Skip to main content

Fantasy Pool Look: Buy low, sell high the right way

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

A couple of comments left on this week’s mailbag brought up an interesting thought. The posters were emphatic that in a keeper league in which an owner had Martin Brodeur, Miikka Kiprusoff and Carey Price, his best bet would be to trade Price for Zach Parise. This went against my position that the owner should instead deal Kipper and acquire Dany Heatley.

Let’s look at that.

The fantasy-hockey world is a fickle one. And this point is truly driven home when one of the best fantasy players of this decade, Dany Heatley, has fallen from grace.

What a perfect way to explain the “buy low, sell high” mantra in keeper leagues. Typically, many poolies will look at a player’s three-week slump or a three-week surge and react on it favorably, patting themselves on the back for properly following the “mantra.”

Ladies and gentlemen – that’s easy. It’s also obvious. Yes, it’s the right thing to do to and, more often than not, you score an easy trade victory. But those are baby steps. To swing for the fences you have to take a big step back, stiffen up your backbone and prepare to look stupid.

This summer I owned Vincent Lecavalier in two of my three keeper leagues. By the end of September, I owned him in zero. After 200 points in two seasons I “sold high.” In package one, I acquired Ales Hemsky, Mike Green and Patrik Berglund. In package two, I acquired Hemsky, two picks including a first, plus I managed to rid myself of Rick DiPietro for Pascal Leclaire.

Clearly, I hit a home run with the first package. In the other league I drafted Jakub Voracek with that pick, so even though the Leclaire thing didn’t work out and the trade ended up being a loser, it wasn’t so bad considering Lecavalier’s poor campaign. I swung for the fences and was two-for-two with a home run. What would I get for Vinny today?

Now put yourself in the mindset of last summer. After 200 points in two seasons, would you have moved Lecavalier? If you are being honest, you will surely say “no.” What about this summer? Will you move Parise?

Don’t say this is a different situation because it is not. Don’t bring up how one team is weak and the other is strong; in pre-season you had the two ranked close to equal, even with Lecavalier forecasted to post strong points on a Tampa team that was absolutely horrible. Don’t bring up the age, because when we’re talking about 24 versus 28, it’s irrelevant. In fact, because Lecavalier was coming off of two seasons of 92 points or more and Parise will be coming off of one after this season, if anything Lecavalier’s value last summer was higher than Parise’s will be this summer.

In looking ahead to next season, I would prefer Heatley over Parise in any format. After all, what Parise is doing for the first time this season (topping 82 points), Heatley has achieved four times. That includes 89 points on a 2002-03 Atlanta team that was far weaker than this Ottawa one. This is an “off” season and the odds are that Heatley will bounce back. Regardless of whether or not Parise becomes a 100-point player for the next few years, the point is, you don’t know that.

Seven years ago, Patrik Elias was 25 years old and he had 96 points. Parise is 24 and is on pace to finish with 99. Since 2001, Elias hasn’t had 82 points in a season. Could Parise falter the same way? You don’t know for sure. But what you do know is that Heatley has averaged 1.15 points per game or more in four seasons and he is only now entering his prime. Take Heatley because he is the safe bet.

That being said, because of Heatley’s terrible season and Parise’s strong one, you can get a lot more in the deal. If I owned Parise I would at least approach the Heatley owner about a deal involving Heatley plus another player and/or a draft pick.

This is swinging for the fences, folks. It’s hard to move a young superstar coming off an MVP-type campaign, but that is exactly what you need to do to “sell high” properly.

Now on to the second example: Carey Price versus Miikka Kiprusoff. Much like acquiring Parise is “buying high” and acquiring Heatley is “buying low,” if you trade Price now you will never get less of a return.

Here is a 21-year-old on a team known for breeding superstar goaltenders. The Canadian Hockey League goalie of the year not only led Team Canada to a World Junior gold medal, but he walked onto the Hamilton Bulldogs and led them to a Calder Cup where he was the MVP. Price forced his way into the NHL last season and he kicked off this campaign with a 16-4-5 record.

So, is today the day to trade him? After he returned from a high-ankle sprain and groin injury - possibly a little too soon - and stumbled on a 4-10-3 slump? Certainly not, don’t be silly. There couldn’t be a worse time to move him.

On the other hand, Kiprusoff is on a hot team with seemingly all the pieces in place. He is on pace to challenge for the NHL record for most wins in a season. The odds of him topping a season like this in his career are practically nil. There is no better time to sell a player. Furthermore, Kipper’s goals-against average has increased for the third straight campaign and his save percentage has dropped each season in that span as well.

Let’s summarize.

The easy choices:

Go after Zach Parise at the conclusion of his career season.

Do not go after Dany Heatley because of his worst season in years.

Ditch Carey Price because of his horrible past three months.

Hang on to Miikka Kiprusoff after a career-high in wins.

The difficult, but smart choices:

Parise’s price will never be higher. Leave him be.

Heatley is a perennial 100-point player who is having an off year. Go after him hard.

Price is the future franchise goalie in Montreal. Don’t budge. Hang onto him.

Kiprusoff is fading in important stats other than wins. Pray the other owners don’t notice and move him after his 48-win (or whatever it ends up at) season.

Swing for the fences.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the 1st of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.


Connor Bedard

World Junior Roundup: Canada, USA Score Big Wins, Finland Edges Czechia

Canada and USA move to 2-0 with big wins, while Finland needed a shootout to beat Czechia on the third day of the World Junior Championship in Edmonton.

Kyle Davidson

NHL Hot Seat Radar: Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have committed fully to a rebuild, and it's up to GM Kyle Davidson to turn it into something tangible.

Vitali Kravtsov

Prospect Pool Overview: New York Rangers

With a strong NHL lineup and some good prospects on the way up, Tony Ferrari takes a look at the New York Rangers' future.