2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 6 Unsustainable Players

by Justin Cheng
2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 6 Unsustainable Players

With U.S. Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is the time in the season when the smoke and mirrors start to disappear. Bad teams start to lose and good teams start to win. And just like in the NHL, Fantasy Hockey is no different. As you continue to assess your team's performance, here are the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 6 Unsustainable Players to help guide your tough decisions.

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 6 Unsustainable Players!

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 6 Unsustainable Players

Unsustainably High

Tage Thompson, C, Buffalo Sabres (88% rostered)

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They say it takes a decade to determine the winner of a trade. I believe Sabres' management would agree with that sentiment. The Ryan O'Reilly trade that sent a young Tage Thompson to Buffalo is a perfect example of how the winner of a trade is not so quickly determined.

Over the past two weeks, Thompson has been stellar. He has scored eight goals and added five assists over seven games. (For what it's worth, six of those points came in one game on Halloween.) If you count powerplay points in your league, Thompson's five powerplay points sure have you happy right about now.

But there are some indicators that this level of production is not likely to last.

For starters, Thompson's individual points percentage (IPP) is currently sitting at 108.3%. Yes, this means that he has managed to pick up an assist while on the bench. While some increase is likely attributable to Thompson's improvement as a player, I would expect only a modest increase from the 68.7% he put up last year.

Additionally, Thompson's shooting percentage is nearly double the 13.2% he has averaged over the past three seasons. Sitting at 24.2% over the past two weeks, I would expect some negative regression to kick in soon.

Nick Suzuki, C, Montreal Canadiens (82% rostered)

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From one young exciting centerman to another, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has taken bigger strides this year than Nick Suzuki.

Montreal is on a three-game winning streak and has points in six of their last seven games. Suzuki has been a big part of this success with six goals and ten points over that span.

Unfortunately for the 82% of GMs that currently roster the young two-way center, we are likely to see some regression in the coming weeks.

Despite managing to find twine six times, Suzuki has only racked up 1.54 expected goals. His 4.5 goals-scored-above-expected over the past two weeks leads the league. Put another way, Suzuki is currently the league's luckiest player.

Suzuki's IPP is also sitting at 75.0%, while his oiSH% clocks in at 16.9% over the past two weeks. While any regression to his IPP will be minimal (he finished with a 67.8% IPP last season), his oiSH% will fall off eventually. I would expect his oiSH% to fall closer to the 10.0% mark that Suzuki finished with at the end of last season.

Unsustainably Low

Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators (99% rostered)

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It is hard to believe that Brady Tkachuk is just 23 years old. 2022-23 marks his fifth full season in the league, and second season as the Senators' captain. The pesky winger who was selected fourth overall has found new ways to impress this year - and it is scary to think he is just (barely) entering his prime.

In 15 games this year, Tkachuk has 20 points, 23 PIMs, 39 hits, and 59 shots, making him a truly one-of-a-kind multi-category monster.

However, over the past two weeks, he has not managed to keep up the same pace from earlier in the season. Prior to the game Saturday against the Flyers, Tkachuk had not found the net in seven games. He did add five assists over that span, but three of those came in a 5-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

While this level of production in tandem with Tkachuk's shots, hits, and PIMs is not bad, it is not quite first-round-caliber. Going into the season, I had projected Tkachuk as a top-10 player in leagues that count hits and shots simply due to his broad category coverage.

Going forward, I would expect Tkachuk to find the back of the net with more frequency. Over the past two weeks, Tkachuk has no goals despite racking up 4.2 expected goals. Over the past two weeks, his -4.2 goals-scored-above-expected leads the league. Eventually, these chances will start to find the back of the net.

Additionally, I like the fact that Tkachuk has seen a significant increase in ice time in the absence of Josh Norris. Over the past two weeks, Tkachuk has averaged 20:13 of ice time per game, compared to 18:48 last season. While it may not sound like a lot, the extra minute-and-a-half puts him just outside the top 30 forwards in the league.

Matthew Tkachuk, RW, Florida Panthers (100% rostered)

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This would not be a complete analysis if I did not touch on both Tkachuk brothers. Fresh off his two-game suspension, Matthew Tkachuk has been doing everything except finding the back of the net.

