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In a competitive fantasy forum or in the real NHL, I love blockbuster single-player or multi-player swaps as much as any other fan. But not all managers have the courage to make such grandiose deals. For those who are both cautious and competitive, the following potential players may be attracted to more modest returns. Whether it’s including your own prospect in a deal with an unsigned manager in a conservative league or trading for help at a position. Everything you need to win the coveted crown in May.
Patrick Hornqvist, RW, Florida Panthers (93.7%): There can be no more beautiful new marriage on the ice than the young union between Hornquist and Jonathan Huberdeau in Florida. While the latter is at his best, the former can dive into the net, ready to knock down a rebound, block a shot or take one himself. So far, 12 goals, 13 assists, 110 shots and 55 hits in 32 games. As you can see through the lens of fantasy, there’s something to love about these numbers. Hornqvist, 34, has had time on his hands and should be acquired in the maintenance leagues, where his manager is already looking beyond this season.
Joe Pavelski, RW/C, Dallas Stars (99.5%): This year, the Stars’ best fantasy player is doing his best to keep his team in the playoff hunt. With games against Central Division opponents, Dallas has yet to be eliminated, meaning Pavelski will need to play a few more games to add to his totals of 14 goals and 15 assists, including 16 power play points, before the season ends. It’s unlikely the 37-year-old veteran will be part of the fantasy’s rebuilding plans this summer. Talk to Pavelski’s manager to see if he is thinking about the future.
Zach Hyman, LW/C/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (85.0%): There are several reasons to consider Hyman a trade target at the end of the season. On the one hand, he doesn’t have the reputation of being the smartest in fantasy and shouldn’t be charging so much money. It’s a safe bet that the winger will be on par with Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner sooner rather than later. His ten goals and seven assists in his last 21 games prove he’s more than a valuable physical presence (although shooting is fun, too). And the next unrestricted free agent will likely feel like an extra inspiration and close out 2020-21 with a sigh. Hyman is in a good position to add momentum to some deeper clubs in the fantasy league as we prepare for graduation.
Pavel Buchnevich, RW/LW, New York Rangers (79.6%): The 25-year-old is playing his most productive hockey in March, with six goals and 10 assists in 11 games. As long as Rangers exist, the 25-year-old is expected to remain in the club’s forward line alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. Buchnevich is best represented as a trade target in deeper leagues, where his own manager should realize at the end of his contract that this could be the best we ever get from wingers. When you look at the top six, you can’t help but think of players like Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. You can also grab a future asset for next season and beyond, while reaping the benefits of what Buchnevich offers now.
Evander Kane, LW, San Jose Sharks (95.2%): It is true that this potential exchange is easier said than done. Since the beginning of February, Kane has been a consistent and fantastic leader in several categories. But the sharpshooter can still be traded for the right future fantasy prospect in keeper leagues. And it can help you win now. In my opinion, it’s worth a try.
Evander Kane scored a goal in the second period and another in the third, and the Sharks beat the Kings 4-2 at home.
Ondrej Palat, LW/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (96.3%): Since joining the league in 2012/13, Palat has played his most productive season to date. In 32 games, the veteran winger, who played with Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, scored 11 goals and 18 assists, including 16 power play points. Only Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and a pair of Edmonton guys were more productive on the power play. Add in multiple hits and blocked shots, and you have an average of 2.3 fantasy points per game in standard ESPN leagues. The Lightning have a different lineup, with a healthy Nikita Kucherov, which means there’s no better time to take advantage of Chambers’ current fantasy skills.
Nazem Kadri, K, Colorado Avalanche (77.7%): Since 1. In March, Kadri had four goals and nine assists, averaging 4.15 shots and 2.12 fantasy points per game. Trading for a second-line center in Colorado would be ideal in deeper, reclassified leagues with strict positional restrictions. A manager with a surplus of quality centers may be led to trade Kadri for help in another position, which is mutually beneficial. And that’s exactly how it should be.
Kyle Palmieri, RW, New Jersey Devils (54.5%): There is a good chance the free agent will be traded by the Devils before the NHL deadline, which would be very helpful. A six-man role with a real competitor should immediately boost Palmieri’s unusual numbers this year. It’s definitely a gamble. Maybe the 30-year-old isn’t so bad and doesn’t even propose. But the risky roll of the dice in the domino game can pay off. At least in the lower leagues.
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Tyson Barry, D, Edmonton Oilers (97.1%): Do you need performance points from your otherwise weak blue line? Is your roster saturated with a surplus of solid strikers, leaving you money for a quality acquisition at that position? So there’s a deal to be made here. Knowing that Barry could be at his best in Edmonton – given that Oscar Klefbom is expected to return after this season and that star defender Darnell Nurse is on the mend – even managers of keeper leagues might want to part with him for a decent return.
Mike Smith, G, Edmonton Oilers (66.6%): If you’re really competitive in your goalie/dynamic league and you think Smith is a good fit to continue helping the Oilers win games, then you should definitely make a trade for a veteran goalie. There is no excuse for a manager not to keep this guy the last few weeks. Instead, they can use the 39-year-old as a potentially useful piece in future seasons. Smith is a clear No. 1 for Mikko Koskinen and has been a good value for fantasy more often than not since returning to health in early February. So far.
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