2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 Unsustainable Players

We are only three weeks away from U.S. Thanksgiving. This is the point in the year where we start to see who is for real, and who is not. Contenders separate themselves from pretenders. And the standings and scoring race begin to take shape. Sit back and buckle up as we dive headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 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 may be 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.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Tyler’s most recent suggestions! Kyle also does a good job 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 4 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Alex Killorn, LW/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (71% rostered)

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There is one undeniable fact when it comes to Fantasy Hockey. People like to touch pretty things.

And what is prettier than the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champions? With his recent hot streak, people have been jumping to pick up Alex Killorn to grasp a piece of this pie.

Over his past week, Killorn has scored four goals and added a couple of assists for six points. With Nikita Kucherov on LTIR (again), Kilhorn has been skating on Tampa’s top line with Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point. He has eight points in six games over that stretch.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
97301811119:1753.7%

Despite the promotion and increased ice time, there are some glaring concerns with Killorn’s production. To start, he has only been averaging two shots per game – right in line with last year, and slightly higher than his three-year average. We shouldn’t expect that to increase much more, if at all.

Killorn is scoring very frequently even though he hasn't been shooting a lot. He is shooting at a 38.9% on the season, over three times higher than last year’s mark. Cut his goals by two-thirds to account for a more realistic shooting percentage, and Killorn’s production doesn’t look great. Rather than the 91-point pace he is currently on, this would put him on a 49-point pace. Hardly worth a roster spot in most leagues.

There are other things that make me think Killorn is going to fall off a cliff soon. Of his three assists, two of them are secondary assists which are highly unpredictable. In contrast, last year only 39% of his assists were secondary assists. Compared to last year, he is also seeing less powerplay time (53.4% vs. 56.4% last year) and fewer offensive zone starts (54.0% vs. 64.6% last year).

All of this points towards a player who is highly unsustainable. If you sell high right now, you could get a king’s ransom for him because as I mentioned before, people like to touch pretty things.

Matt Duchene, C/RW, Nashville Predators (29% rostered)

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The Predators have been on a tear as of late, winning their past four games. Matt Duchene, who the Preds’ have locked up for five more years, has been a driving force behind this recent streak.

During the four-game winning streak, Duchene has scored a couple goals and added four assists. He has also added 13 shots, which has led to his rostered percentage doubling over the past day.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
4242131219:4062.3%

I debated for a while whether to consider Duchene sustainably or unsustainably high. And I am still open to changing my mind if this production continues. There are both things that I like about Duchene early this year, and things that concern me.

Let’s start with the good. This year, Duchene is playing almost four, yes four, minutes more than last year. He is also shooting a shot-per-game more than last year, which boosts his value in leagues that count shots and will inevitably lead to more goals. He is also seeing over twice the time on the powerplay as compared to last year. All of these facts suggest to me that some level of his recent production is sustainable.

The bad? Over the past week, Duchene has been shooting at 20% - over twice as high as the 8.2% he shot at last year. Also, his IPP is sitting at 100% during the past week and 54% on the season. Both of these marks are higher than the 46.4% he finished last year with.

This past stretch of production is no doubt unsustainable – as much as I love Duchene, he is not a 123-point player. I also don’t believe that he is a point-per-game player at this stage in his career. The 30-year-old has only finished near the point-per-game mark three times in his career – twice with Colorado and once with Ottawa.

However, saying that, I wouldn’t rule out a strong bounce-back season for Duchene, either. I think he could finish with 65-70 points by the time April rolls around. In a lot of leagues this is worth a roster spot, even if his recent production is unsustainable.

Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Anaheim Ducks (79% rostered)

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If I told you that four weeks into the season that Kevin Shattenkirk would be tied for the most points by a defenseman, that would have been justification enough to request a wellness check for me.

But, alas, 11 games into the season, Shattenkirk has three goals and eight assists. The Ducks’ defender has been a multi-cat monster, adding six hits and 19 blocks during this stretch.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
113861661919:2943.5%

Of Shattenkirk’s 11 points, six have come on the man-advantage. This has propelled the Ducks’ powerplay to sixth in the league, capitalizing on 26.3% of opportunities. This is a stark improvement for a powerplay that finished dead-last in the league last year, operating at only 8.9%.

I don’t expect this conversion rate to continue. As much as I think the Ducks have a bright future with all of their young talent, they aren’t there yet. They definitely don’t have the talent of Tampa Bay, Colorado, or Boston, all of which currently sit below Anaheim’s powerplay.

