NHL Fantasy: How to pull off an effective sell high trade

Watch as Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo absolutely robs Brad Marchand and Brett Connolly with a glove save.

As you’ll recall, last week I talked about strategy for effectively buying low. This week I’ll close 2015 by offering some helpful hints on selling high.

Similar to buying low, when selling high you don’t want to make your intentions too clear. Best to start by putting the sell high player’s name out there along with one or two others; that way you can narrow things down in a less obvious way.

When buying low, one key is being able to walk away rather than paying too high a cost for a player even after factoring in his likely improvement. When selling high, you should have a somewhat different threshold for accepting a deal. It ends up being a sliding scale, dependent upon two main factors – how well the player has done to date and how far you think his stats will drop.

If you think a player will soon start doing very poorly or if he’s not put up huge stats thus far, you should be prepared to take less than his true current value in order to make a deal and avoid being left holding the bag. But if you think his stats aren’t going to drop too much, then there’s less danger in trying to hold a bit more firm in wanting close to true value in return.

For players who qualify as sell highs despite having outstanding stats thus far, don’t be afraid to ask for a lot at first, since in some cases your fellow GM might think you’re foolishly selling a player who’ll keep up his pace or do even better. Basically, go ahead and swing for the fences at first, then decide if it’s worth dropping your asking price if a fellow GM rejects your offer or pushes back.

Onto this week’s recommendations – our last for 2015.

Four buy low players

Alexander Wennberg A 2013 first rounder, Wennberg stands to make the biggest gains if (when?) Columbus trades Ryan Johansen.

Wennberg might be worth a waiver wire grab even if there’s no imminent deal, as he’s strung together eleven points in his last ten games and is covertly receiving top minutes on the PP along with climbing 5x5 TOI. Wennberg’s future is very bright; and that future might just arrive in 2015-16.

Torey Krug Just about the only player who hasn’t benefited very much from the success of the Boston power play is Krug.

Through this past weekend, only one other NHL rearguard with more 5x4 ice time has a lower percentage of points on goals scored while on the ice at 5x4. Between that, Krug’s current shooting percentage being roughly half his career average, and his uncertain (as of this weekend) injury situation, he’s a great buy low.

Karri Ramo Here’s a case of season-long numbers obscuring actual performance.

Lost amid Ramo’s still high goals-against average (16th among 27 netminders who’d appeared in 20+ games through Saturday) and low save percentage (24th of 27) is that over the last month plus he’s been vastly improved, and, in the process, seemingly locked down the #1 netminder job on a rallying Calgary team.

Act soon to use Ramo’s still skewed numbers to your advantage in getting him for lower than deserved value.

Tobias Rieder The “is he for real” conversations about Rieder can cease, as through this past weekend Rieder ranks third in time-on-ice and first in shots on goal among Coyotes forwards.

It’s clear he’s finally locked down a spot in the Arizona top six, and can be counted upon for 45-50 point pace production. Those of you in deeper leagues should give Rieder a look, as chances are he can produce more than at least one or two guys on your current roster.

Four sell high players

Loui Eriksson Some poolies might see Eriksson’s current output and think we’re witnessing a return to the form that saw him post back-to-back-to-back 71+ point seasons. But an insanely high shooting percentage coupled with him playing for a new UFA contract make at least this writer skeptical.

Eriksson might still manage 65-70 points this season, qualifying him as a modest sell high in one-year leagues. But in keepers, this is shaping up to be a great time to move Eriksson.

Teddy Purcell Although Purcell tallied 116 points in 161 games less than five seasons ago, poolies have to be careful about getting lulled into thinking his spark in production can continue. He’s a classic “along for the ride” guy who sees his scoring jump dramatically thanks to line placement.

The shrewd move is to sell, if not now then once Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov return and Benoit Pouliot regains his pre-injury form, making Purcell a candidate to be elbowed out of the top six.

Blake Wheeler At his current pace, Wheeler would post 80+ points for the season. But there’s one catch – Wheeler’s career high in six full NHL seasons is 69 points; and it’s hard to realistically envision that much of a jump from a player who’s now 29.

You’d be justified in trying to deal Wheeler in one-year or perhaps even keeper leagues.

Mikko Koivu The situation with Koivu is similar to Wheeler’s in that the Wild forward is playing above his realistic production level. But beyond that, Koivu is older and has a long history of injuries, which, prior to last season, had led to him missing 17, 27, and 11 games in his previous three full campaigns.

The only hitch here might be that Koivu’s propensity to get injured is fairly well known, so the price you can get for him might not be as high as you want. But I’d nevertheless recommend selling, since like Mike Cammalleri last week it’s only a matter of time before Koivu comes back to earth or misses time due to injury.