2021-2022 Fantasy Hockey Week 11 Unsustainable Players – Part 2

by Matt Johnson
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 11 Unsustainable Players - Part 2

Happy belated Holidays everybody! We continue to navigate through a COVID riddled mid-season slump as we move on to our 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 11 Unsustainable Players – Part 2.

Every Thursday over the course of the season, we will be looking at different players each week who are front of mind for Fantasy GMs. Some players may be seeing their rostered percentage increase due to a recent hot streak. Others are being traded away or dropped across many leagues because of recent struggles.

Maybe the superstar player who was supposed to be the cornerstone of your team has been a bust. Or maybe there is a guy on the waiver wire who has strung together a few impressive performances.

In this week’s shortened edition of Unsustainable Players, we don't have the luxury of analyzing our player picks from last week since the NHL had a full shut-down leading into the holiday break. Keep in mind, of course, we don't expect the rise and fall of unsustainable players to happen within a one-week vacuum. However, it is nice to see if we can observe changes in that sample size.

With Justin away on holidays this week, I'll try something different here before moving on to this week's players and give my 2 cents on his picks from his Week 11 - Part 1 article.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 11 Unsustainable Players - Part 2

Justin usually goes back a couple of weeks to see how his picks went. With the last two weeks plus of skewed data, it's a practice in futility. Too many postponements, too much line shuffling. We will review the picks for consistency's sake, but data tables at this point are misleading.

Week 8 in Review

Unsustainably High
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Tage Thompson - That's a bingo. Over the last 4 weeks, he's mustered up a respectable 33 SOG but not a single goal to show for it and only two assists. Buffalo showing their true colors. I'd expect a couple of goals to show up here, but nothing to write home about.

Devon Toews - Don't count him out yet! If you factor in he's only played seven games over the last month, he's produced at a top 5 level. Unbelievable. Still, Cale Makar and Sam Girard are just too good. His points will take a back seat at some point. Sell high if you can!

Ryan Johansen - His last game played was December 10th before entering protocol. In the four games leading up to that, he had two goals and four assists. We are still waiting for that other shoe to drop here. I could see that top Predator line being solid for the year though, just to scoff at those who wrote off him and Matt Duchene.

Unsustainably Low

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Josh Morrisey - He played nine games over this period but only managed two goals and one assist. The hits were decent (21) but other than that he hasn't exactly flourished since. Keep in mind the Jets on the whole have had their troubles. Hopefully, a bounceback is soon.

Tyler Bertuzzi - In just 3 games played he had three goals and 13 shots. Dylan Larkin has arrived, and Bertuzzi is riding those coattails, keep him rostered.

Blake Coleman - He had 26 shots and 18 hits in five games played. Unreal peripherals and I suspect we should see a modest rise in points if he keeps shooting.

Sustainably High

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Kevin Fiala - The Wild got eight games in this time. Fiala found himself with three goals, three assists, and 34 shots. I'm a huge Fiala fan, he just doesn't get the ice time or the linemates due to his defensive liability. His wrister is elite. If he gets on a heater you should be there for it.

Aaron Ekblad - The Panthers are on a rough stretch, but Ekblad maintains his elite status. Seven games played: two goals, five assists, 30 shots. In that span of time, that was the third-highest shot total for a defenseman behind only Roman Josi and Darnell Nurse.

Mario Ferraro - The peripherals keep coming, 23 hits and 31 blocks in eight games. Bonkers. Don't expect too many points but he's a must-own in banger leagues.

Sustainably Low

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Sam Reinhart - See Ekblad above. Reinhart actually turned on the jets and over eight games he had five goals, six assists, and 18 shots. With a lot of lineup shuffling due to COVID and Barkov's injury, hard to see where Reinhart ends up. If he sticks with top playmaker Jonathan Huberdeau then I would expect decent output rest of the season.

Seth Jarvis - In five games he managed little more than three assists. Nothing to see here. Hurricanes are constantly messing around with their top 9, unless he's glued to Aho I would be dropping him to the waivers.

Sean Monahan - The Flames were one of the first teams to be struck with a nasty COVID outbreak. They managed five games in December and Monahan ended up with two goals, one assist, and 14 shots. If he is stuck behind Elias Lindholm for that top slot, it's not going to get any better.

Now, let's get into this week's picks!

Unsustainably High

Ryan Hartman, C/RW, Minnesota Wild (84% Rostered)

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In Dobber's most recent article he lists Hartman as the numero uno choice for a player benefitting from linemates.

No Duh.

