Top 10 Players Whose Value Increased This Postseason
One of the more interesting phenomena with the playoffs and fantasy hockey is how the postseason can sometimes artificially boost a player's fantasy value.
A couple of good series by a player, and all of a sudden, a fantasy general manager has to pay more if he is trying to acquire that player. Last year, Max Pacioretty and Jaden Schwartz were two of the top players whose value increased due to strong postseasons. Cale Makar was another, and his value continued to rise into and throughout the 2019-20 season.
Strangely enough, the opposite isn't usually true. If a player struggles in the playoffs, you won't be able to get him for cheaper than you would have before the postseason began. For instance, the asking price on Blake Wheeler, Evgeni Malkin or Mitchell Marner after their disappointing round-robin exits is pretty much the same as it was back in April.
Below are 10 players whose values increased this postseason, meaning you could trade them for a higher price now than you could have back in June. For some of them, it would probably be good for you to sell high. For some others, this increase in value could be the start of better things for a player.
10. Kevin Hayes
Despite making it to the second round, the postseason was seen as a disappointment for many Flyers players. Sean Couturier scored only two goals, Claude Giroux had only one, Travis Konecny was scoreless and James Van Riemsdyk was frequently a healthy scratch. However, one Flyer who did show up was Hayes, who had 13 points in 16 games, including eight in the series against the Islanders. This was much-needed relief for fantasy general managers after a poor regular season (a 49-point pace).
9. Brock Nelson
Despite an increase in value, he still isn't getting enough respect. Nelson has nine goals and 18 points in 20 postseason games. That point total is tied for seventh-highest this postseason, and is a 74-point pace over 82 games. He's been stepping it up lately, with six goals and 10 points in his last eight games. All this despite him having just two points on the power play.
Despite a couple of decent seasons, this postseason could be viewed as his breakthrough time. Playing against a big market team in Toronto will help that, but Dubois was excellent in that series, highlighted by a hat trick in the third game (which included the overtime winner). He then turned it up a notch against the Lightning, with six points in five games. Overall, the 22-year-old finished with 10 points in 10 postseason games.
7. Nick Suzuki
The break seemed to have paid off for Suzuki. He had only one point in his last nine regular season games and saw his ice time drop off slightly as it appeared he had hit a rookie wall. In the postseason, he was regularly featured in a big role, getting minutes against the other team's top players (he matched up mostly with Evgeni Malkin in the play-in round and against Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes against the Flyers). He finished with seven points in 10 games. Now, because of the postseason performance of he and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the Habs are rumoured to be shopping Phillip Danault to give the two young centres less competition for ice time.
Sometimes it only takes one game to drive your value up. Ask someone what they think of Kubalik's postseason, and you'll probably hear how impressive he was. He had five points in the first game against Edmonton, which had everyone raving. However, he had only three points in the next eight games. It doesn't matter. The five-point game to open the playoffs and eight points in nine games are enough to increase his value even more after an impressive rookie season.
Going into the postseason, Khudobin was already seen as one of the best backups in the league and was expected to be paid like one if he hits unrestricted free agency. Instead, he's been excellent as the Stars starter. He had a few rough games against Colorado in their slugfest, but he's been excellent against Vegas, giving up six goals to the Golden Knights in four games. He's probably earned himself some extra money thanks to this postseason run, and it will be interesting to see if a team will give him a chance to be the number one goalie next season.
When the regular season was suspended in March, Demko had a rookie season to forget. His numbers weren't great as he had a 13-10-2 record to go along with a 3.06 GAA and a 0.905 SV %. Jacob Markstrom wasn't much better (23-16-4 with a 2.75 GAA and a 0.918 SV %), but there seemed to be a feeling that Markstrom was a good bet to re-sign with the Canucks and come back next year. Then the postseason happened, and by the time the Canucks were facing Vegas in the second round, Markstrom was deemed unfit to play. That's when Demko shone, finishing by giving up only two goals in three games and looking outstanding against the Golden Knights. Now while the Canucks are still trying to re-sign Markstrom, things don't look as bad if the team has to go with Demko.
Thanks to injuries and Miro Heiskanen seemingly taking over for Dallas, Klingberg had a slightly underwhelming regular season. His 0.55 points-per-game mark was the lowest of his career, and he finished with a negative plus-minus for the first time in his NHL career. His ice time was down two minutes per night and he wasn't getting as high a percentage of the team's power-play minutes. In the postseason, it feels like Klingberg is back to his old self. Klingberg's 14 points are fifth among defensemen this postseason.
Theodore finally had his breakout season this year, posting his first 40-point season and finally getting consistent top power-play minutes. That led to 16 power-play points, and 46 points (an 82-game pace of 53 points). He also set a career high in shots. In the postseason, he has seven goals and 18 points in 19 games and is arguably the Knights' best player. He's a proven playoff performer, with 36 points in his last 46 postseason games with Vegas, and you can forget about ever buying low on him again.
1. Robin Lehner
A lot of people were shocked when Vegas dealt for Lehner at the trade deadline. After all, even though Marc-Andre Fleury struggled this season, he has three cups and led Vegas to the finals two years ago. Now it makes a lot more sense. Vegas went with Lehner immediately in the playoffs, and he's delivered big time. Even with the Golden Knights down 3-1 in the series against Dallas, it would probably be worse if it weren't for Lehner, who apparently needs to pitch shutouts to get a win (his last four wins have all been shutouts). Also helping with his value is the rumour that he already has a contract agreement in place with Vegas.
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