As promised, this week's Black Friday bargain edition of Fantasy 31 features underachieving fantasy assets who may or may not be worth targeting as trade candidates for your own fantasy roster. And when negotiating, be sure to check out last week's look at players with bloated value to fully capitalize on value.
Anaheim Ducks: Fantasy managers with an eye to the long game should give winger Jakob Silfverberg a lengthy look. With Ryan Kesler (hip) due back around Christmas and fellow center Ryan Getzlaf (facial fracture) returning not long after that, the Ducks' top-six will improve considerably, undoubtedly benefitting the 27-year-old winger. As it stands, Silfverberg is noticeably off last year's scoring pace with only nine points through 21 contests.
Arizona Coyotes: As long as his latest upper-body injury isn't of too serious a nature, goalie Antti Raanta might appeal to those fantasy managers with stronger stomachs. While still a work in progress, the Coyotes have shown significant improvement of late -- and with justifiable reason -- and the highly-anticipated season debut of defenseman Jakob Chychrun (knee) will also go a long way toward helping the new No. 1 goalie. Raanta has played well since recovering from his earlier injury issues, but this latest upper-body issue is a concern.
Boston Bruins: With Anton Khudobin wielding the hot blocker through four straight starts, Tuukka Rask hasn't seen reduced value like this in recent memory. While Rask is inarguably in the twilight of his career, Khudobin doesn't serve up any genuine threat of seizing the No. 1 gig from veteran netminder over the long haul. If anything, this contemporary rest should serve as an encouraging kick in the pants for the 30-year-old.
Buffalo Sabres: Power forward Kyle Okposo will not finish the season with eight goals, as suggested by today's current pace, if he remains healthy. By recent accounts, Okposo is equally fit and frustrated, and he is looking to help create an environment of greater accountability within the Sabres' locker room. This is the talk you want to hear from an underproducing player. It's not a question of if Okposo starts to find the back of the net again with some regularity, but rather when.
Calgary Flames: In the absence of any truly striking reduced-value candidates in Calgary, Michael Frolik has the potential to make a bit more productive noise than he has thus far on a scoring line with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund. Still, unless your fantasy league is immense, Frolik is probably available on the waiver wire and/or not that appealing altogether without power-play time. There are better options.
Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner scored 37 goals last year, and the 25-year-old had already broken the 30-goal barrier in two previous seasons. So, this November's uninspiring run of two goals in 10 games, while dulling Skinner's fantasy value, is highly atypical. Once back on track, the speedy winger should profit further from opposing teams exercising extra effort in tempering the Hurricanes' dynamite top line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Staal.
Chicago Blackhawks: The players themselves don't seem altogether concerned about their lack of production, so why should we fret over Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad? "The numbers aren't there yet, but we know what the potential is, and the three of us are working to build that chemistry," Toews said of his top line, also including Richard Panik. "We know in the end we need to be more offensive and more productive if we want to keep winning." They might already be drifting in that positive direction. "The last few games we have had some more chances, some better looks, finding each other," Saad said. "We're happy with the last few, and the pucks will go in for us. We just have to stay positive." Perhaps Toews and/or Saad's present fantasy managers aren't so positive?
Colorado Avalanche: Battling an illness after his second-worst performance of the season (five goals allowed on 24 shots in a lopsided loss to the Nashville Predators), Semyon Varlamov might be construed as a relative bargain option right now. Backup Jonathan Bernier, despite presenting as a stingy presence in relief, isn't the club's long-term answer. Also, this post-Matt Duchene Avalanche squad is playing better as a whole, led by a fresh, inspired top line highlighted by Nathan MacKinnon.
Columbus Blue Jackets: It might follow a game or two in the press box, but Nick Foligno will rediscover his productive gear soon enough. Before then, this desolate slump -- one assist in 13 games -- should only aid you in snagging the 30-year-old forward for a lesser return.
Dallas Stars: Through most of November, Ben Bishop has been a good goalie who's playing poorly (.891 save percentage) for an underachieving team. That means he'll snap out of it, as already hinted at by a stronger showing in two of his past three appearances. If unsatisfied with your current set of netminders, consider gauging the level of frustration felt by Bishop's existing manager in quick fashion.
Detroit Red Wings: While the Red Wings' future in Detroit belongs to Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin, Gustav Nyquist hardly merits sending out to fantasy pasture yet. Nyquist is only 28 years old, and he's also skating on a top scoring line with Mantha, along with the No. 1 power play. While we prefer other bargain-trade options, Nyquist's upside exceeds his current 0.5 point-per-game pace. He has genuine value in deeper leagues.
Edmonton Oilers: We jive to this same song and dance most years: During the preseason, a talent-laden team is pegged for a long playoff run. That team underachieves in jarring fashion through first quarter of the season. Panic ensues before it eventually rights ship. Maybe the Oilers heat up enough to squeeze into the playoffs, and maybe they don't. In any case, this club is going to play better hockey because they are better than the current on-ice product. By extension, No. 1 goalie Cam Talbot will also see his numbers improve tangibly in the not-too-distant future. If you're buying into this, test the waters with Talbot's fantasy manager in regards to a possible deal.
Florida Panthers: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad may never improve on the 39 points collected in his Calder-winning season, but he's a greater productive force than what is presently on exhibit. From his one assist this month, you'd never guess Ekblad was skating on the top pair and anchoring the Panthers' secondary power play. If his current fantasy manager is (understandably) exasperated, make him/her an offer.
Los Angeles Kings: Defenseman Jake Muzzin is having a rough go of it with only four assists in his past 14 games and point-less in six straight. But the 28-year-old puck-moving blueliner is still competing on the Kings' top power play and shooting the puck with comforting regularity. Target him now before his next breakout.
