2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 10 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 10 Unsustainable Players

Welcome back to this week’s installment of Unsustainable Players. This is the final normal matchup of 2021. The next matchup is set to span two weeks to account for the holiday break that is conveniently sprinkled in. As you prepare to wrap up 2021, sit back and buckle up because we are diving headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 10 Unsustainable Players.

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.

This week is starting to bring back some eery memories from last season. All of the injuries and absences already cost me a victory last week. The COVID absences and postponements are threatening to do the same again this week.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out my most recent suggestions! Kyle also does a good job every week highlighting the trade value of different players.

And as always, if you have any players that you want me to cover in future weeks, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter - @jchengWPG.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 10 Unsustainable Players

Week 6 Review

Now that we have four weeks of play in the books since Week 6, most teams have played between 12 and 14 games. We are going to look back at my picks from Week 6 and see how they have performed since I covered them, four weeks ago. When trying to determine if a player is a hit or a miss, I look beyond their raw production. To decide, I compare the player's actual performance to what I predicted in my article four weeks ago.

Unsustainably High

Ryan Hartman: 13 GP, 6 G, 6 A, 46 SOG ❌ (Immediately after the article, he got moved up to C1 and has stuck there)
Jordan Kyrou: 12 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 30 SOG ✔ (Down from PPG pace)
Jordan Eberle: 10 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 15 SOG ✔ (Down from 131-point pace)

Unsustainably Low

Philipp Grubauer: 8 GP, 2 QS, 0 SO, .893 SV% ❌ (Yikes)
Tyson Barrie: 12 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 23 SOG ✔ (50-pt. pace, up from 35-pt. pace)
Bryan Rust*: 5 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 12 SOG ➖ (Too soon to tell; went down with an injury and hasn't played since)

Sustainably High

Evgeny Kuznetsov: 13 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 29 SOG ✔
Andrei Svechnikov: 13 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 38 SOG ➖ (His ice time has increased, he has just been getting exceptionally unlucky)
Oliver Bjokstrand: 13 GP, 4 G, 4 A, 33 SOG ➖ (I need to see more to make a ruling either way. He started really cold, and finished really hot)

Sustainably Low

Elias Pettersson: 13 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 22 SOG ✔
Cam Atkinson: 13 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 32 SOG ✔ (Still on a sub-45-pt. pace)
Ivan Provorov: 13 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 24 SOG ✔ (Below 0.5-pt. per game)

*Missed time due to injury/COVID protocol

Season Record (Hits - Misses - Too Soon to Tell): 41-10-9

A lot of question marks remain. Moving on to this week.

Unsustainably High

Sebastian Aho, C, Carolina Hurricanes (100% rostered)

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After a blazing start to the season, the Hurricanes have cooled off. Over the past 10 games, the team has only managed to collect 10 points, going 5-5-0 during that stretch. These results are particularly ugly considering that three of the losses have come against the Kraken, Senators, and Canucks. Not exactly the league’s juggernauts.

Despite the team’s struggles, it would not be fair to pin it on star-centerman Sebastian Aho. The 24-year-old Finn has been on fire over the past two weeks, racking up five goals and seven assists through six games.


Let me be clear: I think that Aho will be a very valuable Fantasy Hockey asset going forward. I don’t think, however, that he will continue the 164-point pace that he is on over the past two weeks. I also don’t think that he will finish close to the 114-point pace he is on over the past month.

The thing that starts the alarm bells going in my head is Aho’s insane IPP. Over the past two weeks, his IPP is sitting at 100%. Over the past month, that mark is just barely lower at 90%.

While a modest increase from last year’s 66.3% IPP is reasonable due to natural growth, a jump north of 80% is unheard of. When this number falls closer to the 70% range where I expect Aho to finish, his scoring will decrease close to 30%. Shave off 30% from the 12 points that Aho has over the past two weeks, and he would have just eight points.

Reduce this further by 15-20% due to an exceptionally high oiSH% (14.6% compared to 11.2% over the past three years), and you get a more realistic picture of Aho’s production rest-of-season.

When adjusted closer to expectations, Aho would be on pace for 85-90 points. This would be a slight increase from years past and is how I would value Aho going forward.

Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, New York Islanders (15% rostered)

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Before this month started, the New York Islanders found themselves third-last in the league with just five wins. Their powerplay was even worse, operating at just 10.2%, good for dead last in the NHL.

Since then, however, the team’s powerplay has found new life. Over the past two weeks, the team sits second in the league with a 38.5% conversation rate on the man advantage. One player who has been contributing to this newfound offense is youngster Oliver Wahlstrom.

