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Fantasy Hockey Trade Targets & Advice (Week 17)

Feb 1, 2023

While the NHL wraps up the first half of its season and players are either headed to the All-Star game, their families, or Cabo, we get a good chunk of time to evaluate our rosters.

Let’s put that time to good use with some names worth buying and selling prior to the second half of the campaign.

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NHL Fantasy Hockey Week 17 Buy/Sell Advice

*Rosterships courtesy of ESPN


Brock Nelson (C – NYI)

The New York Islanders have struggled to score goals of late, but general manager Lou Lamoriello hasn’t given up on his group as evidenced by his trade for star pivot Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks.

We don’t know how the Islanders will truly lineup when they return from the break on Feb. 6, but there’s a good shot their offense improves upon Horvat’s official arrival. Perhaps more important for Nelson is whether or not the power play will get a much-needed boost.

In fact, there isn’t a power play that’s been worse than that of the Islanders who are humming along at a league-worse 15.5% clip. After a surprisingly strong start on offense, the Islanders find themselves ranked 25th in overall offense, a familiar spot for a team that’s put its focus on defense for the last several seasons.

Despite the club’s goal-scoring woes, Nelson has notched a healthy 19 goals and 46 points across 52 games with 11 of those points coming via the man advantage. The Isles have scored two goals or fewer in each of their last seven games but Nelson continues to churn along with seven points in that span as he carries a six-game point streak into the break.

With Nelson averaging nearly three shots per game en route to what will easily be a career-high, his 12.6% shooting rate is actually below his 14% career mark. In other words, he hasn’t benefited from increased puck luck on the season.

There’s already enough evidence to buy Nelson prior to the team’s trade for Horvat, but if the power play gets a boost Nelson could trend toward a point-per-game player in the second half.

Adrian Kempe (C, LW, RW – LA)

Kempe and Nelson are seeing similar ownerships in the low 80% range, but both are being undervalued given their production.

After shattering his previous career high with 35 goals as part of a breakout 2021-22 campaign, Kempe is proving it was no fluke as he’s up to 22 goals in 53 games this time around, a 34-goal pace across an 82-game season. The speedy forward also fired a career-best 247 shots last season and is on pace for 234 this time around.

He’s a goal-scorer by trade and has just 14 helpers on the season, but he has also delivered a hefty 74 hits, collected 11 points on the power play, is a plus-four on the season, and has also contributed a solid 26 penalty minutes as well. That appears to be some quality cross-category production that is blatantly outplaying many skaters with far superior rosterships.

Skating with Anze Kopitar in all situations is helping. Kopitar may not be the point-producer he was in his prime, however, Kempe is skating with him on the top line, top power-play unit, and even short-handed to boot. As a result, the Swede is seeing a career-high 18:52 of average ice time per game on the campaign.

Kempe is a wonderfully productive secondary player on any fantasy roster.


Tomas Hertl (C – SJ)

Hertl is having a nice season with 43 points across 49 games for the lowly San Jose Sharks, but there are a few legitimate reasons to fade the Czech pivot.

For one, Hertl isn’t doing much outside of the assist column. He has 29 of those in 49 contests but is a minus-nine and averages just 2.3 shots per game. His 57 hits are solid, as are his 12 power-play points and 22 penalty minutes. Solid, yet unspectacular and less than what the aforementioned Kempe is bringing to the table.

Secondly, the next bomb to drop could very well be a trade of Timo Meier out of town. The superstar winger skates to the left of Hertl at five-on-five and on the Sharks’ power-play unit. The Sharks would get a substantial return for Meier, but it’s easy to see Hertl’s production slipping when Meier is shipped out of town.

It’s important to keep in mind this player has never reached a point-per-game in a season, his closest coming with 74 points in 77 games in the 2018-19 campaign. In the three seasons thereafter, Hertl has collected 143 points across 180 contests. Quality production, but not top-tier by any stretch of the imagination. He’s tied for 76th in league scoring in that time, three points behind the aforementioned Brock Nelson.

Hertl isn’t going to provide much for a stretch run toward a fantasy title, but near-92% ownership could be enough to swindle an opponent.

Jonathan Marchessault (LW – VGK)

Marchessault started the season hot but has cooled off substantially. While his fantasy stock has dipped, he is still a useful player who can be packaged into a bigger deal.

He’s been a big addition for the Golden Knights after they took him in their expansion draft and notched a healthy 30 goals and 66 points in 76 games last season along with 251 shots on goal. However, with 32 points in 45 games this season he’s on pace for just 58 points this season along with 27 goals. That’s not a major drop in production, but a drop nonetheless.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if he were delivering elsewhere. His 49 hits and 13 power-play points are okay, but if your league doesn’t count hits he simply has not been very good. He’s a minus-seven with just nine penalty minutes on the year. His shot volume is nearly identical to last season, but his 9.9% shooting rate is actually right in line with his 10.7% career mark. In fact, he’s been between 9% and 10.2% in five of his six seasons with Vegas, so don’t expect a ton of positive regression in that department.

Perhaps a return to a line with Jack Eichel at five-on-five and the top power-play unit can get him going. However, he’s been in good spots all season, he just hasn’t been able to hit his ceiling in the process.

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