It’s hard to believe but we’re nearly a month away from the NHL Trade Deadline (February 28th).
How does this influence the fantasy hockey world? As we know, it’s all about opportunity, outlook and situation. If player X goes from let’s say Arizona to a Stanley Cup contender, their fantasy value could go up exponentially.
No doubt – there are a lot of variables but it certainly is something to monitor this time of year.
Here’s a list of fantasy relevant players who could be on the move.
Kevin Shattenkirk – D – St. Louis Blues
For a multitude of reasons, it’s very likely that Shattenkirk will be dealt between now and February 28th. For starters, St. Louis’ current goaltending situation is a mess so naturally they’re nosediving. Can anyone say Kevin Shattenkirk for Ben Bishop? I love being an arm chair GM. It’s fun.
Secondly, Kevin Shattenkirk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and it sounds like he prefers to head closer to home in the East. Furthermore, the Blues lost their captain David Backes for nothing last year – will they run the risk of having something similar happen again?
Ben Bishop – G – Tampa Bay Lightning
Ironically enough, Bishop began his career with St. Louis. I’m just saying – it makes sense. This situation is a little more difficult to break down. The 6’7’’ netminder missed significant time this season due to injury and many felt that this was the opportunity for Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to take the ball and run with it. Well, he didn’t. He was downright atrocious filling in. Vasilevskiy has been very inconsistent which I’m sure came to the attention of Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. Can he afford to deal Bishop right now? We’ll see.
Marc-Andre Fleury – G – Pittsburgh Penguins
It’s no secret – several NHL teams may be in the market for goaltending help. Fleury’s story is a bit different. He has term and significant money left on his deal but he’ll most likely be elsewhere next year due to the expansion situation. You would think Matt Murray’s recent hot play has Pittsburgh pondering a Fleury trade again. They’re an extremely legitimate cup contender and they could use him as trade bait to acquire something that would put them over the top again.
Thomas Vanek – LW, RW – Detroit Red Wings
Vanek is a very interesting file. We’ve seen a resurgence of sorts from him this season. It’s important to note he sustained a lower body injury on Sunday but it isn’t considered too serious at this point. In 35 games, the Austrian forward has 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points. Imagine him on a line with Jonathan Toews in Chicago? The Red Wings aren’t entirely out of things but if they do fall out, it’ll make a lot of sense for them to test the market on Vanek.
Radim Vrbata – RW – Arizona Coyotes
Similar to Vanek, we’ve seen a resurgence from Vrbata this season notwithstanding his plus/minus (-15) but he is on Arizona. With 33 points in 46 games and free agency pending, many teams will have a long look here. Normally, I’d say it’s likely he’s dealt but his bonus laden contract may make things a bit more difficult. He’s slated to earn 500K if he scores 20 goals – he’s potted 11 through 46 games thus far. Furthermore, he’s owed 250K for getting to the playoffs and 250K for every round he advances. Seriously – where do they think of these things?
Patrick Sharp – LW, RW – Dallas Stars
Now, we’re talking. There’s several reasons why Sharp may go. Reason 1, 2 and 3 – the Stars can’t get a save which leads to the losses piling up. The 35-year-old is in the midst of an injury riddled and disappointing campaign. Add in the fact that he’s slated to become an UFA on July 1 and all the ingredients are there for a potential trade out of Dallas. With the type of money he’ll command and the Stars having pressing needs defensively, they probably won’t be able to keep him. It’s too bad – he’s probably the best looking player in the NHL. A Sharp deal could inject some life into his season and if he lands in the right spot – say in Pittsburgh – he may start to produce like we know he can.
Evander Kane – LW – Buffalo Sabres
With one year left on his currently deal, Kane may be attractive for many suitors out there not only for this season but for next as well. There’s no doubt about it – his production has increased lately. For some reason, the feeling still lingers that he may have worn out his welcome in Buffalo too. If they got the right offer, I think the Sabres would deal him. Hopefully, there are no track suits accessible. If Kane does get traded, he’s certainly a guy who has the potential to be a fantasy stud. How long have we been saying that for though?
Meantime, the watch is certainly on in Colorado. Will they address their issues in-season or wait for the offseason to do some of their heavy lifting? The main guys to watch in this situation are Gabe Landeskog and Matt Duchene – both of which could offer considerable fantasy value in a new setting.
Andre Burakovsky – LW, RW – Washington Capitals
Radim Vrbata – RW – Arizona Coyotes
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – C – Edmonton Oilers
Anders Lee – LW – New York Islanders
Viktor Arvidsson – LW, RW – Nashville Predators
Dave Pagnotta of the Fourth Period dropped by Episode 13 of the Fantasy Fix Podcast and offered his opinions/perspective on the current NHL trade market.
The podcast is available exclusively ON DEMAND with the SiriusXM APP and online at Siriusxm.ca or SiriusXM.com
For all inquiries and thoughts, you can find me on twitter: @thegoldenmuzzy
#NAFantasyFix for your questions. I’ll answer them on my podcast.