There are two major factors that go hand-in-hand with fantasy hockey success. The first is scouring the waiver wire for savvy additions, and the second is the ability to recognize when to buy or sell a player in a trade that will benefit you in the long run. Today we will focus on the latter and identify some players who have had nice starts, but have some regression coming their way in short order.
Adrian Kempe (LA) – 16 GP, 7 G, 4 A
After scoring six goals and recording nine points over a five-game stretch in October, Kempe has just two points over his last six games. If you exclude that five-game stretch, Kempe has one goal in his other 11 games played. Like many regression candidates, Kempe sports an outrageously high shooting percentage at 30.4% which is the 10th highest mark among players with at least eight games played. Kempe is only 21 years of age so there are reasons to hang onto the young center, especially in dynasty leagues, but if you are in contention and have a need, perhaps you can ship Kempe in a deal to fill it.
Josh Bailey (NYI) – 17 GP, 3 G, 15 A
Rostering a player that ridges shotgun next to John Tavares in all situations certainly has its merits, but Bailey is not a cross-category producer by any means. He has just three goals on the season, two penalty minutes and just 21 shots in 17 games played. Therefore, he is simply an above average contributor in only the assist category, and perhaps special teams points as he has seven power play assists. Bailey recently enjoyed a nine-game point streak where he tallied a whopping 16 points, but only two of those were goals. You’re always going to need a contributor in the assist department, but after this hot streak perhaps you can include Bailey in a deal to upgrade a position given his lack of contributions in other categories.
Derick Brassard (OTT) – 16 GP, 6 G, 9A
Brassard is a solid NHL scorer and has eclipsed 50 points in two of the last three seasons, but he has clicked at an unsustainable clip in the early going. With 15 points in 16 games, Brassard has began the season scoring points at a 0.94 points per game pace, which is about 77 points over an 82-game season. Brassard does play with Mark Stone who is arguably Ottawa’s top offensive forward, but if you think Brassard is going to score 77 points this season I think you’re going to be a disappointed. His career high in points is 60 two years ago with the Rangers, and in his 11th qualified NHL season you know what to expect from Brassard and it’s hard to see the veteran maintaining a point per game clip for the rest of the season. The return in a one on one swap for Brassard won’t be great, but he can be included in a package deal as some regression is coming for the 30-year-old.
Jesper Bratt (NJ) – 17 GP, 5 G, 8 A
At just 19 years of age, Bratt is a real nice fantasy asset in dynasty leagues. That said, if you scooped him up on the wire early on and you are in contention this year, Bratt’s name is likely an attractive one among rebuilding clubs. The Stockholm, Sweden native took the NHL by storm with six points in his first three games, but promptly went his next five games without a point. He has three points in seven November games, but further regression is likely ahead for the rookie as his shooting percentage is still elevated at 17.2% for the season after completing October at 40%. The Devils as a team are overachieving offensively, so you might want to avoid the New Jersey situation as a whole, but float Bratt’s name around in some trade discussions if you are in win-now mode.