2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Stock Watch Part 2

by Kyle Vaughan
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Stock Watch Part 2

Welcome to the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Stock Watch Part 2.

Below I'll take a look at some players who are doing various things. And I'll tell you why I think those things have made said players more or less valuable.

Don’t forget to check out the other great Fantasy Hockey content at Fantasy Six Pack.

All statistics from DobberHockey unless otherwise stated. Wednesday's games are not included as part of the analysis below.

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Stock Watch Part 2

Stock Up

Quinton Byfield, LW. Los Angeles Kings (2% rostered)

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Quinton Byfield is playing on the top line in Los Angeles and Kevin Fiala is playing on the third line. That's news to me. It's also a little surprising. Fiala was the Kings' big off-season acquisition and he has been killing it in La-La-Land.

A top line of Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Adrian Kempe has it all. Offensive potential, speed, defensive responsibility, and a bit of physicality as well. But that's not how Todd McLellan sees it, I guess. I imagine he prefers having three lines capable of scoring instead of loading up his top six. And T-McLelly has over 550 wins in his career, so I won't doubt him.

The good news in all of this is Quinton Byfield's recent deployment. The 2020 second-overall pick is only averaging 13:20 a night, but he's exceeded that in eight of his last nine games. He's on Los Angeles' second powerplay unit, which usually isn't ideal.

But the Kings have been using their first and second units pretty evenly as of late. Over their last three games, the top man-advantage squad has played 27.1 percent of the powerplay time. Byfield's second unit has played 26.7 percent of the time.

What's great about Byfield is his physical play. He's 6"5' and 220 pounds and uses it to his advantage, which shows up in the peripheral stat sheet. Over his last nine games, Byfield has five points, eight penalty minutes, 16 shots, and nine hits. That's waiver wire gold.

At just two percent ownership he is widely available. As long as he maintains his current deployment don't hesitate to pick him up as a solid streamer.

Frank Vatrano, LW, Anaheim Ducks (10% rostered)

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Another player who has an edge to his game and is filling the fantasy stat sheet as of late is Frank Vatrano. Over his last five games, he has seven points, (an absurd) 25 shots, and 12 penalty minutes.

Even though Gary Bettman says it doesn't happen in the NHL, the Anaheim Ducks are actively tanking in an attempt to increase their odds of winning the Connor Bedard lottery. It's to the point that every time the Ducks lose, Mason McTavish is texting (his former World Juniors teammate) Bedard.

Even though he is playing next to McTavish on Anaheim's second line Vatrano didn't get the tanking memo. He is playing over 17 minutes a night with about a minute and a half of that coming on the powerplay. His strong deployment and current hot streak make him a great streaming option. Ride the wave and when it crashes feel free to move on.

Ryan Mcleod, C, Edmonton Oilers (1% rostered)

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Technically Ryan Mcleod is the Edmonton Oilers' fourth-line center. But in reality, that's not the case. Sort of.

The Oilers are 8-0-1 in their last nine games. Their effort to secure 17 of a possible 18 points has Edmonton third in the Pacific Division by points percentage. Right before they embarked on this current streak the Oilers called up 26-year-old rookie Vincent Desharnais and changed their bench roster from 12 forwards and six defencemen to 11 forwards and seven defencemen.

I don't know how much that shift has contributed to their current success but it's an interesting coincidence. One of the benefits of running 11 forwards with seven defencemen is it allows Jay Woodcroft to mix and match his lines and defensive pairings, instead of just running the four same lines for the majority of the game.

This means that young developing players like Ryan Mcleod get to play with plenty of different linemates in a game. That includes the likes of Zach Hyman and Evander Kane. Because Mcleod is a center he doesn't get much time with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. But the interesting thing is he can produce away from those two superstars, which is something the Oilers desperately need.

Mcleod has played over five minutes with Hyman in Edmonton's last two games and over four minutes with Evander Kane. Those are quality linemates. One (potentially great) finding for the Oilers is Mcleod's chemistry with fellow young gun Dylan Holloway. The duo has played together for over six minutes in the last two games and dominated the opposition with a Fenwick-for percentage over 70.

Mcleod has five points and ten shots over his last six games. He also hits, blocks shots, and wins face-offs at serviceable rates. The 2018 second-round pick is fast, has an incredible shot, and great puck IQ. Look at the highlight below. He delays his shot and then rips a quick release past Husso off the bar.

The Oilers love that he can drive a line and produce away from the big two in Edmonton. I would only expect his ice time (averaging 14:33 a night, 0:51 on the powerplay) and opportunities to increase over the remainder of the year.

Keep an eye on him. A second-half breakout for Mcleod would not surprise me.

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Stock Down

Bo Horvat, C, New York Islanders (92% owned)

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Long Island is a place where offense goes to die. In the last ten years guess how many point-per-game players the Islanders have had?

Four. John Tavares three times and Matthew Barzal once. Guess how many point-per-game players they have had in the last five seasons. None. The good news for real-world hockey fans is that the Islanders don't need to score many goals to win games. Over the last five years, they have allowed the fourth fewest goals per game in the league.

But in the fantasy world, we don't care about wins. We care about points. Barzal has offensive potential and is owned in most leagues. Guys like Anders Lee have periods of high ownership, but not because of their point production. It is mostly due to their ability to fill out categories like hits and penalty minutes.

Horvat is in the midst of a career year. His high-profile trade to the Islanders was a surprise that not many saw coming. And he'll be in Long Island for the long haul after signing an eight-year deal earlier this week that Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello admitted (half tongue in cheek, half seriously) that the contract is for too much money and too many years.

I admittedly don't know much about hockey systems but have read numerous times that the Islanders play a defensive system that relies on goal suppression and responsible defensive play from their forwards. Horvat's strong two-way play should fit right in but fantasy managers should be worried.

Horvat potted 30 goals in his first 42 games on the back of a career-high shooting percentage. After scoring in his Islanders' home debut Horvat now has 32 goals, which is more than he has ever had in a season.

Now it looks like Barzal has been moved to the wing, so he can play alongside Horvat on New York's top line. That bodes well for Bo. But if you own him in fantasy, I think I'd be shopping him around. He was a sell-high before his trade to the offensively reserved Islanders. Unless he clicks with Brock Nelson and Barzal on a potent level, I would expect his offensive production to revert to career average norms.

Montreal Canadiens Goalies (17 - 19% rostered)

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Jake Allen was on the shelf for a while with an upper-body injury and Sam Montembeault tended the crease for the Canadiens in his stead. Montembeault gave fantasy owners a few good stretches, including four wins over six games from January 12th  to January 21st.

When healthy Allen had also provided some fantasy value over periods this season. In December, over a course of six games, he had three wins, with four quality starts where he posted a save percentage of .912 or better in all but one game.

Allen returned to action before the all-star break. With Montembeault's adequate(ish) play in Allen's absence, the net in Montreal will likely undergo a timeshare moving forward. Maybe not 50-50, but it will certainly be more divided than it was before Allen's injury.

If one of these goalies was getting consistent starts I could maaaybe see a sliver of an argument for rostering them. But given Montreal's race for the bottom this season and the shared starts moving forward, both tenders are now fully in the streamer category.

The Canadiens have games coming up against Edmonton, Carolina, Toronto, and New Jersey between now and February 21st. There's no way I'm starting either Allen or Montembeault against any of those teams. You'd be better off using that roster spot to stream a goalie with a better matchup or maximize the weekly games in your skater groups.

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