Fantasy Hockey: Trade deadline advice for Top 100 players: 100-81

Yahoo Sports Canada

For most Yahoo Fantasy Hockey leagues, the trade deadline is Feb. 19, which means we are firmly in the heart of TradeSZN.

If you’re on the brink of the playoffs, you’re probably looking to pull off a major move to try and gear up for the stretch run.

And if you’re hanging around the top of your league’s standings, it’s probably wise to push all of your chips into the middle and give yourself the best chance you can at winning this thing.

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The rest of the list can be found here.

Players ranked 80-61

Players ranked 60-41

Players ranked 40-21

Players ranked 20-1

Here is my trade deadline advice on the top 100 players in fantasy hockey.

Note: This advice is catered toward season-long leagues, but some of the advice is transferable for dynasty and keeper leagues. These rankings are ordered by player ownership percentages on Yahoo on Feb. 10. The list has been made to include 20 goalies.

100. G Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets (76% owned) - GP: 26 W: 12 GAA: 2.19 SV%: .930

Advice: Hold

As a fantasy owner of Merzlikins, I suggest you don’t try to sell him while he’s hot. The 25-year-old is for real, and Joonas Korpisalo’s impending return shouldn’t be a reason to get scared.

99. G Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders (77% owned) - GP: 33 W: 16 GAA: 2.58 SV%: .915

Advice: Buy

If you need some help between the pipes, Varlamov seems like a solid buy-low option. Lately, he’s been struggling and losing a fair amount of work to Thomas Greiss, but I don’t see the Isles riding just one guy the rest of the regular season.

98. G Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins (79% owned) - GP: 27 W: 18 GAA: 2.18 Sv%: .929

Advice: Hold

Jarry hasn’t been his sharpest lately, but neither has Matt Murray. Murray’s allowed three goals or more in four of his last five starts and 11 of his last 13. Fantasy owners’ best bet is to hang tight with Jarry and hope he can turn it around and take control of the crease.

97. G Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins (80% owned) - GP: 29 W: 16 GAA: 2.85 SV%: .900

Advice: Hold

Murray has looked a little bit more like himself recently, but he still hasn’t really grabbed ahold of the starter’s job in Pittsburgh. The team is playing well, even though neither netminder has recently, and that means they should both continue to split time as the season goes. Murray should continue to be a useful source of wins for fantasy owners.

96. G Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes (81% owned) GP: 25 W: 15 GAA: 2.17 SV%: .929

Advice: Sell

Kuemper suffered another injury in practice on Monday, which means there’s no real answer on when he’ll be back. Additionally, who knows how he will be when he finally does come back? His sparkling numbers from the beginning of the season should still be able to fetch you a decent return.

95. LW, RW Bryan Rust, Pittsburgh Penguins (82% owned) - GP: 40 G: 22 A: 23 P: 45

Advice: Hold

Since the start of February, Rust’s shot totals have tapered off (three shots in the last three games), but someone that’s established himself in Pittsburgh’s top-6 and PP1 is worth hanging on to.

94. D Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights (82% owned) - GP: 57 G: 8 A: 29 P: 37

Advice: Buy

Since the Golden Knights switched over to Peter DeBoer as head coach, Theodore has seen a spike in production. He’s recorded 11 points in his last nine games and ranks fourth amongst all blueliners in shots on goal.

93. RW Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (83% owned) - GP: 48 G: 19 A: 18 P: 37

Advice: Sell

The Canadiens are going to be a very interesting team to watch at the deadline. It’s hard to gauge, really, if they’re going to be buyers or sellers. Gallagher likely won’t be negatively affected by any deals at the deadline, but Montreal has just 12 games during the fantasy playoffs (Mar. 9 - Apr. 4) on Yahoo, tied for the lowest in the NHL.

