2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 Unsustainable Players

Another week, another step towards victory. As you kick off your December hoping to pick up a couple more wins before the New Year, sit back and buckle up because we are diving headfirst into the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 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.

It’s been another interesting week in the NHL. Brendan Lemieux received a five-game suspension for biting. Evander Kane cleared waivers and reported to the San Jose Barracuda where he will surely tear up the AHL. And former two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Murray was sent to the AHL as the scapegoat for Ottawa’s early struggles.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Matt's most recent suggestions! Kyle also does a good job every week 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 8 Unsustainable Players

Week 4 Review

Now that we have four weeks of play in the books since Week 4, most teams have played between 12 and 14 games. We are going to look back at my picks from Week 4 and see how they have performed since I covered them, four weeks ago. When trying to determine if a player is a hit or a miss, I look beyond their raw production. To decide, I compare the player's actual performance to what I predicted in my article four weeks ago.

Unsustainably High

Alex Killorn: 12 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 17 SOG ✔ (Down from his 67-goal, 91-pt pace)
Matt Duchene: 12 GP, 9 G, 6 A, 35 SOG ❌
Kevin Shattenkirk: 12 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 29 SOG ✔ (Down from his PPG pace)

Unsustainably Low

Auston Matthews: 12 GP, 7 G, 8 A, 54 SOG ✔ (Up from 1 G, 3 A through his first 8 games)
Jeff Petry: 13 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 25 SOG ❌
David Pastrnak: 12 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 61 SOG ✔ (Up from 2 G, 3 A through his first 7 games)

Sustainably High

Roman Josi: 13 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 34 SOG ✔ (maintained just under PPG pace)
Vladimir Tarasenko: 15 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 53 SOG ➖ (shooting a ton, point pace slightly lower than expected)
Lucas Raymond: 13 GP, 5 G, 7 A, 28 SOG ✔ (the kid's going to win the Calder)

Sustainably Low

Max Domi*: 6 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 7 SOG ➖ (too soon to tell; three of those points came in one big game)
Keith Yandle: 12 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 17 SOG ✔
Kailer Yamamoto: 12 GP, 4 G, 1 A, 15 SOG ✔

*Missed time due to injury/COVID protocol

Season Record (Hits - Misses - Too Soon to Tell): 25-6-5

Could have done better. Moving on to this week. {Editors Note: I don't know. That's a pretty good record!}

Unsustainably High

Tage Thompson, C/LW/RW, Buffalo Sabres (37% rostered)

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After trading away Jack Eichel, the Buffalo Sabres have no centermen. Sure, Dylan Cozens is a promising prospect, but he is at least a couple of years away from being a first-line center at the NHL level.

For now, that 1C job has been handed over to Tage Thompson.

As a player, Thompson is very intriguing. The 6’7” Arizona native was sent over to Buffalo as a key piece of the return for Ryan O’Reilly. Since the trade, he has struggled to find his form at the NHL level, putting up a career-high 14 points last year.

This year, he is on a whole different level. Through 22 games, he has already set a new career-high 16 points. Over the past two weeks, he has added five goals and two assists for seven points over seven games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
7522246116:4256.9%

Thompson’s recent hot streak has come as a result of an inflated shooting percentage.

During the past two weeks, Thompson's shooting percentage is sitting at 20.8%. This is highly unsustainable even for the best snipers in the league. And Thompson certainly is not one of the best snipers in the league.

I would expect Thompson’s shooting percentage to fall to somewhere in between closer to the 8.3% he finished last season with. It would be a good season for Thompson if he could finish the season with a shooting percentage of around 10%. This would be significantly lower than where it currently sits.

And not only is Thompson’s personal shooting percentage high, but his oiSH% is in Unsustainable territory. Currently, despite playing for a barren Sabres team, Thompson’s oiSH% is sitting at 13.9%. This will come back down to earth, and Thompson’s production will be hurt by it. Expect a 30-40% decline in his production when this happens.

Going forward, it is likely that Tage Thompson will play at a 50-point pace. While this will be a new career-high and a good story for the Sabres, it is not worth a roster spot in Fantasy. And with Buffalo only playing two off-nights over the next three weeks, the opportunities to stream Thompson will be limited.

Devon Toews, D, Colorado Avalanche (78% rostered)

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As I have mentioned in the past, people like to touch pretty things. And one of those pretty things that have been available in many leagues has been Devon Toews.

