Top 10 ‘sell-high’ players (2015-16)

by Tom Collins on February 15, 2016

The 10 players who would give you the most return right now in a fantasy deal. Sell high!

We are just a couple of weeks away from the NHL trade deadline. That means most fantasy leagues will also have their own trade deadlines within the few weeks. This is when pools are won and lost, both this year and next. Last year, all 10 guys I recommended trading high have all had some sort of setback this year. You're laughing now if you were able to trade some of these guys then at high values.

A lot of this year's list has to do with trust. Do you trust these players to continue to play top minutes? Do you trust they will always have great linemates? Do you trust they can stay healthy? If the answer to any of these are no, then it's time to start working the phone lines. Keep in mind I'm not advocating that you need to trade all these guys. I'm just saying their value will never be higher. You obviously hold onto the players on this list if you're in contention.

Here are the top 10 sell-high players.

 

10. Mike Hoffman

Hoffman not only leads the Sens in scoring (and is the team's best offensive threat aside from Erik Karlsson), he's fourth in the league among left wingers with 24 goals. He'd be on pace for 37 goals in an 82-game season. If you don't think Hoffman is going to be a 40-goal scorer, then now is the best time to trade him. Especially in cap leagues as he's due for a huge pay raise this offseason.

 

9. Brent Burns

Burns is currently on pace for 73 points and is second in the league for points by a defenseman. But he shouldn't be considered a 70-point defenseman as I doubt he will ever come close to these numbers again. The thing that worries me most about Burns is what happens to the Sharks once they lose some of their veterans. The safe money would be on Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton not being Sharks after the 2016-17 season, if not before. What happens to Burns once some of this linemates are gone?

 

8. Artemi Panarin

There should be some concern for Panarin just because of who he plays with. It's never guaranteed that two players will always be linemates. Just look at this season. Anaheim split up Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Dallas split up Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Panarin isn't a superstar. He's not guaranteed a top-six role or prime power play time if he ever starts slumping. And there's still the dreaded sophomore slump to think about. It hit Mark Stone and Filip Forsberg this year, and Nathan MacKinnon last year. Panarin won't necessarily be immune to it.

 

7. Leon Draisaitl

The time to sell high on Draisaitl was just before Connor McDavid returned to the Oilers lineup. From Christmas to the all-star break, Draisaitl played less than 16:30 in only one of 14 games. He played more than 20 minutes in eight of those games. In seven games since McDavid's return, Draisaitl has only had one game where he's been above 16:30. That goes a long way to explaining why he has no points in his last five games. But his overall stats still look excellent with 40 points in 47 games. There could still be a high market for him in some leagues where poolies don't yet realize Draisaitl's decline.

 

6. Evgeny Kuznetsov

Not only is Kuznetsov challenging for the team's lead in points (his 56 points lead the team, Nicklas Backstrom is second with 53 and Alex Ovechkin has 49), he's been doing it without the benefit of playing with the team's top guns. Kuznetsov has been mostly on the second line and playing with the likes of Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson, Jason Chimera and Andre Burakovsky. It's tough to give up on a young player. But can you realistically expect him to challenge for the team's points lead every season? He could be more like a Tyler Johnson instead of a Johnny Gaudreau.

 

5. Roberto Luongo

You have to wary any time a player starts getting numbers that he hasn't seen in years. There's a very good chance Luongo gets to 30 wins, five shutouts, a .924 save percentage and a 2.29 GAA. We haven't seen these type of numbers out of him since the 2011-12 season. Florida is a great young team but it could take a while to get season-to-season consistency. Now would be the time to upgrade Luongo to a better long-term option in net.

 

4. Kris Letang

It is almost impossible to sell high on Letang. He's been so injury prone that any potential buyer will be hesitant. But he's been one of the league's best defensemen this season with 40 points in 44 games. If you are worried about his injury status and can unload him, there will never be a better opportunity to get a good return.

 

3. Blake Wheeler

Wheeler is on pace for 77 points. This would be the first time Wheeler has ever cracked the 70-point mark. He's this year's Hudler and Foligno. Wheeler should be treated as a 60-point guy at best. If you can trade him for a younger player with a better shot at 70 points each season, then you have to make that move.

 

2. Brad Marchand

Marchand has already tied his career high with 29 goals despite playing just 51 games so far. He sits at 44 points, just 12 off his career high. He's already tied as career high in power play goals with five and set a new high with seven power play points. And he has four shorthanded goals, second-most in the league.  Even more impressive, he's just 12 shots off a career high. He has points in 14 of his last 15 games and goals in eight straight. Setting career-highs in almost every offensive category? He's the perfect trade-high candidate.

 

1. Patrick Kane

Kane is the frontrunner for the Hart. That's precisely why you trade him now if you're out of contention and can get a great return. He's breaking every personal record that he has. But you shouldn't expect a 110-point pace again next season. And you can't trust him to stay healthy as he's missed 13 and 21 games in each of the last two seasons.