2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Unsustainable Players

With the NHL well underway, there are some early surprises that nobody saw coming.  In the east, the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings are sitting comfortably at the top of the conference, pushing perennial contenders to the outside of the playoff picture. In the west, after their firesale this offseason, Chicago is sitting in the final playoff spot, with Arizona not far behind. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues are leading the league - in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, that is. With everything going on around the NHL, it's hard to keep everything straight. Here to help are the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 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 5 Unsustainable Players!

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Andrei Kuzmenko, LW, Vancouver Canucks (38% rostered)

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Before the season started, many compared Andrei Kuzmenko to Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov. It was expected that he would be the super-star forward that the Canucks have been searching for, ever since the Sedin brothers hung up their skates.

The early going was rough for Kuzmenko. He registered just a goal and an assist through the first six games while getting acclimatized to the North American game. Since then, he has been on fire. In six games over the past two weeks, the young Russian superstar-in-the-making has scored six goals and added three assists. Kuzmenko also recorded his first career hattrick against the Anaheim Ducks this past week.

Despite the recent string of strong performances, this level of production is not sustainable.

For starters, Kuzmenko has been scoring well above statistical expectations. Over the past six games, Kezmenko has just 1.9 expected goals (xG), compared to six actual goals. While some elite snipers do outperform statistical expectations, an outlier of this magnitude is more attributable to luck than it is to skill.

Additionally, Kuzmenko has been averaging just 16 minutes per game on the Canucks' second line. Unfortunately for Kuzmenko owners, this deployment simply is not enough to maintain his current production. If you currently own Kuzmenko, now is a prime time to sell high.

Jesper Bratt, RW, New Jersey Devils (90% rostered)

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I don't know if anyone picked the Devils to be leading the Metro at any point during the season. And leading the Devils in their charge up the standings this year is 24-year-old Jesper Bratt. The former sixth-round pick in 2016 has come out of the gate firing on all cylinders, putting up five goals and 17 points through 12 games.

Recently, in seven games over the past two weeks, Bratt has scored five times and added four assists. While Bratt has proven to be a reliable top-of-the-lineup player, this level of production is not sustainable.

Many of the warning signs with Kuzmenko above mirror the situation in Jersey.

Through seven games, Bratt has five goals despite registering just 2.3 xG. He also clocks in with a 23.8% shooting percentage over this period - over double his career average shooting percentage of 12%.

Further, Bratt has registered a point on every goal that New Jersey has scored while he has been on the ice - representing a 100% individual points percentage. This is unsustainable over the course of a season. I would count on this to fall closer to the 65-70% IPP that could be expected from elite play-driving forwards.

If Bratt's shooting percentage and IPP drop into a more sustainable territory, Bratt would likely revert to a 70-point pace for the duration of the season.

Unsustainably Low

Kyle Connor, LW, Winnipeg Jets (97% rostered)

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After a 47-goal campaign last year, Kyle Connor was supposed to be the one bright spot on an otherwise-gloomy Winnipeg Jets team. However, through 11 games, this could not be more wrong.

The Rick Bowness-led Winnipeg Jets have overperformed expectations, currently sitting in second in the ever-competitive Central Division. This has happened despite Kyle Connor starting the season snake-bitten.

Over the past two weeks, Connor has just one goal (an OT winner) and four assists. While putting up five points in six games is nothing to scoff at, the lack of goals is certainly disappointing.

I would not expect this to continue. Connor has racked up 26 shots over a six-game span, good for 4.3 shots per game. This is an elite shot volume that any Fantasy GM could benefit from.

Because Connor has only been shooting at 3.9% over this span, the shots have not translated into goals. Once Connor starts to get some bounces to go his way, I would expect his shooting percentage to inch closer to the 14.9% he has averaged over his career. At his current shooting pace, a return to his career shooting percentage would put him on pace for a career-best 53-goal pace.

Drake Batherson, RW, Ottawa Senators (87% rostered)

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Drake Batherson has been one of the better players on the Ottawa Senators for a couple of years. Last year, he finished with a career-high 44 points in just 46 games.

Early this season, the 24-year-old winger seemed to pick up where he left off last year, registering 13 points through the first five games. Since then, he has had a tough time finding the scoresheet. In the six games since, Batherson has recorded just three assists and is an atrocious -10.

I would not expect this slump to last much longer.

With Josh Norris out indefinitely, the Senators have relied heavily on their top line of Batherson, Tim Stuetzle, and Brady Tkachuk. They have been responsible for providing the lion's share of the offense, and as such Batherson has seen his ice time increase to nearly 18 minutes per game. He is also skating on the Senator's top powerplay unit with the rest of Ottawa's top guns, which will eventually translate into points.

The major thing holding Batherson back right now is his on-ice shooting percentage. While Batherson has been on the ice, the Senators have been scoring on just 5.4% of their shots. This will not continue. Last year, on a Senators team with a fraction of the finishing ability as this year's squad, Batherson's oiSH% finished at 12.5%. Any positive regression this year would push Batherson close to point-per-game territory - right where many expected he would finish this season.

Sustainably High

Τroy Terry, RW, Anaheim Ducks (80% rostered)

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This season was supposed to be a long season for the Anaheim Ducks. Despite bringing in Ryan Strome and John Klingberg on big free-agent contracts, the Ducks were expected to be contenders in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.

Despite the teams' struggles, Troy Terry has managed to stand out. Over the past two weeks, he has managed two goals, eight assists, and 25 shots over seven games. This is a strong follow-up campaign for the young winger who put up a career-best 37 goals in 2021-22.

Despite the high point totals, the underlying statistics suggest that Terry could score even more than he currently is. He has just two goals, despite racking up 3.5 xG during this span. He also is sitting at just an 8% shooting percentage, compared to the 14.1% he has averaged over his career.

Additionally, Terry has been playing an incredible amount this season. Last season, Terry averaged just over 18 minutes of playing time per game. Over the past two weeks, he has been playing nearly 22 minutes per game. This increase has resulted in more shots, which has in turn resulted in more scoring chances, goals, and assists.

Sustainably Low

Jeff Petry, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (65% rostered)

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After resigning Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang this offseason, the Penguins were supposed to be putting together one last push for a Stanley Cup. Part of this last hurrah included bringing in Jeff Petry from the Montreal Canadiens to bolster the blue line. Petry was supposed to regain his elite offensive form from two seasons ago once he was outside of the Montreal media spotlight.

However, through twelve games, the right-shot defenseman has just one goal and three assists. To make matters worse, three of these points came in one blowout win over the Los Angeles Kings in October.

Of the 12 games this season, Petry has failed to show up on the scoresheet in 10 of the outings. He is a -5 during these outings and has recorded just 13 shots.

With Letang taking PP1 duties alongside the Penguins' stars, Petry is limited to skating alongside the Pens' depth forwards on the second unit.

Much like the Penguins team as a collective, if Petry cannot manage to get things together soon, the season may be over before the Christmas break. If you are currently holding Petry hoping that he regains his offensive prowess that led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Finals, you will be disappointed.

Closing

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 5 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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