Fantasy Hockey Buy & Sell: Week 11 (2021)
As we rapidly approach the month of April, it is time to make some hard decisions on roster construction. During the regular season, it is understandable if you want to wait on a player to break a cold streak (ahem, Mika Zibanejad). However, if you aren’t seeing returns on draft investment by now, it is OK to cut bait and bolster your team through the waiver wire. Don’t get lost in name recognition. All that matters is finding players that can perform during your playoff weeks.
This is your weekly reminder that there continues to be a wide disparity in games played in the NHL. The Montreal Canadiens are the most recent team to be hit with COVID absences. After ten days off, the Canadiens now find themselves dead last in the NHL with 31 games played. To compare, several of their division foes have played upwards of 37 games. It is always a good idea to assess the playoff schedule of players you are looking to trade. Four games from a replacement-level player is usually more impactful than two games from a star. Don’t forget that.
Martin Necas (C/RW – CAR)
Necas is a former 12th overall pick that just turned 22 in January. The awaited breakout has begun. Necas has 28 points in 30 games this season. He is sure to set career highs in every statistic. Necas has 3 goals and 3 assists in just the last 7 days. He is playing on the first line alongside Sebastian Aho, as well as the second power-play unit. His ownership has skyrocketed in the last week or so. If he is available on the waiver wire, it is a no-brainer. I have no issue trading for him either. He will be fantasy relevant for years to come.
Taylor Hall (LW – BUF)
Admittedly, this is completely speculative. I expect Taylor Hall to be moved before the trade deadline on April 12th. His post-game press conferences would suggest that his bags are already packed. This season couldn’t be going any worse for Hall and the Sabres. On top of Buffalo’s epic losing streak, Hall is trending to have the worst season of his career. The asking price today is a first-round pick. If Kevyn Adams can’t find that, I am sure he will settle for a second. Hall is on a one-year deal. There is simply no excuse for him to remain in Buffalo beyond the deadline. Hall is still just 30-years-old and only three years removed from winning the MVP in 2018. His ownership has sunk on most platforms. If he isn’t free on the waiver wire, I don’t expect him to be very costly to acquire. This could pay major dividends when Hall gets moved to a contender in a couple of weeks.
Connor Hellebuyck (G – WPG)
Don’t get me wrong. I love Connor Hellebuyck. What I don’t love is his playoff schedule. Between April 12 and May 1, the fantasy playoffs for most standard leagues, the Jets face the Maple Leafs or the Oilers in seven of their ten games. You can’t feel good about any of those starts. Hellebuyck will fetch a nice price on the trade market if your deadline has not passed. During those playoff weeks, focus on finding good spot starts instead. For example, the Flames have a back-to-back against the Senators, and the Stars have a back-to-back against the Red Wings. I would rather play Jake Oettinger against the Red Wings than Connor Hellebuyck against Edmonton or Toronto. It only takes one blow-up performance from a goaltender to completely ruin GAA or save percentage for the week.
J.T. Miller (C,LW,RW – VAN)
J.T. Miller is by no means having a bad season in Vancouver. After breaking out for 72 points last season, Miller has followed up this year with 29 points in 34 games. He has near 100% ownership, and rightfully so. However, I am still dealing him for comparable value if I can. The Canucks have played the most games in the NHL this season, leaving fewer games to be played when it matters most. Vancouver’s best offensive weapon in Elias Pettersson is likely shut down for the season. Miller, at times, has shown some frustrating body language out on the ice. As Vancouver’s playoff hopes fall further from reality, I don’t expect Miller to flourish. He has two points in his last five games. This season just needs to end for Miller and the Canucks. I would rather have a motivated player on my roster in late April.