On top of this, Shattenkirk currently has an oiSH% of 20.0% on the year, contributing to a PDO of 115.4%. Both of these numbers are due for some regression. I would expect his oiSH% to settle in closer to last year’s mark of 7.2%.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 Unsustainable Players

Early on, his shot map looks more like that of a centerman. Most of his shots have been coming from the dangerous area right in front of the net. As a defenseman, I can't see this continuing for a whole season. After watching a lot of Shattenkirk footage, it looks to me like this is mostly due to chances off the rush, rather than a systemic change made by the Ducks. When he starts to shoot more like a defenseman, it will only hurt Shattenkirk's production further.

And if that wasn't enough, Shattenkirk just is not getting a favorable enough deployment to justify this production. He is skating on the Ducks’ third pair, behind Josh Manson and Jamie Drysdale, and is only on the second powerplay unit. Eventually, this poor deployment is going to catch up to him.

If you own Shattenkirk, I suggest desperately looking to ship him away before he cools off. I think there are a lot of people who would look at his production and want to get their hands on the Ducks’ defender, without realizing that all of the signs point to unsustainability.

Unsustainably Low

Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (100% rostered)

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For two weeks in a row, we kick off Unsustainably Low with a player from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The start of the season has been disappointing for the whole team. They currently sit behind the Buffalo Sabres in the Atlantic Division. It is unsurprising that the team’s slow start has coincided with poor early season performances by their top two players.

Despite a strong showing Tuesday night, Auston Matthews has managed only three goals and one assist over eight games. He also rarely hits or blocks so when he isn't scoring, he really isn't doing much for you.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
8311315420:1976.3%

What makes me optimistic that this is just a case of bad luck and not a symptom of poor play is the fact that the team's shooting percentage is well below what it should be.

This season, Matthews is actually shooting even more than last year. He is currently averaging nearly five shots per game - truly an elite number. On the season however, he's shooting at just 9%. Compared to his 18.5% shooting percentage last year, this is bound to increase in the coming days.

And not only is his personal shooting percentage low, his oiSH% is sitting at an abysmal 6.1%. This should increase closer to the 12.7% it finished at last year considering all the offensive firepower Toronto has at their disposal.

This year, Matthews is being used in a more offensive role. So far this season, he has started nearly 80% of his shifts in the offensive zone - significantly more than the 62% he finished last year with.

I am expecting Matthews to have another breakout game like Tuesday night soon. A sniper of his caliber can only shoot at 9% for so long. And once he gets on a roll, you will be glad you held onto him.

Jeff Petry, D, Montreal Canadiens (79% rostered)

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Montreal has struggled to find their way early on this season. During the offseason, they were dealt a big blow with the news that Shea Weber would not play this year. Jeff Petry was tasked with taking over the top powerplay in his absence.

However through 11 games, Petry has been a disappointment. He has yet to score a goal, only has two assists, and has scored no powerplay points. This comes after he finished with 12 goals and 42 points in 55 games last year.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
1102012201324:2153.2%

Despite the early struggles, there are signs to suggest that Petry can turn it around.

With the absence of Weber and Joel Edmundson this season, Petry has been seeing more ice time. He is playing nearly two minutes more than last season, which will, sooner or later, result in fantasy production.

Additionally, with the two key defensemen out of the Habs’ lineup, Petry has been seeing more time in the defensive zone. Last year, he started 53.1% of his shifts in the offensive end. This year, that number is down to 42.1% as he has been tasked with matching up against the opponents’ top players. I expect once Edmundson returns, we will see Petry's offensive zone stats return to normal.

 

Further, despite Petry’s decrease in shooting (which I expect will turn around soon), he still has generated two Expected Goals. This is primarily due to where he is shooting from this year. Last year, most of Petry’s chances came from the right point. This year, Petry has been shooting from the more dangerous area in the middle of the ice. Sooner or later, these shots will start to go in.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 Unsustainable Players

As the Habs continue to get healthy, Jeff Petry will benefit from the strengthened supporting cast. One has to wonder if the stark change in playing style compared to the past three years is, in part, due to the absence of Carey Price. Players tend to play a tighter brand of hockey in front of their backup goalie.

With Price set to exit the NHLPA’s Player Assistance program and return to the ice soon, I expect we will see Petry return to his former self.

David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins (100% rostered)

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After losing goalie Tuukka Rask and second-line center David Krejci, many people expected Boston to take a step back. So far through seven games, they are sitting just above .500 with four wins and three losses. One player that has struggled early on has been sniper David Pastrnak.

