Fantasy Hockey Trade Analyzer: Don't let the Simon Nemec hype make you forget about Luke Hughes

Buffalo Sabres Center Tage Thompson (72)
Now's the time to try to acquire Tage Thompson. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Corey Abbott, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

There are some strong injury-related trade targets for this week. One player is just returning to the lineup from an extended absence, while another is trying to work himself into a groove after missing the start of the season, and the other has been much more involved since his teammate was injured.


Tage Thompson, C, Sabres (99% rostered)

Thompson returned to the lineup Tuesday against Detroit following a nine-game absence. He had five goals and 11 points in nine games prior to getting hurt early in a 5-2 loss to Boston on Nov. 14.

It has been a struggle for the Sabres offensively and defensively this season. The team enters Tuesday's action 25th overall, with 2.84 goals per game, and 23rd in goals against per contest, with 3.40. However, Thompson should provide the squad with a significant boost. He was beginning to get back on track following a sluggish start to the 2023-24 campaign before getting hurt.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Thompson for Cole Caufield

Brandon Montour, D, Panthers (89% rostered)

Montour had to wait until Nov. 17 to make his season debut following shoulder surgery. Predictably, he has been fairly quiet out of the gate, which makes him an intriguing buy-low option for fantasy managers looking to shore up their blue line. Montour broke out in a big way in 2022-23, with 16 goals, 73 points, 242 shots on net, 93 blocked shots, 92 hits and 107 penalty minutes over 80 games.

He has been credited with 17 shots on goal, seven hits and seven blocks through eight outings this campaign, but he has only two assists so far. The good news is that both helpers, including one on the power play, have come in his past four appearances. Montour is averaging 24:03 of ice time per contest while seeing time on Florida's top pairing and the first power-play unit. His multi-category upside makes him an attractive acquisition, and the cost to acquire him right now could be minimal.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Montour for Owen Power

Luke Hughes, D, Devils (76% rostered)

Hughes has been hot and cold during his rookie campaign, compiling three goals, 11 assists, 35 shots on target and 12 blocked shots through 22 games. Overall, his numbers are serviceable, but he has been playing better during the absence of Dougie Hamilton.

Going into Tuesday's action, Hughes has been credited with two goals, two assists, 10 shots on net, three hits and two blocked shots over four contests. He also has two power-play points over that span. Simon Nemec has been attracting plenty of interest on the waiver wire, and rightfully so, following his impressive NHL debut against San Jose on Dec. 1. He is a very good pickup, especially if Hughes isn't available. Still, the younger brother of fellow NHLers Jack and Quinn is worth pursuing. Hughes has been logging big minutes, and his role on the first power play puts him in a great spot to thrive offensively.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Hughes for Dylan Cozens

Brent Burns, D, Hurricanes (93% rostered)

Burns has rebounded from an eight-game point drought with three goals and five assists in his past 10 appearances. The 38-year-old blueliner still has plenty to give to potential fantasy managers.

He has amassed 61 shots on goal and 24 blocked shots in 24 games this campaign while averaging 21:34 of ice time per contest. Burns has also been logging time on the top power-play unit recently, which yielded two helpers in a 6-2 win over the Sabres on Dec. 2.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Burns for Alex Pietrangelo


Ville Husso, G, Red Wings (62% rostered)

Husso struggled for the majority of his first season with Detroit, posting a 26-22-7 record with four shutouts, a 3.11 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage in 56 appearances. His peripheral numbers have been worse so far this season. Despite having an 8-4-1 record, he has a 3.48 GAA and .891 save percentage through 13 starts.

Detroit has been much better offensively this season, which has unsurprisingly led to more wins for Husso. Unfortunately, he is still part of a three-headed goalie situation with Alex Lyon (who has been picking up steam) and James Reimer. Lyon has been playing very well, which has led to him getting the bulk of the starts lately. Husso is a serviceable depth option, but he could be used as a decent trade piece.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Husso for Valeri Nichushkin and Alex Nedeljkovic

Tom Wilson, RW, Capitals (53% rostered)

Wilson has eight goals and 13 points through 22 games. He is riding high following a four-goal outburst over his past three outings, thanks to a hat-trick performance followed by a single-goal effort. As a result, it could be the perfect time to sell high on him.

Wilson has failed to reach the scoresheet in seven of his past 10 outings. He has 35 shots on goal and 26 hits during that stretch, but that can be replaced if you get the right return — or through waivers. The Capitals have struggled mightily offensively this season, and Wilson's inconsistency could become a problem again.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Wilson and Carter Verhaeghe for Timo Meier and Travis Konecny

Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Devils (35% rostered)

Mercer has bounced back from an ice-cold start to the season. He had six goals and four assists in 12 games going into Tuesday night's action after going pointless in his first 10 appearances of the 2023-24 campaign.

Mercer picked up three goals and three assists in four games alongside Jack Hughes and Tyler Toffoli. Unfortunately, he was moved off the top line Tuesday and into a bottom-six role. He could be droppable at this time, but a trade might be worked out instead.

Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Mercer and Nazem Kadri (1st, 3rd round picks) for Filip Forsberg and Artemi Panarin (11th, 12th round picks)