Fantasy Take: Leafs Deal Ritchie to Arizona

Ian Gooding

2022-02-20

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Nick Ritchie and a conditional second-round pick to Arizona for Ryan Dzingel and Ilya Lyubushkin.

Ritchie, who was signed to a two-year contract with a $2.5 million cap hit this past offseason, was demoted to the AHL in early February. He had scored just two goals in 33 games as a Leaf, even though he was given significant minutes with Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, and John Tavares early in the season.

Ritchie brings scoring upside and physical play to the Coyotes, where he should have no problem securing a roster spot and could even play in the top 6, even if he isn't presented with the kind of scoring opportunity that he first received with the Leafs. He is also on the verge of playing 400 games, but he's already on his fourth NHL team. For all we know, this could be his last real NHL opportunity. At least he won't have nearly as much competition for a roster spot this time.   

Dzingel has scored 20 goals twice in his career, although like Ritchie, he has struggled to score this season (7 PTS in 26 GP). There's a small chance he could make his way into the top 6 if he moves to the wing, although he seems more likely to fill a bottom-6 role away from the top scorers. With a lower cap hit ($1.1 million) on a one-year deal, he won't come with the expectations that Ritchie had.

Lyubushkin provides virtually no scoring, but he is expected to provide a physical defensive presence on the right side of the Leafs blueline. Two players coming in and only one going out means that the Leafs will need to make another roster move, and it could be on defense. Timothy Liljegren has already been sent down to the AHL, so one of Travis Dermott or Justin Holl could be moved or sent to the AHL to make room for Lyubushkin. Very little in the way of fantasy implications, but there are a million different opinions among Leafs Nation as to what should happen.

Fantasy players this helps:

Ritchie

Fantasy players this hurts, in order:

Andrew Ladd

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Pierre Engvall

Lawson Crouse

Dermott

Holl

Liljegren