We are in the final stretch. We are only three weeks away from the start of the playoffs in most leagues. This is what you have been working towards all year, so sit back and buckle up because we are diving headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 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.
From here on out, my approach to Unsustainable Players will be slightly different. At this point in the season, you don't have time to wait for a slumping player to turn it around.
And as always, if you have any players that you want me to cover after the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter - @jchengWPG.
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players
Ben Chiarot, D, Montreal Canadiens (11% rostered)
It is no secret that the Montreal Canadiens will be sellers at the deadline. It is also no secret that one of the top players that will be on the move is Ben Chiarot. Looking at deadline day trades from previous seasons (i.e. David Savard), the going price for a competent top-4 defenseman is a first-round pick.
Chiarot's recent performance is rocketing up the return that the Canadiens will get at the deadline. Over the past six games, Chiarot has scored two goals and put up five assists. He is +8 over that span, with 11 shots and nine hits.
For starters, Ben Chiarot is not an offensive defenseman. Through eight seasons in the NHL, Chariot has never eclipsed the 21-point mark. This season, seven of his sixteen points have come in the past two weeks. Prior to that, he managed just nine points through 45 games.
— NHL (@NHL) March 4, 2022
Further, when Chiarot is inevitably traded, he is likely to see a decrease in his role. On a thin Canadiens team, Chiarot has been playing the top pairing, often exceeding 24 minutes of game action. On Boston or Calgary - two of the rumored destinations for the gritty defenseman - he would be unlikely to see the same deployment.
If you picked up the Canadiens defensemen hoping for this level of scoring to persist, you will be disappointed.
Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators (98% rostered)
Recently, Brady Tkachuk seems to have fallen on tough times. Over the past eight games, he has been struggling to get on the scoresheet. He has just two goals and one assist during this dry spell.
Despite the lack of finishing, Tkachuk has been quite the menace when he has been on the ice. He has been averaging nearly four shots and four hits during this span, making him a valuable commodity in bangers leagues.
Brady Tkachuk murders John Marino after Marino gave him a few cross-checks. pic.twitter.com/eevBOgwrVb
— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) January 21, 2022
Even though his finishing ability has never been one of his strengths, he won't continue to shoot at 4.3%. Additionally, his on-ice shooting percentage will not continue to sit the 5.6% it has been operating at over this stretch. Once these turn around, Tkachuk will go back to being the multi-cat monster that we have come to expect.
Cole Caufield, LW/RW, Montreal Canadiens (51% rostered)
No, I don't think that Cole Caufield will finish the season on a 123-point pace.
The young winger has had a rollercoaster year, going from one of the most highly anticipated rookies to a mid-season AHL demotion. Since the hiring of Martin St. Louis as head coach, Caufield has caught magic in a bottle. He has five goals and seven assists over the past eight games.
Inevitably, Caufield will eventually slow down a little bit (his oiSH% currently sitting at 15.8%). However, I do think that Caufield could finish the season off on a strong note. I would not be surprised to see the former college star finish the season on a 70-point pace playing top minutes on an underskilled Canadiens team.
Cole Caufield rips a laser into the top corner for his 7th goal in his last 11 games.
— Saucy J (@JimIkeHW) March 6, 2022
The other thing I really like about Caufield is Montreal's playoff schedule. During the week of the finals, the Canadiens play four games - three of which fall on off-nights. This is super valuable in a week that will be very tough to maximize games played, with almost all games happening on the typical Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday rotation.
I recently picked up Caufield because he was available and plan to hold him for the rest of the seasons. I would recommend you do something similar, especially if you are sitting near the top of your league.
Mikhail Sergachev, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (81% rostered)
While Mikhail Sergachev is no Roman Josi (at least in terms of point totals), he has been putting up the points as of late. While on the season he is only on a 45-point pace, he has picked it up as of late.
Over the past eight games, Sergachev has scored two goals and added four assists. This puts him on a 62-point pace over the past two weeks. In addition, he has also added a whopping 25 shots, 18 hits, and 17 blocks.
A big reason that I am high on Sergachev is that he has recently been bumped up the lineup. According to Dobber's Frozen Tools, over the past 10 games, Sergachev has been playing the majority of his time 5-on-5 on his off-side alongside Ryan McDonagh. Going forward, I would expect this to stick, so long as Sergachev continues to have success at even strength.
— Bally Sports Sun: Lightning (@BallyLightning) March 5, 2022
Additionally, Tampa has one of the more favorable fantasy playoff schedules this go around. During the quarter-finals, Tampa plays three games, one of which occurs on an off-night. During the semis, the team plays four off nights. This will be very valuable in giving you some roster flexibility to maximize the number of games you play during the week. And during the final week, despite only playing three games on busy nights (like most of the league), they play against a tired Winnipeg team and a floundering Ducks team.
As we enter the fantasy post-season, I am looking to add a Lightning player or two due to their schedule. Sergachev is one of the best-value players to target that won't cost you an arm and a leg to acquire. He may even be available on your waiver wire.
Shea Theodore, D, Vegas Golden Knights (95% rostered)
At some point in the season, we need to stop valuing a player based on their potential. Shea Theodore is one of these players that I have been patient with all season. With the regular season ticking down, time is running out for Theodore to turn it around.
After a stellar season last year, Theodore has been largely disappointing this year. Despite scoring fairly consistently (32 points through 44 games), Theodore finds himself ranked 160th in standard Yahoo leagues. He has been shooting less than last year, and his plus-minus has fallen off.
I take two issues with Theodore going into the final stretch of the seasons: Theodore's lack of peripherals and Vegas' brutal playoff schedule.
First, I often find myself looking for peripherals come playoff time. As the season draws to a close, games tend to be scrappier as teams make a final push for a post-season berth. If I don't have defensemen who can put up strong peripherals, I find myself consistently falling behind in those categories.
if you're reading this, Shea Theodore has better hands than you pic.twitter.com/Jz52QcqcCl
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 21, 2022
Additionally, Vegas has a rough schedule during the fantasy playoffs. During the week of the semifinals, Vegas only plays two games - both on "heavy" nights. It does not get much better on the week of the finals if you make it that far. Vegas only plays three games, all on days when over 75% of teams are playing games.
If I were a Theodore owner, I would be looking to trade him away (if your trade deadline has not yet passed). You could get quite the return for a 55-point defenseman who will aid your team more down the stretch.
Mikael Granlund, C/RW, Nashville Predators (42% rostered)
After starting the season on fire, Mikael Granlund has found himself in a bit of a slump. Over his past 18 games, he has managed to put up just nine points. His lack of production has become even more apparent over the past seven games, where has registered just two goals and an assist. Of these points, none have come at even strength.
The biggest concern that I have with Granlund going forward is the fact that he has been demoted to the second line. Early in the season, Granlund thrived on Nashville's first line alongside Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg. With his recent struggles, Ryan Johansen has taken his spot on the top line. However you slice it, Luke Kunin and Tanner Jeannot are not nearly as strong of a supporting cast.
Mikael Granlund kaapii kiekon reppuun yhdeksännen kerran tällä kaudella! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/z29TWCIdp0
— NHL Suomi (@NHL_fi) March 6, 2022
Further, Nashville only plays two games during the week of the quarter-finals. While the team does play four games in both the semi-finals and finals, those weeks only matter if you can get past the first round. Granlund would be a prime pick-up candidate towards the end of Week 23 if you are certain you will be moving on.
If you are guaranteed a bye during the first round of the playoffs, it may be worth holding onto Granlund. Otherwise, he is safe to drop or trade away for a player that will help you make it through round one.
And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 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, 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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