Fantasy Hockey Trade Tips: Early targets and players to shop

By Jason Chen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Didn't get the players you wanted in the draft? Already given up on fantasy hockey after Week 1? You know who you are.

Fear not, it's another edition of Trade Tips to jumpstart your team so you don't fall too far behind.


Nick Suzuki, C, Canadiens (64% rostered)

Overreaction? The Habs are punching well above their weight again under Martin St. Louis, which happened last season when he was first hired only for them to end the year by losing nine of their last 11 games. However, Suzuki has been doing it all as the Habs' newest captain, scoring five points on 13 shots while also providing a healthy dose of faceoff wins, blocks and hits while playing with Cole Caufield, Montreal's best goalscorer. Suzuki is the team's undisputed No. 1 center and his significant playing time — ranking 17th among forwards — means he has a good chance to improve on last year's 61-point season.

Vincent Trocheck, C, Rangers (68% rostered)

Trocheck has been an excellent fit on the Rangers, scoring five points with 17 shots and 34 faceoff wins through four games. Even with some regression, Trocheck is on pace to have a career season; conservatively, we're looking at a 70-point player with the potential to exceed 250 shots and 600 faceoff wins while playing with Artemi Panarin, arguably the best playmaker in the world right now, and Alexis Lafreniere, another trade target who's in the midst of what looks like a breakout season.

Matt Boldy, LW/RW, Wild (85% rostered)

Boldy is tied for the team lead with Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello with five points through three games. While Zuccarello has been attached to Kaprizov's hip since his arrival from Russia, Boldy has managed to stay productive despite playing lower on the depth chart than Zuccarello, who's 14 years older and coming off a career season (meaning he's due for some regression). Don't forget, Boldy scored at close to a 70-point pace last season, and it's time everyone stopped overlooking him and thinking the Wild can't score without Kevin Fiala's support. They definitely can; it's keeping the pucks out of their net that's been the problem.

Linus Ullmark, G, Bruins (61% rostered)

So far, Ullmark has pulled ahead in the timeshare for the Bruins' crease. Neither Ullmark nor Jeremy Swayman played well enough in the preseason to gain the upper hand in the competition for playing time, but through four games Ullmark is well ahead in save percentage (.927 to .816) and even came in relief for Swayman against the Senators on Tuesday night. Echoing last week's Trade Tips column, it's a good time to see if you can find a way to roster Ullmark, whose rostered percentage has increased from 53%. The B's look good despite not having Brad Marchand or Charlie McAvoy in the lineup, which means Ullmark can be a good source of wins.


Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Flames (100% rostered)

Some of it is game flow, and it's only been three games, but it's worth noting that Huberdeau is averaging just a little over 16 minutes per game, well below his 19:25 mark from last season. The Flames have a pretty deep lineup with just three minutes separating the top (Mikael Backlund, 12:47 TOI/GP) and the bottom (Kevin Rooney, 9:35) at even strength entering Tuesday's game, meaning Darryl Sutter isn't leaning on his top line like he did last season when all three first-liners averaged around 15 even-strength minutes per game. That will make it tough for Huberdeau to match last season's 115-point output and potentially bumps him out of the elite tier in fantasy. It's a good time to see what he can fetch as a preseason top-10 player before the rest of the fantasy community realizes he may not reach last season's lofty standards.

Patrick Kane, RW, Blackhawks (97% rostered)

One player can only do so much. The Blackhawks are just as bad as everyone expected, and Kane is stuck dragging along Max Domi, Chicago's top-line center even though he's been used as a winger for much of his career, and Andreas Athanasiou, a perpetually underperforming speedster with underwhelming finishing ability. Both Domi and Athanasiou joined on one-year, show-me contracts and it's doubtful they'll finish the season with the Blackhawks. Playing to the level of his lesser teammates seriously hurts Kane's fantasy value, and the only reprieve will come if Kane is traded to a Cup contender.

Brock Boeser, RW, Canucks (75% rostered)

The Canucks are in such a flux that it's difficult to trust anybody on their roster not named Elias Pettersson. They've blown multi-goal leads in four straight games, with the fourth coming after a players-only meeting after the third game. Boeser was questionable for the season opener with a hand injury, and with a precarious hold on his spot on PP1 — Bruce Boudreau is trying all sorts of different things to get the unit going — the ever-elusive 30-goal season for Boeser seems like a longshot yet again. At this point, Boeser's reputation is the main driver of his fantasy value and fantasy managers should shop him before reality sets in. If you want a goalscorer with better peripherals who's capable of finding the net 25 or 30 times, consider Nino Niederreiter, Jesper Bratt or Valeri Nichushkin.

Evan Bouchard, D, Oilers (88% rostered)

The Oilers are so enamored with using Tyson Barrie on PP1 — for reasons that aren't very clear — that it caps Bouchard's fantasy value. Fantasy managers can peddle Bouchard as Connor McDavid's linemate, and therefore the beneficiary of some really easy assists, but the reality is coach Jay Woodcroft just doesn't trust Bouchard very much, playing him a mere 16 minutes per game. Bouchard needs significant playing time to put up the points, and it doesn't seem like he's going to earn Woodcroft's trust anytime soon given his minus-4 rating through three games.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Wild (95% rostered)

We keep waiting for the moment we can call Fleury "washed," and it looks like this might be the season to do so. He will turn 38 in November and has allowed 11 goals(!) on 49 shots for an 8.37 GAA through two games. No doubt that GAA will fall from its astronomical high, and it doesn't help that the Wild are still trying to figure out how to utilize their defensemen and centers. Until those two positional issues are resolved, there's little chance for Fleury and the Wild to maintain a steady ship. Fleury is lucky backup Filip Gustavsson (0-2-0/.860/5.06) hasn't fared any better, otherwise Fleury's name would be at the top of the list among starters who are in danger of losing their starting roles. It's best to deal Fleury while his fantasy value is still relatively high early in the season, lest he becomes a headache for managers all year.