The first month of the season is nearly behind us. Connor McDavid is tied for the league lead in points and Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals. If you’re surprised, you shouldn’t be. Fantasy hockey managers who own either player should be thrilled about their starts and shouldn’t even consider trading them unless an offer comes along that is extremely lopsided in their favour. In other situations though, there are superstar players that are not reaching expectations. It’s time to take advantage of their disgruntled owners and make a pitch for these underperformers. Check out these buy-low candidates.
Fantasy Hockey Buy-Low Candidates
Like the Ottawa Senators, Thomas Chabot has had a slow start to the season. Through 12 games, he’s accumulated just four assists. That’s an 82-game pace of just 27 points – nearly half of his pace last season. Chabot is also hitting just as much, blocking more shots and shooting more while averaging an extra minute of ice-time (27:16). Despite his team’s goal differential of minus 13, Chabot has managed to have a plus-four rating. All of this to say one thing – buy-low. His numbers are great thus far and the points are coming.
To say the Montreal Canadiens have had a poor start would be a massive understatement. They’re just 3-10-1 on the season, good for second-last in the NHL. Highlighting the disappointment is Jeff Petry, who has just two assists in 14 games. If he maintains this current pace of production, Petry would have the worst season he’s ever had over his 13-year career. At 34-years-old, a certain level of regression is realistic, but to this extent is extremely unlikely. From a 63-point pace last year to a 12-point pace this year is a drop-off of astronomical proportions. It’s not going to happen. Go out and send a lowball offer for Petry. He’s better than this.
Due to Covid issues and a carry-over suspension, Mark Scheifele has had a very disjointed start to the 2021-2022 campaign. Through just six games, he has yet to tinkle twine. He’s accumulated just three assists, which ranks ninth on his team in that regard. Scheifele has been at least a point-per-game player in each of the past five seasons. That streak isn’t going to end this year. The 28-year-old is a star player in the prime of his career on one of the most offensively formidable teams in the league. The Winnipeg Jets are going to get rolling with their top players all healthy, and Scheifele is going to be at the centre of it. Get him now before it’s too late.
It’s crazy that a player who has 10 points in eight games is a buy-low candidate, but that’s the case with Nathan Mackinnon. He’s universally 100% owned in fantasy leagues and was likely drafted in the top-five in all leagues. But that’s precisely the issue here. The Colorado Avalanche have dealt with injuries and Covid issues, and it has resulted in them stumbling out of the gate. A 4-5-1 record 10 games in is the last thing pundits predicted. All of this combined with the lack of games played by Mackinnon and the Avs (only 18 in October/November) and the fact that he’s now injured for three weeks has Mackinnon’s value down. Capitalize on this and make an offer on him.
For the keeper leagues. At this point in Alexis Lafreniere’s career, fantasy hockey managers’ patience are running thin. But should they be? The 2020 1st overall pick just turned 20-years-old last month and has only played 69 career games to this point. So far this year, he hasn’t been able to capitalize on the opportunities he’s been provided. He started out in the New York Rangers‘ top-six, averaging between 15 and 16 minutes a night. With just three goals and one assist, he was demoted to the third line and has averaged nearly five minutes less over the last handful of games.
Lafreniere is still finding his way. His floor of shots and hits is decent enough for him to provide minor contributions to your team while you wait for him to reach his lofty expectations. At this point in his career though, it’s far too early to give up on the young Canadian. Make an offer to the manager that has, and you’ll be glad you did.