Fantasy Hockey

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 13 Unsustainable Players

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Welcome back. With just seven or eight weeks left until the Fantasy playoffs, now is the time to lock in for the final push. Sit back and buckle up because we are diving headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 13 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 was filled with a few notable stories. From the newest chapter in the Evander Kane saga to the Kodak Black incident at the Florida Panthers game that brought the team the most publicity it has ever received, the NHL was buzzing with stories and headlines to keep your head spinning.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Kyle’sย stock watch or Tyler’s Waiver Wire article!

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 13 Unsustainable Players

Week 9 Review

Due to all of the postponed games, none of the players covered in Week 9 have played 10 or more games. Just two have played nine games, while the remaining seven have all played less. I have decided to postpone my assessments on all of these players until next week (or the week after) when we will have a larger sample size. As rescheduled games begin being played, we will catch up on some of the retrospective assessments that we have missed.

Season Record (Hits – Misses – Too Soon to Tell): 34-8-6

Unsustainably High

Jordan Kyrou, C/LW/RW, St. Louis Blues (83% rostered)

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For the first time in Unsustainable history, a player has made it onto the list under the same category twice in one season.

Some might say this is me not wanting to admit that I was wrong. Maybe you have a point. But hear me out, I do not label Jordan Kyrou as Unsustainably High without strong statistical support.

Back in Week 6, Kyrou was on a tear, putting up five goals and three assists throughout eight games. He has bested that pace over the past couple of weeks, notching an equivalent five goals while adding six assists over the span of just five games. He has also shot nearly four times per game during this most recent stretch.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
5563190316:3129.9%

For starters, Kyrou is currently getting wildly lucky. Over the last five games, Kyrou has gone goal-per-game despite registering just 2.1 xG. Even with an increase in shot volume over the past two weeks, Kyrou’s shooting percentage is still sitting at 26.3%. This is more than double the 12.4% that he has averaged over the past three years. In addition to that, his recent hot streak has been fueled by an unreasonably high IPP. His IPP is currently clocking in at 91.7%, nearly 20% higher than the 72.3% he has averaged over the past three years.

As if that weren’t enough, Kyrou is also benefitting from an unsustainable oiSH% (22.6%) and has been riding the coattails of the NHL’s two-assist system. Over the past two weeks, exactly half of Kyrou’s six assists have been secondary assists. His secondary assist rate will almost certainly correct itself over the next couple of weeks, closer to the 21.4% that he has averaged over his career. As secondary assists are more luck-based than primary assists, this will result in Kyrou’s point totals drying up in the coming days.

If you are a Kyrou owner, now would be a prime time to sell high on him. He has had a breakout season and has been producing even better as of late. All of the things on the surface look good. He plays for a good team, he is getting plenty of ice time, and he is increasing in Fantasy ownership. A deeper look, however, shows that this level of production is unsustainable. If you can trade him for a slumping or underappreciated player, now is a perfect time to pull the trigger.

Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalance (100% rostered)

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The next Bobby Orr, a generational defenseman, a young Victor Hedman. These are all descriptions that I have heard on podcasts, read in articles, or seen on Twitter tied to the young Avalanche defender.

And, for what it is worth, I have not made my mind up on Cale Makar yet. No doubt he is an excellent player. No doubt he will be one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL for years to come. But generational? That is another debate for another time.

What I am here to discuss is Makar’s recent hot streak. Over the past six games, Makar has scored three goals and added five assists. On the season, Makar has scored 16 goals and added 18 assists over 29 games. This puts him on a 109-point pace over the past two weeks and a 96-point pace on the season.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6352196825:0554.2%

What Makar is doing is truly unprecedented. In the salary-cap era, only one defenseman has finished above point-per-game. That player is Brent Burns, and he spent part of that year playing forward. The only other defenseman to come close to that mark during the salary cap era has been fellow Shark Erik Karlsson.

Now, you could reach one of two conclusions based on this information.

First, you could conclude that Makar is the greatest offensive defenseman of this generation of players. I am not convinced.

Alternatively, you could argue that Makar is being propped up by a very good team and has been benefitting from some truly insane goal-scoring numbers.

The underlying statistics do attest to the fact that Makar is an outstanding offensive play-driver. He is particularly good at creating high-danger opportunities. On the season, Makar has registered 5.0 xG, putting him on pace for 14 xG over 82 games. For a defender, this would put him among the best in the league.

It starts to get concerning when you look at Makar’s actual goal totals. With 16 goals on the season, he is currently scoring 10.98 goals above expected, the highest in the NHL. While some regard this metric as a good way to identify strong “finishers”, it is just as much a mark of unsustainability. Throughout Makar’s career, he has been on pace for 3-4 goals above expected through 82 games. This season, he is on pace for 31.

When adjusted to a more reasonable and predictable goal total, Makar would still be an elite defenseman. He just would not be the scoring machine that he is now. Reduce Makar’s goal totals to six, and he would have just 24 points in 29 games, pacing for 67 points. I would not be surprised to see Makar score at a 67-point pace going forward. If he stays healthy, that would see Makar finish with 75 points through 78 games putting him right up there with Burns and Karlsson.

If you are a Makar owner, I am not advocating that you sell him (unless you are offered Connor McDavid or another early-first-round player). I just want you to caution yourself for the inevitable regression that is coming.