If you missed out on some of Colorado’s other stars in the draft, Toews was a great consolation prize on the waiver wire. He has been on a tear since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, putting up 10 points over his last eight games. This puts him on a 103-point pace on the season.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
8372199623:5733.2%

The story with Toews is very similar to that of Thompson. His shooting percentage is way too high to be sustainable, as is his on-ice shooting percentage.

Although Toews has historically been a high-percentage shooter, his current mark is still too high. Last season, Toews finished the year with the 13th highest shooting percentage among defensemen who took more than 80 shots. This put him in elite company, nestled right in between teammate Cale Makar, and former Norris-winner Erik Karlsson.

This season, his shooting percentage has more than doubled and currently sits at 15.9% on the season. Expect this to fall back down to earth in the near future.

Further, as good as Colorado is, Toews’ current oiSH% of 16.7% is due for some negative regression. With the elite talent on the team, it is very realistic that his oiSH% will remain above average. I would expect that mark to fall closer to 11-12% as the year drags on.

And finally, Toews’ upside is capped with Cale Makar dominating PP1. Barring another long-term injury to Makar, Toews is not going to be seeing time on Colorado’s lethal first powerplay unit. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, it is near impossible for a defenseman to put up 60+ points without significant powerplay deployment.

I would expect Toews to finish the year on a 45–50-point pace. While this is still worth rostering in many leagues, I might also be shopping around to see what others are willing to give me to touch this pretty thing.

Ryan Johansen, C, Nashville Predators (24% rostered)

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As I was doing some research for this article, I was taken aback by the fact that Ryan Johansen is only 29 years old. I was also taken aback by the fact that the Predators locked Johansen up to an 8-by-8 contract immediately following a 61-point season. Sound familiar, New Jersey fans?

Despite the contract being lauded as one of the albatrosses of the league, Johansen has been playing up to it over the past couple of weeks. Through six games, Johansen has registered a goal and eight assists. He has also brought the peripherals, registering nearly a block and a hit per game.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6184126515:2849.4%

I am extremely leery about Johansen’s recent performance. During this recent streak, Johansen has an IPP of 90%. Over the past week, the picture is even more concerning with his IPP sitting at 100%. When his IPP begins to fall back down to the 50-60% range it has been in for the past three seasons, Johansen’s point totals will take a massive hit.

The other thing that concerns me about Johansen is that he does not shoot the puck. Johansen has never been a big shooter. Last season, and over the past three seasons, he has averaged just over one shot per game. In categories leagues, that immediately puts you behind the eight-ball in both shots and goals.

With two off-nights towards the end of next week, Johansen may be a good streaming option if you are behind in assists or powerplay points and are looking to catch up. Beyond that, I do not see Johansen bringing much value.

I would expect Johansen to finish the season on a 55–60-point pace. In most leagues, there will be better options on the waiver wire, especially considering that Johansen does not have dual-position eligibility as a pure centerman.

Unsustainably Low

Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets (54% rostered)

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The Winnipeg Jets have been going through a tough stretch. They are 1-5-1 over their past seven games and are coming off of a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat at the hands of the dreadful Arizona Coyotes.

During this losing skid, there has not been a lot of scoring. Through seven games, the team has scored just nine goals. Four of these goals came in their one win against the Calgary Flames. This lack of team scoring has no doubt contributed to Josh Morrissey’s recent slump. Morrissey has no points during this stretch and has recorded just six hits and seven blocks.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
7000126721:4637.7%

I decided to put Josh Morrissey as Unsustainably Low with an asterisk. In a lot of shallower leagues, I don’t think Morrissey is worth holding onto. On the flip side, I can also confidently say that Morrissey is not as bad as his recent pointless streak suggests.

Morrissey’s lack of scoring recently can be attributed to his 2.1% oiSH%. A team with offensive weapons of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Pierre-Luc Dubois will start to fill the net sooner than later. When they do, Morrissey will see his scoring pick up once again.

Last season, Morrissey was on pace for 31 points. After working on his shot this offseason, he has already nearly matched his goal total from last year. Add to this the fact that newly acquired linemate Nate Schmidt is a big upgrade over Tucker Poolman, everything anecdotally points towards a big offensive year from Morrissey.