The 21-year-old American was drafted 11th overall back in 2018 and has had a rocky sophomore season. Playing on the Islander’s third line, Wahlstrom managed just five points in his first 17 games. Since then, he has put up three goals and five assists through six games.


There are so many concerning features about Wahlstrom’s production. His underlying stats raise more red flags than the scent of another man’s cologne after a girls’ night out.

For starters, Wahlstrom is due for some regression. His shooting percentage is sitting at 27.3% over the past two weeks. This is over twice as high as Alex Ovechkin’s career 12.8% shooting percentage. Need I say more?

As well, his IPP and oiSH% are sitting at 88.9% and 23.7%, respectively, since December began. Neither of these numbers is sustainable, and I would expect some ugly regression to hit Wahlstrom like a brick wall in the coming weeks.

And if that was not concerning enough, Wahlstrom is managing to produce despite playing on the Islanders’ third line. As a result of this deployment, he is playing less than 12 minutes per night. Take away the 2:23 powerplay time that he has been getting, and Wahlstrom has been averaging less than 10 minutes five-on-five. I cannot think of any player who has been consistently fantasy-relevant for their point-production while playing this little ice time.

Ivan Barbashev, C/LW/RW, ST. Louis Blues (42% rostered)

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While injuries to top players are often bad news for Fantasy GMs, it does open up interesting opportunities.

Early injuries plaguing the St. Louis Blues have resulted in a significant amount of line-juggling. One line combination that has found impressive success has been Ivan Barbashev’s line. So far into the season, the 26-year-old has spent a plurality of his time with wingers Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas. The line has alternated between being dubbed the team’s second and third line throughout the year.

Over the past two weeks, Barbashev has been thriving. He has racked up three goals and three assists over seven games. He has also been a hitting machine, dishing out 17 hits over that span.


For now, Barbashev is a really good streaming option. As long as Brayden Schenn and David Perron remain out of the lineup, Barbashev’s line is due for big minutes and a big offensive assignment.

However, once the Blues start to get healthy (potentially early on in the New Year), Barbashev will start to see less ice time and less opportunity. Add this to the fact that Barbashev is currently riding the coattails of a 37.5% shooting percentage, and he will see his point totals pull back.

Going forward, if you are in a deep league that values hits, Barbashev remains an interesting option. All signs point to him maintaining a 45-point pace with a healthy hit total. This would be a massive step forward for the Russian who registered just 12 points through 38 games last year.

Unsustainably Low

Mikael Granlund, C/RW, Nashville Predators (65% rostered)

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It was not long ago that Mikael Granlund made my Stock Watch article as a player who is trending up. Since then, however, Granlund has struggled to produce, recording just two assists in his past six games.


Granlund’s recent dip in production can be partially attributed to the injury to linemate Matt Duchene. Duchene has missed the past handful of games due to an upper-body injury, with 20-year-old Philip Tomasino taking his place.

As much as people like to rag on Duchene’s contract, he has shown this year that he still is an effective player. I would make the argument that he has actually played up to his contract this year, with 25 points through 26 games.

Unfortunately for Granlund owners, Tomasino is just not Matt Duchene. So far this season, Duchene has created more scoring chances and high danger scoring chances than Tomasino. More scoring chances (and particularly high-danger scoring chances) lead to more points and better fantasy production for linemates like Grandlund.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 10 Unsustainable Players

Additionally, during this stretch, Granlund has been the victim of a criminally low IPP. Over the past two weeks, Granlund has only registered a point on 33.3% of goals that have gone in while he was on this ice. I would expect this number to nearly double as it returns closer to the 62.8% he has logged on the season.

If you are a Granlund owner, I would hold tight. I still think that the Preds’ forward is in for a career year and should finish the year right around the 70-point mark.

Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers (97% rostered)

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What did the doctor say when he cleared the Edmonton defenseman for game action?

“You’ve been Nursed back to health!”

If any dads are reading this article, I give you permission to add that joke to your bad-joke repertoire for the holiday season.

Comedy break aside, the Oilers’ defenseman has not quite lived up to expectations, registering just one goal this season. That goal came in his first game back after missing six games with a broken finger.

Since returning, the defensive workhorse has been mediocre at best, with just a goal and an assist in four games.


If you are in a categories league, you are probably scratching your head as to why I classified him as “low”. And you would have a good case to make that Nurse has been really good since returning. The man has been a peripheral blessing, averaging over four shots and three hits per game, while adding 1.5 blocks to top it off.

Part of this peripheral production has come as a result of the sheer minutes Nurse plays. He currently ranks second in the league in TOI/game, slotting in just behind Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot. In a lot of leagues, this makes Nurse extremely valuable even when he is not producing.

I did decide to cover him as Unsustainably Low due to his production. Nurse is bound to start finding the scoresheet, and when he does, it will be in a big way.

