2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players

The Fantasy trade deadline is in the rearview mirror. The NHL trade deadline is this week. Here to help you sort through all of the transactions is the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Kyle's stock watch from earlier this week.

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.

Without further ado, let's jump into the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players!

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Dawson Mercer, C/RW, New Jersey Devils (33% rostered)

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It was widely expected that if the Devils were going to be going after any big fish at the trade deadline, a key piece on the move would be Dawson Mercer. The 21-year-old former first-round pick has had a strong sophomore campaign, putting up 19 goals and 20 assists through 59 games.

Over the past two weeks, he has been even more impressive. Across seven games, Mercer has scored eight goals and added a couple of assists. He hasn't been very valuable beyond the points, however, with just 21 shots, three hits, and four blocks during this stretch.

Despite the strong showing, this production is not sustainable.

For starters, Mercer has been splitting time between playing right-wing alongside Nico Hischier and centering the Devils' third line. As of late, he has been playing up the middle creating a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. As a result, he has only averaged 15:41.

Additionally, Mercer is not shooting the puck enough to sustain this goal-scoring pace. Mercer has found the back of the net on eight of his 21 shots. His shooting percentage is 38.1% over this stretch.

Going forward, I would expect Mercer to score at a 20-goal, 50-point pace. While he may not be a good long-term add, he is an interesting streaming option when New Jersey has a favorable matchup.

Alex Tuch, RW, Buffalo Sabres (88% rostered)

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When Buffalo traded away Jack Eichel, most people were expecting them to restart the rebuilding process. However, since the departure of the former second-overall pick, the Sabres have been steadily improving. This season, they are sitting just outside of the playoff picture. A key part of their success has been Alex Tuch, a key part of the return for Eichel.

For the first 57 games of the season, Tuch had been an impressive force. He had scored 28 goals and added 34 assists, putting him on a 90-point pace. For a guy who had been saddled with injuries through the early part of his career, this year was the year he finally lived up to his potential.

However, in a game against the Florida Panthers on February 24, his luck ran out. No - his scoring didn't dry up. In the game he still scored a goal, was a +2 and added five shots. Unfortunately, he was limited to just 16 minutes of ice time when he left the game in the third period.

Following the game, the Sabres placed Tuch on injured reserve and announced that he was out "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury.

Despite the strong season, this may just signal the end of the Fantasy road for Alex Tuch. While it may be premature to drop him until we know the full extent of the injury, I would not bank your chance at a league championship on Tuch returning in time.

What a disappointing way to end an otherwise successful campaign for the winger that you likely picked up on waivers partway through the season.

Unsustainably Low

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Joel Eriksson-Ek, C, Minnesota Wild (74% rostered)

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The Minnesota Wild are in an interesting position. They have nearly $14 million of dead cap space which seriously dampens any noise they hope to make in the playoffs. You just cannot compete in today's NHL if you are not spending to (or over - thank you LTIR) the cap.

Despite this, Minnesota has been in a playoff fight all season, currently sitting third in the Central Divison. Part - nay, all of their success has come on the backs of the team's first line centered by Joel Eriksson-Ek.

Through 60 games, JEE has been having a career year. He has 21 goals and 26 assists, putting him on pace for 65 points. Add to that 189 shots and 79 hits, and you have a player who brings value across the category spectrum.

However, over the past two weeks, the offense has dried up. JEE has just one goal and two assists across eight games, good for just a 31-point pace.

I do not believe this will continue.

For starters, JEE has been shooting the puck. He has registered 27 shots over this dry spell, putting him on pace for 277 shots on the season. This would shatter his previous career high of 224 shots set last year. And with a high shot volume, the goals will eventually come. JEE is currently shooting at just 3.7%. I would expect this number to nearly triple, closer to the 11.6% shooting percentage he finished with last season. If he can keep up his current shooting pace, he should be a lock for 8-9 more goals in the final 22 games.

Additionally, not only is JEE not scoring, but none of the Wild players are scoring while he is on the ice. His on-ice shooting percentage is sitting at just 4.8% over the past eight games. This will inevitably increase, and when it does, count on JEE to nab a few more assists.

If you are a JEE owner, I would not panic drop him yet. Minnesota has one of the more favorable schedules through the Fantasy playoffs, and JEE just may be the piece that pushes you through.

Sustainably High

Timo Meier, LW/RW, New Jersey Devils (98% rostered)

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A bombshell was dropped on the hockey world Sunday afternoon. After weeks of speculation and multiple insiders connecting Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils because of the Swiss connection (Nico Hishier and Jonas Siegenthaler on the Devils), the trade call was finally made.

The Devils paid a high price, including two first-round picks, former first-round pick Shakir Mukhamadullin, and prospects Fabian Zetterlund and Nikita Okhotyuk. This high price was justified - Meier has been having a career year. Through 57 games, Meier has scored 31 goals and added 21 assists. He has done this on a Sharks roster that is lacking supporting talent.

This trade should immediately bump up Meier's Fantasy value. He is a lock to line up on the Devils' first line alongside Jack Hughes. Playing alongside a player on pace for a 110-point season is sure to boost Meier's Fantasy value.

Add to this the fact that Meier is a peripheral beast racking up shots and hits, and Meier may just be one of the most valuable Fantasy assets going forward.

There are some leagues with a trade deadline later in the year. If you can still make a trade for Meier, it would be worth it to sell the farm to acquire him.

Sustainably Low

Spencer Knight, G, Florida Panthers (42% rostered)

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This past week, it was announced that Spencer Knight voluntarily entered NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program. As a result, he is sidelined indefinitely as he receives the help and care that he needs.

While you never want to see a person go through mental health challenges in any circumstances, this one hurts Fantasy GMs particularly hard. Many people drafted Knight early on expecting him to take the starting job from Sergei Bobrovsky.

However, a mix of injuries and poor play resulted in his playing time being cut. Even before entering the Player Assistance program, Knight was on his last chance.

Going forward, we all hope that Knight gets the help that he needs and can return to play stronger than before. But in the meantime, it is safe to drop the young goaltender. Bobrovsky would be a good replacement option as he will get the lion's share of the starts from here until Knight returns.

Closing

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 20 Unsustainable Players.

Every Tuesday throughout this season we will be looking at the hottest and coldest players in the league. If you have any players that you want me to cover, be sure to leave a comment down below or reach out to me via Twitter @jchengWPG.

Advanced stats and analytics are taken from Natural Stat Trick.


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