2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Stock Watch

by Kyle Vaughan
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Stock Watch

Welcome to the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Stock Watch.

Every Friday 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 is more likely these players are already rostered and you may be wondering if you should drop or trade them.

Let's do that hockey.

All statistics from Natural Stat Trick unless otherwise stated.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Stock Watch

Stock Up

Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers (19% rostered)

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Florida is known for a lot of things. Being the flattest state in America, having a thriving python population and…. being a hockey powerhouse?

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been a force in the NHL for several years, and this season their stately neighbors to the south have cemented a position atop the NHL. The Florida Panthers, as of the writing of this article, are first in the Atlantic Division with a 10-2-1 record.

Most fantasy managers likely have at least one Panther on their roster, and rightly so. There is sufficient offensive production on this squad to feed many mouths, as they lead the NHL in goals-for at 52. Today, I offer yet another option: Brandon Montour.

Keith Yandle left Florida in the off-season vacating a spot on one of the Panthers' powerplay units. Montour is currently filling that role, quarterbacking the 2nd squad and producing at a rate that might keep him there for a while. Montour has four powerplay points, with three coming in the last five games.

His deployment is also trending in the right direction. Montour’s season average time-on-ice (TOI) is an underwhelming 16:45. Yet in three of the last four games, he’s played over 19 minutes. Interim bench boss Andrew Brunette seems to be rewarding Montour’s strong play with more ice-time.

Overall, he has seven points in 13 games with a shooting percentage that is in line with his last three seasons.  If Montour can continue to earn PP2 time and log significant minutes every night, he could be a steady fantasy producer all season long.

Alex Iafallo, LW, Los Angeles Kings (50% rostered)

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Alex Iafallo has 10 points in 13 games at 5-on-5. Hot damn, that’s incredible production from a guy who has under 50% ownership.

He's averaging 18:13 TOI, but in three of his last four games, he’s played over 20 minutes (all strengths), including a Herculean 23:20 against the Canadians on Tuesday night. In that same span, he’s scored five points and been on the ice for nearly 60 percent of the Kings' powerplay time. His IPP and shooting percentage are slightly elevated, but not to a degree that I would expect a freefall in production anytime soon.

The Kings' top line is considered to be Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Adrian Kempe. But (according to DobberHockey's line tool) it’s Iafallo’s line that’s been given the most playing time in the last three games. Iafallo along with linemates Philip Danault and Andreas Athanasiou have played 32:16, compared to 30:47 for Kopitar’s line.

In addition, Iafallo’s advanced metrics at 5-on-5 show that he is driving play in the Kings' favor (Natural Stat Trick).

Alex Iafallo Advanced Metrics 2021-22

Given his impressive production to date, it’s difficult to imagine his deployment becoming less favorable any time soon. Expect his stock to keep rising.

Reilly Smith, RW, Las Vegas Golden Knights (22% rostered)

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With injuries to Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, the Vegas Golden Knights continue to roll their lines. As a result, different players are getting a chance to play more prominent roles. A few weeks ago I wrote about Evgenii Dadonov getting a boost in playing time (which he continues to see albeit with mixed point production), and lately, it’s been Reilly Smith getting a bump.

Vegas is effectively playing its top two lines at an even clip. According to DobberHockey's line tool in the last 3 games, they have rolled out the Smith – Jonathan MarchessaultNicolas Roy line the most, with 29:34 TOI per game. Only 5 seconds behind is the Dadonov – Chandler StephensonWilliam Carrier line with 29:26 TOI per game. Both lines have found ways to produce and provide fantasy managers with viable streaming options.

Smith is taking advantage of his increased usage with four points in his last four games. Points beget playing time: Smith has logged two 19+ minute efforts in his last 3 games as the Knights continue to lean on his line.

More good news: his production might be sustainable as long his deployment remains elevated. Both his shooting percentage and IPP are well below career averages. With his elevated playing time, he’s also shooting at a higher clip with 3.2 shots-on-goal per game compared to his 2.4 average over the last few years.

Keep an eye on Reilly, and don’t hesitate to grab him as a streaming option - he might hang around on your squad longer than expected.

Stock Down

Roope Hintz, LW Dallas Stars (73% rostered)

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Roope Hintz found himself on many of the must-draft or sleeper lists heading into the season, and with good reason. Hintz produced 43 points in 41 games last season and played 18:13 per game at all strengths, including nearly 3:00 a night on the powerplay. There was ample reason to suspect Hintz would build on his strong season and continue to produce.

But this year things are a little different in Texas. The Stars are 4-5-2 and have the second-worst goals for total in the league (25), behind only the lowly Arizona Coyotes. Two of their losses have come at the hands of the rebuilding Senators. Dallas is likely not where they wanted to be at the start of this season, and two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

Hintz established himself as an everyday NHLer on that Stanley Cup Finals run with 13 points in 24 games. He followed it up with his impressive season last year, but to date hasn’t been able to produce at a similar rate. He has scored just two points in 11 games. Accordingly, his ice time is down to 16:20 at all strengths and 1:45 per game on the powerplay.

None of his points are goals, so his shooting percentage remains at 0 and his IPP is well below his career average. Positive regression is likely coming for Hintz. The thing about regression though, is that we never know when it will show up. Given how poorly the Stars offense has performed, the positive regression may not be for a while.

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

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Kailer Yamamoto had an impressive 2019-2020 season, racking up 26 points in 27 games. For a while, Yamamoto, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made up the best line in the NHL that year. Ever since that season, Oilers fans have been waiting for him to replicate that performance.

And they continue to wait.

In 2020-21 he scored 21 points in 52 games with a reasonable shooting percentage of 11.43. So far this year, with a shooting percentage of 11.70, he’s posted two points in 11 games. The reason I keep mentioning shooting percentage is that over the last two seasons I think we have seen a regression to his average, somewhere around 11 percent. Meaning the production from the last two seasons represents the player that Yamamoto is.

That’s not great news for those holding their breath in hopes of a 2019-2020 resurgence.

It’s difficult to point to bad linemates for the drop in production. Yamamoto has consistently played in the Oilers' top six, mostly alongside quality players like Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins (even some kid named Connor McDavid).

With Jesse Puljujarvi cementing himself in the Oilers' top six, whenever Dave Tippet wants to blend his lines, it’s usually Yamamoto who is relegated. His time at all strengths has dropped a minute each of the last two seasons, and his powerplay deployment is on the decline. With healthy competition on the wing in Edmonton for the first time in years, the next time Yamamoto leaves the top six it may be for good.

Nick Ritchie, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (4% rostered)

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The Maple Leafs signed Nick Ritchie to a two-year, five-million-dollar deal in the off-season. In early season practices, Ritchie was playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, landing him on many sleeper lists entering fantasy draft season.

Ritchie was never known as a speed demon, and his most offensive season came in Anaheim when he posted 31 points in 2018-19. While he did produce some offense in the OHL, Ritchie has been unable to establish himself as an offensive player worthy of a top-six role in the NHL. This trend has continued in Toronto.

Ritchie has struggled early, and likely lost his chance at playing alongside Matthews and/or Marner. Home town kid Michael Bunting has usurped that role and is currently stapled alongside Matthews. In the last three games, Ritchie has spent 5:34 playing with Matthews. Yet Bunting has logged over 30 minutes next to the game's best pure goal scorer (DobberHockey).

With just one point in his first 13 games as a Leaf, and his ice-time dwindling, don’t expect to see Ritchie on the stock-up section of these articles any time soon.

Don't forget to check out Fantasy Six Pack for more Fantasy Hockey content.

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