Fantasy hockey's sell-high trade candidates

Elias Pettersson could well be a Vancouver mainstay for the next decade. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider trading him in fantasy. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing lasts forever, not even red-hot scoring streaks or bloated shooting percentages. With that in mind, treat yourself this holiday season to the gift of a rewarding trade brought about by you having the foresight to offload an overachieving fantasy asset for a yet-to-blossom value in return. Fair warning: there are a few prominent names on this list -- and that's the point. Dealing a quality player for another who has yet to hit his potential, particularly while satisfying a roster need, is precisely how you achieve fantasy success.

Note: No, we're not suggesting you move Vancouver's leading Calder candidate in any variety of keeper or dynasty league. These recommendations apply to re-draft competitions only.

Jeff Skinner, LW, Buffalo Sabres (rostered in 85.6 percent of ESPN leagues): Looking back three months, it's difficult to believe that Skinner wasn't the preseason "sure-fire bet" to skate alongside Jack Eichel upon joining the Sabres. Fellow import Conor Sheary was reportedly getting just as much consideration at the time. Today, the former Carolina winger is on pace for 56 goals, while rocking an unsustainable 23.1 shooting percentage. This isn't to suggest that Skinner won't end up with a career year in his ninth season. After all, he's very likely to finish the campaign with 40-plus goals for the first time. But now that other teams around the Eastern Conference have made their acquaintance with Buffalo's new top duo, that shooting percentage is fated to backslide. Consider dealing Skinner before such a settling down takes place.

Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (85.4 percent): The recent experiment of skating Valeri Nichushkin on the Stars' top line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, in place of Benn, is disconcerting. Even though Dallas' usual top trio was reunited before the conclusion of Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Ducks, the shuffling indicates a willingness on coach Jim Montgomery's part to mix it up. Competing alongside Martin Hanzal and Jason Spezza isn't on par with keeping such aforementioned company. Also, the 29-year-old isn't shooting on net at his usual clip to date (2.6 shots/game this season), which helps to account for his total of "only" 12 goals. But he's still Jamie Benn, and a large swath of fantasy managers will be keen on acquiring the reliable forward on reputation alone. Consider taking advantage.

Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche (99.5 percent): Here's one of those names that, as a proposed trade candidate, is sure to widen eyes across the fantasy universe. "But he competes on the best/most productive forward unit in the entire league!. How can you deal him?" Sure, the skilled 22-year-old plays a significant part in his unit's ridiculous numbers -- a combined 137 points through 31 games -- alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. The problem is that Colorado is so top-heavy. That's a big concern going forward. Out of necessity, opposing teams will put in the extra effort to at least somewhat limit that top trio as much as possible. Along with his 13 goals, Rantanen leads the league with 39 assists. That's 39 before Christmas! Should it make sense, target a fantasy manager in need of assists and ask for an elite fantasy goal-scorer in return.

Joe Pavelski, C/RW, San Jose Sharks (94.6 percent): Do you believe Pavelski will score 52 goals this year? That happens to be his current pace If so, then keep a tight hold on the 34-year-old. Bear in mind though, he only collected 22 goals - two more than he has right now - in last year's full slate of 82 contests. Also, Pavelski's current shooting percentage of 22.5 feels a bit inflated, wouldn't you agree?

Elias Pettersson, C, Vancouver Canucks (84.4 percent): To reiterate, we're proposing Pettersson as a fantasy trade asset in re-draft leagues only. Much like many of the exceptionally talented rookies who have come before him, the 20-year-old is in very realistic danger of simply running out of steam. The 2017 No. 5-overall draft pick competed in 44 games for the Växjö Lakers in the Swedish Hockey League this past season. That was nowhere near the demands of an 82-game NHL campaign -- six games of which Pettersson has already lost to a concussion. It's a grind, and one to which the slight, still-developing, elite player will have to get accustomed. It often takes more than one season for a European-based player to adapt. The exceptional center has three goals and seven assists in his four most-recent games, including Sunday's five-point affair in St. Louis. Just imagine how much you could get in return for Pettersson right now!

Elias Lindholm, C/RW, Calgary Flames (70.5 percent): Forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are essentially fixtures on the Flames' top line. Meanwhile, following his offseason trade from Carolina, Lindholm is filling in nicely as the "third musketeer" -- for now. As much success (16 goals and 18 assists) as the versatile 24-year-old forward has enjoyed thus far alongside Gaudreau and Monahan, there's no guarantee he'll finish the regular season with that duo. Frankly, we wouldn't be surprised if James Neal earns another try in that spot, if and when Calgary slows their current roll. Coach Bill Peters also has the luxury of slotting Lindholm in as his second-line center, should the situation require. It's a long season and a lot can change along the way. Lindholm's current 87-point pace would nearly double last year's total. That's a lot to ask from any change of scenery. We'd also be remiss if we didn't point out that Lindholm's 18.6 shooting percentage is unlikely to hold.

Kyle Palmieri, RW, New Jersey Devils (78.5 percent): The 27-year-old winger has never managed to sustain a shooting percentage greater than 13.5 in his eight-year NHL career. He has scored exactly 30 goals just once, through 82 games in 2015-16. This run of 16 goals in 29 contests, while riding an 18.2 shooting percentage screams for a regression. Also, the Devils are plodding, currently dead-last in the Eastern Conference. With little to lose, coach John Hynes wouldn't be faulted for tossing his tender forward lines into a proverbial blender, which could result in Palmieri falling of Taylor Hall's top unit. If so, a dip in production would be inevitable. With four goals and an assist in his last three games, Palmeiri's trade value may be at an apex. Consider dealing him now before it spins round to a beautiful oblivion.

Ryan McDonagh, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (52.6 percent): Not that you'll get a huge haul in return, but the 29-year-old veteran is enjoying a productive renaissance of sorts with three goals and 18 assists (plus-19) through 32 games. Those are utterly unsustainable numbers, especially since the well-rounded blue-liner is no longer a factor with the extra skater. He's had just three points in his last seven games, while also averaging fewer on-ice minutes, so the levelling off is already underway. The time to deal McDonagh is nigh. Fellow fantasy managers desperate for defensive help are still likely to overpay. Bonus advice: Seek out Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse, who appears destined to replace Oscar Klefbom on Edmonton's top power play. Klefbom is in need of a nurse, expected to be out for weeks after suffering a serious hand injury. Nurse remains available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vegas Golden Knights (98.5 percent): The last time Fleury took to the crease in more than 46 contests was back in 2015-16, when he appeared in 58 games with the Penguins. He's already up to 29 games played. We'd wager the 34-year-old doesn't end playing 55 contests with Vegas this season. If we're right, that leaves him with about 20 games to go. With a 10-2 record in his most recent dozen, Fleury boasts serious value in leagues which place victories at a premium. If you're flush at the goalie position yourself, move him now in exchange for some other asset before he pulls or tears something.

Other sell-high candidates for your consideration: Cam Atkinson, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets; Max Domi, C/LW, Montreal Canadiens; Tyler Johnson, C/LW, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning