As I’ve said before, unless you’re in a keeper league, trading rarely happens in fantasy sports. However, that shouldn’t stop you from sending out enticing offers for this seasons’ slow-starting superstars. Let’s consider this group of top tier talent (the alliteration will stop, I promise), all of which are sure bets to find their game before long. If you currently own these players, be patient – the points will come. If you own any of the listed overachievers, send them packing before their hot start fizzles out.
These guys had big expectations attached to them coming into the season, and they’ll come around, so wheel and deal for them if their owner is getting impatient.
Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks – With no goals and just 3 assists so far this season, Getzlaf is frustrating fantasy owners everywhere. The Ducks are averaging just under 2.3 goals per game so far this season, and when that trend inevitably rises, so too will the production of the Ducks’ lethal top line.
Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings – He’s currently day-to-day with an upper body injury, but is progressing and should be back in the lineup by week’s end. If he stays injury-free, and the Wings really need him healthy now with Johan Franzen on the IR for a few months, he’s a lock for another 90 point season.
Eric Staal, Hurricanes – A notoriously slow starter, Staal has always done the majority of his damage in the second half of the season. Like the Ducks, the Canes have stumbled out of the gate, and it’ll only be so long before Staal consistently frequents the score sheet.
David Booth, Panthers – He’s struggled to find his 2008-09 form with just a single goal through 6 games so far. He’s getting the chances though (21 shots) and it’s just a matter of time before they start going in.
Bobby Ryan, Ducks – With 26 shots and a just a goal to show for it, he joins Getzlaf as the other slumping star on the Ducks’ first line. Why are their numbers down? Getzlaf, Ryan, and Corey Perry combined to score 31 power play goals for the Ducks last year. This year? Zero. Patience is a virtue my friends – these guys are exponentially better than their current numbers indicate.
Roberto Luongo, Canucks – Another stud known for his slow starts, Bobby Lou is starting to come around, and while you’re unlikely to lure him away from his current owner, it never hurts to try. Package Ilya Bryzgalov with a decent forward or two and see if you get any bites.
These guys had lower expectations, but look like the real deal. Hold tight and reap the benefits if you own them already, or try to pry them away from their current owners.
Anze Kopitar, Kings – I wouldn’t dream of trading the Slovenian star right now. After an off year last season, Kopitar’s showing early on that he’s among the NHL’s elite.
Rich Peverley, Thrashers – For whatever reason, Peverley produces in Atlanta. He’s been a huge part of the Thrashers number one ranked power play so far, contributing 3 goals and 2 assists with the man advantage.
Erik Johnson, Blues – Finally healthy, he’s living up to his 2006 first overall pick hype with 6 points through 6 games.
Drew Doughty, Kings – We knew it was just a matter of time before Doughty started piling up points for the Kings. At 19, he’s already logging over 22 minutes of ice-time per game.
Here are the overachievers to put on the trading block.
Vaclav Prospal, Rangers – Though he does have 79 and 80 point seasons on his resume, I have trouble envisioning him among the top 30 point leaders at the end of 2009-10. With 11 points already, you may be able to get some serious talent in return for Prospal.
Dustin Penner, Oilers – It’s very likely that Penner will achieve career highs this year, just not the 105 points his current pace would indicate. 55 points sounds more likely.
Keith Tkachuk, Blues – His 7 points in 6 games so far might suggest career year, but you know better. He’s 37 years old with plenty of young talent on the depth chart just waiting for a chance to pass him.
Matt Carle, Flyers – This one’s a no brainer – I’d set his point limit at a generous 40 which means, in a best case scenario, he’ll only get you another 32 points this season on top of his current 8. Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen are the Flyers’ two offensive d-men, so ship Carle out while he’s hot.
Ilya Bryzgalov, Coyotes – Bryzgalov is no slouch, and the Coyotes appear to be a much improved team sans Gretzky. Maybe Bryzgalov’s having an easier time concentrating this year in the library-quiet Jobing Arena, where they are reportedly getting crowds in the 6000s. But you’d have to be a fool to think Bryzgalov will finish the season with 68 wins and 27 shutouts, as his current pace would indicate. Even 35 wins and 7 shutouts would be a stretch in my mind, and I’d be offering him to that guy in your pool who’ll be blinded by Bryzgalov’s current, MVP-caliber numbers.
These guys are looking pretty good right now, but we need more information to judge them as a true buy or sell candidate.
Matt Moulson, Islanders – He’s been a consistent scorer in the AHL for a few years and is now playing on a line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. He’s playing like he deserves to be a first-liner – can he keep it up?
Gilbert Brule, Oilers – The jury’s still out on Brule. This guy really perplexes me. I drafted him two years in a row, waiting for the hyped junior star to bust out and got nothing. Of course, now that I’ve given up on him, he’s showing life. He has loads of upside if he can keep up his current level of play.
Brooks Laich, Capitals – He’s not a flashy player and he’ll rarely create chances for himself, but he’s thrived playing with Alexander Ovechkin. Laich’s production is down since Caps’ coach Bruce Boudreau united the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin line.
Ryan O’Reilly, Avalanche – He’s the lone second rounder from this year’s draft crop to play in the NHL so far, and the risk has definitely paid off for the Avalanche. O’Reilly hasn’t looked out of place, but could be sent back down to the OHL for seasoning before the Avs’ tenth game.
Michael Del Zotto, Rangers – The 19 year old has been an offensive juggernaut for the Rangers. It’d be largely unfair and even ridiculous to expect 82 points, but he’s got the lead in a tight Calder Trophy race at this point of the season.