Special to Yahoo Sports
Several star players, including some high-ranked goaltenders, haven’t been living up to their draft stock. As a result, several very talented candidates have emerged for fantasy managers to attempt to acquire. It also may be time to cut your losses with others if a trade can’t be worked out.
Connor McDavid nearly made it onto this week’s list of buy-low candidates after producing just one assist over a five-game stretch to begin November. However, he responded with a big third period in Monday’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders with a pair of power-play points. If there was ever a window to try to acquire McDavid from a frustrated fantasy opponent, it may have just closed. Still, it would’ve been extremely difficult to pry him away in a deal anyway. It’s possible that the firing of head coach Jay Woodcroft may have finally woken up McDavid.
On to this week’s breakdown.
Stuart Skinner, G, Oilers (63% rostered)
Edmonton’s goaltending situation has been a disaster in 2023-24. Going into Tuesday night’s action, the Oilers sit 30th in goals against per game (3.71) despite permitting the ninth-fewest shots against per contest (29.1). Jack Campbell was waived and demoted to AHL Bakersfield after he started the season with a 1-4-0 record, a 4.50 goals-against average and an .873 save percentage in five starts.
Skinner wasn’t performing much better prior to Campbell’s demotion, but he probably would’ve been claimed off waivers because he is younger, has a cheaper contract and possesses more upside. After a shaky outing against San Jose on Nov. 9 in a 3-2 loss, Skinner appears to be trending in the right direction. He stopped 49 of 51 shots in wins over Seattle and the New York Islanders. Skinner went 29-14-5 last season with a 2.75 GAA and a .913 SV% across 50 games played. If he returns to that form, fantasy managers will be glad that they pounced on him now.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Skinner for Jonas Johansson
Mika Zibanejad, C, Rangers (98% rostered)
Zibanejad amassed 39 goals and a career-high 91 points over 82 games last season. He also accumulated 29 goals and 52 assists across 81 contests during the 2021-22 campaign. However, he only has two tallies and eight helpers through 14 appearances this year.
Zibanejad is more than capable of operating at over a point-per-game pace. Unfortunately, he only has one assist and nine shots on goal in his past five contests. He has been held back by a career-low 5.1 shooting percentage, which is bound to improve. Zibanejad has a shooting percentage of 14.4% in his previous seven seasons. He should be able to get back on track sooner rather than later.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Zibanejad for Elias Lindholm
Ilya Sorokin, G, Islanders (99% rostered)
Sorokin has been excellent since joining the NHL ranks in 2020-21. Entering this season, he had a 70-46-18 record with a 2.34 GAA, a .924 SV% and 16 shutouts in 136 contests. He hasn’t looked like himself in most games so far this campaign, though. Sorokin has allowed 15 goals on 147 shots during his current four-game (0-2-2) winless skid.
Sorokin has been on the receiving end of some late-game collapses, as New York has been outscored by a 20-9 margin in the third period. The Islanders have dealt with plenty of injury concerns on defense early in the year, but Sorokin hasn’t been able to mask a lot of the team’s problems as he has done in the past. The good news is that he has the ability to bounce back. It could also serve as a wake-up call for the Islanders, which could lead to meaningful changes from a managerial, coaching or player personnel standpoint. Sorokin is worth scooping up if you are in need of a goaltender, and if the price is right.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Sorokin and Nick Suzuki for Quinton Byfield and Lucas Raymond
Filip Gustavsson, G, Wild (79% rostered)
Gustavsson posted superb statistics in 2022-23 during his rise to claiming the No. 1 goalie job from veteran Marc-Andre Fleury. The 25-year-old Gustavsson registered a 22-9-7 record with three shutouts, a 2.10 GAA and a .931 save percentage over 39 appearances.
It’s been a different story for Gustavsson, and the Wild as a whole, so far in 2023-24.
He has earned two wins in his first eight starts and only has a save percentage over .900 in two outings, one of which was a 5-4 overtime loss to Columbus and the other a 41-save shutout victory over Florida in Minnesota’s season opener. Fleury has had his share of problems as well behind a Wild team that has been abysmal on the penalty kill this campaign. The door is wide open for both netminders to string together some starts if one of them can get hot. A trip back home to Sweden for the NHL Global Series this week could be what Gustavsson needs to get back on track.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Gustavsson for Jonas Johansson
Jonas Johansson, G, Lightning (69% rostered)
Johansson got off to a strong start in 2023-24 with a 4-1-2 record, two shutouts and a .925 save percentage. He stopped 221 of 239 shots during that stretch. Unfortunately, he has begun to fade, surrendering 23 goals on 166 shots (.861 save percentage) over five outings going into Tuesday’s contest versus St. Louis. Johansson only has one win (1-2-2) during that span. It was only a matter of time before the workload and the high shot volume started to work against him.
Some fantasy managers have already moved on from him, and it’s about that time for you to do the same. His cold streak is one thing, but Andrei Vasilevskiy is also getting close to returning to the lineup following offseason back surgery. Vasilevskiy practiced with his teammates Monday, and could be back in the lineup at some point between Nov. 23-Dec. 1. Trades involving Johansson for Gustavsson or Skinner have already been mentioned above.
(Another) Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Johansson for Antti Raanta
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Blue Jackets (67% rostered)
Gaudreau only has one goal and five assists through 15 games this season. His terrible 2.7 shooting percentage should improve, but there may not be enough of an improvement to win many fantasy managers back. He has already been benched once, and he was dropped to the third line recently.
Gaudreau has one goal, one assist and 10 shots on target in eight games going into Tuesday’s contest versus Pittsburgh. If you are desperate enough for a change, the 30-year-old winger is dangerously close to being a drop candidate. However, you might be able to convince someone else to take him off your hands instead.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Gaudreau for Claude Giroux
Alexis Lafreniere, LW/RW, Rangers (35% rostered)
Lafreniere has heated up offensively, scoring three goals and adding three assists during a four-game point spree. He also has 10 shots on net during that span.
Lafreniere is a hard player to trust given his past struggles and frequent bouts with inconsistency. His 29.2 shooting percentage is also bound to regress. Lafreniere shot with 15.1 percent efficiency in 216 NHL contests prior to the 2023-24 campaign. He has been a popular waiver wire addition recently, but savvy fantasy managers may be able to move him for an upgrade while his value is at its highest.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Lafreniere and Esa Lindell for Brayden Schenn and K’Andre Miller
Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Red Wings (59% rostered)
Gostisbehere enjoyed a great start to the 2023-24 season, with three goals and six assists in seven games, but he’s been ice-cold offensively since then. He hasn’t hit the scoresheet in each of his past seven appearances.
The 30-year-old blueliner was featured on the other side of the trade board earlier this season, but this kind of inconsistency should have fantasy managers looking to send him to a different team. You might be able to find a more productive defender on waivers as a replacement while addressing a need somewhere else in a trade.
Example of a deal from the Yahoo Trade Market: Gostisbehere for Alex Tuch