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Unsustainably Low

Reilly Smith, RW, Vegas Golden Knights (64% rostered)

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While it has undoubtedly affected all players, the endless line shuffling caused by COVID-protocols and injury absences has uniquely hurt Reilly Smith. This season, Smith has played considerable stretches of time with eight different Vegas forwards. Yes, that is nearly all of the team’s forwards.

All of the line-juggling seems to have finally taken its toll on Smith, as he has managed just three assists over his last six games. This is down significantly from the 65-point pace he was on before going cold.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6031167319:2347.8%

If you have been watching Vegas games over the past two weeks, you would have noticed Smith. He has played extremely well and has generated many Grade-A scoring chances. He has just been robbed over and over again.

Smith’s advanced metrics echo the eye-test, as he has generated a whopping 2.6 xG over the six-game stretch. This is the 13th best xG/GP rate in the league over the past two weeks. This improves to 9th best when you only include players who have played >100 minutes during that span.

Additionally, Smith’s oiSH% is due for some positive regression. Over the past two weeks, his oiSH% is sitting at just 2.9%. I would expect this to increase by a factor of three or four going forward. When this happens, Smith will return to 65-point pace form.

If Smith continues to play as he has, the goals and points will eventually come. Depending on the depth of your league, Smith might just be a good streaming option until Vegas gets healthy. When Max Pacioretty returns, and Jack Eichel joins the fold, I would expect Smith to lose some powerplay time which would hurt his fantasy value. But, for now, he remains a very good option that can provide some depth scoring.

Sustainably High

Tomas Hertl, C/LW, San Jose Sharks (87% rostered)

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The Sharks have been an interesting team this season. Many expected them to continue their status as rebuilders, finishing in the basement of the league. They do have more than a couple of behemoth contracts that they more likely than not just need to let run out.

However, to the surprise of many, the Sharks find themselves tied for third in the weak Pacific division while temporarily holding down the second wildcard spot.

One player that has propelled the surging Sharks as of late has been Tomas Hertl. The Czech-born player has been on a tear, scoring six goals and adding four assists through eight games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
8640317421:1257.5%

What is impressive about Hertl is that he has been scoring at this rate without producing on the powerplay. All 10 of his points have come at even strength, despite playing the majority of the Sharks’ powerplay time. Over the past eight games, Hertl has averaged 2:36 of powerplay time. When the Sharks’ powerplay starts to connect, Hertl will see his point totals increase.

The other thing that makes me think that Hertl will be able to keep this up is the fact that he is shooting more. He has averaged just under four shots per game over the past two weeks. This appears to be a deliberate change in playing style this season, as Hertl has been already matched his shot totals from last season, in 13 fewer games.

As a result of the increase in shooting, all of Hertl’s advanced metrics are in line. Despite already hitting the 20-goal plateau this season, Hertl is shooting at just 18.7%. This is just slightly higher than the 17.3% he has averaged over the past three seasons. Over the course of 82 games, this 1.5% difference in shooting percentage would only result in a difference of 2-3 goals.

Additionally, Hertl’s IPP is very reasonable. Through the last eight games, Hertl’s IPP is sitting at 71.5%. This is right on par with the 70.2% he has averaged over the past three seasons, and significantly lower than the 82.7% he finished with last season.

I have been trying to target Hertl for a couple of weeks now to no avail. At the very least, I would put out feelers to see what the asking price is for the Sharks’ forward.

Sustainably Low

Andrew Mangiapane, LW/RW, Calgary Flames (67% rostered)

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Earlier in the season, I never ended up including Andrew Mangiapane in any of my Unsustainable articles. This was intentional. Some conflicting stats emerged as I dug into him more, and I could not make up my mind as to whether his production was sustainable or unsustainable. I could have made a solid argument for either.

Many weeks since I first began agonizing over the Flames’ forward, I finally have reached a conclusion. Sustainably…low?

Since starting off the season with 17 points in 19 games, Mangiapane has gone ice cold. He has just one goal over his past eight games while notching just 21 shots during that span.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
81012110516:3835.6%

The major reason I have Mangiapane on here as Sustainably Low is deployment. Mangiapane is currently skating on the Flames’ second line with Sean Monahan and Blake Coleman. While Coleman has some Fantasy value in bangers leagues, that line is pretty offensively dry. Monahan, the former point-per-game centerman has not been Fantasy relevant for years.

In addition to being stuck on that second line, Mangiapane is not even playing on the top powerplay unit. Over the past three games, Monahan has been playing as the fourth forward on the first unit, limiting Mangiapane to just 35.6% of the team’s powerplay time on ice. While this may change if Monahan continues to struggle offensively, I would not bet my season on it. Monahan has a long track record as one of the team’s top forwards, and that pedigree alone will make it hard to bump him off PP1.

Additionally, it is not as though Mangiapane is just getting robbed on bountiful scoring opportunities. Over the past eight games, Mangiapane has managed to rack up just 1.03 xG, right in line with the one goal he has during that stretch.

If you are still holding onto Mangiapane, he is a safe drop. There are better options that I like a lot more on the waiver wire. You will be rewarded come playoff time if you can learn, right now, to cut ties with fringe fantasy players whose hot streaks have ended.

Summary

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 13 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 after 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 13 Unsustainable Players, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.

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Advanced stats and analytics are taken from Natural Stat Trick.


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About Justin Cheng

Justin is an accountant by day, and a hockey fan by night. Hailing from Winnipeg, Canada, he has a knack for data, numbers, and spreadsheets. If he isn't at work you will find him out fishing, hiking, or volunteering at his local church.

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