In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Devils are going to be without Taylor Hall for a few weeks. Barring something unforeseen, he’ll be back in fairly quick order and still play around 70ish games this year. But this next month will send fantasy owners with Devils on their team into a state of shock, potentially looking to unload Devils at fractions of their value once Hall returns.
The Devils last season, i.e. without Hall, were not very good on offense. This is not surprising. Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique had career years offensively, but there wasn’t much to speak of overall. This season, the team’s played a more up tempo game simply because they have the personnel to do it with Hall and Pavel Zacha, among others.
But now without Hall, we’re faced with the team possibly having to play a little more conservatively and reverting, at least somewhat, to the slowed down, low event style of last year. That may be good for the team to tread water until their best skater is back, but it’s not good news for fantasy owners.
There’s always added scariness with a knee injury, even if this seems fairly minor as Taylor almost played on it before being reexamined. That, combined with the Devils potentially reverting to last year’s fantasy sinkhole, may have owners wary of the team in Newark as well as their best player.
Cory Schneider may face fewer shots, allow more goals or have fewer wins with Hall in the pressbox. Damon Severson will have one fewer player to pass to and generate assists from. Henrique, Palmieri and the resurgent Travis Zajac will been seen as having one fewer player to help them on offense.
And that’s why you have to pounce. Hall’s value is lower because of the knee and he’s scored fewer goals than you’d predict, shooting just over 8%. That will likely rise in the second half of the season, provided he comes back healthy, so he not only is worth going after, but even an overpay may be in order.
The bigger market inefficiency is probably the other Devils though. Many of them aside from Palmieri and Schneider may already be available or on the verge of being waived in your league. Severson has outdone many more highly touted offensive defensemen this year (looking at you, Tyson Barrie) and if anyone was smart enough to pick him up already, they still may not be smart enough if you offer an underachieving bigger name player for him (hi, Tyson). And if you do that, you can probably get another player back as well.
Palmieri hasn’t been the world beater he was last season, so his value’s taken a dip as well. And it’ll be even lower with the perception that Hall was all the team’s offense and reason for its new style of play. He may thrive in that low event style again, but who outside of Devils fans will see that coming?
And then we come to the big fish, Cory Schneider. He’s a fantasy monster in goal and with the Devils playing surprisingly well this season record-wise, he’s generating more wins than he has in awhile. But Hall’s injury may scare owners who may take equal value for him or even a little lower to trade him before his wins potentially dry up.
Ten games in November and December aren’t going to determine a fantasy season, and by the time Hall’s back, you’ll barely remember this blip. If you can get Schneider, especially at a lower value, go get him and potentially have the best goalie in the league this side of Carey Price.
The Devils’ fantasy players’ values will never be lower with Hall out and the threat of boring low event hockey back. Schneider and Palmieri may be more available than ever before. Severson is still available in many leagues and Hall himself is worthy of an overpay. If you can get him at a discount, go for it for sure.
AATJ Fantasy league standings:
Ya boy’s team is not doing well. My team may have the lowest shooting percentage in hockey history. You should definitely listen to me on all fantasy advice!
Add of the week: Severson. If he’s available just get him. Good lord.
Drop of the week: Mark Scheifele. Okay not a drop. That’d be insane. He’s the number one overall player right now, but his shooting percentage is about double what you’d expect and his +/- is ridiculous. Sell high.
Devils fantasy player of the week: Hall because we’ll all miss him and he will have some sort of impact on everyone else, even if it’s less than others may expect.