2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 18 Stock Watch

by Kyle Vaughan

Welcome to the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 18 Stock Watch.

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 18 Stock Watch

Stock Up

Jusso Valimaki, D, Arizona Coyotes (10% rostered)

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Florida-man Jakob Chychrun has likely played his last game as a member of the Arizona Coyotes. The highly sought-after defenseman has been healthy scratched for the entirety of this week for 'trade-related reasons'.

I wish Arizona would just trade him already because I'm sick of reading about it. The NHL is the absolute worst when it comes to stoking trade speculation fires, only to have nothing happen. Or if something does happen, it's weeks or months down the road and completely different than what anyone surmised.

Obviously, I'm exaggerating, but not by much. Look at the NBA. News breaks that Kyrie Irving wants out of Brooklyn and an instant later he is a Dallas Maverick. I feel like that never happens in the NHL. We have to read about it for months first. Trade speculation fatigue is real for hockey fans and it's the worst.

Anyway, with Chychrun likely out of the picture Jusso Valimaki has assumed the first unit powerplay quarterbacking duties for Arizona. Thus far, he is doing well. In his last four games, he has six points, ten shots, and six blocks. Hard to ignore. I know Arizona sucks. But, as I've discussed many times before, even terrible NHL teams are NHL teams who will score goals.

If you are in need of category help from your defensive group, take a peek at your waiver wire for Valimaki.

Nick Schmaltz, RW, Arizona Coyotes (35% rostered)

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This will be the second time I've mentioned Nick Schmaltz this year in a stock-up section of this article. The first time was nearly three months ago when Schmaltzy returned from a rib injury and proceeded to fill the stat sheet for savvy fantasy managers who picked him up.

I'm not crazy about covering two Arizona Coyotes in a single week but like Valimaki, it's hard to ignore what Schmaltz has been up to lately.

Since his return Schmaltz's longest pointless streak is four games. And that was way back in early December. From December 9th to now Schmaltz has played in 29 games and registered at least one point in 20 of them. He is consistently producing and is racking up points at a 0.92 point-per-game clip. Yet the man is only 35 percent rostered.

Schmaltz is a staple on Arizona's top line next to Barret Hayton and Clayton Keller. With little competition in the Coyotes' top six, his spot on the top powerplay unit is all but guaranteed (barring injury) for the remainder of the season. He is averaging nearly twenty minutes a night with 2:56 of that coming on the powerplay.

If you are in need of a scoring boost for the remainder of the season and don't want to give up meaningful assets to get it, take a look for Schmaltz on your waiver wire.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard, LW, Montreal Canadiens (13% rostered)

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The Canadiens appear to be in a full-on 'let's see what we've got here' mode. They are dead last in the Atlantic conference. If they can string together a bunch of losses over their last 28 games they have a puncher's chance of winning the Bedard lottery. Montreal's sights are set firmly on a rebuild and the years ahead.

So they are doing what smart teams do in that situation. Giving a bunch of their young players and prospects some burn in the NHL to evaluate the in-house talent.

They have also been bit by the injury bug this season. Meaning much of the young talent they have is hurt. That includes Kaiden Guhle, Juraj Slafkovky, Cole Caufield, Jake Evans, and Arber Xhekaj.

As a result, a player who might not have made it to the NHL this season is getting some pretty healthy minutes on Montreal's top line and first-unit powerplay. I'm of course referring to Rafael Harvey-Pinard.

The 2019 seventh-round pick made his NHL debut on January 17th and has been killing it ever since. He has eight points, 19 shots, 27 hits, and 15 blocks over the course of his first ten games.

Harvey-Pinard is averaging just under 15 minutes a night, with 37 seconds coming on the powerplay. But over his last two games, he's played 1:50 and 3:21 on the top man advantage.

I don't expect this to last. Harvey-Pinard has played parts of three seasons in the AHL and has never hit the point-per-game mark. His predicted NHL equivalent production over the long term is more in line with a bottom-six role. His offensive outbreak in the NHL has come on the back of a 31.6 shooting percentage so it is likely not sustainable.

But what an outbreak it is! Ride him while he is hot, and when things cool down or another youngster gets a chance on the top line seek other options on waivers.

Stock Down

Tom Wilson, RW, Washington Capitals (42% rostered)

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I have been hanging onto Tom Wilson since someone in my league dropped him in the first week of the season. Lo and behold, I thought, when he returns I'll lock up my banger categories every week. Playing next to Ovechkin on the Capitals' top line means he's bound to chip in a few points here and there as well.

Wilson has a three-year seasonal average of 52 points, 125 penalty minutes, 152 shots, and 232 hits. That is one valuable fantasy asset. On January 8th I put Wilson into my starting lineup and waited for the category coverage to roll in. And for eight games he did fine. His point production was scant, but everything else was vintage Tom. I assumed once he was back to game speed he'd start logging assists.

Then Wilson suffered another lower-body injury in late January, and the Capitals placed him on the IR on Tuesday morning.  I'm not dropping him just yet - after all, he did join the team skate on Tuesday after being placed on the IR. If the move is done retroactively Wilson could return to game action any day now.

But who knows? It has been a season of some ups but mostly downs for Wilson. As of right now, his stock couldn't be much lower. Monitor the situation and if someone happened to drop him and you have an IR spot open I'd scoop him up. But don't expect much in the coming days and weeks.

Andrei Kuzmenko, LW, Vancouver Canucks (47% rostered)

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Andrei Kuzmenko's rookie season in the NHL has been a success, right? He's put up 44 points in 53 games while adjusting to the NHL as a 27-year-old on a bad Vancouver Canucks team. Now that Bo Horvat is out of town, Kuzmenko is second on the team in goals.

Since the Horvat trade, Kuzmenko's playing time and production have taken a hit. Anthony Beauvillier was one of the pieces that came back to Vancouver in that deal, and he's nibbling on Kuzmenko's lunch a bit. Beauvillier finds himself in the left wing slot on Vancouver's top line as well as on the Canucks first powerplay unit.

Kuzmenko is currently playing on the third line with two men named Sheldon Dries and Dakota Joshua who apparently play in the NHL. Kuzmenko has also been relegated to Vancouver's second powerplay. His average time on ice this season is 15:48 a night, but he has been below that mark in four of his last five games.

I initially thought I would include him in this article as a potential buy-low target but his shooting percentage and secondary assist rates are concerningly high (23 percent and 61 percent, respectively).  His production this year might be due for some regression, and that's before taking into account his reduced playing time and bottom-six deployment. I'd be selling hard at this point, even with his current low value. Maybe someone in your league will bite and give you something marginally better than waiver fodder in return.

 


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