With one week until the NHL trade deadline, it’s important to remember that some of the best moves are the smallest ones.
Although you can’t measure the results with just point totals. Many times, a grittier player going to a new team wants to prove himself. For example, in his first three games with the Penguins, Ryan Reaves had 12 hits, two fights and 34 PIM.
Below are 10 players who could see an uptick in production of some type if they are dealt within the next seven days. Obviously, it all depends on the situation. A goalie going to Chicago would be in a better spot for your fantasy squad than the same goalie going to Tampa.
10. Josh Gorges
Gorges career has always been about blocking shots, but he hasn’t had much opportunity lately. Over the last five seasons, Gorges’ 2.3 blocked shots per game is tied for third highest in the league (minimum 100 games) while his 1.8 hits per game puts him in the top 75 among dmen. This season he has 1.7 blocks per game and 2.0 hits per game, but he’s only played 25 games as he’s been a healthy scratch for most of the year. As I mentioned earlier, players like Gorges want to prove their worth to a new team, so expect an uptick in blocked shots and hits if he’s dealt.
We’ve already been here once with Vermette, when he was dealt from the Coyotes to Chicago during the 2014-15 season. He was a disappointment then and there’s not much signs that he would be any better now. His offensive game has fallen off, but his faceoff prowess remains elite. He might be a sneaky pickup just for that category alone, but don’t expect much else.
The days of Plekanec hitting 25 goals and 50 points is way behind him. However, he does have some value is leagues that count faceoffs as he is on pace to win 773 faceoffs. He could get the opportunity to take more defensive zone faceoffs when protecting a lead on a much better team, so there is a chance his faceoff numbers increase.
7. Zack Smith
Smith is exhibit number a billion why NHL and fantasy general managers need to sell high. When he potted 25 goals two years ago on a 20.7 shooting percentage, the Sens decided not to trade him. This season he’s on pace for six goals. However, there would be reason for optimism if dealt. His shots per game is the highest its been in years, and his plus-minus would also improve on a new squad. Just keep in mind that his hits-per-game has gone from 2.16 to 1.89 to 1.28 the last three years. It would be interesting to see if that increases if he gets moved.
6. Petr Mrazek
Mrazek seems to be the NHL’s version of Jekyll and Hyde: Either really great or really bad. He’s Mr. Hyde this year, but how much of that is his fault? The Red Wings top two defensemen are Mike Green and Trevor Daley, who both play more than 20 minutes a night. Then there’s Niklas Kronwall who is north of 18 minutes per game. Mrazek has only played 22 games but has posted nearly identical numbers to teammate James Howard. There’s been rumours of a trade to Philadelphia, which would immediately make him fantasy relevant again.
The Canucks defenseman is rumoured to be on the market if he doesn’t sign a new extension with Vancouver by next Monday. Gudbranson is another guy who could want to make an impact on a new squad. His 2.4 hits per game and 1.6 blocked shots per game is respectable, but I would expect that initial uptick for a few games until he settles back into normal statistics.
4. Robin Lehner
Lehner has never really posted great numbers, but that is not the fault of the Sabres netminder. He’s always been stuck behind defenses on bad to average teams. He’s been decent on some awful teams though. What could he do on a team with a better defense? He could easily be a capable number one, or at worst, be a backup that pushes the number one starter to be better.
The biggest trend this year seems to be the market for players that are still under contract for at least an additional season (Mike Hoffman, Derek Brassard, Max Pacioretty, etc.). You can also add Zuccarello to that list, as he is signed until the end of 2018-19. Zucc is already on a bit of a hot streak with 10 points and 27 shots in his last 14 games. He’s pretty consistent throughout his career, but a new team and a new system could boost his numbers.
2. Boone Jenner
Oh Boone Jenner, where did you go? In 2015-16, he was one of the surprises of the fantasy world, putting up 30 goals, 49 points, 77 PIM, 225 shots, 213 hits, 14 power play points and 71 blocked shots. Except for the hits and blocked shots, everything else has suffered since. He’s on pace for seven goals, 23 points, 48 PIM, 186 shots, 205 hits, three power play points and 87 blocked shots. The soon-to-be RFA shown a history of producing and could be given a better opportunity somewhere else.
While Maroon became more of a household name by notching 27 goals last year playing on a line with Connor McDavid, he offers fantasy value in many other categories. He’s currently on pace for 86 PIM, 171 shots and 169 hits. Throw in the fact he’s still on pace for 20 goals and 43 points, that’s a pretty solid fantasy season in multi-cat leagues. Expect a bit of a boost if he gets dealt, as he’s proven he can play with elite players.
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