To be clear, I don’t think that Morrissey is going to score 60+ points. However, I think it is reasonable to expect a 45–50-point pace from the Jets’ defenseman. Add 1.5 hits and 1.5 blocks per game, and Morrissey is a good option on the backend in categories leagues. In shallower leagues, Morrissey remains a good streaming option when Winnipeg has a good schedule.

Tyler Bertuzzi, LW/RW, Detroit Red Wings (77% rostered)

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Three weeks ago, Tyler Bertuzzi made my list as Unsustainably High. After a rough couple of weeks, the narrative has completely flipped on Bertuzzi, and he is being dropped at an extraordinary rate. I am here to tell you to relax – Bertuzzi’s scoring drought is Unsustainably Low.

Over the past two weeks, Bertuzzi has managed just a single assist through five games. Despite the lack of scoring, he has had 16 shots, four hits, and four blocks, which has made owning him slightly more bearable during this recent dry spell.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
5010164418:5463.7%

When a player is slumping, one of the first things I look at is their shot totals. If a player is struggling but they are still shooting and generating offense, I don’t typically get too worried. More often than not, the scoring returns, and I am glad that I held the player.

During the past two weeks despite failing to score, Bertuzzi has had no trouble generating offense. He has been shooting over three times per game, putting him in the top echelon of players in terms of shot volume.

Not only is Bertuzzi shooting the puck like a madman, but the shots have generally been dangerous shots. Through five games, Bertuzzi has put up just under 2.5 Expected Goals. Prorate this over 82 games, and Bertuzzi would be on pace for just under 41 Expected Goals.

2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 Unsustainable Players

On top of this, Bertuzzi’s oiSH% is sitting at 3.9% over the past two weeks. This is bound to improve going forward, only bolstering his point totals further.

I don’t think we will see the 112-point pace Bertuzzi from earlier in the season, but I also don’t think that we will see the 16-point pace Bertuzzi going forward. My assessment of Bertuzzi remains unchanged from Week 5. Bertuzzi is likely good for 35+ goals and 70 points over 82 games. He is a prime buy-low candidate this week.

Blake Coleman, LW/RW, Calgary Flames (32% rostered)

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After signing a 6-year, $29.4 million contract with the Calgary Flames this offseason, Coleman has struggled to find his groove early on.

Through 21 games, Coleman has only six points. To add insult to injury, the Plano, Texas native has been held pointless through six games over the past two weeks. He has also been a disappointment in the peripherals department, with just over a hit per game.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
60001610515:366.5%

I don’t think that Coleman has a ton more to give on the offensive side of the game. While he is bound to register some points eventually, Coleman is primarily being used in a shut-down role on the Flames’ second line with Mikael Backlund.

Through the past six games, Coleman has registered 1.3 Expected Goals, despite not finishing on any of his shots.

Further, his IPP is sitting at 0% and his oiSH% is only 6.5% during this stretch. When these numbers revert closer to his three-year average (70.5% IPP, 10.0% oiSH%), he should see a modest boost in scoring. I would expect Coleman to finish pretty close to the 41-point pace he averaged over the past three seasons.

The one area of Coleman’s game where I think he has the potential to take a big step forward is in the peripheral department. Over the past two weeks, he is averaging just 1.7 hits per game. While this is nothing to scoff at, Coleman has more to give. Coleman started the season averaging just over three hits per game, and I think that is a realistic expectation as the season drags on. If you find you have been lagging behind in the hits department so far this season, I would take a long look at Coleman to help bolster your performance.

Sustainably High

Kevin Fiala, LW/RW, Minnesota Wild (72% rostered)

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The expectations were high for Kevin Fiala going into this year. He was drafted in 100% of Yahoo Fantasy drafts, and on average, he was drafted ahead of perennial Fantasy performers like Sean Couturier and Erik Karlsson. Despite this early draft position, he disappointed GMs early on, managing only three points through his first eight games.

Since the slow start though, Fiala has been doing much better. Over the past two weeks, Fiala has scored one goal and added five assists over seven games. Holding onto Fiala through the rough start is paying dividends to patient Fantasy GMs who never lost faith in the Swiss winger.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
7150265216:2552.3%

It is incredible that despite his high shot volume, Fiala only has one goal in his past seven games. Fiala currently sits twelfth in the league with 11.3 shots/60 minutes, and yet has struggled to finish on those shots. This shooting volume puts him in elite company. So far this season, other players around Fiala include Auston Matthews, Matthew Tkachuk, and Andrei Svechnikov. Not bad company.

