I want to use this week to give your deeper fantasy hockey leagues some love. I’m in a 23-team league on Fantrax that has twelve forwards, six defense, and two goalies starting at all times. This means my waiver wire has Ryan Carpenter or Daniel Sprong at the top of the page when I get desperate for injury help. In leagues like mine, trades are more important than ever. It’s the only way you’re acquiring top-end talent or a significant piece in the middle of the season. With that in mind, let’s look at some fantasy hockey trade targets owned in less than 50% of Fantrax leagues to buy low on.
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3 Fantasy Hockey Trade Targets to Buy Low
I’d be looking at players who have a track record of producing that an owner might be clinging to. You can be their final push to let go of their guy a little too early for your benefit. Younger players sometimes take longer to gel in a season too. A top pick or a well-touted prospect could find their stride for the second half. Let’s see some examples of players that fit this mold to buy low on:
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Montreal Canadiens (47% owned)
The former 3rd overall pick is inconsistent, but there are signs he’s finding a groove. Kotkaniemi has five points in his last five games. The nice thing about Montreal is they’re quite deep up front, meaning Kotkaniemi will find himself playing with talented wingers regardless of where he slots. He’s also only shooting 7%, so there’s room for improvement as he develops his game with a new head coach. Look for an owner who may be frustrated he hasn’t had a true breakout yet or who may look at his three goals on the season and think he can’t score much going forward. There’s lots of room for improvement here.
Nils Hoglander – Vancouver Canucks (45% owned)
I’ve watched this kid often this season and come out excited. He’s relentless on pucks, fast, and creative. He’s fired 66 shots at the net, placing him among the NHL’s best in that category. Despite all of the positivity, he only has 11 points in 30 games to show for it. He’s only shooting around 7%, so some more of those shots are bound to go in. He’s also just a rookie – every game there’s more room to grow. Head coach Travis Green likes to throw him almost anywhere in his lineup. With Vancouver on the precipice of missing the playoffs, I expect Hoglander to get even more opportunities to do damage as Travis Green desperately tries to cling on.
Jared Spurgeon – Minnesota Wild (43% owned)
I don’t know what happened to his offensive ability this season. It’s absolutely dried up. Spurgeon averaged 12 goals a season over his last three campaigns. He has zero goals right now, and only four assists to go with it. A promising sign of life is that he still shoots the puck often. Head coach Dean Evason also still gives him powerplay time. The Minnesota Wild’s captain might have an outburst in the 2nd half and you should buy low on the chance to be a part of it. For leagues that reward blocked shots, it’s a bonus Spurgeon provides in case his production is lower than you hoped.
3 Fantasy Hockey Trade Targets to Sell High
It doesn’t matter how deep your league is – you can catch a hot trend and sell it for strong value. We’ll look for some players that you may have grabbed off your waiver wire to ride the wave. Maybe it’s a player you took in a late-round who you forgot was on your bench and have enjoyed the last ten games with. Rather than wait for them to go cold, sell high and make your team better!
Sam Reinhart – Buffalo Sabres (79% owned)
He’s a bigger name than the others I’ll mention here. Reinhart has scored five goals in his last nine games and actually leads the Buffalo Sabres in goals and points. I don’t like the long-term prognosis for his value. During this recent stretch, he’s shooting 31%, which is unsustainable. Rumors around Jack Eichel’s health swirl. Rumors around Taylor Hall being dealt at the trade deadline hit your Twitter feeds soon. If Jack Eichel misses time, it could help Reinhart with more opportunities to keep scoring. However, it will likely turn Buffalo into more of a tire fire and I don’t think you want a part of that. Reinhart still has name value and a nice stat line – sell high while you can.
Adrian Kempe – Los Angeles Kings (40% owned)
I like Kempe as a player. He’s speedy, tenacious, and owns a wicked shot. Kempe scored six goals in his last three games alone. He’s in a hot streak that I’m unsure about continuing all season long. Not only is he shooting 29% in this stretch, but he also had a similar string of games where he scored three goals in three games in the early part of the season before also going cold. He seems to me like he’s streaky, so strike when the iron is hot and sell him off soon.
Brian Elliott – Philadelphia Flyers (44% owned)
Carter Hart is struggling. Because of that, head coach Alain Vigneault is starting Brian Elliott more often. In fact, in the last two weeks, Elliott has started one more game than Hart. Despite this, I don’t believe that a quality young goalie like Hart will be awful all season long. Also, in the last five starts, Elliott only has a .893 save percentage. His 2.55 GAA is decent enough because the Flyers did a good enough job limiting shots against, but I wouldn’t say he’s stolen Hart’s job or made a big impression. I’ve seen his ownership increase lately in leagues so what I’d do is find the owner of Carter Hart and offer up Elliott to help his “pain” and pick up a nice asset along the way.
For more roster and lineup help, check out this week’s Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire.
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