2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 Stock Watch

by Kyle Vaughan
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 Stock Watch

Welcome to the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 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's likely they are rostered and you may be wondering if you should drop or trade them.

The article intends to help inform the valuation of a player based on their performance to date. Some players are worth more today than last week, and for others the opposite is true.

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

Smoke if you got'em.

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

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 Stock Watch

Stock Up

Evan Rodrigues, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (29% rostered)

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Evan Rodrigues is currently playing right wing on Pittsburgh's top line. That means the guy to his left is Sidney Crosby, and the guy to the left of that is Jake Guentzel. That's a good company to keep.

Rodrigues has earned his time next to Crosby and Guentzel. Before his top-line role, he produced with lesser players. His most common linemates were Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen. He also spent time with Dominik Simon and Danton Heinen on the fourth line. Through it all, Rodrigues posted solid metrics and managed to produce offensively.

Rodrigues is on a small heater with four points in his last five games.  Over the season he has 15 points in 22 games and 12 of those have come at 5-on-5. The interesting thing is his 5-on-5 shooting percentage aligns with his career average and has actually dipped compared to last year. His production thus far is likely sustainable.

He's also racking up shots. Rodrigues is shooting at a career-high clip, including an insane 12 shots against the Canadiens on November 27th.

His strong play has resulted in beneficial deployment. Rodrigues is playing over 16 minutes a night, including 2:12 on the first unit power play. Given his production to date, bench boss Mike Sullivan seems to be rewarding Rodrigues with the highest offensive zone start percentage of his career.

As long as Rodrigues is seeing favorable usage alongside Crosby and Guentzel, his stock will be on the rise.

Michael Bunting, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (24% rostered)

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Michael Bunting has nine points in his last five games. He's also playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on Toronto's top line. What more do you want?

The former fourth-round selection of the Arizona Coyotes signed a two-year deal in Toronto this off-season. To date, his production as a Maple Leaf has been inconsistent. Bunting came out guns blazing in the pre-season and earned himself a slot on the top line. He scored two goals in the Leafs' first four games, then scored only once over his next 11 contests. After a  demotion to the fourth line, Bunting started to produce and was yo-yo'd back onto the top line.

He's been on fire ever since.

One thing that stands out to me: the trio's advanced metrics get a boost with Bunting in the mix. Statistics from Natural Stat Trick.

Matthews and Marner with and without Bunting
Without Bunting (107 mins)With Bunting (57 mins)
CF%61.4263.21
SF%58.1669.49
GF%20.0083.33
xGF%65.6167.98

Admittedly, in most cases, it isn't a huge boost, but it's a boost nonetheless. It shows that Bunting can hang with two of the NHL's best players and even improve their production.

It appears Sheldon O'Keefe has taken notice of Bunting's contribution. His average time on ice this year is around 14 minutes, but in two of his last four games, he's played more than 16 minutes. This includes a 17+ minute effort against the Kings on November 24th.

Keep your eye on Bunting. He's not just a decoration anymore.

Boone Jenner, C, Columbus Blue Jackets (36% rostered)

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Boone Jenner logs minutes. His 20:27 average time-on-ice puts him in the top 20 for forwards in the NHL. Other players in the top 20 have names like Leon Draisaitl, Aleksander Barkov, and Nathan MacKinnon.

That's nearly two minutes higher than his last two seasons. He is also logging a career-high in power-play time with 3:11 per game. With that increased time he has put up 14 points in 20 games. That's good for a 57 point pace over a full season.

Jenner's real value, though, is a guy who provides 60 point potential along with peripheral stat coverage. In leagues that value face-offs and shots, Jenner should be particularly intriguing. He has always been a face-off specialist and this year he's proving he may be one of the league's best. Jenner is winning face-offs at a career-high clip with nearly 12 per game. He's also adding three shots a night, another career-high.

Jenner's ten goals have come with an inflated shooting percentage that will likely regress. But I'm not convinced his production will crater. This year he has spent time with new linemates, like Jakub Voracek and (the injured) Patrik Laine. That's an improvement over previous players like Max Domi, Alexandre Texier, and (to a lesser extent) Cam Atkinson.

He's also seen a significant increase in playing time with Oliver Bjorkstrand, who is scoring at nearly a point-per-game rate. The pair have already played over 160 minutes together in 20 games this year. That's up from the 100 minutes they played together over 41 games last year.

Jenner's current offensive production may be unsustainable in the long run. However, his peripheral coverage increased playing time and improved line-mates have his stock on the rise.

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Stock Down

Brent Burns, D, San Jose Sharks (89% rostered)

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Brent Burns was a force only a few years ago. Few need reminding of his dominance, which culminated with 83 points in 82 games during the 2018-19 season. In the four years from 2015-2019, Burns didn't miss a single regular-season game and he scored at a 0.92 point-per-game pace. In that span, he averaged over 25 minutes a night. Few players in the NHL were as valuable to their team as Brent Burns.

And suddenly it stopped. Last year he scored at a sub-50 point pace for the second season in a row. Since that insane 2019 season, he has consistently shot less, hit less, and scored less. I think we all accepted that father time had racked up another win. After all, Burns was 36 entering this year.

But he opened up this season with three points in the Sharks' first three games. A short while later he racked up nine points in six games. It appeared Burns had regained some of his former glory, and his stock spiked.

Since that torrid six-game span, Burns has failed to register a single point. He is still logging top pairing and first power-play minutes with his new partner Mario Ferraro.  However, his power-play time is the lowest it's been in eight years and his production has dried up. He's had two shots on goal in his last five games.

His shooting percentage of 1.8 percent is well below his career average of 6.7 percent. So it's likely some positive regression is coming, but don't hold your breath. Burns' advanced metrics at 5-on-5 are down this year, with many at career lows.

While Burns might land a few blows, it looks like father time will remain undefeated.

Right now his stock is down.

Danton Heinen C, Pittsburgh Penguins (4% rostered)

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Danton Heinen was an early-season stock riser. He had the opportunity to prove himself as a top-line candidate in Pittsburgh. The early returns were promising. Heinen put up five points in his first five games and looked as though he might seize the day.

He proceeded to score four points over his next 18 games. As mentioned above, Evan Rodrigues usurped Heinen's role and never looked back.

Heinen now consistently logs less than nine minutes a game on the fourth line. His power-play usage has decreased as well, reaching its nadir of zero on November 29th against the Calgary Flames.

With only two shots in his last four games, Heinen's offense has completely dried up. Given how well other forwards are playing in front of him, chances of promotion are slim.

His stock is falling, with no end in sight.


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1 comment

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 9 Waiver Wire - Fantasy Six Pack December 7, 2021 - 12:00 am

[…] you are looking to make a trade, be sure to take a look at Kyle’s breakdown of different players’ trade value. I also go into detail every week on which hot players can keep their streak going, and who is […]

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