Despite being lauded as one of the game’s elite snipers, Pastrnak only has two goals through seven games. This puts him on pace for a 23-goal season. To make matters worse, he has no points over his last three games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
7231317119:4170.2%

I wouldn’t count on this cold spell lasting much longer. Pastrnak is shooting more frequently than in recent memory and is on pace for nearly 400 shots. Very few players shoot with such frequency, and sooner or later he will start to convert on more of them.

So far this season, Pastrnak is only scoring on 6.5% of the shots he has taken. Snipers of his caliber typically exceed a 15% shooting percentage. (Over the past three years, Pastrnak has averaged 15.4%.) Adjusting for a more realistic shooting percentage to get a very rough estimate, Pastrnak would have five goals on the season. This would put him on pace for 59 goals.

Pastrnak is still playing on an elite Boston powerplay with the likes of Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, and Patrice Bergeron. He is seeing more ice time than last year, and as mentioned is shooting more. Sooner than later, he will begin to rack up the goals.

If you were near the tail-end of your draft order and drafted him late in the first round, don’t worry. Even with the slow start, I expect Pastrnak to finish the year with 40+ goals and be in the conversation for the Rocket Richard trophy.

Sustainably High

Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators (99% rostered)

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While the previous Predator on my list was unsustainably high, all of the signs suggest that Roman Josi’s start is different.

Through the first nine games, Josi has scored three goals and is scoring at a point-per-game pace. This is a big bounce back for a defenseman that struggled last season after signing a $72.5 million contract.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
9365313825:3271.8%

Unlike the other point-per-game defenseman I discussed earlier, Josi is much more likely to sustain his early success.

While Josi’s shooting percentage is a touch high for a defenseman at 9.7%, it isn’t out of this world. Take away one of his goals, and his shooting percentage would be sitting right around expected.

Further, his IPP and oiSH% are both very reasonable, sitting at 56.3% and 11.3%, respectively. For an elite puck-moving, top-pairing defenseman, this is right as expected. For comparison, over the past three years, Josi’s IPP is 56.0%, and his oiSH% is 9.27%.

The other thing that Josi has going for him compared to Shattenkirk, is that he is Nashville’s go-to defenseman. He is playing over 25 minutes per game and is seeing nearly 72% of their powerplay time.

If this isn’t a recipe for success, I don’t know what is.

After a disappointing year last year, Josi fell in a lot of drafts. I snagged him in two leagues way later than I should have been able to. For where he was drafted, Josi has been worth his weight in gold, and I don’t see this changing any time soon.

Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis Blues (92% rostered)

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The St. Louis Blues have exceeded early expectations and have a commanding lead in the Central. One player who has helped lead this charge is new-and-surgically-improved Vladimir Tarasenko.

In the early going, Tarasenko looks like the man from five years ago. He has four goals and five assists through seven games. Eight of those points have come in his most recent five games, leading to a big jump in ownership. After starting the season around 70% rostered, he is now rostered in 92% of leagues.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
7453317716:0767.8%

It is difficult to compare Tarasenko’s production this year to his production last year. He missed over half of last season, and when he did play, it was clear that his shoulder was bothering him.

This year, Tarasenko is scoring on 12.9% of his shots – very reasonably, if not a little bit low for a sniper of his caliber. In the early going, it appears as though his shoulder hasn’t affected the 29-year-old’s shooting this year.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 Unsustainable Players

His shots this year are also concentrated in more dangerous areas of the ice. Last year, Tarasenko’s shots came from all over the offensive zone. This year, he has been ripping the puck primarily from the right dot and the top of the slot. As a result, he is already halfway to his Expected Goals total from last year, in less than a third of the games.

Despite his IPP and oiSH% both being a tad high at 81.8% and 14.5% respectively, a modest regression would not have a major impact on his overall projection.

If you own Tarasenko, I wouldn’t be quick to trade him away unless I was offered a deal I couldn’t turn down. On the flip side, if you don’t own him, I might put together a little package and try to steal him away before it’s too late.

Lucas Raymond, LW/RW, Detroit Red Wings (54% rostered)

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I am very cautious when it comes to rookies because it is very difficult for a teenager to make it in the NHL. I really struggled with Lucas Raymond, before finally deciding to put him on this list as Sustainably High.

In his first ten games in the NHL, Raymond has scored four goals and added five assists. The fourth-overall pick from the 2020 NHL Draft has also added 26 shots, putting him on pace for over 200 on the season.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
20452263316:0355.2%

After spending over an hour looking for a reason to exclude Raymond from this list, I couldn’t find one. His shooting percentage is very reasonable, sitting at 15.4% on the season. For a prospect lauded for his exceptional wrist shot, this is right in line with what we might expect.