Over the past two weeks, Matthew has put up four assists in four games. He has also added five hits much to the pleasure of those in bangers leagues.

While a point-per-game pace is nothing to scoff at, there are signs that he can still find another gear.

This season, Matthew leads the league with 10.1 expected goals. This comes in four fewer games than the next closest player - Chris Kreider (9.7 xG). Despite this, Matthew has found the net just five times. He ranks second in the league behind teammate Sam Reinhart with -5.1 goals-scored-above-expected.

Additionally, Matthew has been shooting more often than a fully-automatic AK-47. He is currently on pace for 429 shots over an 82-game season. With 22 shots over his past four games, this puts him on pace for even more - 451 shots - over the past two weeks. If he continues to shoot with this much frequency, Matthew may exceed even the most optimistic projections. I would not be surprised to see Matthew Tkachuk as a top-10 fantasy player at the season's end.

Sustainably High

Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks (98% rostered)

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Quinn Hughes is one of the most polarizing players among Fantasy GMs. If you are in a league that counts peripherals like hits, blocks, and PIMs, you likely have a very low opinion of the young defenseman. However, in leagues that emphasize points, Hughes has been found money for a few seasons already.

Through 12 games, Hughes has already racked up 14 assists this season. Over the past two weeks, he has been on an even better pace, putting up nine assists in seven games. During this span, he has not provided much else - shooting just 11 times, while adding five blocks and no hits.

If you drafted Hughes, you knew what you were getting - a points-only defenseman who will chip in the occasional block. In the early going, Hughes has exceeded pre-season expectations for point and assist totals, leading to his categorization as Sustainably High.

The underlying factors contributing to Hughes' success appear to be sustainable.

For starters, he is seeing even more time on the powerplay. Last season, Hughes averaged just 65.0% of Vancouver's powerplay time, sharing some of the duties with the shiny new acquisition Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Over the past two weeks, he has exceeded 75% of the team's powerplay time, with him averaging 79.8% over the past week. He has made the most of this extra powerplay opportunity, with six of his nine assists over the past two weeks coming on the powerplay.

Additionally, Hughes' IPP is sitting at just 64.3% over the past two weeks and 56.0% on the season. This is not notably different from the 56.6% that Hughes has averaged over the past three years. The increase can likely be attributable to Boudreau's systems relying heavily on the defensemen driving play (think back to the 2016-2020 Minnesota Wild who had one of the most offensive-minded defense corps as a unit). There is nothing that screams major negative regression for Hughes.

If Hughes can finish somewhere around 70-80 points, the majority of which are assists, that would be a very successful season.

Sustainably Low

Ryan O'Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues (40% rostered)

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Remember that trade I was talking about earlier? For a St. Louis team that has struggled out of the gate, Ryan O'Reilly has definitely not been helping the team's cause.

While known for his defensive prowess which is of little value to Fantasy GMs, O'Reilly has managed to put up some very solid offensive seasons over the past half-decade. Over the past four years, he has been on pace for 77, 70, 79, and 61 points. While the last year was a significant drop off in his age-30 season, there was reason to believe that O'Reilly would bounce back.

However so far through 13 games, O'Reilly has not been able to find the scoresheet with consistency. He has three goals and just one assist, putting him on pace for 25 points this year.

While I would expect O'Reilly to finish with more than 40 points, the underlying metrics do not paint a favorable picture for the veteran.

O'Reilly's ice time is down over a minute per game from last season to 17:30 ATOI over the past two weeks. Part of that cut in ice time is due to the fact that he has seen a significant decrease in his powerplay usage. Last year, O'Reilly played 52.2% of St. Louis' powerplay time. Over the past two weeks, this is down to 40.7% - not something you want to see if you are counting on a big rebound.

And if that was not concerning enough, O'Reilly is seeing most of his ice time that he does play in the defensive zone. This season, just 33.7% of his shifts start in the offensive zone, compared to 41.5% last year. Unless your league is very deep, you could find better options on the waiver wire.

Closing

And with that, we wrap up our coverage of the 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Week 6 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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