2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 3 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 3 Unsustainable Players

It took a couple of weeks, but now all teams have a few games under their belt. We can finally start to assess which players are over- or under-performing expectations. The key to being successful in your hockey pool is to identify which of these variances are sustainable, and which are not. Here to help you figure that out are the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 3 Unsustainable Players.

If you are looking for further add/drop guidance, make sure to check out Kyle's stock watch or Tyler's Waiver Wire article 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 3 Unsustainable Players!

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 3 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Carolina Hurricanes (99% rostered)

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Every superstar player in the league has had a "coming of age" season at some point in their career. Many believe that this is that year for Andrei Svechnikov. Maybe this will be the year the young winger will live up to the potential that Don Wadell and his staff saw when they drafted Svechnikov second overall in 2018.

Through five games this year, Svechnikov has amassed six goals and a couple of assists to put him among the league leaders in scoring. Only Steven Stamkos has more goals (by one) through six games.

While I do like Svechnikov as a fantasy option going forward, there are some troubling signs which suggest this hot streak will come to an end.

For starters, Svechnikov is currently scoring on one-third of the shots that he takes. This is unsustainable over the course of a season, even for the likes of an elite goal-scorer like Alex Ovechkin (who, if you recall, Svechnikov fought as a rookie). Going forward, I would expect Svechnikov to score on 11-12% of his shots, consistent with his shooting percentage from prior seasons.

This over-inflated shooting percentage has led to many of Svechnikov's other advanced metrics to skew into unsustainable territory. Through just five games, his goals-for-above-expected is sitting at 4.3. Compared to last season when he finished at -0.6 goals-for-above-expected, it is not realistic to expect this trend to continue.

Valeri Nichushkin, LW/RW, Colorado Avalanche (89% rostered)

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While some players have a coming-of-age season, others seem to show up to the party unannounced. This was the case with Valeri Nichushkin this year.

Last season, Nichushkin came out of the woodwork as a good streaming option when Colorado had a favorable schedule, but his upside was limited outside of that. Much of his success, some thought, could be attributed to playing alongside superstar Nathan Mackinnon or Nazem Kadri who had a season to remember.

This season, Nichushkin has continued his strong performance, currently leading the league in scoring with six goals and five assists through six games.

As the popular Latin business proverb states, caveat emptor, or buyer beware. If you are trading for Nichushkin, you may be disappointed to find out that you have received a lemon.

The first concerning sign is that Nichushkin appears to have lost the job on Colorado's top line to Artturi Lehkonen, who I covered last week. Compared to skating alongside Mackinnon and Mikko Rantanen, his current linemates of J.T. Compher and Martin Kaut look like old men from the local beer league.

Most of Nichushkin's production has come on the powerplay, where he does skate alongside Colorado's top offensive weapons. This too will eventually slow down. Colorado's powerplay is currently capitalizing on 52.9% of its powerplay opportunities. This is nearly double the efficiency of the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers who finished the season with a 29.5% PP%, the best in the salary-cap era.

When Colorado's powerplay slows down as it inevitably will, expect Nichuskin's production to fall off of a cliff.

Unsustainably Low

Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (100% rostered)

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Some may balk at me considering a point-per-game player as "low". However, when that player is Auston Matthews - a generational goal-scorer - I think this categorization is appropriate.

Through six games, Matthews only has one goal. To many, this is unacceptable. After scoring at a 67-goal pace last season, anything short of 50 goals would be a massive disappointment. At his current pace, Matthews would finish the 2022-23 season with just 14 goals.

Before you press the panic button, recall that last season started very similarly for Matthews and the Maple Leafs. In 2021-22, it took Matthews four games to record his first goal. He also had only found the back of the net once in his first six games. This season marks an improvement, as last year he only had one assist to his name, while this year he has five.

Sooner than later, Matthews will begin to find twine.

He is still an elite goal-scorer, and his shot volume is still bordering insanity. He is currently on pace for 383 shots - just a hair below the 391-shot pace he finished with last year.

