Fantasy Impact: The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to the Dallas Stars for Minnesota's fourth-round pick in 2019. Thirteen months ago the Pens acquired Oleksiak from… the Stars for, uh, Minnesota's fourth-round pick in 2019. So basically they just borrowed the guy.
The Stars get: a towering (6-7), bottom-pairing defenseman who likes to use the body and has decent puck-moving skills that could allow him to move up to the second pairing when needed. Oleksiak, a former first-round draft pick (14th overall in 2011) by the Stars, could not get into Dallas' lineup on a regular basis during his first go-round. So he went to the Penguins and became a regular there, promptly posting 14 points in 47 games for Pittsburgh along with 69 PIM and 138 Hits (and plus-13). Those are solid fantasy-worthy numbers. This season wasn't quite so good, but still borderline as a depth fantasy option. However, on December 19 Oleksiak suffered a concussion thanks to the following incident courtesy of Tom Wilson:
This allowed Juuso Riikola to get into the lineup and he filled in well enough to make Oleksiak expendable. Oleksiak couldn't get back into the lineup regularly ever since. Since the Penguins can save half of his $1.95 million salary, they recouped their earlier trade asset and now Riikola is on the team.
Fantasy Players Impacted: It should also be noted that Justin Schultz is still "week to week" with his broken leg, but he is back skating now and if I were to guess I would say he will miss another six to 12 games yet. A trade like this at least indicates that the team is comfortable with his rate of recovery and that they won't have to way too long. His return would push Riikola to the seven slot, and Chad Ruhwedal to the eight slot. Riikola as a regular could help deep leagues that count Hits (he's good for close to 2.5 per game) and BLKS (about 1.25 per game).
The Stars have Stephen Johns and Marc Methot injured, which means that minor leaguer Taylor Fedun has been a regular and Connor Carrick would soon be as well. Obviously the Stars aren't comfortable with that, so they brought back Oleksiak who is a better player than he was when he left. Plus he now has playoff experience, to boot. Oddly enough, Oleksiak could now be the No.4 rearguard on the team, ahead of Julius Honka and Roman Polak. That could mean he gets paired up with Miro Heiskanen in the second group, or either Honka or Carrick on the third pairing. Oleksiak will get better numbers in Dallas now, though just how much better remains to be seen. Likely nothing more than a depth option in fantasy leagues, though.