Continuing our buy and sell series, we cover each NHL team, analyzing one player to buy, and one to sell (here are parts one and two). 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.”
This week’s teams are Ottawa through Nashville.
Buy: Mark Stone
Cap Hit: $7,350,000 with one year remaining
There isn’t much to like in Ottawa this year, and if Erik Karlsson gets dealt, Stone may be the lone bright spot left. I am not a believer in Matt Duchene, and he is going to ask for too much in free-agency next season. As for Stone, he is a point-per-game winger with a solid defensive awareness, and a lack of proper fanfare. Matt Cane, one of the more well-known predictors of NHL salaries, had Stone estimated at an $8.773 million AAV contract this coming season. My contract model agreed with it almost exactly, predicting an $8.795 million AAV. He is worth that much and was asking for almost exactly that going into arbitration. This is a fair price for Stone, one fantasy owners should be content with while moving forward. For this season, he will be an easy bargain on his current arbitration deal.
Sell: (Almost) Everyone Else
Erik Karlsson (should he remain a Senator) would be a hold, or even a soft buy based on the price. Thomas Chabot is a buy based on the low perception of the Ottawa franchise in general. Otherwise, this team will disappoint in cap and non-cap leagues. As mentioned above, Matt Duchene will ask too much in free-agency next year, and the lineup is next to barren behind them. Youngsters Colin White, Logan Brown and Filip Chlapik are not yet ready to take up the mantle, so the veterans will be asked to carry more of the load than they can handle. Craig Anderson is past his prime and will not be able to hold this team together. Even at a lower price than most starters, he won’t be worth rostering in your standard 12-team league.
New York Rangers
Buy: Mika Zibanejad
Cap Hit: $5,350,000 with four years remaining
Zibanejad had an excellent first and fourth quarter of the season, but was slowed down mid-season by an injury. A healthy season could mean just short of a point-per-game, like what we saw in his first and fourth quarters. Align that with three shots per game, 30 powerplay points, and the potential for 100 hits & 800 faceoff wins, and we have ourselves a stud first line centre, for the cost of a second liner.
Sell: Kevin Shattenkirk
Cap Hit: $6,650,000 with three years remaining
The New York Rangers are very much lacking in defencemen they can rely on heavily in their own zone. Kevin Shattenkirk is their veteran and will be counted on to show the youngsters how it’s done. Marc Staal just isn’t cutting it anymore, and Brendan Smith is a good bet to be sent down again. Shatty will be taking on the defensive responsibilities while freeing up the likes of Tony DeAngelo and Brady Skjei for the offensive opportunities.
We also don’t know how healthy Shattenkirk is going to be. Recovering from knee surgery is no minor task, and it will have affected his summer workout. Even if he comes back healthy, the $6.65-million price tag on him is not a bargain. His name still carries a lot of weight in fantasy circles though, so sell on that while it’s still thought of in the upper tiers.
New York Islanders
Buy: Josh Ho-Sang
Cap Hit: $863,333 with one year remaining
This is purely a bottom of the barrel low-risk, high reward play. Ho-Sang has just about reached the end of his leash, and it’s now or never. With the departure of John Tavares, there are some offensive minutes opening up, and the smart money is on Anthony Beauvillier taking the next step forward. However, the Beauvillier fantasy owners know that, and won’t be selling low. The Ho-Sang owner on the other hand, is likely fed up with his lack of development, and will want to get something for their prior draft investment. Test the waters and see if you can buy at a lower price. Be wary as it is possible Ho-Sang flames out, but he’s one of those talents that is worth betting on the upside.
Sell: Anders Lee
Cap Hit: $3,750,000 with one year remaining
Somehow Anders Lee seems to be the only winger that no one is expecting an extreme fall-back from. He is also entering his fourth season, which is traditionally the breakout year. However, it seems as though he may have peaked this past season. Scoring 40 goals is no easy feat, and even less so without John Tavares feeding you the puck. Add in a high shooting percentage to some lackluster UFA signings, and the outlook doesn’t look too bright. Factor in a big raise coming next summer, and we have ourselves someone at peak value right now (or at least as high as it’s going to be for the next while). Don’t rush out to sell blind but shop him around for an equally productive winger who may be in a bit of a better situation.
Buy: Miles Wood
Cap Hit: Current RFA
We have already covered Kyle Palmieri at length during Bubble Keeper Week, so we’ll put him aside for now. A lesser known asset on new jersey is Miles Wood. Wood is set to enter his third season, after a very successful progression over his first two years. The best thing in fantasy hockey is when someone follows a predictable development path. That is what Miles Wood looks to be on right now. Another steady improvement in shots, powerplay time and overall scoring next year would put him in line for a big bump in his fourth year.
After averaging only twelve and a half minutes of ice time per game last season, there is plenty of room for statistical growth. Additionally, New Jersey doesn’t exactly have the deepest group of forwards. Wood could be up as a second line winger as soon as next season. Factor in his propensity for accumulating penalty minutes & hits or what will likely be a smaller contract coming up. He makes for a great under the radar buy going into the 2018-2019 season.
Sell: Sami Vatanen
Cap Hit: $4,875,000 with two years remaining.
Last offseason, New Jersey experimented with a five forward powerplay. Odds are it won’t happen, but if there was a team to fade the defencemen, this may be it. None of their defencemen were highly regarded going into last season, but both Will Butcher and Vatanen emerged as capable offensive catalysts. This season, as was the case with Kevin Shattenkirk in New York, Sami Vatanen will be called upon to shoulder the heaviest burden of the New Jersey back end (paired with Andy Greene). Will Butcher is going to soak up the majority of the time with the first powerplay unit, leaving scraps for Vatanen. His name still carries weight from his offensive breakout with Anaheim, so try selling on that before owners wisen up to the competition for production.
Buy: Kevin Fiala
Cap Hit: $863,333 with one year remaining
As Michael Clifford has been saying over the last few weeks (months… years…), get him on your team! The 11th overall pick from 2014 continues his upward trajectory, perhaps as the most skilled forward on the Nashville Predators (there is a difference between the most skilled and the best fantasy producer – Forsberg). As a Predators fan myself, I feel like I’m entitled to that opinion, regardless if it may stir up some debate. The young winger is still developing but flashed his potential with a stretch of 12 points in nine games through December. His breakout could be coming before his fourth season, so get in early rather than being stuck watching if you’re too late.
Sell: Kyle Turris
Cap Hit: $6,000,000 with six years remaining
Kyle Turris is starting the first year on his new six-year, $6-million AAV contract. Unfortunately, it will be tough for him to live up to it in the fantasy world. Nashville has three solid lines and will spread the wealth around offensively. Turris may hit his usual 50-points or so but expecting more than that from the 29-year-old is a fool’s errand. Last season, with an offensive zone start percentage in the stratosphere (65%), 51 points was still all he could muster. None of his other secondary percentages stand out as exceedingly lucky or unlucky. What this means, is don’t expect much different this coming season. At a position as deep as centre, there are better options, especially once you reach the $6 million threshold.
Thanks for reading. I would be curious to hear if you have any buy/sell candidates on the above teams, and why.
As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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