Here it is, the final installment of this summer’s buy and sell. It has taken us through the doldrums of August, and now leaves us wanting more, waiting impatiently for the beginning of the season to arrive. Before that happens though, we need to get through our last five teams. This week’s buy and sell covers Toronto through Winnipeg (including the new Vegas franchise), featuring one player that you should be trying to get onto your fantasy team, as well as one player you should be trying to get off of your fantasy team.
For those wanting to read the previous segments of buy and sell, click here.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Buy: Frederik Andersen
Cap Hit: $5,000,000 with five years remaining
Playing behind such a young and talented team, there will certainly be ups and downs over the next year or two as the team grows. However, Frederik Andersen is one of the better goalies in the league under the age of 30. As Rick Roos put forward in one of his most recent articles here, Andersen is a couple years away from hitting his prime, just like the team in front of him. At $5 million a season with term on the contract, Andersen should make a great own, comparable to Martin Jones, and possibly even Cam Talbot.
Sell: James Van Reimsdyk
Cap Hit: $4,250,000 with one year remaining
James Van Reimsdyk (JVR) is a sell right now for two reasons. One, he is not on the Auston Matthews line, and two, he is up for a new contract where his pending unrestricted free agent status is going to line him up for a big raise. With regards to JVR’s deployment, as he is likely tied to centreman Tyler Bozak, he stands to lose some offensive time to the Matthews line, and possibly his spot on the powerplay to new addition Patrick Marleau. On the contract side, an established scoring winger in his prime would certainly be making more than Marleau signed for in the offseason. It is also unlikely that JVR lands in a situation better than (or even equal to) last season, that saw him post a career-high 62 points. Selling off for another 60-point winger like Tyler Toffoli or Mats Zuccarello should be more productive for your fantasy team.
Buy: Bo Horvat
Cap Hit: $5,500,000 with six years remaining
Bo Horvat just signed his new contract, and you should be looking to get him on your team before he begins to outplay it. Horvat has the talent to easily outplay this contract in points leagues, the only question is when will he be given the opportunity to do so. Horvat’s point totals have increased in each of his first three seasons by respectable totals. Coming into his fourth season, he is primed to take over the team from the Sedin twins, and may continue to see more of the prime offensive minutes as a result of that. Horvat will also provide decent, but not exceptional totals in the faceoff wins, hits and blocks departments. Unfortunately, he needs to pull up his shots totals before he turns into a top centre option.
Sell: Jacob Markstrom
Cap Hit: $3,666,667
There aren’t really many Canucks that should be owned to begin with, but one that may be owned is goaltender Jacob Markstrom. In deeper leagues where starting goalies are hard to find, Markstrom may even be able to get you a better return, but in an average league, you should be able to trade him off as a low cost starter option. However, at best, Markstrom will be a volume goalie, because Vancouver projects to be one of the bottom teams in the league for this season, and likely the next few years as well. Markstrom also isn’t guaranteed to start a large amount of games, with journeyman Anders Nilsson backing him up, and youngster Thatcher Demko waiting in the wings. New starters Scott Darling and Antti Raanta are both better bets for quality and quantity going into this season.
Vegas Golden Knights
Buy: Shea Theodore
Cap Hit: $863,333 with one year remaining
Shea Theodore’s stock went up this summer because he is out from behind the massive logjam of defencemen in Anaheim. Now he stands to have first crack at a large chunk of the offensive minutes for Vegas. Vegas isn’t going to be the top team in the league to start out, but any defenceman quarterbacking a powerplay has value in fantasy leagues. Theodore is no different, and likely won’t see an inordinate raise with his next contract. It is more likely that he signs a bridge contract, before making a big pay-day with the contract after.
Sell: James Neal
Cap Hit: $5,000,000 with one year remaining
To some, it came as a bit of a surprise to see sniper James Neal exposed to Vegas in the expansion draft. However, as a pending unrestricted free agent, Neal holds his future in his own hands. Moving to a contender next summer, he could be in line for a similar contract, which unfortunately isn’t a bargain for his production anymore. The scoring winger has only hit the 50-point plateau once since leaving the Penguins. The goals will likely still come, so another 20+ goal season is a very good bet. However, without the supporting cast, the assist totals will likely be a little lower this year, meaning anything over 40 points would be a bonus. Sell him as a 50-point winger if you can.
Buy: Andre Burakovsky
Cap Hit: $3,000,000 with two years remaining
Andre Burakovsky stands to gain some ice time and opportunity on the powerplay this year with the departures of Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams. Burakovsky is also entering his fourth year, and is set for a big breakout. Each season up to this point, he has increased his points per game rate and his shots per game rate. That being said, he loses value outside of points-only leagues, as he doesn’t produce much in any of the other secondary categories. Really, scoring is all you should need from him, as even with his production from last season, he would be outperforming his contract. Add in all of the factors pointing to increased production, and there is good money to be spent here.
Sell: Alexander Ovechkin
Cap Hit: $9,538,462 with four years remaining
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Burakovsky, we have Alexander Ovechkin, who is trending in the opposite direction. Ovechkin saw his goals, shots, and hits totals drop last season, and seems to be trending down on the whole. At this point, 50 goals cannot be safely expected, and with Ovechkin’s assist totals never having been extremely high, his salary is becoming a less justifiable. In leagues counting hits and shots, or with a bonus for goal scoring, Ovechkin is still elite. That being said, with the direction he is trending, added to the turnover on the Capitals as well as the possibility of time missed for the Olympics, it may be the right time to sell Ovechkin for the best return you can get.
Buy: Blake Wheeler
Cap Hit: $5,600,000 with two years remaining
Yes this seems obvious, but Blake Wheeler may be an even better buy right now than you think. Some out there are seeing Wheeler as the odd man out from the top line, and that at 31 years old he may be declining, thus dropping his projections for next season. This could not be further from the truth. The hulking winger has had his best seasons over the last two years, and after posting 18 points in his last 13 games to end the season, he shows no signs of slowing down. Add in his large contributions to the hits, shots and powerplay points columns, and there aren’t many all around better contributors, especially at his (relatively) low $5.6 million price tag.
Sell: Jacob Trouba
Cap Hit: $2,812,500 with one year remaining
There aren’t too many sell-high type players in Winnipeg, and the only reason that Jacob Trouba qualifies is due to his impending (restricted) free-agent status. Trouba is a solid defenceman who always seems to have more to offer, but just hasn’t managed to put it all together yet for one reason or another. On an improved Winnipeg team, expect him to come out strong, and right around the end of November is the sell point. Trouba should be in line to at least triple what he is making this season, making him much more difficult to roster. He is a great player to own right now in a lot of leagues, and that is exactly what makes him such a great sell high entering the season.
Thanks for reading. I would be curious to hear if you have any buy/sell candidates on the above teams, and why.
As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean where I post some of my other smaller musings that don’t make it into the articles.
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