With the all-star break come and gone, we are less than a month from the trade deadline, which is February 25th. Everyone is looking for something a little different come deadline day, so we’re going to cover three forwards who could provide significant value
Rickard Rakell – Anaheim Ducks
Cap Hit: $3,789,444 (With three years remaining after this summer.)
Rickard Rakell has had some ups and downs this season, and after missing almost the whole month of December, he looks to be a good buy at the right time for the playoff run. Last season, Rakell put up 21 points in his 19 fourth quarter games, but has slumped the last few games. In fact, the whole Anaheim squad has, and to incorrectly use an old adage: what goes down, must come up. Changes are coming in Anaheim, whether it be a new coach, a change in personnel on the ice, or just a change in luck, expect a boost for some of the scorers to close out the season. This makes for the perfect buy time for Rakell.
Rakell is eligible at all three forward positions on both Yahoo and Fantrax. Additionally, Anaheim plays on at least two off night days over the three main head-to-head weeks to finish the season (for a total of 11 games from March 4th to March 24th). He also provides a solid number of peripherals, averaging 2.75 shots and 1.3 hits per game over the last three seasons. Fantasy owners in all types of leagues can reap the benefits of one of the more underrated producers in the league. If he played on the East coast, it would be a completely different story.
Travis Konecny – Philadelphia Flyers
New Cap Hit: $894,167 (Expires this summer as an RFA)
The young Flyers winger had a stellar second half last year, putting up 32 of his 47 points after the midway mark. This year, the whole Flyers team has stalled, yet Konecny still passes the eye test. He is again eligible at all three forward positions, has a desirable fantasy playoff schedule, and comes with a very manageable cap hit to end off the season. This buy is more for points-only leagues as Konecny doesn’t produce too many peripherals.
From Michael Clifford’s January 17th Ramblings:
“Speaking of guys who produce good-but-not-great numbers because of a lack of power play production (and minutes):
I understand that 26 points in 48 games isn’t a great fantasy campaign for Travis Konecny owners, but he’s second among the team’s forwards in points/60 minutes this year, trailing only Claude Giroux.
He’s also first among their forwards in shot attempts/60 minutes. And he does everything we look for in a player’s underlying metrics: drives the play, shoots, looks for exits/entries with possession, and knows how to find his teammates.
Konecny is a burgeoning star. This is a guy fantasy owners who are currently way out of the league race should be targeting. You can probably get away with a very good roster player and a draft pick to get him. I would be at least inquiring. This kid is going to be a very, very good fantasy asset for the next decade. (jan17)
Not just a buy for this year, but for the long-term plans as well. As a contender looking to win more than just this year, acquiring players like Konecny for a draft pick and/or a prospect is how you make that happen.
Vinnie Hinostroza – Arizona Coyotes
Cap Hit: $1,500,000 (With one year remaining after this summer before becoming an RFA)
This is a little bit more of a buy for the future, but like the Konecny option, can help you out this season too. Arizona has one of the best schedules during fantasy head-to-head weeks, and Hinostroza is one of the best scoring options in the Desert right now. He is also a little bit of a “Dobber Darling” (a future breakout favourite of the big man Dobber himself), and when that title is thrown around, ignore it at your own downfall.
The 24-year-old has yet to hit the 50-game mark in a season (knock-on-wood, he should this year), so it is tough to peg whether his fourth-year breakout is due up next year or the year after. Based on the number of total games though, it could be another year in 2019-2020 at a 40-point pace before he truly busts out. Cam Atkinson has been used as a comparable before, and it has taken him to his sixth full season before reaching the point-per-game status. Hinostroza is a building block whose salary should remain reasonable for the next number of years and makes a great return piece as part of a package to a re-tooling team.
Casey Mittelstadt – Buffalo Sabres
Cap Hit: $925,000 (With one year remaining after this summer before becoming an RFA)
For those of you approaching the deadline with the league title a very long way off, there are desperate contenders to be taken advantage of. Casey Mittelstadt would be one of those great pieces to aim for when selling off one of your veterans. Mittelstadt has had a bit of trouble adapting to the pro game, and this should come as no surprise after playing his draft year in the US high school circuit. He dominated there, dominated the World Juniors, and has shown flashes with the Sabres. He likely just needs a little more time to adjust to the speed of the game. Case in point, the Tuesday night game against Columbus had some great heads up plays by the young centre, but there were also shifts where he showed a complete lack of effort.
Teammates Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville are free agents this summer, with one or both leaving, it should open up an excellent opportunity for Mittlestadt to take over some extra offensive minutes. Mittelstadt has been playing on the third line, and only seeing secondary power play time. Conor Sheary and Tage Thompson aren’t exactly the kinds of linemates that are really going to shelter a young player who is still learning the difficult role of being an NHL centre.
No longer in the top five prospects on the Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards list, this seems like a good time to buy low on a potential star player.
For other good deadline buys, check out the Midseason Guide before it’s too late to get your season back on track!
That caps off this week’s record article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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