Because of the sheer number of shots that Nurse takes, his one goal gives him a shooting percentage of just 5.6%. This is half of the 10.3% shooting percentage he clocked last year, but last year’s mark is more likely than not a statistical outlier. The 6.0% shooting percentage he has put up over the past three seasons is likely very close to the mark Nurse will finish this year with. Assuming he keeps his shooting volume up, it would put him on pace for 16 goals over 82 games.

As well, Nurse has been suffering from an extremely low oiSH% since his return. Despite playing the majority of his ice time with the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Nurse’s oiSH% sits at just 4.0% over the past two weeks.

Teams will only be able to hold the Oilers’ big guns off the scoresheet for so long. When they start to score, Nurse will undoubtedly rack up the assists.

In one of my leagues that count hits and blocks, I am working desperately to try and trade for Nurse. I would not be at all surprised to see Nurse finish among the top three Fantasy defensemen by the time the year is over.

Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks (99% rostered)

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The Chicago Blackhawks have had a tough year. Off-ice noise, a mid-season coaching change, and wildly disappointing on-ice performances relative to pre-season expectations have marred the team’s season. It certainly has not helped that their best offensive forward has been extremely streaky.

Over the past two weeks, Patrick Kane has been snake-bitten. The American has managed just one goal and three assists over his past seven games. He also hasn’t been bringing any peripheral value with just one hit during that span.


Kane will find his scoring touch again, sooner than later. Over the past two weeks, his 23:04 ATOI ranks first among all forwards. This ice time (alongside other elite talents like Alex DeBrincat) will inevitably lead to more scoring chances and more fantasy production.

But with great ice time, comes great responsibility. And I would bet on Kane living up to that responsibility.

Over the past two weeks, he has been on the short end of some unlucky bounces. Despite shooting the puck just under three times per game, Kane has managed just one goal. He has registered 2.3 Expected Goals during that span. His shooting percentage is also sitting at just 6.7%, compared to the 11.5% he averaged over the past three seasons. I do not doubt that Kane will start to find the back of the net with more frequency soon.

All signs point towards Kane finishing the year near the 85-90-point mark. While this would be slightly lower than the 97-point pace he registered last year, it is still a very respectable mark for a player drafted early in the second round.

Sustainably High

Erik Johnson, D, Colorado Avalanche (32% rostered)

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This one is for all my readers who play in “bangers” leagues. If your league doesn’t count blocks and hits, then this player wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy.

It's hard to believe that 33-year-old Erik Johnson was drafted first overall over 15 years ago. Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets was just a month past his third birthday when Johnson was drafted.

Over the past two weeks, the veteran defenseman has been a true multi-cat monster. Through seven games, he has four points, 11 shots, 14 hits, and 10 blocks. He has also been a +8 during that span, adding value in leagues where plus-minus matters.


Johnson is making a good case that he should be rostered in all cats leagues. He has really good point upside playing alongside elite forward talent in Colorado.

And even when he is not getting in on the points, he is doing what you want your fantasy defensemen to do – rack up the peripherals. He is on pace this season to put up near-career highs in shots and blocks. He is also on pace to smash his previous career-high in hits. This is no small feat for an old dog of Johnson’s ilk.

With injuries to Devon Toews and Bowen Byram, it is almost guaranteed that Johnson keeps his role in the Avalanche top-four for a little while longer. Even once the Avs’ backend begins to get healthy, I think Johnson has played his way into permanent top-four consideration. It would not surprise me to see Colorado run him and Samuel Girard as the team’s second pair.

For as long as Johnson finds himself in the top four, I think he should be rostered in most leagues. If he can keep his deployment once everyone returns, Johnson will remain one of the better options for peripheral production on the back end.

Mark Stone, RW, Vegas Golden Knights (96% rostered)

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After returning from a lower-body injury that cost Mark Stone over a month of the season, the Winnipeg-born winger has been on fire. Through fifteen games, Stone is on pace for a 104-point season.

The month of December has been even kinder to the 29-year-old. He has managed to score three goals and add seven assists over six games.


It is highly unlikely that Stone can maintain the 137-point pace that he is currently on. I do believe, though, that all of the signs point toward Stone finishing the season right around the 91-point pace he registered last year.

Stone has historically outperformed the Expected Goals model. Last year, despite only racking up 15 xG, Stone finished with 21 goals through 55 games. The story is much the same over his past three seasons, where he has outperformed his xG by an average of seven goals.

So far this season, Mark Stone is underperforming relative to his xG. Through 15 games, Stone has put up 4.3 Expected Goals. He has only found the back of the net four times. I would expect this number to increase, giving him room to increase his production further.

