Fantasy Hockey Buy/Sell: Week 7
Week 7 has arrived with an even distribution of teams in the standings. The Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators are sitting with a stout 27 points, while most of the WC (minus the Kings who are struggling) are keeping it respectable and staying within ten points. The spread between first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference and 13th place Ottawa Senators is a mere eight points. The great teams are leading early while there are some surprises in the bottom eight. There is an opportunity to snatch up underperformers and sell high on those flashing in the pan.
Casey DeSmith (PIT – G)
DeSmith has always been a solid option in the net for Pittsburgh. When Murray went down last year it was Tristan Jarry and DeSmith sharing time in goal and it appears that he has come out the favorite. With Matt Murray struggling early, Desmith has been summoned to guard the crease and has done a stand-up job so far. He has started the last three games for the Penguins and registered a 39 save shutout against the Coyotes on November 10th. On the season he carries a 3-1-2 record while posting a very nice 1.89 GAA and .942 save percentage. The Pens may be a bit older and lower in the standings but is that enough reason to doubt that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin won’t start turning it on? The upside of the starting Penguins goaltender is a nice option and you can probably pull him off the wire while he is only 38% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
Miro Heiskanen (DAL – D)
The Stars have been bitten by the injury bug early this year, watching their star defenseman John Klingberg fracture his hand and require surgery. He was put on the injured reserve and is expected back in early to mid-December. This has opened the door for rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen. He was already playing well this year and made his presence known by registering eight points so far. With Klingberg out, Heiskanen has been promoted to the first line PP unit and will be seeing time with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. He’s been looking good and registered between 23 and 29 minutes of ice time in his last six games. With the upside of power play points too, now is the time to get him.
Elias Pettersson (VAN – C)
Pettersson has gotten off to a great start in his rookie campaign and he must be in the early conversation of Calder Trophy consideration. He registered ten goals in his first ten games and is the first teenager to do that since the 1988-1989 season. He was sidelined for 14 days due to a concussion when he was hit to the ice by defenseman Mike Matheson. The injury didn’t appear to slow him down one bit and has posted nine points since his return. He clearly didn’t lose his handles either as he performed a very slick and composed drag kick pass between three Boston Bruin defenders. The Canucks aren’t loaded with depth and it’s fair to assume that Pettersson will hit a cold streak here and there, but the talent is real on the kid. There are a bunch of fantasy relevant players at center and you could come across some owners that need help elsewhere on their roster. Keep an eye out for him.
Semyon Varlamov (COL – G)
As talented as Varlamov is at playing net, he finds himself in a somewhat precarious fantasy narrative. The Avalanche got off to a hot start but are starting to see the other side of the coin lately. They have the same issues with defense that they always have and that means he’s going to see a lot of quality shots. His last five starts have totaled up 16 goals against and is finding himself battling the other team’s power play often. Philipp Grubauer was brought in to help relieve the workload and keep him fresh, but he’s struggled as well, allowing ten goals in his last two starts. If this carries on the Avalanche could find themselves leaning more heavily on Varlamov and if that happens, he has a greater chance of landing on the injury report because he’s getting shelled every game. A 5-5-2 record, 2.26 GAA and .929 SV% look good on paper and now is the time to shop him and see if you can upgrade.
Zach Parise (MIN – LW)
Minnesota is currently sitting near the top of the conference so far in 2018 and Parise is a big reason why. He has seven goals and nine assists with a plus-8 rating and is second behind Mikael Granlund for team points. The issue here is that Parise is hovering around 35 years old and has seen a consistent decline in games played since 2014-2015. He missed almost half the season last year and doesn’t have the best track record for staying healthy. This is an opportune time to offload him while he’s producing. Try and package him in with another player and aim for a multi-positional asset like Jeff Skinner or Yanni Gourde.
Jeremy Farr is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Jeremy, check out his archive.