Buying low on struggling players in fantasy leagues is fun. You get big names for discounts, so even if they don’t rebound, the punishment isn’t too devastating since you got them for relatively cheap. Selling high is just as important in pools – but much trickier and much more agonizing. It’s difficult to part with someone carrying your team at the moment, and the wrong decision could kill your season. What if you sell someone you think is due for a regression and the regression doesn’t happen?
Consider moving these five names. Some have simply overachieved and don’t possess elite skills. Others have gotten lucky. Another is an injury risk. And one is simply playing so well that he may fetch you the moon in a trade.
1. MAX DOMI, C, CANADIENS
Domi’s rebirth in Montreal has been one of the season’s most fascinating stories. Domi, 10th in NHL scoring with 21 points in his first 17 games? Domi with nine goals after scoring nine goals total in each of his previous two seasons? What’s going on?
It’s entirely possible Domi is experiencing a true career 180. He always had high-end pedigree as the 2013 draft’s 12th overall pick. What he did in his final two seasons with Arizona was a huge disappointment. What he’s doing now is what many of us might’ve predicted several years back. He’s also just 23. He’s younger than Will Butcher, Andreas Johnsson and Ryan Pulock, all players just cutting their teeth at the NHL level. So the reason to sell high on Domi isn’t that he doesn’t have the talent to sustain a breakout year.
The reason to sell him is that, no matter how good he is, he won’t sustain 25 percent shooting efficiency. He’s been good, but he’s been lucky, too. Goalies will start stopping those pucks soon, so we should expect a regression in the goal department. Domi has the interesting blend of relative name brand and unsustainably strong start, so it’s a wise time to turn a profit. Pat yourself on the back for that late draft pick or early-season waiver scoop, and cash in that chip.
2. ZACH PARISE, LW, WILD
Parise was a fantasy force for many years, a safe source of 30 goals throughout his 20s. His body has broken down badly in his 30s, however. He’s an “old 34,” having suffered through back surgery and a fractured sternum last season. From 2013-14 to 2017-18, Parise played 322 of a possible 410 games – missing 21.5 percent, or 17.6 games per season. He’s a likable player, so it’s great to see him healthy and chugging along at roughly a point per game through mid-November. But the odds of him missing time with another significant injury are, sadly, high at this point of his career. As with Domi, be happy that you’ve gotten this unexpected production out of Parise, but be prudent and sell him off before an injury strikes.
3. MICHEAL FERLAND, LW, HURRICANES
Ferland made a nice little statement after coming Carolina’s way in the Dougie Hamilton blockbuster. Admittedly, I didn’t expect a ton from Ferland, a big, powerful forward who is more a blunt instrument than a sharp one, since he’d be removed from the Johnny Gaudreau/Sean Monahan line, but Ferland clicked beautifully with Sebastian Aho early on, sniping seven goals in 12 games. But while Ferland has shown he is much more than just a bruising forechecker, he’s not an elite skill player and never will be. He’s still a valuable player in real life and in fantasy for leagues that count hits, but his style of play can be a curse in hockey pools because it makes him deployable on any line, including checking units, which puts him at risk of a demotion on the depth chart. He’s not someone you drop in a deep league when he goes cold, which he is at the moment, but maybe you shop him as a sell high while his season-long numbers still look strong.
4. ELIAS LINDHOLM, RW, FLAMES
There’s plenty to like about Lindholm in fantasy this year. He’s playing with Gaudreau and Monahan – and receiving monstrous minutes, helping him generate volume in scoring opportunities. Lindholm has also scored on 20 percent of his shots, which we knew wasn’t sustainable, and the goal drought has already begun after he sniped eight in his first 12 games. Since then: one in his past six games. He is generating the most high-danger shot attempts per 60 minutes of his career, so it’s a near certainty that Lindholm smashes his personal bests across the board. But it’s no coincidence he’s a more productive player skating with the best linemates of his career, and it’s not set in stone that he stays on that line. He’s a soft sell to me…he’ll still help you if you keep him, but what if you can swap him for a buy-low candidate like Jaden Schwartz and secure an upgrade elsewhere?
5. ELIAS PETTERSSON, C, CANUCKS
Sacrilege! Pettersson was my favorite rookie boom pick and predicted Calder Trophy winner, so I fully expected him to enjoy a thrilling rookie campaign… but what he’s done is beyond that. Pettersson has treated us to a clinic of laser wrist shots, dangles and pretty passes en route to 10 goals and 17 points through his first 12 games. You obviously want to clutch him tightly if you’re a rebuilding team in a keeper league, of course. But Pettersson has been so amazingly hot, scoring on 33 percent of his chances, that you have to at least float him into the water as bait. Maybe he lands you a proven veteran superstar. In my keeper pool, since I’m a “buyer” team, I drafted Pettersson and used him to acquire Alex Ovechkin, for instance. I fully expect Pettersson to continue this banner debut campaign, probably finishing with numbers similar to Mathew Barzal’s last season, but now might be a time to test the market because the hype is so high. Don’t force a trade. Ask for even more than you want and see if you net a king’s ransom. My first offer would be to a Canucks fan if you have one in your pool.
Don’t sell high…
Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins: Logic suggests we trade Bergeron in pools since he’s second in scoring, 33 years old and showed signs of physical wear and tear last season. But he’s flanked by Brad Marchand and NHL goals leader David Pastrnak on the NHL’s best line, which has seemingly ascended to a new level of production. Its not a guarantee Bergeron’s numbers crash to earth.
Thomas Chabot, D, Senators: A defenseman, top 10 in league scoring? It’s very likely Chabot regresses, but he’s a supremely talented puck-mover who was always projected to be a star. This might just be who he really is, and he’s not a famous enough name to net you the return you deserve for him. I’d hold a bit longer.
Timo Meier, RW, Sharks: Like Chabot, Meier is a first-round talent who was always expected to become a high-impact goal-scorer at the NHL level. This isn’t a hot streak. It’s his breakout.