Fantasy Hockey Buy/Sell: Week 2 2019
We have liftoff and what a great start it has been. A little of everything we love about hockey has been sprinkled over all the games we have seen so far. Auston Matthews kicked off his first game in great fashion with a pair of goals, including one on the power play. Did anyone watch the thriller between the last two Stanley Cup Champions that went into overtime? The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers played a great game down to the last minute in Prague, Czech Republic. The excitement of Jack Hughes finally hit the ice. We may not be through a full week, but the NHL has hit the ground running. To add to the excitement, here are some way-too-early buy/sell options.
Anthony Mantha (RW/LW – DET)
Mantha has been in Detroit his whole career, and it looks like things are starting to turn around just as everyone expected. Well, maybe not everyone. I wanted to put Mantha in the boom category earlier in the year but did not, then I wanted to put him in the sleeper category, but my stipulations wouldn’t let me. Now I get to tell you to buy Mantha. He is 25 years old and looks to be hitting his stride, and with consistent numbers posted the last two years, he may be in line to build upon them. Mantha is going to be a centerpiece on this Detroit team, and that means shots, assists, and goals. Another plus is that he can hit and play solid defense.
Jacob Trouba (D – NYR)
Another big name in a big city who is thriving with the opportunity. He is going to be on the ice as the top defender, and he has shown the talent to not only skate against the best but to skate with the best at his side. New York has already shown he is going to be a team leader in ice time, and he may be in the top 20 moving forward. A big, skilled defender is worth going after.
Erik Gustafsson (D – CHI)
Many other writers this year were quick to choose Gustafsson as a quick bust heading into this season, but I am still not on that page. If you are not from the Chicagoland area, it will probably be easier to take a shot and flip some depth for a defender who is going to be playing with the Blackhawks’ top talent. Gustafsson has shown he can score and pass to the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and now Alexander Nylander, and it doesn’t hurt that he is paired with Chicago’s top defender Duncan Keith.
Mika Zibanejad (C – NYR)
It’s early in the season, so I have no problem taking a flyer on the fact that Zibanejad is not going to live up to the 328-point pace he is on. He has started the season off great, but if your team needs some depth for everyday play, sell him high and build depth at other positions. Zibanejad posted 74 points last season, so I do see the appeal in many owners believing he can do it again, and with the Rangers having an overall better lineup, he just might. However, before last season, Zibanejad’s best season was only 51 points. If you are able, flip him now for a couple of 40-point players and add the depth. I have his final at 71 points this season, which is great, I am just struggling to see the appeal in keeping him when you may be able to get a top-15 forward and top-20 defenseman in a two-for-one swap. It may be a hunch, but sell high.
Corey Crawford (G – CHI)
It’s as bad as it looked, my Chicago brothers and sisters. Sell him off for parts. Package a deal for Jacob Markstrom. I will catch shade from my home state, telling me it was only one game. To that I ask, did you watch it? At the end of the game, we saw Patrick Kane score a goal to cut the Flyers’ lead to one, but it should have been a goal that tied the game. The goal that gave the Flyers their fourth was nothing short of lazy from Crawford. I will also be reminded of a few saves that were spectacular, but to that I say every goal given up was terrible on Crawford’s part. The Blackhawks turned the puck over plenty of times, and that game could have very easily been lost by a wider margin. If you think about that statement, is that not enough reason to sell Crawford? His saving grace the last few years was being able to keep his team in the game even if the team in front of him was performing terribly. This lazy, shell of a goalie we used to know is something I want no part of. His numbers are going to fall drastically this year, and he will surely be splitting more time with Robin Lehner.
I look forward to more fun this year. Have fun, hockey friends.
Mat Vilcek is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Mat, follow him @Mat1Thockey.