Rookies trending upward may provide a second-half boost to your fantasy team.
The Journey examines trends for the post All-Star break, and which rookies will be trending up or trending down for the second half of the season from a fantasy perspective.
Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets – Trending Down
This is by no means to say that Laine isn’t going to have a great end to the season now that he is back from IR. He will. However, he’s currently sitting with a 18.3% shooting percentage, which if history is a guideline is not typically sustainable. Laine could prove history wrong and remain at that level, but his closest comparisons of player type and where he produces shots from are Steven Stamkos and Ilya Kovalchuk. Both Kovalchuk and Stamkos had only one season over 18% with more than 175 shots on goal.
Laine’s 22 goals are second among rookies behind Auston Matthews, but he leads in P/60 at a rate of 2.99 (for players who have played more than 20 games. Laine’s PDO (1033) and 5-on-5 shooting percentage (12.19%) are also high, which point to a regression. With not as much of a sample size for Laine, it will be harder to predict his success over the next 30 games. But if he doesn’t produce at the same level, there’s no reason to be alarmed.
Sebastian Aho – Carolina Hurricanes – Trending Up
Don’t look now, but Aho is up to third among rookies in goals scored with 12 after not scoring his first NHL goal until his 14th game of the season in mid-November. Playing alongside Teuvo Teravainen has helped tremendously, as the two have formed a formidable duo in the offensive zone, often finding each other to make scoring plays out of nothing. Aho has been arguably the Canes’ most consistent offensive player recently, and could have scored at least twice more on Thursday against the Kings.
With a 10.2% shooting percentage and a 7.36% 5-on-5 shooting percentage, there is certainly room to grow, and his increased presence on the Canes power play should lead to more points. The Canes have 34 games left to play, and with Aho sitting at 26 points currently, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him near 50 when the season ends.
Zach Werenski – Columbus Blue Jackets – Trending Down
Before finishing with a goal and an assist on Thursday night against Nashville, everyone’s favorite rookie blueliner had come back down to earth a bit with points in just three of his prior 13 games.
Werenski currently ranks third among rookies with 21 assists and sixth with 29 points. However, nearly 60% of the 2015 first rounder’s points have come with the man advantage. This can be attributed to the Blue Jackets tremendous power play which is humming along at nearly 25% and produced at an even higher rate during their 16-game winning streak. Since the 2010-11