Hartman has benefitted greatly from a sheer lack of a true 1C talent (Marco Rossi, step right up!). Over his last three years, he's had a 0.45 PTS/G pace, and that total is actually brought up from this year's current 0.87 pace. The Kirill Kaprizov bump is real, very real. There are things to like about him, he's averaging 3.4 SOG, 1 hit and 0.5 blocks per game. Shooting consistency is always something to look for, let's look at his year to date.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
3014123103321515:5541.8

Decent output considering his ADP of *checks notes*, oh, undrafted.

Here's the thing, it's easy to look at this from a coaching/managing perspective and be content that the points are coming in and the team is winning. Ain't broke don't fix it. However, a deep dive will tell anyone that Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello are pulling Hartman along. If you are a team that wants to make a deep cup run, you gotta fix deficiencies. Their topline center is a doozy.

His S% currently sits 4.0% higher than his career average, he has 14 goals with an xGF total of eight. Seven more goals than what is statistically expected, so there will be correction there. His ATOI is not bad, but certainly not what a top center should be, plus he averages 2:33 on the PK which hurts his points output.

Kaprizov is an elite winger at all levels, and if Hartman stays in his spot he will get points. My concern is I can see the Wild making a play to move (upcoming RFA's) Kevin Fiala or Jordan Greenway to get a center upgrade while Rossi continues his development.

Ivan Barbashev, C/LW/RW, St.Louis Blues (63% Rostered)

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This one pains me a little as someone who has been a Barbashev truther this year. Well, a waiver-wire pick-up truther. He's been decent for banger leagues with some points upside, it's all you could ask from someone who didn't take up any of your draft value.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
311114648521417:0626.1

So what's the first thing that jumps out at you? Nothing? That is correct. He's been a steady eddy middle-6 player for the Blues, with some nice hit totals. Quite frankly I would love to keep him on the roster as he continues to cruise along on the Motherland line of him, Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich (Why Rangers, WHY?!?). But that line's doomsday clock has already started.

Besides his outrageous 22.9 S% and his 10 oiS%, he is currently playing stop-gap while many Blues are out for COVID-protocol. Whether it's Robert Thomas or Brayden Schenn, one of those returns is bound to knock back Barbashev into the bottom-6 where he will continue to plug away with very little fantasy relevance.

This was a bit of an unsustainable cop-out choice I know. I just had to plug him in here since his ownership has skyrocketed over the week priors point totals. Don't chase yesterday's points!

Unsustainably Low

Andrei Svechnikov, C/LW/RW, Carolina Hurricanes (99%)

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Speaking of cop-outs, this guy literally has nowhere to go but up.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
2691278240217:1666.3

Svechnikov is kind of a misleading "unsustainably low". Looking at his figures everything looks to be fairly in line with what we have come to expect. All his advanced stats are completely within his career averages, and his point's total is a modest 0.81 PTS/G, which again is kind of where we should expect him. Though I'm sure many were hoping for him to leap in the point-per-game territory.

So why do I hear people asking what is to be done with him? Patience people, patience. Do you remember the Hurricanes hot start? They were one of the last undefeated teams left in the league after eight or nine games played. What goes up, must come down.

Right now the 'Canes are in a bit of a muddy area where COVID has claimed many top-tier players, and a lot of line shuffling has forced Svechnikov into different roles over a small period of time. Again, I preach patience. It's only a matter of time before everything normalizes and Svech picks up where he left off. Sebastian Aho is a center with incredible finesse. Or if he lines up with Vincent Trochek he's no slouch either. Mix in plenty of powerplay time and we will see those point totals rise again.

Sean Couturier, C, Philadephia Flyers (67%)

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I debated between him and Carter Hart, but since goalies run on black magic voodoo and there is no telling what's going to happen, let's stick with Mr. Consitency himself. Except the consistency has not been there. 'Sup?

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
29611579221820:2357.6

It's not pretty, and to be fair the Flyers haven't been pretty at all this year. It feels like we've almost come to expect it now. High-hopes and big moves in the off-season and then they fall flat. With a coaching change at the beginning of the month, however, we are seeming a glimmer of hope.

Flyers have seen their share of injuries. Joel Farabee, Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, Kevin Hayes, all have seen time off the ice, and that doesn't include those in and out of protocol. Hard to be Mr. Consistent when you can't even get that from your lines on a day-to-day basis. The other issue of course is we are seeing Claude Giroux enter his twilight years and is no longer able to clean up games on his own.

Why I think this will eventually pick up is because there is hope in a beefed-up blueline, and young star power in the likes of Farabee and Konecny. Travis Sanheim is seeing more playtime and he was touted to be an excellent puck mover and all-around defenseman.