92. C Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (83% owned) - GP: 48 G: 10 A: 34 P: 44

Advice: Hold

Given the way Alexander Ovechkin is playing right now, you don’t want to be the person who deals away his right-hand man, do you? Backstrom’s been averaging a point-per-game since Oct. 29 and is as consistent as they come.

91. D Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres (83% owned) - GP: 56 G: 5 A: 20 P: 25

Advice: Sell

Ristolainen’s hit 40 points in each of the past 4 seasons, but he’s currently on pace to finish below that mark this year. He’s slowly becoming more of a one-category guy (hits) than anything. See if there is someone in your league that needs some more checks and try to make a deal.

90. D Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (83% owned) - GP: 46 G: 3 A: 24 P: 27

Advice: Hold

Currently injured, it’s not likely you’ll fetch much for Rielly. If he returns before this season ends, he’ll likely be placed in the same role he was in prior to his absence.

89. G Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks (83% owned) - GP: 40 W: 21 GAA: 2.81 SV%: .915

Advice: Hold

Since being named to his first All-Star Game, Markstrom hasn’t been as sharp. He’s been lit up for three goals or more in four of five appearances. However, the Canucks have given up 366 shot attempts since the break, most in the NHL. The team’s defense, while not outstanding, should be able to improve and help out their netminder.

88. LW, RW Alexander Radulov, Dallas Stars (84% owned) - GP: 51 G: 15 A: 16 P: 31

Advice: Hold

This has not been a banner season for Radulov. After back-to-back 70-plus point seasons, Radulov may not even hit 50 points this year. If you trade him, you likely won’t receive somebody in return with his upside.

87. D Ryan Ellis, Nashville Predators (84% owned) - GP: 39 G: 6 A: 22 P: 28

Advice: Buy

Ellis sounds like he is close to making a return, which makes now a good time to buy. He was on a 59-point pace prior to going down and is useful in the blocked shots category.

86. RW T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals (84% owned) - GP: 56 G: 21 A: 20 P: 40

Advice: Hold

Oshie had a rampant start to the 2019-20 season (seven goals in the first 10 games) but he’s cooled off since then. He hasn’t been bad, however, and he remains a key fixture in Washington’s top-6 and on the first power-play unit. The Caps also benefit from having 14 games during the fantasy playoffs, tied for second-most in the NHL.

85. G David Rittich, Calgary Flames (84% owned) - GP: 41 W: 22 GAA: 2.84 SV%: .910

Advice: Buy

Rittich has allowed three goals or more in three of his last five starts. However, Calgary has the eighth-easiest strength of schedule in the NHL the rest of the way. Rittich should benefit from a favourable schedule.

84. C Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (85% owned) - GP: 56 G: 15 A: 34 P: 49

Advice: Buy

It’s very possible to believe that Couturier doesn’t get enough credit, and I have evidence.

Not bad company to be in at all.

He got out of the gate slowly, but he has 33 points in his past 34 games. His 14-game fantasy playoff schedule is also a big plus.

83. LW, RW Mike Hoffman, Florida Panthers (86% owned) - GP: 55 G: 21 A: 24 P: 45

Advice: Buy

Hoffman is a counted upon member of an explosive Panthers offense. He’s become a reliable power-play producer and solid player to own in fantasy. His 14-game fantasy playoff schedule also makes him an appealing trade target.

82. D Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets (86% owned) - GP: 49 G: 17 A: 16 P: 33

Advice: Sell

Since the start of February, Werenski’s been a shooting machine. He’s recorded 22 shots in 6 games and has two goals and an assist to show for his efforts. However, he is a victim of a less-than-ideal 12-game playoff schedule. You can probably fetch a nice return for the 22-year-old.

81. C Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues (86% owned) - GP: 56 G: 10 A: 39 P: 49

Advice: Sell

O’Reilly’s taken a noticeable step back in the goal-scoring department, but he’s still been a useful player to roster. He still should carry value in your league and you should get a nice return for him. O’Reilly, unfortunately, plays a league-low 12 games during the fantasy playoffs.

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