Belated Happy New Year! Hopefully you made several resolutions relating to fantasy hockey. If not, then one you should strongly consider – especially those of you in one-year leagues – is to no longer focus so much on a player’s year-to-date (YTD) output.
As we saw last week with Karri Ramo and Alexander Wennberg, it’s easy to miss buy low opportunities if you focus only on YTD stats, which might still reflect slow starts that bear little relation to the present or, more importantly, to the future. By that same token, you might not realize a player is a true sell high because his YTD stats obscure his recent (and likely future) drop in production.
A great way to look beyond YTD stats is to use the Frozen Pool Report Generator feature, which lets you see top outputs by position and time frame for a variety of scoring categories. But be careful – recent trends can sometimes represent a brief burst of unsustainable production, as opposed to being the new normal. We’ll look at both cases among this week’s buy low and sell high players.
Four Buy Low Players
Sean Monahan – Here’s a great example of obscured production. Monahan’s 26 points in 38 games look just okay considering expectations going into this season. Yet if we drill down to recent trends, we see he posted 11 points in 13 December games despite only one point in five games to end the month. Considering that last season once Monahan caught fire he never looked back (37 points in his final 38 games), this could be déjà vu all over again. Do what you can to use his overall YTD stats to land him for a still low price.
Jonathan Toews – If you followed my advice back in October and sold high on Toews, you likely received the better of that deal. But like I mentioned a few weeks ago when discussing Victor Hedman, a player can morph from sell high to buy low (or vice versa). Although Toews will always be at least somewhat overrated from a fantasy perspective due to his name recognition, the truth is despite a recent scoring binge of eight points in eight games his current scoring level is still far enough below his normal pace (thanks largely to only getting a point on 22 per cent of goals scored while he’s on the ice at 5-on-4), that he now has decent buy low potential.
Reilly Smith – Not only did Smith see his production improve in December (including a stretch of seven points in nine games), but his ice time steadily rose, including four games with 20:00+ TOI, compared to only two through all of November. We know from his Bruins tenure that Smith can be a reliable top six contributor, and it looks like he’s earned the trust of Gerard Gallant. Smith could give your team a 50-point scoring pace in 2016, so grab him if that would be an upgrade.
Jason Pominville – There was a lot of the wrong kind of attention paid to Pominville when it took him an astonishing 22 games to pot his first goal. And his season point totals still are mediocre. Yet if we focus on more recent history (including a run of eight points in nine games that stretched into mid-December), we see shades of the scoring level poolies expected. Try to capitalize on his well-publicized early season struggles and still disappointing season long totals to get Pominville for a bargain price.
Four Sell High Players
Tyler Bozak – As I said above, there are times when recent scoring binges can be discounted as short term variance. Take Bozak for example. While a hot stretch (11 points in his final ten December games) catapulted him to a 60-point full season scoring pace, we can’t forget that he’s 29 years old and has never scored 50 points in a full campaign, even when dishing the puck to Phil Kessel. Talk up Bozak’s recent success, and maybe you’ll be able to get more for him in trade than 50-point value for him.
Patrick Sharp – On the heels of 12 points in nine games, Sharp has found himself among the NHL’s top 20 scorers through the weekend. But despite firing a jaw-dropping 28 SOG in his past five games, Sharp is still barely averaging three SOG per contest, after having been at 3.5-4.0 per game during even his less productive past two seasons. Plus, his recent propensity to get injured (50 total games missed over the past five campaigns) can’t be ignored, nor can the revolving door on the Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin line. Together, these factors make Sharp a very enticing sell high candidate.
Francois Beauchemin – After posting five points in his first two games of the season, Beauchemin took another 17 games to amass his next five. But thanks to eight points in 10 games to close December, Beauchemin’s yearly totals still place him in the top 20 among rearguards through the weekend. If you were unable to sell him early in the season, you should try again now because when all is said and done he probably won’t get to 34 points – his career high that was achieved ten years ago. Plus, this assumes he stays healthy, which has been a challenge (30 missed games over the past two seasons).
Shayne Gostisbehere – I talked about the “Klingberg effect” previously when discussing Colton Parayko, and it applies to Gostisbehere even more. But here’s a newsflash – since 2000-01 only John Klingberg and Alex Pietrangelo managed to score at a 0.6-points-per-game rate over their rookie season, which suggests the odds favor selling Gostisbehere (no points in his last three games through the weekend) in one-year leagues before his production further wanes, especially amid the return of Mark Streit.