Ramblings: Trade Deadline Targets Like Kessel and Klingberg; Marchand Pots Three Against Montreal – January 13

Michael Clifford

2022-01-13

The 2022 Dobber Hockey Midseason Guide is currently under preparation, and that will be available in the Dobber Shop in the near future. For the guide, I wrote about a lot of players that could be on the move at the trade deadline, and the general state of each team as they consider their seller/buyer status. Despite the cap crunch, there are a handful of players that are likely to be on the move by the deadline as their teams fall further out of the playoff race. Here are five guys we should be keeping an eye on, how they're doing this year, how much they can actually help a team and, in turn, help fantasy roster. Contract information from Cap Friendly.

Phil Kessel

The two-time Stanley Cup champion is a free agent at the end of the year, but one sticking point could be his contract. Even pro-rated at a 40% cap hit, his deal is still well over $2M for the balance of the season. That is not nothing for teams that are near the cap, and that's a lot of them, so money will likely have to be moved back the other way, and that will involve a roster player of some sort.

Anyway, Kessel has 23 points in 33 games this year, pacing for over 50 points, which feels like a miracle on that Arizona roster. He is being short-changed, too, as he's shooting 6.7%, having shot 12.6% over his previous 208 games. He should be closer to a 60-point pace with a goals bump, and it's not luck, either: his primary assist rate at 5-on-5 is 75% higher than his secondary assist rate, which can be more luck-driven. By HockeyViz's impacts, he is also helping the team's power play go from abysmal to below-average which, again, feels like a miracle in itself. He is doing a good job of driving offence on a team that is truly awful offensively, and that speaks to him having something left to give for a playoff run.

Most playoff teams could use a middle-six scoring right winger. How about his old stomping grounds in Boston? Calgary? It is fun to imagine a Sutter coaching Phil Kessel. Nashville could also prob