With week one in the books, we're on to week two of the buy/sell series – you can find part 1 here. For the uninitiated, this multi-week feature will cover each NHL team, analyzing one player to buy and one to sell. These recommendations will be based on their performance versus cap hit. That means in non-cap leagues, some of these suggestions may not be as relevant, but that doesn't mean the analysis isn't relevant. Generally, these players will either be riding new contracts into the season or be expected to have a large shift in value, for one reason or another. We went alphabetically last year, so this time we're going for the reverse.
Let's get back to it with Vancouver, Toronto, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis.
Buy: Adam Gaudette
Current Cap Hit: $950,000
Gaudette is still 100 games away from hitting his breakout threshold, yet he was already pacing for 46 points last season. After starting out on hot while on the wing last season, Gaudette then took a small step back when being shifted to centre. From that point, he steadily increased his pace every successive quarter while playing centre, and did so with Antoine Roussell as his most common line mate. This coming season there is a wing spot in the top-six open for Gaudette, and if he gets that offensive opportunity then watch out. At minimum though he can be a 40-point centre earning less than $1 million.
Sell: Bo Horvat
Current Cap Hit: $5,500,000
I love Bo Horvat as much as the next guy (maybe even more) but what he did to raise his stock in the playoffs won't be repeatable over the course of a full regular season. He won't be a point-per-game guy, instead he regularly paces for 60 points and as a result his name value is surpassing his fantasy value. Sell him for someone with a higher upside, that doesn't also have to take on all of the toughest defensive responsibilities. Let your league know he's available and there will be opportunities to move him and improve your team.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Buy: Mikko Lehtonen / Morgan Rielly
Current Cap Hit: $925,000 / $5,000,000
One of these two defencemen is going to be running the top Leafs power play, and we all know how talented their top forwards are. Morgan Rielly is the incumbent and had two straight years of 20-plus powerplay points (PPPs) before falling off last year in an injury and pandemic shortened season. However, even if he played every game Rielly was only on pace for 12 PPPs last season, in part due to the presence of a more offensively inclined blueliner in Tyson Barrie.
Mikko Lehtonen has been tearing up the KHL to the tune of eight goals and 17 points in 17 games. He seems to be in great shape to make the opening day lineup for the Leafs after being released from his KHL loan, and with his offensive skillset he may get a spin on the top powerplay unit. W