Fantasy Hockey Trade Advice: Anders Lee, Kris Letang, Taylor Hall (2022)
The fantasy hockey season keeps churning, but our squads are far from a finished product. Let’s ensure we keep improving as we search for value in the trade market.
Here are some players worth buying and selling at this point in the campaign.
I wrote about Lee as a waiver-wire add a handful of weeks ago, and if you didn’t grab him then, unfortunately, he’s going to cost you something in many leagues as he’s rostered in 72.8% of ESPN leagues at this juncture.
However, I’d still reach out and see what it would take to land the Islanders’ captain. Lee scuffled by his standards last season to the tune of 46 points in 76 games while getting just 159 shots on goal, or 2.09 per game. His 28 goals were solid, but he underperformed across the board.
However, keep in mind that Lee was coming off an ACL surgery from the previous season. This time around, he’s notched eight goals and 18 points in 20 games with 55 shots on target, or 2.75 per game. He’s added a quality 21 penalty minutes, seven power-play points, a plus-two rating, and 37 hits to his ledger. The guy has simply produced across the board.
He’s skated on both the first and second line this season, but it really hasn’t mattered whether he’s skating with No. 1 center Mathew Barzal or a fine No. 2 pivot in Brock Nelson. Regardless, Lee remains a key cog on the Isles’ top power-play unit.
For a player who won’t cost much in a one-for-one deal or even in a package trade, the underrated Lee would make a fine addition to any roster out there.
Man, has it ever been a tough go for Letang to this point.
The future Hall of Fame defenseman has collected just 11 points in 18 games, boasts an ugly minus-10 rating, and has managed just three power-play points despite skating on a unit with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel. However, given the massive track record, he’s accumulated, he’s a nice buy-low target for a contending fantasy team.
Not many owners have lost faith, given his 97.1% rostership, but I guarantee you many are frustrated. Letang isn’t even a shot-on-goal machine either, with 38 shots in those 18 games, but he does have a solid 31 hits under his belt.
So, why buy?
Well, it appears he’s coming out of his slump some. He’s notched a goal and three points over his last three games while getting seven shots on goal and four hits in that time. We should also keep in mind that Letang’s shooting rate stands at a measly 2.6% on the season, less than half of his 5.8% career mark. It would be his lowest shooting rate in 12 years if the season ended today.
Is he slowing down at 35 years old and with plenty of miles on those legs? Maybe a hair as his minutes have been cut back some, but this guy managed 10 goals, 68 points, 214 shots on goal, 171 hits, 122 blocks, and a plus-20 rating just last season. I’m not so sure he’s fallen off the cliff some believe he has.
I wouldn’t sell the farm, but perhaps you can take advantage of a frustrated owner and grab Letang while the value is down.
At this stage, Hall isn’t going to net you a King’s ransom, but he could certainly be included in a package or perhaps a one-for-one deal for someone like Anders Lee, as noted above. After all, they share similar rostership in ESPN leagues.
Hall would be fine so long as he was skating in a top-six role, but wingers such as Jake DeBrusk and even Pavel Zacha have leapfrogged him on the depth chart. Hall is currently skating as the third-line center alongside Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith, a far cry from the likes of Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci.
The guy does have four points over his last four games but just 13 points across 19 contests. He isn’t shooting the puck a ton with 43 shots in that time and is only a plus-four on an NHL-leading Bruins team. Add in only two power-play points (on the second unit, no less), and Hall isn’t getting it done from many standpoints.
That said, he does continue to sport one of the more important aspects of fantasy sports: name value. The 2018 MVP and former first-overall pick is a reputable name and one that could help net you something more valuable than name value.
Don’t get me wrong, Jacob Trouba can be an attractive fantasy player as he was a season ago. However, what has he been getting done this time around?
At 97% rostership at ESPN, Trouba is goalless with only five assists in 20 games this season. Additionally, he’s a minus-four with just 10 penalty minutes. None of those numbers are even close to above average.
His value right now is in the shots and hits department, with 60 and 68 of those, respectively. Last season, he amassed a hearty 204 shots and 207 hits, with 177 blocks to boot. He will not lack in those departments.
However, he’s not going to net you many power-play points, either, with zero of those so far as part of the second unit. With Adam Fox around, he’s not sniffing the top power-play unit, perhaps barring injury.
Trouba is a player that holds more value to the New York Rangers than he does your fantasy squad. He’s excellent in the shots and hits department, but if your league doesn’t include hits, then he’s been essentially a one-dimension player to this point in this season. Obviously, he’s going to score at some point, as zero goals on 60 shots scream positive regression, but a scoring tear is unlikely as last season was just the second time in his nine-year career he managed more than eight goals in a single season.
His rostership figure might be enough for someone to bite on his lack of production to this point in the season.