With the NHL regular season now in full gear, we can finally get into some trade ideas despite the season being in its infancy.
Injuries and performance force us to keep an eye on targets and value around the league, so let’s get into some buy/sell trade advice and bolster those rosters moving forward!
*Ownership percentages courtesy of ESPN
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Brock Boeser (RW – VAN) 65.2% rostered
Boeser entered the league with 59 goals across his first 140 games, putting him on a healthy 0.42 goals-per-game pace, a 34-goal pace over a full 82-game NHL season. Remember, that’s less than two seasons’ worth of a sample, so the early returns on Boeser were quite impressive.
However, he’s scored at a 0.34 goals-per-game pace in the three seasons since. More recently, Boeser recorded just 23 goals and 46 points last season in what was a tough season both on and off the ice. Look for things to turn around this season.
Pre-season hand surgery put the early stages of his 2022-23 campaign in doubt, but Boeser is good to go for Wednesday night’s opener against the Edmonton Oilers. Even better is that he’s set to skate on the team’s top line with J.T. Miller and Tanner Pearson. Miller paced the Canucks with 99 points last season, 31 more points than second-place Elias Pettersson in an equal amount of 80 games played. Playing alongside a 100-point pivot never hurts.
Boeser is also a good bet to eclipse 200 shots on goal if he can stay healthy, as he’s already done so once despite playing just 69 games in the 2018-19 season.
This season, Boeser represents a quality bounce-back candidate and could be had for cheap, given his recent output.
Jack Eichel (C, F – VGK) 98.9% rostered
It’s no secret Eichel can be a fantasy stud, and if you have your eye on him, I don’t blame you. Now is the time to strike before his value gets out of control.
Eichel’s 2021-22 season was turbulent, from his ugly exit out of Buffalo to a Vegas team that fell well below expectations, largely due to injury. Upon his arrival, Eichel went on to post a decent yet unspectacular 14 goals and 25 points across 34 games. This player has 381 points across 410 career games, largely spent with a Sabres organization that continually failed to surround the American center with any type of supporting cast.
If his output from Tuesday’s season opener was any indication, we could be getting a new level of a healthy Jack Eichel this season. He scored on a hefty seven shots on goal while skating more than 17 minutes in Vegas’ season-opening win in Los Angeles. He now has a healthy Mark Stone on his wing, something he largely did not have in his Vegas debut a season ago.
Remember, this guy scored 36 goals across just 68 games in his most recent semi-healthy season back in 2019-20. He’s recorded as many as 82 points in 77 games the season prior. Again, these numbers are without any type of above-average support.
He’ll cost a pretty penny, but considering a package for his services right now is a very productive idea.
Vincent Trocheck (C, F – NYR) 80.3% rostered
If your league includes hits, Trocheck becomes a more valuable trade target right now.
Last season, the American put up quality cross-category production, racking up 21 goals, 51 points, 168 shots on goal, 78 penalty minutes, and a whopping 185 hits while skating in 81 games with the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Hurricanes have some talented offensive players that played alongside Trocheck, he’s opened the 2022-23 season centering a line that features former Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin, a player capable of producing 100 points or more.
A nasty leg injury while with the Florida Panthers set Trocheck back before last season, but this is a player that scored 31 goals and 75 points alongside 287 shots on goal and 145 hits as recently as the 2017-18 season. The 10-year veteran might be hard-pressed to reach those levels again. Still, his productivity in the hits, penalty minutes, and shots-on-goal departments is attractive, alongside a potential boost in offense production alongside Panarin, not to mention a spot on the top power-play with the Rangers’ top offensive weapons.
Even if your league doesn’t count hits, Trocheck is worth a look as a player with plenty of upside in multiple categories this season.
Cole Caufield (RW – MTL) 86.5% rostered
If you’re in a dynasty or deep keeper league, perhaps you don’t want to part with a potential 40-goal scorer down the road in Caufield. However, he doesn’t bring enough to the table in most categories for me.
In short, Caufield will be a complete liability in the plus/minus department on a poor Canadiens team. He’ll also record very few penalty minutes, hits, and even assists as a shoot-first player. He could very well eclipse 200 shots on goal this season; he flourished under head coach Martin St. Louis after he took over last season and figures to score his fair share of goals again this year, but he’s too much of a liability for me elsewhere.
The Canadiens are set for a few seasons of rebuilding hockey, making a two-category player awfully difficult to keep while you should be able to find a suitor for his services on the trade market.
Jamie Benn (C, LW – DAL) 64% rostered
Benn is a type of player more valuable in the real world than he will be in the fantasy universe. He might not net you much in a straight-up deal, but he could be part of a package to rid you of a player well past his prime.
Benn will provide some penalty minutes, shots on goal, and some hits, but he’s not going to be worth much in the offensive categories, while his plus/minus likely doesn’t provide much, either. He fell under the 20-goal mark last season with a -13 rating and figures to be around those totals again this time around.
While he and Tyler Seguin formed the one-two punch of the Stars for many years, that distinction now belongs to Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson. Benn might bounce between the first and second power-play units. Still, with the addition of Mason Marchment this offseason, Benn appears to have slipped into a third-line role alongside Wyatt Johnston, a 27-year-old coming out of Canadian University hockey. That doesn’t exactly instill much confidence in his ability to produce at even strength.
Benn is a player you won’t miss on your roster this season.
Mats Zuccarello (RW – MIN) 84.4% rostered
Skating on a line with Kirill Kaprizov doesn’t hurt your outlook, but Zuccarello doesn’t provide much in peripheral categories to get me excited enough to hold a roster spot.
He should do just fine in the assist column, which he’s done for his entire career. Forty-plus assists are not out of the question. He’s also very likely to contribute in the plus/minus category, but that’s about where the above-average production ends.
A playmaker by trade, Zuccarello doesn’t project to put many shots on goal, and we know he’s not going to provide much in terms of penalty minutes or hits. He had just 36 hits in 70 games last season, and while his 24 penalty minutes are something, it’s nothing special.
Kaprizov helped him to 79 points in 70 games, but that’s precisely why he’s a nice sell candidate. His previous career high in points was 61 in the 2015-16 season, while he also benefited from a shooting rate of 15.1% that was well above his 11.7% career mark.
Sometimes you need to sell good players with certain flaws to get a player to your liking. Zuccarello is a fine player so long as he skates with Kaprizov, but there’s enough reason to consider selling him in an attempt to acquire a superior fantasy player.
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