Playing on Detroit’s first line with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, Raymond has an IPP of 69.2%. His oiSH% is sitting at 11.3%. Both of these numbers are very reasonable and scream sustainability.

Detroit’s first line has propelled the team to an unexpectedly strong start, and I expect that this will continue. The team looks to finally have taken a step forward and while they probably won’t make the playoffs this year, the future is bright.

Raymond is currently rostered at 54% and quickly rising. If you have roster space, Raymond is worth a pickup. With the strong start, I wouldn’t be surprised if Raymond finished the year with 30 goals and 65+ points. That would be a very impressive year for the teenager and would all but guarantee that he wins the Calder Trophy. While my hesitancy remains, I am calling Raymond Sustainably High…for now.

Sustainably Low

Max Domi, C/LW, Columbus Blue Jackets (11% rostered)

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After a turbulent start to his NHL career being traded two separate times, Max Domi seemed to have found a home in Columbus. However, after a disappointing year last year, Domi has struggled with injury early on this season.

Limited to just four games this year by a broken rib, Domi and the Jackets got hit with more bad news as he has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. It looks to be a while before Domi can get back on the ice with his teammates.

This season, Domi has a goal and three assists, with three of those points coming in the first game of the year in the Jackets’ 8-2 blowout win over the Arizona Coyotes.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
413081113:0533.9%

I put Domi on this list primarily because of the injury concerns. With so many injuries to top players early in the season, Domi just isn’t worth holding onto if you don’t have room to stash him in an IR+ spot. Worse yet, if your league only has the traditional IR slots, Domi is eating a valuable roster spot on your team that could be much better utilized as a streamer spot.

In addition to the injury concern however, it looks like Domi has not impressed new head coach Brad Larsen in his limited action this season. When he has been healthy, he has been limited to third-line left wing duties.

Playing 13 minutes a night with Jack Roslovic and little to no time on the powerplay is not good enough to roster in almost all fantasy leagues. It is safe to drop Domi – I doubt anyone will pick him up. If something changes in the future and he finds himself on the top line, you will be able to pick him back up later.

Last year, Domi finished with 24 points in 54 games. Prorated over 82 games, that is a 36-point pace. With missing time early in the season, I would be shocked if he can top this pace. Domi is Sustainably Low.

Keith Yandle, D, Philadelphia Flyers (51% rostered)

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After starting the year on a tear with five points in his first four games, the 35-year-old veteran has been putting up goose eggs.

In the four games since, Keith Yandle has no points and has only registered nine shots on goal. He also isn’t doing much in terms of peripherals, with a hit and five blocks during that span.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
400091516:0149.8%

Clearly on the back nine of his career, Yandle has seen his ice time and role decrease as the year has gone on. He started the year averaging over 17 minutes per game but has seen that decline significantly as of late.

As a result of seeing less ice time, Yandle has also seen less time on the powerplay. Early in the year, Yandle was playing on nearly 60% of Philadelphia’s powerplay. This has declined to 49.8% over the past four games. As an offensive defenseman who has historically brought fantasy owners value by racking up powerplay assists, this does not bode well for him.

While he has been shooting more as of late, all of his shots have been coming from the left point. Compare this to his shots during the first four games, when he was primarily ripping shots from the slot. While the slot shots did not result in any goals (despite his five Expected Goals during that stretch), they turned into rebounds and assists for the Flyers’ defenseman.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 Unsustainable Players

If you are part of the 51% of GMs who still own Yandle, I think it is safe to move on. There are much better defensive options available on the waiver wire that can provide more for your team.

Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Edmonton Oilers (6% rostered)

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With the offseason acquisitions of Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele, the Oilers improved their depth on the wing, and one player who has been hurt by this is Kailer Yamamoto.

There was a lot of hype around Yamamoto this year. On average, he was being drafted in the ninth round, in hopes that he would piggyback off of the success of the Oilers’ top centermen. So far this year, however, the 23-year-old right-winger has disappointed, scoring a single goal through eight contests.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
8100117414:551.1%

Despite playing the majority of the year with Leon Draisaitl, Yamamoto has found ways to avoid getting in on the scoring party. While his IPP is low at 20%, even a significant increase would not be enough to justify a ninth-round selection.

Yamamoto also is seeing no time on the Oilers’ powerplay. He has seen a single, 24-second shift, on the man advantage through eight games.

If you were one of the people who drafted Yamamoto hoping to get a late-round share of Draisaitl’s production, it is safe to drop him. If he continues to struggle at 5-on-5 as he has so far in the season, Warren Foegele may get a stab at second-line right wing duties, decimating Yamamoto’s little remaining value.

Summary

There you have it - the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 4 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 leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.


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