Top 10 buy low players for next season
It’s never too early to think about next year.
No matter if you’re in the hunt for a playoff spot, or way out of contention, looking ahead toward next season is never a bad thing.
Now obviously, you never want to overpay, so you need to look at other teams and figure out who you can get on the cheap. Shrewd general managers won’t let these guys go for free, but those owners who are panicking about these guys may be willing to trade those who are struggling/injured while they can still get something in return.
Here are the top 10 buy low players.
10. Alexander Semin
Note: If you are in any type of cap pool, stay far away from Semin. But in basic pools, he’s the essential buy-low player. One of the league’s most disappointing players this season, he’s too talented to be this bad for too long. He probably won’t rebound this year (he’s just not seeing the ice time, and he’s been a healthy scratch too many times), but there’s no reason to believe he can’t be a 30-goal, 60-point player next season. Even if he’s only a 20-goal, 50-point guy, and you can get him for a late draft pick, that’s still a win for you.
9. Marian Hossa
Surprisingly, Hossa is on pace to play all 82 games this season. If he does so, it would be the first time since 2006-07 that he hasn’t missed a game. However, he’s only on pace for 56 points, which would be his lowest point-per-game pace ever. At the age of 36, Hossa is finally starting to slow down, but there’s no reason to believe he can’t hit 65 points next season. He’s on a great team that can give him protected minutes. If you can get him cheap now, he’s worth the risk.
8. Zdeno Chara
Chara’s offensive numbers are down all over the board, even without his injury counting. Usually, Chara is good for 40 points and 10 power play points a season. Even if he played all 82 games, he would still be on pace for just 34 points and five power play points (he’s actually on pace for 26 points and four power play points). To be fair, Chara would still be on pace for his usual pims, blocked shots and hits in an 82-game season. Maybe the injury hurt him more than we realize. Or maybe at the age of 37 (he turns 38 in March) is finally catching up. Or maybe he’s losing too much offensive ice time to guys like Dougie Hamilton. More than likely, this season is just an aberration, and next year he’ll be back to normal.
7. Evander Kane
Kane owners must be pretty unhappy with their situation. After his “breakout” season in 2011-12 when he had 30 goals and 57 points, Kane has struggled. Since then, he’s battled injuries, which has cost him quite a bit of action. But even if healthy the full season this year, he’s on pace for just 22 goals and 50 points. Instead, he’s on pace for 67 games, 18 goals and 40 points. He’s 23 years old, so there’s plenty of time for a break out, but you probably should try to get him before then.
Even though he’s been injured various times this season (including being on the IR for the next month), Bobrovsky’s numbers are still down when he has been healthy. He has a 16-15-2 record, with just one shutout. His .913 save percentage is 10 points below last season, and 19 points below his Vezina-trophy winning season two years ago. His 2.85 GAA is almost half a goal per game higher than last year, and almost a goal more than two seasons ago. While it may be harder to pry him from owners, there could be some antsy owners that could be looking to unload him for someone having a better season.
5. Jeff Skinner
Skinner never really has been a buy-high (even in his best seasons, he’s had just 33 goals and 63 points), but his value has never been lower. Many think of him as a Band-Aid boy, but this season may be the final straw for many owners as Skinner has just 10 goals and 19 points in 44 games. I’m a firm believer that those numbers will turn around long-term as the Hurricanes slowly rebuild and get better. Skinner is still just 22 years old, so there’s plenty of time for him to hit his prime.
4. Robin Lehner
Lehner has struggled this season, but if you still believe he has the goods to be a top number one goalie in the NHL, this is your opportunity. He’s probably still at least two years away from being the Sens top netminder however, so if you deal for him, you need to be patient. For guys who do own him, there has to be a level of frustration. Many hoped he could snag 30-40 starts this season, but his performance hasn’t allowed that to happen. In 18 games, he’s just 7-8-2 with a 3.14 GAA and .903 save percentage.
3. Matt Duchene
Duchene was seen as can’t miss player. He was just under a point-per-game in each of the last two seasons. He’s on a young exciting team in Colorado, surrounded by lots of talent. Yet he is struggling mightily this season, with 31 points in 50 games, on pace for 50 points exactly. If you’re a believer that the Avs can turn it around next year, he’s a must-buy, as you can get him way cheaper now than at any time before in his career.
This may be your only opportunity to buy low on him. I remember in the forums last summer, owners were turning down offers of Evgeni Malkin for MacKinnon because of MacKinnon’s upside and Malkin’s penchant for frequently getting injured. (In this thread, the first couple of posters remarked they couldn’t trade Malkin straight up for MacKinnon, and in this one, poolies are discussing the fact so many people were asking for Giroux or Malkin, with the Giroux and Malkin owners having to add to that). But people need to remember that MacKinnon is still just a teenager. Sure, he’s hitting a sophomore slump (although everyone on Colorado has been struggling this season), but his long-term upside hasn’t changed. You may never get him for cheaper than you will right now.
1. Taylor Hall
I’m sure there are plenty of Hall owners who are feeling pretty frustrated with Hall right now. Although he’s not having the greatest season, he’s once again injured, and seems to have cemented a place on the Band-Aid boy list (and this is coming from someone who argued against it for a long time). If Hall was healthy for the full season, he’d be on pace for just 58 points. Take away his current injury, and he’s looking like a 50-55 point guy. After two straight seasons finishing in the top 10 in points, this is frustrating. If a fellow owner is competing for a playoff spot, this may be your chance to snag Hall for someone who is overachieving.
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