It’s hard to believe, but we’re almost halfway through this NHL season. It’s time to buckle up and be ready for the wave ahead. You can’t afford a cold streak, an injury will cost you and a dud game will make you cringe even harder. Winning a trade now is more important than ever before. A bold move could make or break your season. Let’s look at this week’s fantasy hockey trade targets and try to find those league game-changers who can bring us to the glory.
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3 Fantasy Hockey Trade Targets to Buy Low
I wanted to focus on a few players who have the opportunity to go on a special run soon. You may be able to get them for a cheaper value than they should be. It might be due to good linemates or lots of minutes played. Let’s see who we can buy low:
Kailer Yamamoto – Edmonton Oilers
Yamamoto has a pedestrian 11 points in 25 games this season and is shooting 16%. That’s alright, nothing to really look at. What makes him an interesting trade target are his new linemates. Last season, Oiler fans were in love with the line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, and Kailer Yamamoto – the DRY line. Head coach Dave Tippett suddenly broke it up as the season closed, but Yamamoto finished his short season with 26 points in 27 games. Due to scoring issues in Edmonton against Toronto, Tippett reunited the trio. Considering the quality production that this line mustered last season, it makes Yamamoto worth a look as a player who could bust out as a result of the chemistry.
Zach Werenski – Columbus Blue Jackets
Zach Werenski scored 20 goals last season as a premier young defenseman. This season, he has only one goal. I doubt that trend continues considering Werenski has put up at least 11 goals in every season of his career. He’s also played around 25 minutes a game over the last two weeks including power-play time. If you can buy low on Werenski, his production may be close to rocketing up the defense charts.
Erik Karlsson – San Jose Sharks
One of the most disappointing players in the NHL this season, Karlsson is still getting loads of ice time to try to fix his lack of production. Karlsson leads the Sharks in powerplay time per game with 3:23 and still plays around 25 minutes a game on average. He only has 5 points in 16 games but he’s one of the best offensive blueliners to play the game. If you can get him below market, he may go on a tear to end the season…if he stays healthy.
I’m also going to add Jacob Markstrom to this list. The Calgary Flames have an “old” new head coach in Darryl Sutter, a man who tends to have strong success with teams early on in his tenure. Miikka Kiprusoff and Jonathan Quick have been on lightning hot runs with Sutter as their head coach, so it’s possible with a better defensive structure that Jacob Markstrom is the next to see his save percentage rise fast.
3 Fantasy Hockey Trade Targets to Sell High
We’re at the point where if you have a player that is scoring a point-per-game, it’ll be extremely tough to go trade him unless it’s a blockbuster. You want to deal with your players who are streaky. Maybe you have a player who you just plucked off the waiver wire who is hotter than the desert. Maybe you have a guy who has been a fringe player on your roster who sometimes you leave on the bench and all of a sudden he’s producing big. Let’s see which NHLers fits a bill like that right now for us to sell high on:
Chris Kreider – New York Rangers
He has nine goals in his last six games, including two hat tricks. This is the absolute best you’re going to see from Kreider, it’s almost impossible to top that kind of production. Kreider has scored on 56% of his shots over the last two weeks. Trade him as fast as you can if you can get a player who is easily of a higher caliber for the remainder of the season. Keep in mind: The moment Artemi Panarin comes back to the Rangers, he’s once again the top-dog on the Rangers’ left side.
Phil Kessel – Arizona Coyotes
After a poor season in 2019-20, Kessel’s production has been more in line with what we expect based on his career. He has 16 points in 22 games but that includes a recent run of eight points in a five-game stretch. The number that makes me worried about his future is an 18.6% shooting percentage, which is closer to 36% over the last two weeks. Kessel used to be a volume shooter and this isn’t really like him to score on fewer shots taken. Consider that his last two games were pointless, plus that he still has high name value for some fantasy hockey players and maybe you can squeeze out a nice return in a trade if you act fast.
Drake Batherson – Ottawa Senators
If you’re in a keeper league, I’d hold onto Batherson. I’m a believer in his talent, especially his shot. However, most of his production has come on a big run of late. He has eight goals in his last 10 games, despite only shooting the puck 19 times. Batherson also hits and that’s a nice bonus, but I wouldn’t mind dangling him to see what kind of value you can bring back. After all, it’s harder to trust players on the Ottawa Senators and you can’t shoot over 40% all season long.
For more help in optimizing your lineups make sure to check out this week’s Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire!
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