Montreal Canadiens: If the fantasy manager in question is also a frustrated and disgusted Canadiens' fan, you should have an even easier time in wooing Max Pacioretty away. Fact is, Montreal's best forward will soon emerge from this uncharacteristic slump, and it will be sooner rather than later. The uncertainty lies in whether the perennial 30-plus goal scorer does so with the Habs or elsewhere following a trade.
Nashville Predators: While we remain high on Craig Smith as an underrated fantasy asset on a scoring line with Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala, the veteran winger doesn't qualify here since he's largely available in ESPN leagues. However, he is worth a look via waivers. Otherwise, there are currently no clear trade targets with sunken value on this hot Predators squad.
New Jersey Devils: With Kyle Palmieri (broken foot) out four-to-six weeks, Jesper Bratt slides into a No. 1 line role alongside center Nico Hischier and winger Taylor Hall, in addition to skating on the top power play. That should help reboot the rookie's production, which has drifted significantly since earlier this month.
New York Islanders: After a fairly horrid October, goalie Thomas Greiss is settling nicely into the Isles' No. 1 role, winning five of six November starts, despite facing an average of 34.3 shots per game. If in need of netminding help, consider sending an offer for Greiss, particularly if his current manager is turned off by today's 3.29 goals-against average.
New York Rangers: Chris Kreider's minus-five is made all the more glaring considering he hasn't ended in the red since his 2012-13 rookie season (minus-one). The 12 points accumulated though 22 games don't exactly overwhelm, either. Yet Kreider, in his prime at 26 years old, remains a viable threat to top last season's career-best of 0.71 point per game while sticking on a top line and power play with Mika Zibanejad.
Ottawa Senators: The most obvious bargain fantasy trade option is Matt Duchene, who's rocking zero points and a revolting minus-eight through his first six games as a Senator. Truth is, such new alliances often take time to gel. The Senators are wise to leave the second-line center alone in between Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman and let them figure it out. It won't stay ugly forever.
Philadelphia Flyers: Forward Wayne Simmonds hasn't been his dangerous scoring self of late, potting just the one goal in 14 games. That might suffice in frustrating some fantasy managers enough to move the 30-plus goal scorer for less than he's truly worth. It's worth noting that Simmonds isn't shooting the puck on net as much as usual, which strikes as one negative factor easily remedied.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Despite seeing top-four minutes and a filling a role on the Penguins' secondary power play, Justin Schultz has all of two goals and three assists to show for his efforts. That 0.29 point-per-game pace is a far cry from last season's 0.65. If anything should sideline Kris Letang -- which has, sadly, been a theme of recent years -- Schultz rockets right into the plum position of the Penguins' top offensive-defenseman, which has rewarded the 27-year-old handsomely in the past.
San Jose Sharks: With only four goals and five assists, forward Joe Pavelski should sparkle as an underachieving bargain on the fantasy trade market -- except he's hurt, and has been for some time. So until we learn more about the unspecified injury, and if there's a glimmer at tunnel's end through rest or treatment, it might serve best to steer clear of the veteran Sharks scorer.
St. Louis Blues: Alexander Steen is already showing signs of busting out of his late October/early November slump with two goals and two assists in four games. The Blues' top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko can't continue to almost exclusively carry the scoring load, signifying more is needed from Steen and his linemate Paul Stastny. History assures us they're well up to the task. If interested, target the streaky second-line winger before he really heats up.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Under different circumstances, we might offer up Tyler Johnson as an underachieving fantasy asset, but unless he takes over for Brayden Point on a second scoring unit aside Ondrej Palat, the current third-line center could pass his least productive campaign since entering the league six seasons ago. And 30-something points from a player who has contributed so much more in the past doesn't thrill much.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Leafs coach Mike Babcock suggests the dip in production from William Nylander (one goal and four assists in 15 games) can be blamed on a lack of confidence. This suggests a couple of quick pucks in the back of the net could open the floodgates in a hurry. Skating on a scoring line with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak, as well as the power play with Auston Matthews, the talented 21-year-old certainly merits pursuit while he is uncharacteristically ice-cold.
Vancouver Canucks: While the days of Daniel Sedin potting 60 or 70 points a season, let alone 100-plus, are clearly in the rearview mirror, the 37-year-old is still seeing top-six minutes and competing on the Canucks' No. 1 power play. He isn't finished yet. If there's a place for an aging veteran with 50-point potential in your deeper league, target Daniel now before he picks up this early-season sluggish pace.
Vegas Golden Knights: From a gaggle of perceived overachievers, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury presents as the odd, possible bargain option while sidelined. Although we still lack a timeline on his return from concussion, the Golden Knights' No. 1 has participated in on-ice activities for a while now. That's a positive sign. Fleury played well for the Pacific Division-leading club before suffering his head injury. A lesser fan of uncertainty might be willing to deal Fleury based on his injury and unspecified return date. It could be worth investigating.
Washington Capitals: In deeper leagues, Matt Niskanen might be worth pursuing five games into his return from a hand injury. Seeing top-four minutes and anchoring the Capitals' secondary power play, Niskanen won't be long for adding to that lonely pair of assists. The puck-moving defenseman potted 39 points in 78 games with Washington last season, including nine with the extra skater. Plus, if anything happens to top blue-line option John Carlson, Niskanen's potential skyrockets instantly.
Winnipeg Jets: Outshined to date by Winnipeg's top forward pair of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, second-line center Bryan Little is much better than his current sum of two goals and seven helpers. We've yet to see anything near the best from that Nikolaj Ehlers/Little/Patrik Laine line at even strength this season, which means there's no time like the present to foster a deal on the cheap.