2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 19 Stock Watch

by Kyle Vaughan
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 19 Stock Watch

Welcome to the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 19 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 19 Stock Watch

Stock Up

Adam Boqvist, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (9% rostered)

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I'm not a huge fan of writing about the same player more than once in a short period of time. It can come across as lazy and there is usually an abundance of players trending up or down to pick from every week. Generally, I try to let at least a month pass between articles about a specific player.  I'm cutting it close with this one, but I'm doing it because you'll grab this player and keep him on your roster for the rest of the season.

Just over a month ago, I mentioned that Adam Boqvist was about the only option the Blue Jackets had to run their powerplay and he was worth a pickup after returning from injury. He bears repeating given his recent performance and rest-of-season outlook.

Boqvist has eight points, 15 shots, five hits, and 11 blocks in his last nine games. Over the last three games, he has been on the ice for nearly 75 percent of the Blue Jackets' powerplay time. Over his last five games, he has exceeded four minutes on the man advantage three times. That includes a 6:17 effort against Winnipeg on February 16th.

There is little to no evidence that Boqvist is going to lose his plumb deployment anytime soon. Nick Blankenburg is his only competition for powerplay time, and he has one point in his last eight games.

His ownership rate in Yahoo leagues is alarmingly low at nine percent. Right now you can go to your waiver wire and grab a defenceman who owns the powerplay on his (admittedly bad) team and has produced better than just about every defenseman in the league over the last two weeks. I suggest you do it.

Erik Gustafsson, D, Washington Capitals (43% rostered)

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Another player whose ownership I am puzzled by is Erik Gustafsson. John Carlson took a puck to the face nearly two months ago and has only just begun skating recently. Carlson is set to be re-evaluated in late February and team officials have said they don't expect him back until late in the regular season.

Now we've seen multiple times this season where a player was slated to be out for an extended period of time, only to beat his recovery timetable by a matter of weeks. Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are the two that come to mind, but I know there are others. So there is a chance that Carlson comes back sooner than later.

But even in a world of uncertain timelines for players returning from injury Erik Gustafsson should be rostered just about everywhere. He does have some competition in the form of veteran blueliner Dimitry Orlov. But Gustafsson is still seeing over 60 percent of the Capitals' powerplay time and he's producing when he's on the ice.

Over his last eight games, Gustafsson has seven points, 16 shots, seven hits, and seven blocks. He is regularly seeing over twenty minutes a night on the top pairing at even strength and over three minutes a night on the man advantage. Even if Carlson's return happens in a few weeks, Gustafsson is a potent streaming option. If Carlson's return is delayed, you have a top-pairing, first-unit powerplay defenseman who could continue producing for most (if not all) of the remaining fantasy season.

Yet Gustafsson is only 44 percent owned in Yahoo leagues. Check your waivers for him and snap him up if he's available.

Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary Flames (33% rostered)

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At this point in his career, we know exactly who Mikael Backlund is. He'll give you about 45 points over 82 games in your middle six and chip in some penalty minutes, a few hits, and a pretty decent shot rate.

Honestly, he's the perfect bottom-nine kind of player. Backlund will give you a little bit of everything: offense, defensive acumen, a touch of physicality, and solid face-off abilities.

In real life, his skill set is extremely valuable. In fantasy hockey, not so much. Except when he goes on a heater. When Backlund gets hot offensively, he is a great streaming option due to his modest category-filling profile.

And he is on one of those heaters right this very minute. In his last 14 games, he has 16 points, 46 shots, and 18 hits. He's technically on Calgary's third line with Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane. But bench boss Darryl Sutter is running the trio out at even strength more than any other Flames line over the last three games.

Backlund also gets on the ice for about 30 percent of the Flames' powerplay time as a member of the second unit. If you are in need of some category coverage in your forward group, take a look for Backlund on waivers. He could be just what you need.

Stock Down

Robert Thomas, C, St. Louis Blues (55% rostered)

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The St. Louis Blues have officially started their rebuild. Vladimir Tarasenko was traded to the New York Rangers earlier in February and Ryan O'Reilly was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs a week ago.

Side note, do you remember how St. Louis acquired Ryan O'Reilly in 2018? It was a trade with Buffalo that saw a 2019 first-round pick, a 2021 second-round pick, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, and a young up-and-comer named Tage Thompson head to the Sabres. St. Louis won the Cup that year, so it was well worth it, but interesting nonetheless.

Anywho, one player who did not get traded away and may very well factor in St. Louis' long-term plans is Robert Thomas. Thomas broke out in 2021-22, registering 76 points in 72 games. His production has dipped this year, but not dramatically. Thomas is still producing at a respectable 0.89 point per game pace.

I would expect that rate to drop over the remainder of the season. Thomas and Tarasenko have been pretty consistent linemates over the course of this season, both on the top line and first powerplay unit. With Frank the Tank's departure (yes, that is Tarasenko's nickname and it's not bad) Thomas' linemates at even strength were reduced to Ivan Barbashev and Jordan Kyrou.

Injuries to Brandon Saad (long-term) and Pavel Buchnevich (short-term) mean that the Blues forward group could now be mistaken for a very good AHL team. I'm expecting the point production in St. Louis to drop off over the remainder of the season, and take Thomas' fantasy value along with it.

I'd be selling him if you can find any buyers.

Spencer Knight, G, Florida Panthers (53% rostered)

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Spencer Knight is only 21 years old. I would have sworn he was at least 24. This is his third NHL season. As a 21-year-old goalie. That's insane.

Knight got his first NHL win one day after his 20th birthday. He ranks 30th all-time for the youngest goalie to get their first win. Ahead of him on that list are some great "hey remember that guy?" goalies. John Vanbiesbrouck. Tom Barrasso. Jocelyn ThibaultJamie Storr.

Marc-Andre Fleury ranks sixth on that list. He was 18 years and 324 days old.

The point is Knight has a lot of time to figure his game out. I feel like the Panthers have mismanaged his development, similar to Carter Hart in Philadelphia. I don't see it happening but I hope Knight gets a fresh start somewhere else.

Things haven't gone well lately for Knight. He missed some time due to an upper-body injury but was playing poorly before and has continued the trend after returning. In his last five games played, he has one win and has posted a save percentage above .900 only once.

Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky is doing that thing where he looks good again. He has five wins and six quality starts in his last seven games played. The Panthers are suddenly in the Eastern Conference wild card discussion and can't afford to lose a game or two due to bad goaltending. Barring back-to-backs they will play whoever gives them the best chance to win.

Right now that is Bobrovsky. I look forward to the days when Spencer Knight is an everyday dependable starter in the NHL, but it's not right now.

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