Additionally, the Vegas winger’s production is not coming from a multitude of secondary assists. Of Stone’s 15 assists, only four of them have been secondary assists. This 26.7% secondary assist rate is well below the 35.0% he recorded last year. This seems to suggest that Mark Stone has legitimately taken his playmaking abilities to the next level.

Overall, I think it is likely that Stone finishes the year slightly above the 91-point pace he registered last year. If Jack Eichel manages to work his way back before the end of the season, Stone has 100+ point upside.

Sustainably Low

Ryan Strome, C/RW, New York Rangers (74% rostered)

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In the final year of the two-year contract extension he signed before the COVID-shortened season, Ryan Strome is due for a raise this summer. Whether that pay raise will be with the Rangers or not is yet to be determined. With nearly $3.5 million in dead cap space, and Kaapo Kakko, Sammy Blais, and Alexandar Georgiev all set to become RFAs, it's hard to see how they will manage to fit all of the players under the cap.

Luckily for the Rangers, Strome has not had a string of success to merit a salary in the $7-8 million range. He is currently on pace for 65 points on the year. Over the past two weeks, he has gone even colder, scoring just three goals and two assists through eight games.


For the 28-year-old entering his first round of unrestricted free agency, this year has been disappointing. In the COVID-shortened season, Strome smashed career highs, putting up 49 points in 56 games. This 72-point pace topped his previous career-high 65-point pace back in 2018-19.

This season, he is on pace to fall short of 20 goals and 65 points.

Two things concern me about Strome’s regression this season.

First, despite the lack of production, his shooting percentage is due for some regression. His IPP and oiSH% are also both on the higher side of reasonable. If any regression is coming, it is going to be negative.

Currently, Strome’s shooting percentage is sitting at 14.3%, over 30% higher than last year’s mark of 10.9%. His IPP and oiSH% are sitting at 61.3% and 12.6% respectively. This is materially in line with his three-year averages of 61.1% and 11.9%.

The other major concern is the fact that Strome’s shot volume has decreased significantly. It is starting to look like last year’s 190-shot pace was an outlier. Over the past two weeks, Strome is only on a 152-shot pace, right in line with his shot volume prior to last season. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, a lower shot volume almost always translates to lower production.

I think that Strome is still a very viable option in most leagues. I don’t see him dropping much lower than the 60-65-point pace that he is currently on and should finish the season right around that mark. It also helps that he plays with one of the best wingers in the league in Artemi Panarin. I think we need to recalibrate our expectations for Strome from the 70+ point player that many had expected going into the season.

Tom Wilson, RW, Washington Capitals (87% rostered)

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Olympian Tom Wilson?

I guess that presupposes that NHL players even end up going to the Olympics. With news of the up-to five-week quarantine (https://www.tsn.ca/nhl-players-olympics-covid-19-quarantine-law-1.1733574) required for any positive tests, the likelihood of an NHL-studded Olympic tournament is looking less and less likely.

However, if the NHL does end up participating, Wilson’s hot start to the season thrust him into Olympic consideration. Wilson started the season with 23 points through his first 23 games. Since the calendar turned to December, Wilson has gone cold, registering just one goal through four games.


In leagues that count hits, Tom Wilson is a valuable commodity. He throws his weight around with a nearly unparalleled frequency. This season, he is on pace once again to once top 240 hits, a rare feat in today’s NHL.

Wilson’s hot start to the season was fueled by an incredibly high oiSH%. Despite going cold over the past two weeks, Wilson still has an oiSH% north of 15.7% on the season. Goals are going in very frequently when Wilson has been on the ice. As good as Alex Ovechkin is, this is unsustainable.

These past two weeks have demonstrated what happens when these underlying metrics regress to the mean. Wilson’s 11.5% oiSH% since the start of December is right in line with the 11.8% mark that he has averaged over the past three years.

His IPP, currently just 33.3%, is admittedly a little low. However, even if that were to double to the 66.0% finished with last year, that would only put Wilson on a 41-point pace.

On top of all of that, he is shooting significantly less this year than in years past. This year, he has recorded 5.5 SOG/60 minutes, down from 7.0 SOG/60 over his past three seasons. This number has fallen even more over the past two weeks to just 3.2 SOG/60.

I would expect Wilson to finish the year on a 50-55-point pace. For a guy that racks up hits, this is still very valuable in many leagues. If I were a Wilson owner, I would make a few calls and see if anyone is willing to pay point-per-game value to acquire the Capitals’ winger.


There you have it - the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 10 Unsustainable Players.

Every Thursday throughout this series we will be looking at the hottest and coldest players in the league. If you have any players that you want me to cover in future weeks, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.

Advanced stats and analytics are taken from Natural Stat Trick.

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