Welcome to Friday Fantasy Freak Out, where we look at some of the options for fantasy hockey managers who are desperate to have a good weekend.
In honor of the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, we’re taking a look at three players, who despite playing in the yearly celebration of the league’s best, are trending downwards. If you have these players on your roster, you may want to utilize their All-Star standing and sell high on them moving forward.
Ryan O’Reilly, F, Sabres
Who wouldn’t want to have O’Reilly on their squad right now? He’s having a career season with 40 points through 50 games, leading the Sabres in goals (17) and earning his first All-Star nod. He’s also leading Buffalo in shooting percentage (14.9%) for players who have played in more than five games. Not bad at all, but for a career 10.8% shooter, O’Reilly’s bound to regress.
It might not come this season but it’ll certainly come. If you’re in a keeper league, don’t bank on O’Reilly to keep up this pace. Float him to some managers who are in need of a scoring push and don’t mention that career shooting percentage. O’Reilly is a monster on the power play as well, which only helps your cause.
The sting of dealing him may hurt for a short while, but in the long run you’ll be wise to take a look at players who are flying under the radar.
P.K. Subban, D, Canadiens
At this point you’d be smart to distance yourself from the entire Canadiens roster. They’re in the midst of an epic collapse, something akin to the Maple Leafs “18 wheeler going off a cliff” fall a few seasons back. Subban recently went on an expletive-filled tirade about his lack of goal-scoring, defending the fact that he is indeed not a goal-scorer. And while that may be true, goals and offense in general increase his fantasy value.
Since the beginning of December, when things really got messy for the Canadiens, Subban has an even-strength points per 60 minutes of 1.1, down from 1.2 through October and November. Not a big fall, but considerable when you note that he’s played more even-strength minutes from December to the All-Star Break. The Habs were never a high-scoring team, but Subban was indeed a source of offense. As his frustration with the team’s poor-performance mounts, questions about his viability as a top-line fantasy d-man could be raised.
Find a Habs homer in your league (there will be a few) and flip Subban immediately.
Pekka Rinne, G, Predators
Like many, I’m suspicious of Rinne’s inclusion in the All-Star Game. He may still be the all-world goalie he used to be, but we haven’t seen that Rinne in the past two months.
His even-strength save percentage has dropped from .931 in October and November to .918 in December and January. “But the Preds are on a roll!” you’re saying, “Rinne has only allowed one goal in each of his last three games: all wins!” You should use that at the bargaining table. Many GM’s won’t look beyond the most recent basic stats in front of them. The Predators may be hot right now, but Rinne’s decline speaks to larger issues at hand. Use his three-game upswing to grab what you need.
There’s always at least one manager in every league who is hungry for an upgrade in net. If you can lure an otherwise serviceable goalie away from them, or if you’re in a small league and there are decent options on the wire, don’t worry too much about shipping Rinne out the door.