In honor of the feistiest shopping day of the year, here's a zippy round-up of potential steals on the NHL fantasy exchange market. Underperforming and underproducing, these otherwise reliable assets might be had -- right now -- for pennies on your trade dollar.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Calgary Flames: Whether he's gripping the stick too tightly or has the yips or isn't getting the bounces or whatever other colloquialism you prefer about not getting it done, that's where Gaudreau sits, shooting with a success rate of only 6.6%. Without a goal in nine games, the habitual sniper has a meager two since Oct. 12. While most fantasy managers understand it's only a matter of time before Gaudreau -- and other top-end players in Calgary -- break out, perhaps your league includes an ultra-exasperated exception. Doesn't hurt to tender an offer, in any case.
Phil Kessel, RW, Arizona Coyotes: He hasn't been much of a thrill these days, that's for sure. However -- and I don't care if he's playing in the Arizona desert or on the moon -- there's no chance Kessel wraps up 2019-20 shooting only 6.2%. If the veteran scorer doesn't get it going soon enough with Clayton Keller and center Nick Schmaltz, coach Rick Tocchet is likely to shuffle him back onto a line with Derek Stepan. However it shakes out, Kessel isn't going to finish the season with only 13 goals, for which he's on pace at present. Trade for him before he turns the corner.
Anders Lee, LW/C, New York Islanders: Hard to believe, but the Islanders' captain has yet to register a point on the power play -- despite habitually competing on the club's top unit. All the more puzzling, Lee ranked second on the Islanders with 16 power-play points only a year ago. Addressing that glaring goose egg this week, coach Barry Trotz blamed "tough luck" and suggested Lee's fortune would flip soon enough. So, if interested in volleying an offer for the Isles' top-liner, don't dilly-dally long.
P.K. Subban, D, New Jersey Devils: Perhaps my favorite buy-low candidate of them all, Subban -- with his two goals and three assists -- is much better than those numbers suggest. Contributing nada to the scoresheet since Nov. 2, the offensive defenseman is one productive game away from reclaiming his scoring touch. While he isn't likely to collect 59 points like in Nashville only two seasons ago, Subban isn't going to fall to under 20 either. The Devils are altogether better than they've been thus far, and so is the 30-year-old former Norris winner on their blue line. I'm all over trying to wrench him away from another frustrated and impatient manager.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Arizona Coyotes: Like his teammate Kessel, the Coyotes' No. 1 defenseman appears more the victim of poor luck than anything else through the first chunk of 2019-20. Averaging 46 points per 82-game season since 2012-13, Ekman-Larsson is on pace for a mere 31 this campaign. Shooting an uncharacteristic, and likely unsustainable, 4.1% is at least partially to blame. He's still seeing heavy minutes as the club's top-pair blueliner and No. 1 power-play anchor, signifying an increase in production as inevitable. As such, fantasy managers with blue-line issues might consider talking trade before OEL foreseeably heats up.
Justin Faulk, D, St. Louis Blues: Faulk hasn't collected fewer than 31 points since playing less than half a season back in 2012-13. Different role in Carolina, sure, but this offensive defenseman is still wired to produce. Pointless in his past nine, the 27-year-old has only six assists and zero goals to show for 26 games to date. I can't help but believe that first one as a member of the Blues cracks open the floodgates, which should duly re-earn Faulk a role with the power play. Right now he presents as a potential steal in deeper leagues.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Florida Panthers: Unless you believe the Florida sunshine is enough to distract Bobrovsky from proficiently performing his job, there's no reason to believe the Panthers' new netminder won't yet turn it around. Remember, he was also pretty lousy at the start of last year in Columbus (and again in January) while enjoying a fairly solid season otherwise. Still adjusting to their new head coach, those out front are bound to give up fewer quality chances as the season wears on, while Bobrovsky himself can also be expected to sharpen up. As long as Joel Quenneville is sticking with Bob as his go-to No. 1 -- which he is, adamantly -- the rest of us can likely expect a righting of the ship before long.
Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators: Some are suggesting we're witnessing the end of the Rinne era in Nashville as young Juuse Saros appears eager to take over the reins. I'm not there yet. Sure, the veteran netminder was indeed flagrantly awful in the four games preceding his recent week off, and Saros was mostly great in his four appearances -- three of them starts -- since then. But Rinne has rebounded nicely after hitting the skids in the past. Also, he was one of the league's best only a month ago before falling apart versus the Flames on Halloween. So let's all take moment before anointing Saros as the Preds' new numero uno. The 37-year-old could get back in his groove as soon as Friday night in Carolina.