2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 15 Stock Watch

by Kyle Vaughan
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 15 Stock Watch

Welcome to the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 15 Stock Watch.

Every week we’ll provide an overview of some players whose stock is trending up or down. For the players whose stock has risen, I’m hoping there is a possibility they are available to you on the waiver wire. Accordingly, I will identify players who are at, or below, 50 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues.

For the players whose stock has fallen, I’ll pay less attention to ownership as it's likely they are rostered and you may be wondering if you should drop or trade them.

Don’t forget to check out Justin's invaluable Unsustainable Players articles or any of the other great Fantasy Hockey content at Fantasy Six Pack.

Let's do that hockey.

All statistics from DobberHockey unless otherwise stated. This article does not include Thursday night's games. 

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 15 Stock Watch

Stock Up

Ville Husso, G, St. Louis Blues (52% rostered)

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Ville Husso is two percent over my usual ownership threshold. But I think he's worth flagging due to his upside.

As I mentioned in my Week 11 Stock Watch article, Jordan Binnington has had a rough year. He has 11 wins in 23 games played, with a .901 save percentage and an atrocious 34.8 quality start percentage. In seven of his last nine games, he's posted a negative goals saved above average. Binnington is coming off a 7-1 shelling at the hands of the Calgary Flames.

Ville Husso, on the other hand, has eight wins in 13 games. That includes five straight wins from January 7th to 23rd. His .943 save percentage and 69.2 quality start percentage are far superior to Binnington's. Husso has only posted a negative goals saved above average in three of his 13 games this year.

Husso gives the Blues their best chance to win games. I wouldn't be surprised if he continues to earn more starts in St. Louis. Keep an eye on him and don't be scared to scoop him up if he's still available.

Tage Thompson, C, Buffalo Sabres (36% rostered)

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Tage Thompson has ten points in his last nine games. He is centering Buffalo's top line with Jeff Skinner and (former stock-up alum) Alex Tuch. This might be one of the hottest lines in hockey at the moment.

And while I think Calgary and Florida's top lines could battle it out for top spot, both those squads have elite players that are producing. I don't think anyone would have guessed two months ago that Skinner, Thompson, and Tuch would be in that conversation. But here we are.

Thompson and Tuch's ownership is pretty low considering what they are currently bringing to the table. Both are under 40 percent rostered.

Thompson will earn fantasy managers points, shots, and hits. He's played over  18 minutes in six of his last nine games including a ton of powerplay time. In seven of his last eight games, he's played less than 2:53 on the powerplay only once.

Both Thompson and Tuch are worth looking into. The line won't stay this hot forever, but feel free to snag them and make hay while the sun shines.

Jared Spurgeon, D, Minnesota Wild (53% rostered)

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Dammit! I was set on writing about Spurgeon. His ownership was below 50 percent last week when I looked into it. Now it's jumped to 53 percent. Listen, I feel bad about this, but I'm going to write about him anyway.

Spurgeon returned from a lower-body injury on January 22nd against the Blackhawks. He's posted four points in two games since his return and eight points in the last four games he's played.

Spurgeon is 32. Similar to Craig Smith last week, we know what kind of player he is. He's a solid defenseman who will get you points at a 0.5 point-per-game pace. Spurgeon offers some peripheral stat coverage as well in the form of shots, hits, and blocks.

Two things are different this year. First, this is the best Minnesota Wild team Spurgeon has played for. Second, Spurgeon is getting career-high deployment on the powerplay.

The Wild are currently on pace for 57 wins this year with a .697 points percentage. That would beat out Spurgeon's previous best team, the 2016-17 squad that had 49 wins.

Spurgeon is averaging 3:11 per night on the powerplay. He's also been on the ice for 61.7% of the Wild's powerplay time. Those are both career highs.  To date, Spurgeon has turned his increased role into a 0.7 point-per-game pace, yet another career-high.

Playoffs aren't a guarantee for the Wild this year because they play in the same division as the Avalanche, Blues, and (surprising) Predators. But their current point total would put them atop the Pacific division. This is a solid hockey team. Only five teams in the NHL have more goals than the Wild.

A top pairing defensemen, quarterbacking the PP1 on a team that has scored the sixth-most goals in the league should be a hot commodity in any league.

Stock Down

Evan Rodrigues, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (55% rostered)

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Evan Rodrigues was a popular waiver wire add a few weeks ago. And rightly so. In the first half of this season, his most common linemates were Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. That's pretty good company to keep. Rodrigues put up 30 points in the first 33 games of the year.

Lately, his linemates have been much less desirable. In the last handful of games, Rodrigues has found himself alongside Brock McGinn and Jeff Carter. As could be expected his offensive output has declined. In the last nine games, Rodrigues has two points.

He has also seen his playing time take a hit. Rodrigues' season average per game is 17:30. He's played less than that in four of his last five games, including 10:57 on January 20th against Ottawa.

Rodrigues is also no longer seeing first unit powerplay time. And while he is still on the second unit, he's played less than a minute on the man advantage in four of his last five games.

There's no doubt that Rodrigues is talented. But his reduced playing time and worse linemates have his stock firmly on the decline.

Reilly Smith, RW/LW, Las Vegas Golden Knights (50% rostered)

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Reilly Smith has three points in his last eight games and entered Covid protocol on January 24th. But none of that is overly concerning. The Golden Knights have been hammered by injuries and Covid this year. Smith has been a lock in the top six and has been producing admirably.

The concern with Smith is his cold streak, combined with the fact that Vegas should be getting some pretty good hockey players back soon. Max Pacioretty should be returning to the lineup in the coming days. His return will push Reilly down the lineup. That likely means third-line minutes and second unit powerplay time. Or maybe no powerplay time at all.

In addition, according to the Golden Knights, Jack Eichel is expected to return this year. General Manager Kelly McCrimmon said he expects Eichel to play a significant number of games before the season is over. McCrimmon also said those games could begin as soon as after the (no longer scheduled) Olympic break. Meaning Eichel could be back by mid-February.

While Pacioretty's return may spell the end of Smith's powerplay time, Eichel's return will definitely do so. With reduced minutes on the third line and no powerplay time, it will be hard to roster Smith at all.

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