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Who’s Getting More Time-On-Ice?

Mark Barbour (@18sktrs, patreon.com/18skaters)

This week I’m looking at skaters who are getting a bump in Time-On-Ice (“TOI”). Stating the obvious here: more TOI means more opportunities to register the counting stats that we want in fantasy hockey.

The data for this article were pulled from Natural Stat Trick and include games played on or before November 15, 2022.

Forwards With Increased Time-On-Ice

This plot shows the forwards with the biggest TOI increase in their last 8 team games when compared to their last 80 team games. The plot also provides information about each skater’s power play TOI and his Points/60. The size of a skater’s dot shows his recent power play TOI relative to the other skaters (bigger is better) and the colour of a skater’s dot shows his historic Points/60 relative to the other skaters (blue is better than orange). What does all that mean? We’re looking for skaters with big blue/purple dots that are pushing to the right in this plot.

Comments on this plot:

  • Artturi Lehkonen and Evan Rodrigues are getting a lot more TOI in Colorado. I get the sense that some people are down on Artturi Lehkonen after some preseason hype. Sure, his 5v5 scoring hasn’t been great so far but Lehkonen has added over 5 minutes TOI per game and he spends most of that time playing with some of the best skaters in the NHL. That’s the kind of deployment that gives me patience. I think he is a skater to acquire right now if you can find someone who’s underwhelmed by his early season production.
  • A couple of rising stars are near the top of the list: Matt Boldy and Tim Stützle. They’re getting the kind of TOI bump that pushes a breakout for young skaters. Stützle is making the most of it while Boldy hasn’t taken advantage of his situation (in fact, he’s doing less with more).
  • Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov were top-of-the-draft skaters and now they’re getting more TOI. Meanwhile, Florida has the highest xGoals/60 in the NHL. I like this combination. Barkov is off to a slowish start, though he did put up 3 points last night. If there was a “buy low” opportunity for Barkov it will likely end soon, so now is the time to acquire an elite skater if you can somehow shake Barkov loose. Note that Carter Verhaeghe also appears on this list as the TOI in Florida gets reallocated under Paul Maurice.
  • It’s hard to get excited about Max Domi given his performance in recent seasons, but he’s getting an additional 4.5 minutes TOI and there’s a possibility he might do something with it (recall that he registered 72 points back in 2018-19). He’s probably nothing more than a streamer in most leagues, but for deeper leagues this bump in TOI might push him on to a roster.
  • Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry are getting more TOI in Anaheim and they’re doing something with it. Terry is one of the fastest risers in my personal skater rankings. FYI, the skaters on this plot who are rising faster than Terry in my skater rankings are Martin NecasDominik Kubalik, and Bo Horvat.

Defensemen With Increased Time-On-Ice

Now let’s look at some defensemen who are getting more TOI.

Comments on this plot:

  • Brandon Montour is up more than 6 minutes TOI per game. That’s a lot. He’s also averaging over a point per game this season. This is probably peak-Montour. Let’s see where this goes now that Aaron Ekblad is back in the Florida line up. In last night’s game Montour had only 18 minutes TOI. It could be time to sell if you can find an eager buyer.
  • Gustav Forsling is getting more TOI. It looks like that could also change with Ekblad back in the line up as Forsling has been back around 22 minutes per game since Ekblad’s return. Personally, I like Forsling about as much as I like Montour. I would be happy to swap Montour for Forsling as part of a multi-player deal where my trade partner thinks that Montour is significantly more valuable and therefore is willing to give value for the other skaters in the deal.
  • Tony DeAngelo is getting more TOI in Philadelphia (he played 31 minutes last night!) but the team around him isn’t very good. He’s sinking in my skater rankings even with his increased TOI. If you can find someone who values him like he still plays in Carolina then go ahead and make a trade.
  • Erik Gustafsson is getting an opportunity in Washington. He’s not a skater I’m too interested in, but he did have that phenomenal run back in 2018-19. He’s probably a Watch List skater in most leagues.
  • Rasmus Dahlin is getting a TOI push and he’s crushing it. He’s one of the fastest rising defensemen in my skater rankings. If you drafted him – well done. I doubt you can acquire him at a reasonable price right now but maybe Buffalo’s current losing streak will cause some people to be concerned.
  • It seems there is always a sense of uncertainty when it comes to the defense in Calgary. The addition of Mackenzie Weegar added to that, and it was unclear who would receive the best deployment this season. Well, the answer seems to be Rasmus Andersson. If you can acquire him from someone who is still nervous about Weegar then I would do that.

The End Of The Article

That’s all for this week.

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