pray it gets better.
Verdict: I don’t think Tavares has forgotten how to score; there’s not much more you can do than hold and pray for the turnaround
Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW – CBJ
Bjorkstrand has been a bit of a rollercoaster for his managers over the last month or two, offering some extreme droughts and some solid stretches. Those solid stretches include his last five games, where he’s scored four points. I’m still pretty concerned with Bjorkstrand’s level of play, as he’s only generated more than 2 iSCF once in those five games and only exceeded 16 minutes in a game once in that span. Bjorkstrand used to be the single chance generation machine on this Columbus team, but now seems incapable of elevating players like current linemates Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic. Whether it’s injury or just poor play, I’m not betting on Bjorkstrand to bounce back during the rest of this season.
Verdict: Can’t bet on Bjorkstrand currently despite some recent production; trade him if you can
Ryan Hartman, C – MIN
I’m inclined to believe Hartman is playing injured at this point – it seems impossible that Hartman could have sustained such a long period of shot and chance production earlier in the season on pure luck. It would absolutely be the most incredible outlier of chance generation stats that I’ve ever encountered if he never approaches those numbers again. Hartman’s current advanced stats are significantly worse than even his career numbers, to the point that I have to believe there’s an external explanation for what’s going on. Whatever that explanation may be, Hartman has been dropped to the third line and second power play unit in Minnesota, and I am willing to drop him if that continues beyond the next game or two. He’s just not getting it done.
Verdict: On the drop bubble now; if his current deployment or lack thereof holds I’ll be letting him go
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 Nick Alberga from NHL Fantasy on Ice 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 Natural Stat Trick’s advanced stats glossary.
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!
Player Stats Cards: Created by @TJStats
Soundtrack to my writing: TWENTYTWENTY by Jake Scott
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick