With the trade deadline a little more than a month away, and several notable deals having already occurred, now more than ever poolies need to examine the “story beyond the story” to determine fantasy implications. In other words, for all NHL deals between now and the deadline, focus on the ripple effects for both teams involved to see if it creates buy low or sell high situations.
When a team trades away an NHLer for picks or minor league talent, it usually provides opportunities for those who remain, which creates buy low fantasy players. On the other hand, teams that trade for NHLers at the deadline might just be adding depth, which can create a logjam where the acquired player and perhaps others (younger players or those who play the same position) become sell-high fantasy options.
Long story short – there’s always legitimate hype and excitement surrounding trades in the NHL. But when trades occur, make sure you delve deeper than the headlines to sniff out and seize true buy low and sell high opportunities. Here are this week’s recommendations.
FOUR BUY-LOW PLAYERS
Kyle Turris – After starting the season with 22 points in 25 games, Turris uncharacteristically posted only eight points in his next 20 contests. But what if he’s been playing at less than 100 per cent for weeks after taking what looked like a brutal hit back in early December?
Maybe Ottawa’s plan is to use the all-star break, plus the games he missed last week, to give Turris time to heal whatever might still be ailing him? This could be a perfect buy-low opportunity for poolies, especially since his current owners might be even more frustrated on the heels of those missed games.
Henrik Zetterberg – We’ve reached a stage of the 2015-16 campaign where the subpar totals for Zetterberg almost defy reason. After all, his current ratio of 1.5 times as many games played as points scored (33 points in 49 games) is his worst since he was a rookie in 2002-03. Odds are that Zetterberg, who had goals in two straight games last week, will snap out of this in a big way – and soon. What you want to do is trade for him before that happens.
Mikael Backlund – There might not have been a quieter stretch of six points in five games than the one Backlund had last week. Could it be the 2007 first-rounder will finally reward Calgary for holding on to him all these years? Chances are better than ever thanks to the fact Backlund is finally playing with quality talent in the form of Sam Bennett. The good news for poolies is Backlund’s season-long production disguises his recently great play, so hopefully you can snatch him off the waiver wire or still get him for a low price.
Ryan McDonagh – After last season’s disappointment, poolies might still feel burned by McDonagh. As a result, they’re perhaps not clued into his reinvigorated play in 2015-16, let alone his strong performance of late (seven points in as many games). It makes sense to kick the tires on McDonagh in one-year leagues and you might even want to explore acquiring him in a keeper league, where this window might represent a “now or never” type of opportunity to get him for a still somewhat bargain price.
FOUR SELL-HIGH PLAYERS
Corey Crawford – Not only is Crawford playing better than he has in any full season, his appearances pace is higher than ever. Right now, he’s on target to start 64 games despite never having previously appeared in more than 57 contests. With the Hawks cruising and the team having a somewhat capable back-up in Scott Darling, chances are Crawford will be rested more over the remainder of the season. As a result, it might be time to trade him in one-year leagues, especially ones with playoffs toward the end of the regular season.
Ryan Johansen – Poolies who own Johansen are no doubt overjoyed that he’s posted nine points in his first eight games with Nashville. But Johansen is not likely a point-per-game scorer at this stage of his career, let alone with the Preds, a team that has had only one skater in franchise history (Paul Kariya) score more than 72 points in a season. It’s time to think about selling high on Johansen in one-year leagues.
Valtteri Filppula – Our second repeat sell high of the season, Filppula’s uptick in production of late (11 points in 12 games) probably has been noticed by poolies, who likewise are aware that it coincided with Tampa scoring more as a squad. But while the Lightning’s offence is likely to improve for the rest of the season, it would be wrong to count on Filppula being a big part of that. Even before factoring in possible trade deadline acquisitions, the team simply has too many other options for him to continue pilling up points. If you held on to Filppula this long or picked him up to enjoy the ride, it’s now time to cash in by trading him ASAP.
Andre Burakovsky – After a largely disappointing season, Burakovsky has turned it on of late, with three multi-point games last week. But that was largely the result of him benefitting from the stellar play of linemates Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams. Chances are the Caps will put Marcus Johansson or perhaps a trade deadline acquisition on that line before long, at which point Burakovsky’s value will plunge in one-year leagues, where you might be best-served to sell now and avoid this potential outcome.