Fantasy Hockey Buy & Sell: Week 8 (2021)
There are three key components to having a successful fantasy hockey season. The first is having a successful draft. I believe that you can’t win your league on draft day, but you can certainly lose it. The second is roster maintenance. If you are playing in a standard weekly league, maximizing games played is paramount. If there is a maximum number of adds you can make in a week, you should be hitting that number every week. If there is no limit on adds, there should be two or three designated taxi spots on your roster. Five starts from a 50 point player are more valuable than four starts from a 60 point player. It’s as simple as that. The last component to building a championship roster is leveraging the trade market by knowing when to buy and when to sell.
While COVID postponements have subsided, there is still a wide gap in games played across the league. The Vancouver Canucks have played 29 games this season, while the Dallas Stars have played just 20. Thus far, with no COVID issues in Canada, the entire North Division leads the way in games played. Now is a good idea to start looking at selling players who have played many games and buying those that haven’t. In a season like this, I would suggest utilizing average statistics over totals.
Charlie McAvoy (D – BOS)
As I alluded to before, at the end of the day, this is a math equation. Charlie McAvoy has 17 points in 22 games, with 34 games remaining. Quinn Hughes leads defenseman with 23 points in 29 games, but only 27 remaining. Their points per game are near equal, but you are getting seven more games played out of McAvoy, and he’s likely far cheaper to acquire. You might also find the return of Matt Grzelcyk is making owners nervous. While Grzelcyk has temporarily slid into the top power-play unit, I don’t expect him to stay very long.
Sean Couturier (C – PHI)
Couturier’s 14 points this season is good for 140th in the NHL. When you factor in that he has only played 12 games, his 1.17 points per game is good for 16th in the NHL. The Flyers have played just 22 games this season, and Couturier has missed 10 of them due to injury. Upon returning to the lineup, Couturier slides back into the top line with James van Riemsdyk and Joel Farabee, as well as the top power-play unit.
John Tavares (C – TOR)
Tavares has 22 points in 27 games this season. He is skating on the second line with William Nylander and Alex Kerfoot. Toronto’s offense runs primarily through Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner now. Tavares and Nylander have been highly inconsistent this season. Another thing to consider is the Maple Leafs schedule. Not only have they played the third-most games in the league this season, but they have nine contests remaining against Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets. Tavares has major name recognition and should fetch a good price on the trade market.
Jack Eichel (C – BUF)
Watching Jack Eichel’s career in Buffalo is like watching a car crash in slow motion. The ultimate outcome seems inevitable. We have heard whispers that he is unhappy and wants out. He has been in and out of the lineup with injuries that coach Ralph Krueger has not confirmed. Most importantly, he just hasn’t played up to expectations. Eichel has 18 points in 21 games. That is not what you hoped for when he was drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts this season. I wouldn’t expect to return value on where he was drafted, but Eichel should fetch a decent return on name recognition alone. The only way I can see a major bounce back this season is if he were traded within the United States, as any trade into Canada would require a two-week quarantine period. Either of those scenarios is highly unlikely as Eichel is signed for another five years. A massive decision like that is more likely executed in the off-season.