The break in the NHL action gives us a chance to take a breath and survey our landscape. For the best of us, a cool gentle breeze is sweeping down from snow-capped ridges, guiding us to the playoffs. For the rest of us, thick black smoke is billowing from the flaming dumpster fire that is our fantasy hockey season. If you are part of the latter group it may not be too late to put out that fire, turn your fortunes around, and squeak into the post-season. The right trade targets could be just what you need to get yourself headed in the right direction.
The trade deadlines for popular fantasy platforms are as follows:
- Yahoo!: February 19th
- ESPN: February 21st
- Fantrax: February 25th
There is still time for some wheeling and dealing if you’re willing to put in the work. Consider your place in the standings. Should your trade targets be players to help you get into the playoffs or someone to help you once you are there? The user tomstoms on the fantasy hockey subreddit has done a lot of great work on the playoff schedule – you should check it out.
Below are a few suggested trade targets that have been underperforming and whose numbers suggest an uptick in production could be on the way. Other players here are true “buy-low” opportunities. I always caution against going into trade negotiations thinking you can get the guy for your most recent waiver pick-up. To get something you have to give something so asses your needs first before proposing a trade. And remember, this is a trade negotiation. Don’t be afraid of offers and counter-offers.
Gabriel Landeskog – Depending on how closely you follow the Avalanche, you might be surprised to know Landeskog is on pace for 52 points. His hits, shots, and even PIMS are all looking very good. However, he’s scoring at his lowest rate since 2016-17 – a historically bad season for the Avs. The reason to target him is a career-low IPP (Individual Point Percentage) of 42.9%. For context, last season Landeskog finished with an IPP of 62.5%. It seems likely that playing with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen at 5v5 and on the powerplay going forward, the Avalanche captain will factor in on more than 43% of goals.
Viktor Arvidsson – Even with the coaching change in Nashville, I still expect Arvidsson to get back on track. Like Gabriel Landeskog, his IPP is also down to a career-low so a positive regression could be expected. However, unlike Landeskog, his premium deployment isn’t necessarily locked down. He’s been playing on just over half of his team’s PP but the Predators powerplay is notoriously bad. I would still bet on Arvidsson rounding into form in the second half. Thirty goals is almost certainly out of the question at this point, but if he finished with 25 I wouldn’t be surprised.
Alex DeBrincat – A true “buy-low”, DeBrincat was recently moved off the top line and his PP time is up in the air. DBC’s follow-up to his 40-goal campaign has been largely underwhelming but there are reasons to be optimistic. First, his shooting percentage has plummeted. He shot in the mid- to high- teens in his first two years in the NHL which is high, but to go from that to shooting 8.4% (3.85% at 5v5) doesn’t pass the smell test. Finally, his spot on the top line is currently being occupied by flavor-of-the-week Dominik Kubalik. My money is on the guy who has already scored 40 in The Show.
Matt Dumba – There is a theme here – Dumba’s IPP and shooting% at 5v5 are currently at career-low levels. He’s probably a stronger asset in a categories league because he’s shooting a ton and hits plenty. He gets solid TOI at even-strength and on the PP so there should be points coming. Someone who drafted the Minnesota D-man might have been expecting more from him this season so acquiring him might not cost much. Be forewarned though, the Wild are middle of the pack in goals scored but second-to-last in expected goals-for. Dumba may be able to recapture his pre-injury 2018 form, or he could just be who he is this season.
Jacob Trouba – The Rangers have a pretty excellent schedule after the All-Star break and Trouba could be a bargain. He’s on pace for 39 points – pretty good considering he’s on PP2. The shot, hit, and block numbers are where he can really contribute to your fantasy team as they have been excellent so far. Like Dumba, the person who drafted Trouba could have been expecting more so targeting him could pay off in spades, especially over the next few weeks.
Frederik Andersen – The Leafs goaltender – and the team as a whole – has been in a bit of a slump. But that presents a buying opportunity. Andersen has been one of the most consistent goalies in the league since coming to Toronto posting a GAA between 2.67 and 2.77 and a SV% between .917 and .919. The only issue is the Anderson owner in your league probably knows this. It never hurts to check though.
Matt Murray – Ok listen: I’m a Pens fan. Take this with a grain of salt if you must but facts are facts. Murray’s numbers last year from January 1st – March 31st: 15 wins, 2.47 GAA, .926 SV%, 2 SO. So far in 2020 Murray is 4-0 with a 2.20 GAA and a .929 SV%. The upstart Tristan Jarry meanwhile is faltering a little with a .907 SV% in that same time period. If the deposed netminder was dropped in your league scoop him while you can. At worst the Pens split the workload from here on out.
I hope these suggested trade targets are useful. If nothing else they should get you thinking about how you’re going to weasel your way into the dance.
If you have picked up any of these players or have any other good targets let me know!
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