MikaelBacklund USA Today



Buying low is a great theory, but how can you apply it to your hockey pool?


Selling high and buying low is an incredibly successful strategy in any business (and I wrote about a few players to “sell high” on last month). And it is no different in fantasy hockey. At the end of the day, it is all about numbers and statistics, and shrewd poolies should always be looking for ways to maximize the return on assets they own, as well as to pick up undervalued assets on the cheap.


Finding assets below market value is a lot easier in theory than in actual practice. If there were no personal biases and all poolies had the exact same amount of information at their fingertips to make decisions, trades would simply consist of moving an asset for an equal asset. The market would take care of any inefficiency. But we grow attached to players. We watch them develop as prospects. We may think their upside is higher than what they have currently shown. Sometimes we unknowingly gravitate towards or away from a certain type of player. Perhaps our competition has more time to do research than we do (or vice versa – we have access to more tools, like the Fantasy Hockey Geek package, than they do).


There are many factors to pay close attention to when attempting to find some players who may be valued improperly as your draft date approaches, including: power play ice time, trends, linemates, injury history, training camp competition, the impact of a new coach, and so on.

Today we are going to take a look at a few players you may be smart to “buy low” on this summer.


Rick Nash


Of the 20 goals he scored in 2013, only three of them came on the power play. Regardless of whom he lines up with (a rejuvenated Brad Richards or an ever-improving Derek Stepan), Nash will see a very offensively-oriented role under new bench boss Alain Vigneault.


Don’t be surprised to see Nash set some career numbers this year. Vigneault’s zone start strategy allowed the Sedin twins to set career numbers later on in their careers than most players do, and he could have the exact same impact on Nash in New York.


Matt Duchene


Duchene had a strong 2013 and likely has a lot of value in most fantasy circles. Like Nash, he produced most of his goals at even strength last year (15 of his 17). This is an important number to keep in mind, as even a slight bump in PP production could increase his overall totals dramatically.


But the real reason why Duchene is undervalued is that poolies may not have an understanding or idea of how good he could become over the next few years. Don’t be surprised to see Duchene score 40 this year, and he has the upside for more. He is one of the most dangerous offensive players in hockey, and as the supporting cast around him in Colorado improves, so will his production totals.


Brendan Smith


Brendan Smith’s on-ice shooting percentage of 4.43 last season (the total shooting percentage of all Detroit players when he was on the ice) was the lowest total among ALL NHL defensemen who played at least 30 games.


In layman's terms – Smith had rotten luck in 2013. He couldn’t find the back of the net, nor could anyone who he played with. He is a talented young defenseman ready to bust out offensively, and the Red Wings are going to give him that opportunity this season.


Michal Frolik


Frolik has the opportunity in Winnipeg to play more minutes than he did with Chicago – especially on the power play. He scored on only 3.1% of the shots he fired on goal last year (unsustainably low), and he averaged a meager 12 seconds of PP ice time per game. Expect both numbers to increase this season in Winnipeg. Frolik was brought in for his two-way prowess, but the Jets will also be counting on him to chip in offensively.


Bad Luck Shooters



Patric Hornqvist – 4.6% scoring rate in 2013 (career 9.2% shooter)

Nashville doesn't have many natural scorers, and he is one of them. Expect a lot of PP time (and a lot of angry opposing goaltenders).

Ryane Clowe – 3.4% scoring rate in 2013 (career 11.2% shooter)

Last season didn't go well for Clowe, but he still got a big contract in the summer. The Devils will want to be proved right, so expect Clowe to receive every opportunity to get back on track.

Kyle Okposo – 4.0% scoring rate in 2013 (career 9.5% shooter)

Okposo probably won't play with Tavares (has been tried there before with little success), but Frans Nielsen and/or Ryan Strome would be a nice consolation prize. He had a strong first round of the postseason.


David Backes – 6.0% scoring rate in 2013 (career 11.6% shooter)

One of the best multi-category players in the NHL.


Power Players?


David Booth – 18 seconds of PP ice time per game

The bad luck (shooting and health) simply has to end at some point for the former 30-goal scorer.

Erik Condra – two seconds of PP ice time per game

Condra will see an increase in offensive opportunites, especially if he earns a top-six spot with the Senators.

Michael Grabner – 30 seconds of PP ice time per game

Grabner has evolved into more of a two-way/PK threat for the Islanders, but he still creates a ton of chances with his speed. Similar to Okposo, he will benefit from the arrival and development of Strome.


Charlie Coyle – 46 seconds of PP ice time per game

He's a Dany Heatlley injury away from top-six minutes, and he may get them regardless. Coyle is a physical force (he plays a similar game to Backes) and his value will only rise, especially in multi-category leagues.

Mikael Backlund – 1:23 of PP ice time per game


He could be Calgary's most important center by the end (or beginning...) of the season. Someone has to score, right?


Other Fantasy Preview Content:


Roussel, Cizikas, Jenner, Conacher, and Beleskey - Five MORE Multi-Category Forwards to Know for 2013-14

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