On the season, even though Fiala has racked up seven Expected Goals, he has only managed to find twine three times. I don't expect this to continue. Fiala will start to get some bounces to go his way and the floodgates will open.

And while there is room for Fiala to score more goals, the rest of his underlying statistics are not concerning. His IPP currently sits at 85.7%, while his oiSH% is clocked at only 9.9%. A modest decline in his IPP to the 78.4% he finished last season with, would be offset by any positive regression in his oiSH%. He will likely continue to rack up the assists, even once he starts finishing on some of his shots. This is a deadly combination that I would want to get my hands on.

If Fiala can continue shooting the puck with this elite frequency, I think Fiala will be a very good option for the rest of the season. I would expect Fiala to finish the season with 30-35 goals and 70-75 points.

The ship is likely past if you are looking to acquire Fiala, but it never hurts to make a call and see what it would cost you.

Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers (99% rostered)

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Last season, I traded away Aaron Ekblad in exchange for Mika Zibanejad on March 24. The very next day, Zibanejad put up a six-point performance, and Ekblad had his season cut short after an awkward hit left the Florida defenseman with a broken leg.

This season, Ekblad seems to have picked up where he left off last March, racking up 20 points through 22 games. Over the past two weeks, Ekblad has scored a goal and added seven assists through six games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6173216724:5961.0%

While I don’t think that Ekblad will finish the season with the 109 points that he is on pace for over the past two weeks, a 70+ point season is not out of the question.

Last year, Ekblad managed 11 goals and 11 assists through 35 games, putting him on pace for 52 points. Ekblad managed this strong performance despite conceding a majority of the PP1 time to now-departed Keith Yandle. This season, he is playing 71% of the team’s powerplay time, up from 41% the year prior.

This bolstered deployment will undoubtedly translate into greater production. However you slice it, playing more time on the man-advantage with Sasha Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau will translate into more points.

The other thing that excites me about Ekblad is that even when he isn’t scoring, he helps your team in other ways. He is averaging over a block per game and sits second among defensemen with 69 shots on goal. In categories leagues, this multi-cat coverage is extremely valuable.

If you drafted Ekblad, consider yourself extremely lucky. If he can stay healthy, I would not be at all surprised if Ekblad finished as the top fantasy defenseman by the time the season wraps up.

Mario Ferraro, D, San Jose Sharks (27% rostered)

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Talking about multi-cat monsters, the 23-year old Sharks defenseman certainly fits the bill. Plus, Yahoo finally decided to add his headshot this past week.

Through 22 games this season, Ferraro has racked up 49 hits and 68 blocks. Over the past two weeks, he has kept up the pace, registering 15 hits and 22 blocks through seven games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
70303152223:0313.7%

If your league only values point production, Ferraro is not the pick for you. He only has three assists through seven games and does not shoot the puck with enough frequency to be a reliable source of goals.

However, in bangers leagues, Ferraro has been worth his 209-pound weight in gold.

His 68 blocks lead all defensemen, and it isn’t particularly close. Vegas’ Brayden McNabb and Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov sit tied for second with 50 blocks. In categories leagues, Ferraro has the ability to single-handedly guarantee you win the blocks each week.

On top of the blocks, he is also a top-10 hitting defenseman. Ferraro’s 60 hits have him just six hits back of fourth among defensemen, and 11 hits back of second-place Jamie Oleksiak.

With Ferraro finding a home alongside Brent Burns on the Sharks’ top pairing, the peripheral goodness is bound to continue. If you have space on your roster, I would highly recommend picking up Ferraro before others catch wind of his performance. Having Ferraro on your roster will all but guarantee you two category wins each week.

Sustainably Low

Sam Reinhart, C/RW, Florida Panthers (77% rostered)

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There was a lot of hype surrounding Sam Reinhart going into this season. Many expected him to join the long list of Florida imports that went on to have big seasons (Duclair, Hornqvist, et. al).

However, the former second-overall pick has not fit in well in Florida. He is on an abysmal 48-point pace this season, which is compounded by the fact that he has just two goals over his past six games. Reinhart’s struggles have continued, despite being elevated into a top-six role due to injuries to Duclair and Barkov.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
6201148417:0158.4%

The biggest red flag with Reinhart is the fact that he has struggled to break into Florida’s top six. With Barkov skating again and Duclair only listed as day-to-day, Reinhart’s time in the top six and on the top powerplay unit is set to expire.