Any trade where you are giving up Matthews is a losing trade.

Sam Reinhart, C/RW, Florida Panthers (94% rostered)

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After the blockbuster trade that sent franchise cornerstone Jonathan Huberdeau to the Calgary Flames, many thought that Sam Reinhart would flourish. The departure of the former all-star should mean more ice time for Reinhart to take advantage of. So far this year, the predictions of Reinhart's ice time have largely come to pass. He is currently playing over four minutes per game more than last season, all of it alongside Aleksander Barkov.

However, through the first five games, it looks like losing one of the best playmakers in the league has negated any positive impacts associated with an increase in deployment. Over this span, Reinhart has only managed to put up a single assist. This is super disappointing in light of the 82 points Reinhart put up last year.

A lot of Reinhart's struggles merely are the result of bad luck.

He is currently shooting the puck more than last season, only to be recorded with no goals. Additionally, Reinhart's individual points percentage (IPP) is sitting at just 16.7%. This looks a lot like bad luck when compared to the 63.6% and 62.8% IPP Reinhart put up last season and over the past three seasons, respectively.

Moreover, Reinhart's on-ice shooting percentage (oiSH%) is sitting at just 8.2% on the season. This is a number I would expect to see for a player on a bottom-feeder team like Chicago or Arizona. For a Panthers' team that finished first in Goals For last year by 25 goals, this is not sustainable. This will improve, and I would expect Reinhart's oiSH% to finish closer to the 13.8% he finished with last season.

Expect Sam Reinhart to come alive soon. If you can trade for him at a discount, I would pull the trigger.

Sustainably High

Calen Addison, D, Minnesota Wild (27% rostered)

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On most popular betting sites, you cannot even find odds on Calen Addison winning the Calder Trophy as the league's most outstanding rookie. I find this appalling, considering that both Aatu Raty and Lukas Reichel are +5000 to win the award while playing the AHL. Compare that to Addison who is quarterbacking an NHL powerplay that features Kirill Kaprizov.

Through five games Addison has thoroughly impressed, putting up six assists while adding seven shots and four blocks. While the peripherals will not blow you off the page, they are better than nothing.

Digging into the mystery behind Addison's breakout, it appears to be coming directly as a result of his duties on the powerplay.

He is currently averaging 5:19 on the powerplay, up from 1:31 a season ago. And despite the Wild having $12.7 million in dead cap space, their first powerplay unit is still elite. Of Addison's six assists, four have come on the powerplay.

So long as Addison can stick on the Wild's top powerplay, I think he is worth a pickup. I would not be surprised to Addison eclipse the 45-point mark this season. If the stars align, Addison may hit 55 points which would all but guarantee him the Calder Trophy.

Sustainably Low

Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Calgary Flames (100% rostered)

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Pundits often say that you have to wait to evaluate the winners and losers of a trade. Often, the winner on Day 1 post-trade is very different than the winner three or four years down the road.

Immediately after Huberdeau was acquired by the Flames, hockey fans of all ilks were quick to crown the Flames as the big winners of the trade. In what was an impossible position, they managed to get a superstar winger and elite defender in exchange for their disgruntled RFA.

However, the early returns have been underwhelming.

Through five games, Huberdeau has put up just four assists. He also has not been contributing to the peripherals department. He has registered just five shots six hits, and four blocks over that span. This is simply not good enough for a player that you likely drafted in the second round.

The concerning part of Huberdeau's recent performance has been his lack of ice time. Under Andrew Brunette, Huberdeau was the go-to guy. He averaged just under 20 minutes a game and was clearly the team's top winger. Under Darryl Sutter, Huberdeau has seen his deployment fade. At just over 16 minutes per game, Huberdeau is being used as a complimentary piece to a Flames offense that appears to be rolling along just fine.

If this deployment continues, it is tough to see how Huberdeau will come close to the 90-point player we have become accustomed to in Florida. While this is bad news for Fantasy GMs, it is even more alarming to a Flames team that has committed nearly $90 million to Huberdeau over the next nine years.

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 3 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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