Welcome back to Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Instead of there being three bowls of porridge though, I cover three skaters and declare one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). In addition, I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.
Despite the cancellations and reschedulings, each team – other than the Islanders – has now passed the halfway point of the 2021-22 season. Although you might think that means "what you see is what you get" when it comes to players, appearances can be deceiving, which is where Goldipucks comes into play. The three skaters on tap this week are Tage Thompson, Jesper Bratt, and Ivan Provorov. Test your fantasy IQ by trying to determine which of the three is too hot, as well as who is too cold and just right, then read on to learn if your hunches were correct. Data for each player is current through the All-Star break.
Tage Thompson (41 games, 14G, 16A, 130 SOG, 10 PPPts, 17:44 TOI, 2:40 PP, 59.2% PP%)
By the time the towering former first round pick was 19, he was in the midst of his first NHL season, which saw him play 41 games but tally just nine points. Things didn't improve in his second campaign, and his third season saw him miss games due to injury, plus, when he did play, it was mostly in the AHL. The good news is the Sabres were thin enough at forward for him to be back with the big club for 2020-21. Still, his scoring wasn't even at the point per every other game level, and expectations were understandably low entering 2021-22. But to the surprise of most everyone he's broken out this season. Is this just a case of a player doing well because the team has no other options? Or could this be the start of Thompson fulfilling his first round promise? Data suggests the latter.
First off, while it may seem like Thompson is a come from nowhere fantasy success story, there were already signs of life during last season. For one, 12 of his 14 total points came in just his last 23 games, during which he also fired 69 SOG, for an average of exactly three per contest, leading to him finishing 16th among all NHL forwards in SOG per 60 minutes for the season overall, with all but two of the players ranking ahead of him having scored 30+ goals in at least one season. If we look at just those who were ranked ahead of hi