This week's Capped discusses the forward trade targets for your upcoming trade deadlines.
The mid-way point of the season passed us by not too long ago, and we are already on the way into the stretch run. That big red circle on all of our calendars is also fast approaching. No, not Valentine’s Day! Trade deadline day of course. March 1st may seem like a ways away at this point, but I would like to cover all three of forwards, defence and goalies to target for the stretch run, and really that will take us right up to the end of February. If you’re like me, then the best shopping is done in advance of the deadline, so hopefully this gives you a good chance to look into the players that you might want to target.
Brian Boyle (C/LW) – Tampa Bay Lightning
Contract – $2,000,000
With Boyle being an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, having a $2 Million salary, and being 32 years of age, he should be a very affordable option in salary cap leagues. Sometimes it isn’t the large moves that make the biggest impact. Often it can be the role player who was acquired for a draft pick in the middle rounds or a prospect that makes the biggest difference. In addition, Boyle is going to have a good chance to make an impact, with Tampa playing four games in all four of the last weeks of the fantasy season.
As a secondary point, who knew thatBoyle is the most recent member of the Tampa Bay Lightning first unit power play? I really don’t expect many hands to be going up here. Now this may be just a phase while Ondrej Palat is injured, or it could show that Boyle is finally back to full health after his lower body injury at the beginning of January. Either way, it is a good sign for Boyle. For those needing help in goals, faceoff wins and hits, Boyle could be a good add at the deadline. If he can regain the scoring touch that he had found at the end of December, then he may be a player that can be the difference between winning or losing a round.
Calle Jarnkrok (C/LW) – Nashville Predators
Contract – $2,000,000
Jarnkrok may be more of an investment than a rental in some cases, but he should also be able to provide very good value for the stretch run. For one thing, the Nashville Predators on the whole have a nicely set up playoff schedule for head-to-head leagues. The play five games during fantasy week 23, and for a lot of leagues that would be the final. Having an extra game or two out of a few players can be a major advantage at that point.
More than just the extra couple of games though, Jarnkrok is positioned to have a very nice end to the season. Over the last six games, he has centered the second line for the Predators, and is finally seeing regular power play time (albeit on the second unit). He has been making the most of this opportunity, and has put up a very respectable seven points in those six games. Look for Jarnkrok to keep racking up numbers as the season closes out, and at his current contract, he makes one of the cheapest second line centres around the NHL.
Boone Jenner (LW) – Columbus Blue Jackets
Contract – $2,900,000
Jenner had a bit of a disappointing start to the season, and has since only been quietly effective for the surprising Columbus Blue Jackets. Playing most of the season on a line with Cam Atkinson, who has broken out in a big way, fantasy owners have generally been frustrated that Jenner has not been carried along. With two points in the last three games, and a small uptick in ice time, that may be beginning to change. If Jenner can get himself in on a couple more points over the course of the season, then he should start to justify owning him in fantasy pools.
Currently, the majority of Jenner’s value comes from the hits he provides. At a rate of over two per game, in addition to putting up decent numbers in shots, blocks, and other peripheral categories, he would make a great depth addition for a lot of multi category leagues. Additionally, just like Tampa Bay, Columbus plays four games in each of the final four weeks of the season, meaning they will also be a great team to target in general. All in all, there are much worse ways to spend $3 Million dollars of a fantasy salary cap.
Victor Rask (C) – Carolina Hurricanes
Contract – $4,000,000
Rask has double the salary of a few other players on this list, and has not scored a point in 10 games. So why is he being recommended here? The reality is that Rask is a very streaky player, and he ended last season very well after a few ups and downs. This season, a bounce back after his current cold spell could be in the cards. Once Derek Ryan is finally shuffled back down the lineup, Rask will be able to reclaim some proper line mates, and bounce back into the realm of fantasy relevance.
Sticking with the theme, Carolina has a good playoff schedule as well, with five games in week 21, as well as four games in both weeks 23 and 24. With that, Rask will have plenty of time to hit the score sheet for a team that by that point will either be playing for their playoff lives, or will be playing a loose brand of hockey, looking to spoil someone else’s party. Rask is also a bit of an investment for future years, so at $4 Million he may not be a fit for everyone. However, if there is salary space on your roster, he may win you a couple of weeks based on his production during his hot streaks.
Please feel free to comment if you have any other suggestions for decently priced forwards (both salary and trade market wise) that could be worth targeting for a late season push.
Find me on twitter: @alexdmaclean
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