Fantasy Hockey Buy & Sell: Week 9 (2021)
As we work through Week 9 of the fantasy hockey season, trade deadlines are upon us. Last week, I stressed the importance of leveraging games played when targeting buy or sell candidates. There is still a large discrepancy in games played in the NHL between teams in Canada and the teams that have dealt with COVID postponements in the United States. On that topic, it is also important to look forward to the playoff weeks in your league and identify some disparities. Take, for example, Week 15, which in most standard leagues is the fantasy final. The Columbus Blue Jackets are scheduled to play just twice, while 17 other teams are scheduled to play four times. Is a guy like Timo Meier more valuable than Patrik Laine? Certainly not in the long term, but if I am getting twice as many games from Meier, he is undoubtedly more valuable in that week alone. Let’s take a look at a few players I’m buying and some that I’m fading here in Week 9.
Jonathan Marchessault (C/LW – VGK)
Marchessault is playing well of late with six points in his last eight games. I particularly like his shot volume, where he is averaging 3.5 shots per game over the last two weeks. The Golden Knights are tied for the third least games played this season with 26. Looking ahead to their schedule, I see a lot of the LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, and San Jose Sharks. Marchessault has an opportunity to have a big second half of this season, and he should come at a very modest price.
John Klingberg (D – DAL)
No team has played fewer games this season than the Dallas Stars, with 24. Klingberg’s 5 goals and 17 points can easily be overlooked without context. On a per-game basis, Klingberg ranks 13th amongst defensemen in points and 6th in power-play points. He will be playing a lot of games when it matters most. I will be buying Klingberg where I can and selling defensemen with comparable point totals playing in the North Division, where they have played upwards of 25% more games.
Patrik Laine (RW – CBJ)
As previously discussed, the schedule is not favorable to the Blue Jackets in the fantasy playoffs. Columbus is scheduled to play just two games in Week 15. This goes beyond just games played, though. Patrik Laine just broke a seven-game pointless streak last week. He has two points in his previous ten games. Many people questioned the fit for Laine in Columbus with coach John Tortorella. Tortorella has been hard on Laine, benching him several times already in his short stay. Laine showed some frustration last week, indicating he thought he was playing well in a game he was ultimately benched in. Laine brings explosive upside and major name recognition. If you can return star value on this player, I would jump on it.
Anton Khudobin (G – DAL)
The time to throw in the towel on Anton Khudobin is right now. Backup Jake Oettinger played both sides of a back-to-back this past weekend and followed it up by playing last night. To make matters worse, Ben Bishop is scheduled to return at some point towards the end of this year. If goalies are sparse in your league, sell Khudobin for anything you can. I highly suggest streaming goalies in the playoffs, anyway. The Stars face the Red Wings four times in Week 13, which for most leagues is the quarterfinals. I would use that as a selling point. Just don’t mention that they face Tampa Bay and Florida several times in the two weeks afterward.