If you’ve experienced watching a highly touted goalie continually allow more goals than you budgeted for, you’ve at least thought about moving that goalie to your bench – or somehow even off your team. But what if it’s one of the other league owners that has had enough of the subpar goaltending early in the season? If that owner is one to become impatient rather easily, then you might consider swinging a deal for that goalie that they are now less than enamoured with.
Below are two examples of goalies that fit this scenario, along with several other players that have experienced a recent increase in value and could be worth adding to your team.
Is Price still an elite fantasy goalie? Last season he had months with a sub-2.00 goals-against average, but he also had a January in which it was almost 3.00. But the Canadiens netminder has never had a month like the one that just ended with a 3.64 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage. Price is now 30, so he may be at the start of an inevitable decline, but from where his numbers are now, he has nowhere to go but up. See if the price for Price could be a mid-tier goalie that currently has better numbers. But if you already own Price, it’s just a matter of being patient.
If trading for Price turns out to be a daunting task, here’s another buy-low opportunity. After posting a shutout on opening night, Talbot has struggled just like the Edmonton Oilers team in front of him. The first month of the season has revealed some significant problems for the Oilers, including lack of scoring on the wing and a defence that could be better. But Edmonton is at least better than a 30th place team, which means that acquiring Talbot now could pay off later with more wins. After all, Talbot started 73 games last season, so you know that there are still plenty of opportunities for his numbers to improve.
At least this KHL veteran won’t be flying back to Russia anytime soon. Unlike his former KHL teammate Vadim Shipachyov, Dadonov is thriving in his first NHL season on the Panthers’ first line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Dadonov is no third wheel on this line either, as he is tied with both his Panthers teammates for the team scoring lead with 14 points in 11 games. At this point Dadonov is mainly unclaimed in shallow leagues, but right wing can be the toughest of the three forward positions to fill.
Josh Bailey, LW/RW, New York Islanders
When Bailey is playing alongside John Tavares, he’s an underrated fantasy asset. In fact, he’s picked up right where he left off last season (56 points) with 14 points in just 12 games already. Just as Tavares is scorching hot at the moment (nine goals over his last five games), Bailey is riding a seven-game point streak with 12 points over that span. Although his point totals are fairly assist-heavy, Bailey has become enough of a regular fixture on the Tavares line and the first-unit power play that he should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, New York Rangers
If the likes of Dadonov and Bailey are already owned in your league, Buchnevich is worth searching for. The second-year Rangers’ winger is on a four-game point streak with four goals over his last three games. Buchnevich doesn’t see high even-strength minutes, but he’s been playing on the first-unit power play. For that reason, he should be targeted specifically for leagues that count power-play points. But if the Rangers continue to struggle, Buchnevich could find himself receiving top-6 minutes in short order.
A real goaltending battle is emerging in… Vancouver? We’ve heard this one before, but we weren’t expecting a fantasy relevant battle to occur this season. Markstrom is the preferred own as the default starter and is still unowned in many league formats. But he’s more likely to be spoken for than Anders Nilsson, who is making a real push for the starting job with a sparkling 1.89 goals-against average, .943 save percentage, and two shutouts. Canuck players seem to be buying into what new coach Travis Green is selling, so there could be true fantasy value found here.