February 29th – the date all poolies have circled on their calendars – is less than a week away. It will be a chaotic time between now and then, so make sure not to overreact to deals or otherwise risk harming your teams more than helping them.
Here are a few tips to remember.
While it might be tempting to rush to start a traded player right away, in some cases there will be hiatus and adjustment times. For example, traded players could be caught in limbo due to travel/visa issues or simply to get their affairs in order, costing your fantasy team several missed games along the way.
Some might also need a transition period, taking days or even weeks to get comfortable with their new team’s system and unfamiliar linemates.
Also, don’t automatically think an underperforming player will find a magic spark on a new team. And make sure to assess the overall impact of each deal on those who weren’t actually traded but are on the traded player’s former team and his new team, as more often than not the greatest effects of a deadline deal are felt on players who didn’t actually change squads.
Perhaps most importantly, look out for buy low and sell high opportunities that will be created on the heels of all the trades. I’ll plan to focus on those in the coming weeks; but for now, here are your final pre-deadline lists.
Four buy low players
Tuukka Rask – From reading this column, you know buy lows can occur for a variety of reasons. With Rask, it boils down to a player who’s simply too good for his current numbers.
The Bruins committed to being more offensively-focused this season, so Rask’s peripheral stats were bound to be less stellar than in the past. But the reality is, he’s too skilled to see his numbers finish this low for the season, which in turn means he’ll improve in the coming weeks.
See about landing him in leagues where his owners are mistakenly concerned this is his new normal.
Dougie Hamilton – After headline-grabbing early struggles (five points in his first 24 games), Hamilton has quietly turned his season around to the tune of 21 points in 33 games, which is a 52 point full season pace.
With Dennis Wideman still suspended and UFA to be Kris Russell a candidate to be dealt at the deadline, Hamilton should get even more opportunities to pad his season stats. See about grabbing him now, while his totals don’t yet reflect how solid he’s been since December.
Ben Hutton – Even in February, it’s generally not difficult to find decent forwards on the waiver wire; but fantasy-worthy defencemen are much rarer.
With Hutton already enjoying a good rookie campaign and now eating up a much of injured Alex Edler’s ice time, including on the power play, he makes an enticing buy low, with a good chance to post point per every other game production over the rest of the season.
Ryan Strome – What makes Strome an attractive buy low might have more to do with last season than this campaign. Because Strome cracked the 50-point threshold in 2014-15, that makes his lower pace this season all the more disappointing in the minds of GMs who own him.
Use this to your advantage to get Strome on your squad for what should be a solid last couple of months of 2015-16, especially if impending UFA Kyle Okposo is moved between now and the deadline.
Four sell high players
Zdeno Chara – I was one of the few who thought Chara would rebound this season.
After all, not only is he among the NHL’s fiercest competitors, but due to the Bruins not making the playoffs and Chara missing 19 games while injured, in 2015 he enjoyed more time off than he’d experienced in recent memory, giving him an unprecedented opportunity to recharge his engines going into this season. But as 2015-16 winds down, Chara’s age likely will start to catch up to him, and his scoring pace should drop.
Find a taker for him now, to get a good return on investment if you were shrewd enough to draft him.
If it was nearly anyone other than Perron, the answer might be nothing; but Perron has teased poolies for years, and is now on his third team since the beginning of last season (fourth since 2012-13). Plus, if Anaheim is a buyer at the deadline, a newly acquired forward might cut into Perron’s ice times.
Use Perron’s Anaheim numbers to sell high, avoiding likely disappointment.
Martin Jones – Although Jones has been a top five fixture in wins this season, only one other netminder (Craig Anderson) in the top ten in Wins has a higher goals-against average; and Jones’ save percentage is the lowest of the ten.
Plus, with the Sharks likely to be in the trade market to upgrade from disappointing back-up Alex Stalock, Jones could end up being rested more over the stretch, hurting poolies in the one area where he’s been most beneficial. The wise move might be to see about selling high on Jones in one-year leagues.
Robby Fabbri – It’s been a very solid rookie season from Fabbri, especially of late, what with his eight February points being easily tops among Blues forwards. But between new bodies St. Louis might acquire by the deadline, and the desire to try and spark its key players down the stretch, Fabbri’s role could be severely diminished.
It would be wise to flip him in one-year leagues rather than risk being left holding onto him past his sell-by date.