Once Reinhart is demoted back to third-line duties alongside Anton Lundell and Frank Vatrano, his upside will evaporate quicker than a pool of panther urine in the hot Florida weather.

As the season drags on, it would surprise me if Reinhart can match his 61-point pace from last year. During his time in Buffalo, Reinhart had the benefit of playing 19+ minutes per night alongside Jack Eichel (prior to Eichel's neck injury). With his average ice time down below 16:45 this season, Reinhart does not have the same upside that many expected going into this season.

Barring a promotion to first-line right-wing alongside Barkov, I don’t see how Reinhart breaks the 55-point mark. In a worst-case scenario, I could see Reinhart finish the year with less than 50 points. If Reinhart can string together a few points over the next few days, I would try to ship him off to someone who thinks they are buying low. Otherwise, I think he is a safe drop candidate that won't come back to bite you.

Seth Jarvis, C/RW, Carolina Hurricanes (11% rostered)

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It will never fail to impress me how quickly young players increase in ownership. More so than people in other facets of life, Fantasy GMs across the board suffer from an extreme case of FOMO.

I say this, speaking from first-hand experience. A GM in one of my leagues dropped Ryan O’Reilly to pick up 19-year-old Seth Jarvis. I cannot begin to fathom what was going through his head as he pressed the confirm button on that transaction.

Through 14 games this season, the 2020 first-round pick has put up seven points. Over the past two weeks, he has managed two goals and two assists through seven games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
7220195114:2633.1%

Even though now poor Rod Brind’Amour has broken out the line blender in recent games, Jarvis has been struggling to remain in the Canes’ top six.

As of the most recent practice, Jarvis has been skating on the second line with Vincent Trochek and Andrei Svechnikov. I would not put too much stock in this recent deployment, as he has also seen time on the third and fourth lines over the past couple of weeks.

What concerns me most about Jarvis is that the little production he is providing skirts the edge of unsustainable. Without prior NHL history, there is not a large body of work to compare his play to, but as it stands, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his production pull back even further.

He is currently outscoring his expected goals, and his IPP and oiSH% are sitting right around league average for a mid-tier forward (50% IPP, 11.3% oiSH%). If anything, I could see his oiSH% dip even further as he slips down the lineup, severely impacting his production.

If you picked up Jarvis because you didn’t want to miss the hype train, I am here to tell you that it is safe to drop him. Unless you are in a dynasty league or a really deep keeper league, there are many better options on the waiver wire.

Sean Monahan, C, Calgary Flames (28% rostered)

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Every season for the past few years I have drafted Sean Monahan with one of my last picks, hoping that this is the year that he regains his point-per-game form from the 2018-19 season. And every season for the past few years, I have been disappointed.

Through 22 games this season, Monahan has only registered 10 points. Over the past two weeks, the situation is even direr. The 2013 sixth-overall pick has only logged two assists over the past six games.

GPGAPPPSOGHITBLKATOIPP%
602285313:2854.3%

I don’t know which is more concerning to me: the fact that Monahan is seeing a near-five-minute reduction in his ice time from the past three seasons, or the fact that Monahan is barely managing to shoot once per game. Frankly, both are terrifying, and both contributed to my decision to finalize my Fantasy-divorce with the Flames’ centerman.

To be frank, I do not have much else to add beyond this. Monahan has been skating less than 14 minutes per game on the Flames’ third line with Tyler Pitlick and Dillon Dube. I would be shocked if Monahan tops 40 points. He's a player that does not shoot. He does not score goals. At his current production, Monahan is completely useless from a Fantasy perspective.

As the season drags on, I would not be surprised to see the Flames move on from Monahan. One potential suitor who could use an upgrade at the center-ice position is the Boston Bruins. If Monahan gets traded, I might be pretty quick to pick him up again because I do think that he still has offensive upside. However, until a trade happens, Monahan is a safe drop.

Let another manager burn a roster spot hoping for a trade that is not guaranteed.

Summary

There you have it - the 2021-22 Fantasy Hockey Week 8 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 to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.


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2 comments

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

[…] If 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 bound to cool off in my weekly Unsustainable article. […]

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2021-2022 Fantasy Hockey Week 11 Unsustainable Players - Part 2 - Fantasy Six Pack December 30, 2021 - 11:31 am

[…] Week 8 in Review […]

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