Ramblings: Trade Season is Upon Us, Toffoli, Suzuki, Bjorkstrand, Dahlin, & Ehlers (Feb. 19)
Apparently, GMs didn't get the memo that Trade Deadline isn't for another five days. Because once the ball got rolling with the Islanders overpaying for Andy Greene on the weekend, the momentum has spread throughout the league.
On Tuesday alone, we saw four different trades. Let's take a quick look at their fantasy relevance.
New York Rangers acquire forward Julien Gauthier from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Joey Keane.
- This is a pure prospect for prospect deal which is interesting. The Rangers have a bevy of impressive defensive prospects coming and obviously saw Keane as expendable.
- That said, the 20-year-old Keane is acclimatizing extremely well as an AHL rookie. His 30 points in 49 games trail only Evan Bouchard for U21 defenders.
- The Rangers grabbed themselves a burgeoning power forward in Gauthier. The 22-year-old is 4th in the AHL for goals (26) and is on the precipice of landing a full-time NHL job.
- I can fancy the Rangers are already viewing Gauthier as a future replacement to Chris Kreider when he inevitably leaves at the deadline.
Winnipeg Jets acquire defenseman Dylan DeMelo from the Ottawa Senators for a 2020 third-round draft pick
- Not much in the way of fantasy relevance here unless you're searching for hits or blocks. DeMelo will help shore up the right side of the defensive end for the Jets – something they've needed all season since losing Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba last summer.
Washington Capitals acquire defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks for a 2020 second-round and 2021 conditional third-round pick.
- Not much in the way of fantasy relevance here unless you're searching for hits or blocks. Dillon will certainly fill up that hit quota for you.
St. Louis Blues acquire defenseman Marco Scandella from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2020 second-round pick and conditional a 2021 fourth-round pick.
Wait. Didn’t Montreal just pay a 4th for Scandella 6 weeks ago?
Nicely done by the Habs.
Not so much by the Sabres. https://t.co/I0zf53Efnk
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 18, 2020
It was announced on Monday evening that the Canucks traded for Tyler Toffoli (and was broken down expertly by Dobber here). However, at the time, we didn't know why Vancouver was so deadset on adding another right-winger.
That was cleared up on Tuesday when it was announced that Brock Boeser would be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season and quite possibly for the post-season as well.
This is a HUGE blow to the Canucks top line and top power-play unit. However, it does open up the possibility that we see Toffoli land on Elias Pettersson's wing alongside J.T. Miller at even-strength, and take Boeser's spot on the top unit.
To add credence to that theory, Toffoli was skating on the top line and unit at his first practice on Tuesday morning. Now, Toffoli doesn't often play above a second-line pace as far as raw metrics go. However, as my esteemed co-worker Michael 'Slim Cliffy' Clifford points out, Toffoli had a four-year run as one of the most devasting goal-scorers on a per-minute basis.
well, let’s define historically because from 2014-17, he was tied for 29th out of 261 forwards in goals/60 (2000+ mins at 5v5). what sunk him was spending the last two years stuck in the middle-6 with bags of garbage.
— Michael Clifford (@SlimCliffy) February 18, 2020
That's not bad at all.
If Toffoli does end up on the top line, we can just assume Bo Horvat will never have a quality right-winger to play with. Here’s a look at all his right-wingers the last two seasons. Talk about yuck.
if Toffoli starts on right side with Bo Horvat, he will become the 16th RW Horvat has lined up with to start a #Canucks game since the start of last season:
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 18, 2020
Evgeni Malkin left the warm-up early ahead of Tuesday's tilt against the Maple Leafs. He was unable to play due to an illness. Instead, someone named Anthony Angello took his place and scored his first career goal.
Of course, he did.
The Pittsburgh Penguins scratched Evgeni Malkin and replaced him with “Anthony Angello” in the last minute and he just scored a goal. I can’t describe the 2019-20 Pittsburgh Penguins any better than that
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 19, 2020
Sidney Crosby was a man-possessed on this night. The Pens captain scored a goal and added three helpers in the 5-2 win. He now has 23 points in 13 games since returning from injury and is clicking at a 109-point pace.
We're still not worthy.
Freddie Andersen was torched for all five goals on just 24 shots. He has not been very good lately. Since the calendar flipped to 2020, the 30-year-old is sporting a 4-4-2 record with a .880 save percentage.
The defense isn't great in Toronto, but neither is the goaltending.
The Jets beat up on the Kings – something LA is likely to get used to in the final 20-odd games of the season. With Toffoli gone and Alec Martinez rumoured to be out the door, its getting to bare bones territory.
After stumbling to 37 points in 62 games last season, Ehlers has returned to his 60-point pace of year's past. All while continuing to be shunned from the top power-play unit.
I'm telling you, this kid would be a star in another organization.
It was a night to forget for rookie sensation, Elvis Merzlikins. After setting the world on fire for nearly a month, he gave up four goals on 16 shots tonight before getting the hook.
That's three straight losses for 25-year-old.
On the bright side, Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied his 20th goal of the season in the 5-1 loss to the Flyers. He reached the milestone in just his 48th game – a 34-goal pace.
Bjorkstrand is just six weeks shy of turning 25, but if look at his experience, he's right in that sweet sweet spot of 240 games played (245) – or as the kids in the biz refer to it – The Magical Fourth Year.
Watch out for him to take the full stride next season. I wouldn't blink twice to see a 35+35 campaign coming down the pike.
The Habs continued their descent towards the draft lottery by losing their fifth straight on Tuesday. This time at the hands of the lowly Red Wings. Yes, that's right, the Detroit Red Wings won a game!
The only bright spot was rookie, Nick Suzuki continues his excellent campaign. The 20-year-old had a goal and an assist and has 13 points in his last 11 games. He's up to 40 points in 62 contests.
That mark sits tied for third in rookie scoring with Victor Olofsson.
Rookie Point Leaders
• Quinn Hughes – 45
• Cale Makar – 43
• Victor Olofsson – 40
• Nick Suzuki – 40
• Dominik Kubalik – 36
• Martin Necas – 32
• Adam Fox – 31
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 19, 2020
Suzuki has become a steady contributor as the season has worn on, especially on the man-advantage. He has 34 points in 45 games ranging back to Nov. 12 – including power-play points. That's a 24PPP and 62-point pace. Serious production for any forward let alone a raw rookie.
Suzuki is the most important piece of this Canadiens team moving forward. That is, until they select in the top-five in June.
Speaking of Olofsson, he had a goal, an assist and six shots on goal in the 7-4 loss to the Senators. Make it five points in three games since being on the shelf for five weeks. Olofsson’s been playing at a 35-goal, 73-point pace for more than half a season.
I bet the Sabres are seriously regretting giving Jeff Skinner 8x9M last summer. They figured they needed to pony up to keep a sniper – turns out they had one in the system all along.
P.S. Skinner was pointless again on Tuesday. He has just two assists in his last 20 games. That contract looks putrid already.
Jeff Skinner’s bid to become the most overpaid player in the league – An essay in bullet point form:
• 0 goals in the last 10 weeks
• 2 assists in his last 20 GP
• 4 goals in the last 37 GP
• 10M salary this year
• 9M cap hit for SEVEN MORE SEASONS
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 19, 2020
On the bright side, at least the Sabres have Rasmus Dahlin. Everyone is talking about Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar – and for good reason, but Dahlin is six months younger than Hughes and 18 months younger than Makar. His true breakout is coming.
And in the meantime, the 19-year-old has 15 points in his last 16 games and is clicking at a 60-point pace.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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