Couturier is pacing for the same amount of shots per game as he has over the last four years. He has a 7.6 S% this year, with a career of 11.4%, so there's some regression coming. If interim coach Mike Yeo can settle the lines down and get injuries under control, Couturier will come back to life.

Sustainably High

Kirill Kaprizov, LW/RW, Minnesota Wild (99%)

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It's probably not fair to pick someone who has played at a top 10 scoring pace this season as a sustainably high. However, I never get to highlight the fun players, and as someone who happily owns a KK97 jersey, I wanted to have fun. Normally you would lay off a top 10 player because it's too easy, his situation makes it fun because he has officially played a full-seasons worth of games!

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
3012247105311019:2366.5

Between this season and last, KK97 has played 85 games, 39 goals, 48 assists, 262 SOG (average of 3.1/G). Who else bought in last year? How electric is this guy? Can you tell I'm a gushing owner? I think we can safely call his current 1.02 PPG pace his floor, and that's an exciting thought. Mind you, with the Wild's style of play, even if he did get an elite center (even a moderate upgrade over Hartman) we would still need to temper expectations.

Last year he had a way-too-hot 17.2 S% which has come down to a stable and manageable 11.4%. So what does he do to correct the lack of goals that would follow that drop? Goes from 2.9 SOG/G to 3.5 this year. His secondary assist rate is within reason for a star player like himself, and his Corsi numbers show that his line is consistently in control of the puck.

I'm buying in on all sides of Kaprizov, in deep leagues I'm looking to get my hands on Marco Rossi too.

Timo Meier, LW/RW, San Jose Sharks (99%)

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What a year for the kid. The breakout we've all been waiting for! I never wish ill on anyone, but it's clear that Evander Kane needed to move aside for him to finally flourish. That said, it's clear the sharks could use a tad bit more talent in their top-6 to allow more than one top-tier winger to find his stride.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
2512174111531918.2252.4

So far his biggest leap comes from his shot totals. While his career average sits at 3.1 SOG/G, his current pace this year is 4.4! He sits between Auston Matthews and David Pastrnak (it feels weird not just calling him Pasta) for average shots per game. That's good company. This has largely been made possible by a two-minute jump in his ATOI.

Not much more in-depth analysis to do here. It's all pretty cut and dry. He's getting all the powerplay and ice time he needs. He's continuing to do what he's done before but on a topline level. No reason to think this is going to drop off as the sharks won't be looking to buy up more talent this year, it's his for the taking.

Sustainably Low

Torey Krug, D, St.Louis Blues (88%)

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The writing has been on the wall. It's hard to want to let a guy go that has put up the point paces that he has. But guess what? He doesn't have the Perfection Line in Boston to piggyback anymore. That time in his life is over. Justin Faulk and Colton Parayko eat into his time and production, and unfortunately, he's never had the peripherals to fall back on.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
26410744181820:3161.8

He's been admirable, but that significant drop in powerplay production is costing him dearly. What's more concerning is his shooting percentage is currently double his career average, which means that should drop off and dry up those goal totals. As I stated earlier, at least with a defenceman you can generally rely on blocks and hits but he's more of an offensive blueliner and doesn't throw the body around too much.

Bottom line is that Krug is surrounded by a reasonably deep defense core and a powerplay that couldn't possibly live up to the golden age of the Bruins with Pastrnak and Marchand. Krug will get points, but likely never at the pace you drafted him for.

Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders (83%)

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The most offensively capable forward in the league with the least amount of fantasy relevance? It would be hard to argue against that. Barzal has a gift with those hands that is wasted in a Barry Trotz system that handcuffs him to a style of play that will never let him shine.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
2351265615518:2660.1

Ugh, it's almost depressing looking at his stat totals. I had no idea his shot totals were so... average. No doubt he's a more talented playmaker than shooter, but regardless there is just very little to like here. Outside of a dip in his S% (8.9% with a career 11.4%) all his advanced stats suggest what you see is what you are going to get.

A lot of people have given the Isles a long leash since they had a brutal 13 game road trip to start the year, followed by some big injuries and then some COVID-protocol fun. I think the other thing not being given enough due is some offseason changes like the loss of Devon Toews (look what he's doing in Colorado) as well as significant injures that have sidelined players like Ryan Pulock. Barzal has to pick up a defensive slack to keep Trotz happy and that's keeping fantasy owners sad.

I think the buzz surrounding Barzal has kept his name alive more than any single-year stats have. He reminds me a lot of Brayden Point in his capabilities, just in two very different team systems.

So that's our Week 11 and a half unsustainable players list! Like it? Lump it? Give us your thoughts and comment below or let us know if you have someone that you would like us to cover in future articles!


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