Welcome to the fantasy hockey stock market. Each week we will look at three players trending up and three players trending down.
Before getting to the stock market, fantasy owners should be advised that Bye Week season is upon us! Indeed, there are only nine teams playing three or more games this week and over a third of the league is limited to just one game. It should be wild times! Don’t overreact if your team falls off the rails in the next two weeks. It will likely have been the result of odd scheduling factors. Consult the full list of NHL bye weeks to sort out the schedule for yourself. Now onto the stock market!
Mark Giordano – D – Flames – 8 Goals, 11 Assists, 112 Shots, 41 Games
Since mid-December Giordano has been stealing T.J. Brodie’s minutes on Calgary’s top power-play unit. While they split time evenly between their two units, the top unit with Johnny Gaudreau is the place to be. Giordano has rewarded fantasy owners with four goals and seven points in nine games since taking over on that top unit. More explosively, he has fired 37 shots in those nine games good for a 4.1 shot-per-game rate. Giordano obviously won’t sustain that pace for the rest of the season, but if he can stay above 3.0 shots per game he’ll easily clear his career high of 212, an elite number for a defenceman.
Vincent Hinostroza – C/LW – Blackhawks – 3 Goals, 5 Assists, 24 Shots, 11 Games
Hinostroza has helped provide a spark to the long dormant Toews-Saad duo, suddenly giving the Blackhawks more than one line capable of scoring. Hinostroza has points in five straight games despite not playing over 15 minutes in any of them.
Because of his limited playing time, is likely only a short-term play, but with four games during a week where half the league is on a bye, he suddenly looks like a top option. If Nick Schmaltz is also on the waiver wire he is the preferable play given the exposure he provides to Patrick Kane. If not, Hinostroza makes for an excellent consolation prize.
Teuvo Teravainen – C/W – Hurricanes – 11 Goals, 22 Assists, 85 Shots, 41 Games
The Hurricanes’ top line is heating up again. Teravainen has points in three straight games and seven in the last seven. There are some concerns about losing linemate Sebastian Aho to injury, but his status is currently “day-to-day”. With the Hurricanes one of the few teams playing a hefty schedule in the coming week, it behooves you to use Teravainen while he’s hot.
Nick Leddy – D – Islanders – 6 Goals, 22 Assists, 95 Shots, 43 Games
Leddy’s magical season is coming apart at the seams under the fire of horrific goaltending and dwindling puck luck. Leddy hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 24, and his shot rate has fallen below 2.0 shots per game since. He is no longer close to pacing for a 200-shot season, though he seems destined to surpass last season’s career high of 137. He has been shooting at roughly a 137-shot pace for the past 21 games, and should be considered that sort of player as it matches up much more closely with his extensive history.
Worse, Leddy’s plus/minus has gone into the toilet, now at minus-19. He has in fact gone minus-20 in the 21 games since that last goal. This isn’t all on the goaltending tandem of Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak, mind you, but that pairing should be treated like the new Lehtonen/Niemi. Barring a trade for some help, Leddy will continue to bleed in this category.
Lastly, Leddy has 10 points in the last 21 games, which again tracks closely with his history as a 41-point defenceman. Use his gaudy season totals to fetch a decent trade return.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – D – Coyotes – 6 Goals, 13 Assists, 113 Shots, 43 Games
Ekman-Larsson started the season hot and seemed primed for a rebound, but the season has once again spun out of control. Ekman-Larsson has just one point in the past 16 games and hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 28. His shot volume remains high, but is accompanied by a ghastly minus-34 rating that outweighs anything else he might be providing.
On the plus side, his value likely cannot get any lower. This is the second straight season of dismal play for the star defenceman. However, at this point your only hope is that he is traded out of Arizona.
Kevin Fiala – LW/RW – Predators – 10 Goals, 16 Assists, 91 Shots, 40 Games
The trio of Fiala, Kyle Turris and Craig Smith was money in the bank for a good month and a half with each member scoring at a point-per-game clip, but the surge has come to an end. Fiala has gone seven straight without a point. On the plus side, his shot volume remains up nearly 3.0 SOG per game since Turris’ acquisition, but the recent lack of points is worrisome.
If that’s not enough to have you drop Fiala, perhaps the Predators’ bye week will provide some impetus. Maybe you keep Fiala in the lineup for one last hurrah against the leaky Oilers and then jettison him for someone from the half of the league actually playing games.