Chris Pudsey continues his look with his fourth part of his team by team look at buys and sells.
We are over half way home on my team by team coverage for buying and selling players for salary cap leagues.
Last week I got some good feedback on some of my selections. I always enjoy feedback and I don’t always expect people to agree with my columns. That’s what makes it interesting, the interjection from others with opinions. By all means, feel free to give your opinion on anything I put out there, good or bad.
That being said, let’s carry on with a few more teams and who you should be looking at buying or selling, depending on your team’s situation.
Buy: Craig Smith – C/W, $4.25M, five years remaining
Smith is a guy I like and am have no issue spending the money on. The fact he’s now signed long-term to a nice mid-level contract makes him attractive.
Smith has produced back-to-back 20+ goal seasons and other than Shea Weber, he has the most points as a Predator going back to the 2013/14 season. He starts a ton in the offensive zone and is quickly becoming one of the more consistent Predators. He’s just coming into his prime and with an offensive system in place, he could thrive and surprise some for years.
Sell: Ryan Ellis – D, $2.5M, four years remaining
If there’s one thing I normally don’t do, its move out young defensemen with solid upside. Unfortunately for Ellis, there’s simply too much talent in front of him for him to be a legit asset for us fantasy managers. As long as Roman Josi and Shea Weber are in Nashville, Ellis will always be a secondary option on the blue line for offense and let’s be honest, that’s Ellis’ strong point.
Don’t get me wrong, Ellis has the upside and is still young, but his situation isn’t conducive to a strong fantasy return. His age and upside should help you move him because that’s what you are selling here: potential.
New Jersey Devils
Buy: Kyle Palmieri – RW, $1.46M, one year remaining
I won’t lie; there isn’t a lot to like in New Jersey these days other than on the backend, and it will be hard to snag one of their good young defensemen. Palmieri looks like the sensible choice as the guy you will want to buy.
After coming to the Devils just before this year’s entry draft via trade, he instantly became the team’s top RW today and long term. He will be relied on heavily for scoring and should see more than enough ice time to do so.
With limited opportunities in Anaheim last season, he still put up more goals last year (14) than every Devil with the exception of Adam Henrique (16) and Mike Cammalleri (27). It shouldn't take him long to jump past those guys.
Sell: Jon Merrill – D, $840,000, one year remaining
Jon Merrill is going to be a good “real life” defenseman but really doesn’t bring much for fantasy owners.
Last season, in 66 games, he averaged over 20 minutes per game and barely offered any offense, hits, blocks, shots on goal and was a -14 (second worst on the team). He scored two goals and both were on the power play.
There are just too many other good options in front of Merrill for him to really become a decent fantasy asset. Sell him while age is still in his favor. Most fantasy GMs tend to focus on that number too much anyway.
New York Islanders
Buy: Travis Hamonic – D, $3.86M, five years remaining
Considering the contracts that other defensemen are signing, dollar-wise, Hamonic’s contract being under $4M is a bargain. As most of us have seen, any defenseman who can chew bubble gum and skate at the same time usually gets $4M+ these days.
Hamonic averaged last year 0.46 ppg compared to Leddy (0.47ppg) and Boychuk (0.49ppg). Hamonic was a better option for hits, PIMs, and assists compared to the other two and was almost better than Boychuk for blocks too.
At 25 years of age, he is just coming into his own. The fact that he’s locked up long term on what many would consider a bargain contract is a bonus.
Sell: Nick Leddy – D, $5.5M, seven years remaining
I remember back in February when Leddy signed his new long-term deal, I wrote a Capped column on him and how it compared for fantasy hockey. Back then, I didn’t like the deal for fantasy owners in capped leagues, and I still don’t.
I get it; he’s only 24-years-old and is a top-two defenseman on a very good Islanders club. He gets a lot of ice time and lots of opportunities but he isn’t as good as the $5.5M price tag that he comes with. If this was $4M – $4.5M, he doesn’t look nearly as bad but over $5M and he isn’t worth it.
He gets a ton of offensive zone starts and honestly should be a better offensive player than he is. He doesn’t offer many peripherals that you want to see in a defenseman like hits, blocks and even PIMs.
All in all, I am just underwhelmed with Leddy, especially for the price tag he brings. He isn't worth the money.
New York Rangers
Buy: Mats Zuccarello – LW, $4.5M, four years remaining
Coming off a fairly serious injury will probably scare away a lot of fantasy GMs, and this should open up the door for you to fly in and scoop up Zuccarello at a very reasonable price. He’s fully recovered and ready to go for training camp.
This guy is the top line LW for the New York Rangers. Zuccarello is a strong possession player who drives the play, and for a smaller skater, that says a lot. He is probably a serious buy-low right now because he had a bit of a down year last year but watch for him to bounce back with a vengeance this year. With Martin St. Louis gone, expect Zuccarello’s ice time and opportunities to go up.
Don’t sleep on Zuccarello.
Sell: Emerson Etem – LW/RW, $850,000, one year remaining
At only 23 years of age, Etem is still young and still learning the game, but the chances of Etem cracking the top six on NHL teams is quickly closing.
After coming to the Rangers in a trade for Carl Hagelin in late June, it appears he will slot in Hagelin’s old spot on the third line and will be used in a similar fashion as Hagelin. That means killing penalties, and the chance for some PP2 opportunities if he's lucky.
A fast skater who has yet to really find his groove in the NHL, he may find it as a quality checking winger with speed, much like Hagelin and even Michael Grabner from the Leafs. They all possess loads of skill and speed but just can’t seem to get it together offensively with any amount of consistency.
Etem is still a sexy name to some GMs out there as they continue to wait on his offensive outburst. Let them wait on it.
Buy: Mike Hoffman – LW, $2M, one year remaining
After scoring 27 goals last year, the Senators got a gift from the arbitrator when Hoffman was only awarded a $2M contract for this year. He will have a desire to prove that his breakout season last year wasn’t a fluke.
I won’t be surprised to see Hoffman skating on the second line for the majority of the season with Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan. He should receive quality ice time not only 5-on-5 but also a fair amount of power play time as well.
Hoffman coming close to reproducing his offense from last year isn't as far-fetched as some may think.
Sell: Jared Cowen – D, $3.1M, two years remaining
After back to back disappointing seasons, Cowen is, at best, a third pairing defenseman with the Senators. At $3.1M, he simply isn’t worth the money they are paying him.
He’s still young but he seems to be declining instead of progressing. He has never been an offensive defenseman but last year his nine points in 54 games is the worst he has done in any NHL season where he has played more than 50 games. His fantasy strengths, hits, have also been in decline.
The Senators, for some reason, don’t want to move him, and are waiting on his potential. A move in real life would probably be the best thing for Cowen and his career. If he has another year like he’s had the past couple that could very well be in the cards for him. I am not saying that will change much for him as far as fantatsy value goes, but it sure couldn't hurt.
Well there are five more teams for your reading pleasure as we continue to countdown the last remaining teams for your preseason buy and sell.
Feel free to follow me on twitter @chrispudsey and also feel free to comment.