Fantasy Hockey Buy/Sell: Week 18
Happy Post-All-Star break everyone and it’s good to be back from vacation. We are now in the unofficial second half of the season for the NHL which means we are even closer to playoff time for everyone’s fantasy playoffs.
Let’s take a look at how things are shaping up in each conference. In the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals are still in the lead overall and happen to be 6-4 in their last ten games with the Boston Bruins nipping at their heels only one point behind. The Conference as a whole seems to be extremely strong heading into the later part of the season with only ten points separating first and eighth place within the conference. Almost every game is going to be an exciting movement up or down in the standings and should be thrilling to watch. The only sad note is that as of now no teams from Canada in the conference are in the current playoff picture.
The Western Conference is also busy beating up on each other, except St. Louis who sports a comfortable lead by six points as of now. The difference between second and eighth is only five points and this push looks to be a brawl heading to the finish line. I would say up to now every team in the conference aside from the California teams stand a shot at making the playoffs.
In sticking with this past week’s theme, we will be looking at some players chosen for the All-Star game that may be a good buy/sell heading into the final stretch of the season.
I feel this goes without saying but there are a few All-Star players that should not be on anyone’s sell list. Of course, I’m talking about players like Patrick Kane, David Pastrnak, and obviously Connor McDavid. There may be some that can be obtained to assist in building a stronger team.
Mitchell Marner (RW – TOR)
Well, it would be a true statement in saying the Toronto Maple Leafs are not exactly living up to the hype everyone wanted them to this year, however, they only find themselves four points out of a playoff spot at this time and some of the elite talent are continuing to find scoring chances. Marner has easily been the team’s most consistent player all year. In his last 19 games, he has only been held off the score sheet twice. A great positive to any good fantasy hockey player is being able to score in both negative and positive game scripts and Marner definitely brings that upside. It may be hard to snag him in a redraft league but he can and should be targeted in dynasty leagues.
Kyle Palmieri (RW – NJD)
Another player on a team that in my opinion has shocked hockey in not living up to standards this season. For that exact reason, and how much of a shock it is, I say buy Palmieri and see if it pays off. It’s just not possible that the Devils finish this bad, is it? Well if they don’t, it will be attributed to players like Palmieri. Another intriguing line on him shows he does not have many back-to-back games without a point. Having a point or two on a regular basis is a great thing, but imagine if the Devils do even slightly better the rest of the season. Palmieri has the upside and has shown that with points in at least nine of his last 13 games.
David Rittich (C – CGY)
19 wins, 36 Starts, .913 Save%, two shutouts.
Brady Tkachuk (LW – OTT)
I put Tkachuk on the list mainly because it is my belief that nepotism is the only reason he was chosen for the All-Star game. Brady’s Dad as we know used to play for the Blues and so he gets to be in the game, despite an average Joe total of 27 points. Also, worth noting, he is owned in over 78% of Yahoo leagues. Some of his pointless streaks this year include games of three (three times), five, two, and six. I’m not biting on the hype but hopefully, you can find someone that will see an All-Star and overpay you for him. In a dynasty league, I would not be giving him up even close to this easily.
Anze Kopitar (C – LAK)
I don’t see him being traded, but if that happens, of course, he will want to go to a contender and that makes this paragraph void. However, as of this moment, Kopitar is having a great season considering the team he has been playing with. Just under a point per game, 43 points overall. Being on a bad team is tough and I just cannot see Kopitar putting much effort into the end of this season as he may have in the beginning. Yes, these men are professional athletes and I agree that they do not give up. Fighting a losing battle is never cause for someone to give that 110% however. I would give him up for more depth on the bench heading into playoff time. I just don’t want the headache of knowing what small injury may hold him out or if he will show up for the game at all.
With the All-Star festivities over, and Pacific Division win, I have heard some people talking about the game needing another change. I may be biased but I think the hockey skills competition and the game itself are the type of entertainment other sports should strive for. It’s always changing and finding new ways for fans to interact and have fun. That does not make it perfect, the NHL All-Star game may not be showcasing the best the NHL has to offer in terms of the best players that should be on the ice which seems to be thoughtless. Whether players are sitting out, or the popularity contest is holding rightful candidates out of a roster spot it should always be the best of the best on that ice. Something needs to be modified, I just don’t know if anyone has the next great and fun idea. We still need to realize this is, in itself entertainment. Once again hockey friends, have fun.
Mat Vilcek is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Mat, check out his archive and follow him @Mat1Thockey.