We may be only a month into the season, but it’s never too early to sell high on a player on a hot streak.
However, selling high is the easiest to do in practice, but the toughest to do in fantasy hockey. Fantasy general managers become attached to a player who looks to be on his way to a career year. However, it’s sometimes tough to determine who is the real deal.
The best example comes from last year. On Dec. 3, Vladislav Namestnikov had 27 points in 28 games and was playing with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. At the same time, Sean Couturier had 26 points in 26 games playing with Claude Giroux. Couturier went on to post another 50 points. Namestnikov had only 21 more points the rest of the year and was traded to the Rangers.
Once again, there are tough choices this year when deciding when may be the best time to sell high. Some guys you just can’t sell high on. No one is going to give you much for Zach Parise.
Others you may have missed the boat on. Tomas Tatar, for example, has eight points in his first six games. Now he’s pointless in four games. Morgan Rielly had 13 points in his first six games, but has only one in the past five. Jonathan Toews had 10 points in six games, but one in his last six. This is another way of saying it’s a really small window to trade players before they start to regress.
Below are 10 players who are the best sell-high players right now. As always, remember that I am not saying that you have to trade these players, just that the potential return may never be higher.
10. Evgeni Malkin
Malkin is one of those guys that, although his value may never be higher, you may be better off simply holding on to him and hoping for the best. It’s really difficult to get full value for Malkin since he’s a certified Band-Aid boy. Last year was the first time he played in at least 70 games since 2011-12. However, now might be your best time to deal him. He has 18 points and multi-point games in six of nine games. It’s a tough choice. You can ride the hot hand and hopes he stays healthy, or you can deal him while there’s an opportunity to get a great return.
9. Jeff Skinner
I always hate owning players who can only have great success if they are playing with top players. It makes them worthless if they get demoted to a second line or if there is an injury to that top player. Skinner falls into this category for me. He started off the season away from Jack Eichel and didn’t do much. They get united on the top line, and Skinner has 12 points in seven games, giving him increased value in most leagues.
8. Alex Iafallo
Maybe you missed the news that Dustin Brown made his return to the Kings lineup yesterday. While Brown’s return pushed Ilya Kovalchuk off the top line (and surprisingly down to the third line), it also pushed Iafallo off the top power-play unit. Iafallo has seven points in 11 games (but is pointless in his last three). Still, it might be a good time to see if there is any interest in Iafallo from fellow fantasy GMs.
7. Jeff Petry
I’ve been harping on Petry being a must-own since earlier this summer. It makes sense, with Shea Weber on the IR until December and no other offensive threats on the back end for Montreal. That’s also why it makes sense to trade Petry sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until we close to Weber’s return and Petry loses that plum top power-play spot. I like Petry to break 40 points again this year, but if there’s a great offer out there, I’m taking it in a heartbeat.
6. Evander Kane
We’ve all seen this from Kane before. A hot set of games (right now he has 10 points in 11 games) before he eventually cools off. This year could be different, but it’s hard to envision him turning it around at the age of 27. It happens, but not very often. One thing that makes Kane difficult to trade in some league is his value in peripherals. He’s going to shoot the puck a ton and get a lot of hits, so even if the point pace wanes, he’ll still have value.
O’Reilly has had a great start to his Blues career, with 14 points in 10 games, including a five-game point streak where he has 10 points. He’s on the top power-play unit and is playing at even strength on the top line with Vladimir Tarasenko. He’s also currently on pace for 115 points, almost double his career high of 64.
4. John Carlson
This is one of those examples that you trade a superstar player only if you get a superstar player in return. After posting 68 points last year, he is now on pace for 115 points and 66 power-play points. That obviously won’t happen (unless he’s approaching Bobby Orr/Paul Coffey territory), so you’ll never get a better return than what you would now. I’d be sending messages to the guys who own Erik Karlsson to see if I could somehow pull off a Carlson for Karlsson swap.
3. Matt Duchene
I’ve gone on record for a couple of years now saying that Duchene is nothing more than a 55-60-point player. Many believe he can be more, but I will always be a doubter. He now has 11 points in 10 games, but we’ve been here before with him.
2017-18: Eight points in first 10 games, finished with 59.
2016-17: Nine points in first 10 games, finished with 41.
2014-15: Nine points in first 11 games, finished with 55.
2015-16 was an exception as he had two points in 10 games, but then he had 26 in his next 22 games, and still finished with only 59 points. He’s a streaky player, and you’re best to sell during that streak.
Kinkaid has easily been the surprise netminder at the start of the season, with five wins, a 2.12 GAA, a .925 SV % and two shutouts. Those numbers are buoyed by his first few games. He has been below-average in his last four games with a 1-2-1 record, a .896 SV % and a 3.22 GAA. Cory Schneider is on a conditioning stint in the AHL and it won’t be long until he claims his starting job. At best, Kinkaid owners are hoping for a platoon, but in the meantime, see if you can deal him before Schneider gets some starts.
Kapanen has 10 points in 11 games to start the season, all since he started playing regularly with Auston Matthews. Kapanen is the best example of the Couturier/ Namestnikov debate I mentioned at the start. If he can stay on that top line, he has a good chance of setting career highs and hitting 70 points for the first time in his career. However, what happens if Matthews is injured long-term, or if William Nylander re-signs with Toronto? Trading Kapanen could be a boom or bust choice, but that’s why we love fantasy hockey.
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