In most fantasy hockey leagues the trade deadline is right around the corner. It’s the time of year to put the final pieces in place to make a successful playoff run or to get valuable draft picks for next year’s fantasy draft if you play in dynasty fantasy hockey leagues that allow for draft pick trades. So no matter which position you find yourself in, buyer or seller, here are some things to keep in mind as the fantasy hockey trade deadline approaches.
Trade for Specialists:
The stat specialist is essential to any team hoping to win a fantasy hockey championship. Good multi-category players are great for creating the core of your team, but specialists are what will set you apart from the others. Specialists are especially useful for supplementary stat categories like PIMs, Hits, Blocks, PPP, and +/-. Kris Russell is a great example of a valuable stat specialist. There is no multi-category player remotely capable of incurring as many shot blocks as Kris Russell. Attaining a stat specialist this trade deadline could be the key to ensuring you have certain categories locked down as for-sure wins this upcoming fantasy hockey postseason.
Increasing # of Player Appearances:
Don’t be afraid to give a better player for a slightly worse player if it will decrease schedule conflicts and thus allow you to get more appearances overall. I had this exact situation play out this year. I ended up trading Scott Hartnell for Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher is similar in offensive stats but lacks considerably in supplementary stats. However, Hartnell was the worst of all my LWs (yes my LWs are that good) so I almost always benched him to play other LWs when there were scheduling conflicts. Effectively I was wasting his stats and averaged less than 1 appearance by Hartnell a week in my lineup even though he played 3-4 games a week. Often when he was benched I had a vacant RW position in my lineup, so naturally I looked for a RW. Although Gallagher is not as good as Hartnell, all my categories have improved on a weekly basis because I have 2-3 more RW appearances than I did before while not sacrificing LW appearances. So this trade deadline try to get players that help alleviate scheduling conflicts in your roster.
Don’t Sacrifice the Future:
There is a delicate balance that must be kept between getting what you need for the current fantasy hockey season while not forfeiting too much for the next season in dynasty leagues. Whether it be giving up potential keepers or high draft picks, both playoff contenders and those practically eliminated from playoff contention this season must not take drastic measures. If you are in a position where you are a buyer this trade deadline looking for a good player to boost your post-season performance, don’t give too many high draft picks away. If you are a seller this trade deadline and play in a dynasty with keepers, you have to be careful to not give up to many of your core players. It’s hard to have a quick and successful rebuild if you have no core to draft around.
Initiate the Rebuild:
If you find that pretty much all hope is lost for your fantasy hockey team this season, the trade deadline is the perfect time to kick-start a rebuild for next year instead of waiting for next year’s draft to start the rebuild if you play in a dynasty league. It is the time of the season to accept the truth about whether or not you have a team that is truly a playoff contender. If you don’t, you might as well be proactive about making your chances better for next. Plus there are always many very willing buyers at the trade deadline so you will probably get more back then you normally would. The more first round picks you pick up the better your chances of getting NHL top prospect Connor McDavid, and you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity do you?
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