Frozen Tools Forensics: Buy Low, Sell High

by Grant Campbell on March 1, 2019

If you’re in a fantasy keeper league that has a trading deadline after the actual NHL trade deadline, then here are some players you might be interested in buying or selling before your deadline. There are always more players you can try to sell high than players available to possibly buy low.

Players you might be able to still buy low:

Ryan Donato (45% owned in Fantrax leagues)

Donato seemed a lock to succeed after his 12-game stint at the end of last season, but struggled this year with Boston and was dealt to Minnesota for Charlie Coyle. Perhaps it’s too early to deem him a total success in Minnesota, but he does have 6 points in 4 games while centering the third line and playing on the second unit of the power play. With the Wild trading Mikael Granlund, Donato is on a path to be the first- or second-line center on Minnesota. Now he just needs to prove he can do it.

Nick Schmaltz (49% owned in Fantrax leagues)

With the success of Dylan Strome in Chicago and the year-ending injury to Schmaltz, it has been kind of forgotten that Schmaltz did have 14 points in the 17 games with Arizona. Already with a 50-point season under his belt, Schmaltz should be able to compete for the first-line center position in Arizona by next season if he improves his ability in the face-off circle. Worst case, he moves to the wing in the top six, but he should still be 50 points plus moving forward, even on an offensively starved Coyote team.

Jesse Puljujarvi (37% owned in Fantrax leagues)

While there is concern that Puljujarvi will be a complete bust with his recent hip surgery and struggles to adapt to the NHL, he did have 28 points in Liiga as a 17-year-old and 17 points in 7 games at the World Juniors that same year. He was drafted 4th overall in 2016 and his value is at a point now where he is worth the risk to acquire. At just 20 years of age, surely he will still become at least a 20-25 goal guy, but there is always the hope that he will put it all together and become the 75-85 point player he was drafted as.

Dylan Strome (71% owned in Fantrax leagues)

Strome is quickly becoming a must-own in most fantasy leagues, but there are still some owners either unaware of his emergence or still bullish on his having turned the corner. With 38 points in the 40 games since he was traded to Chicago, there is little doubt that Strome has arrived to stay. Will he be an 80-point player from here on? Perhaps not, but he should at least be the 65-75 point player that Arizona spent a third overall pick in 2015 on.

Possible players that you can sell high on:

Mark Giordano

This is the epitome of selling a player high. He is a 35-year-old defenseman on pace to score 79 points with a prior career high of 56 points. What more can be said?

Ryan O’Reilly

O’Reilly is on pace for a career year of 82 points. He has been a career 60-point player, so it might be the combination of his role on a new team and his PDO of 103.1 contributing to his success this year. Most of his underlying stats are a just a little higher than normal, so there is a good chance he has peaked this season at the age of 28.

Jonathan Toews

Much like O’Reilly, Toews is on pace for 85 points, which would eclipse his career high of 76 points back in 2010-2011. He has averaged 69 points per year in his career so I doubt he has changed his game that much at the age of 30 in order to make the jump to the next point tier. Chicago will need to tighten up defensively next season to improve as a team, and their offense is likely to decline as a result. Toews is such a good player that he could still produce 60-70 points for the next five to ten years.

Andreas Johnsson

Johnsson is having a stellar rookie season and is on pace for 52 points, which no one expected. The problem is that it will be very difficult for him to either duplicate or sustain this success. He has a 19.6 shooting percentage with a PDO of 107.4 (2nd highest in the league for 30 games played or higher).  Playing with Auston Matthews over 30% of the time has to be a huge factor in his success. For a seventh-round NHL draft pick, you will never get better value for him.

Casey Cizikas

If you can trade Cizikas, now is the time to do so. Probably owned only in deeper leagues, he is on pace for 41 points and over 25 goals. Prior to this year, his career high was nine goals and 29 points. His shooting percentage is 20.9% after hovering around 10% for over 400 career games. His PDO is 105.9 so a reversion is bound to happen sooner than later. Trade him while you can.

Tom Wilson

Wilson has built upon his success from last season and his 33-point in 45 games would be on pace for a 25-goal, 60-point season if not for injury and suspension. The risk for a future lengthy suspension with Wilson is high, and he will be hard pressed to maintain this point output for more than a few seasons given a very high shooting percentage of 18.6% combined with a PDO of 103.8. It is tempting to hold on to him as he plays so well with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Kuznetsov and is finally seeing some power-play time this season, so this might be more of a soft sell if there is great value in return.

Erik Karlsson

Before his latest string of injuries, Karlsson had partially regained his old form and put to rest some of the doubt about his declining play after his ankle surgery in the summer of 2017. A career 15- to 20-goal scorer with a shooting percentage always around 7%, he has regressed to 1.8% this season and 4.6% last season. Some of that can be attributed to bad luck as his PDO is just around 97.0 for both years. While he is on the ice, his team is still producing high-quality chances as often as in prior years, but he is not individually getting them. He is getting a high danger chance every 5.2 games instead of his career average of once every 4.1 games. It will be difficult for Karlsson to get back to 15-20 goals regardless of his health.

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