Top 10 fantasy players available at the trade deadline
The NHL trade deadline waits for no man, as proven over the past seven days. Teams have already started stacking up for their playoff run. Ron Hainsey, Ben Bishop, Michael Stone and Martin Hanzal have all been dealt in the past week. Other teams are now playing catch up as players they wanted may no longer be available. The NHL trade deadline is just two days away. Many fantasy leagues mimic the NHL schedule and will have their trade deadline this week as well. So, you should expect the fantasy value of many players to be inflated this week.
Below are the top 10 players rumoured to be on the market this year.
10. Patrick Sharp
I’ve mentioned this about Sharp before, but he really needs to be on a top power play unit to be effective. He’s got just one power play point so far. Last year he had 24. This whole year has been a disappointment for Sharp. He’s a minus-16, not shooting, not hitting, etc. He’s simply not producing at any level. A new team could help him get some of his mojo back, but it will all start with him getting that power play time back.
9. Mark Streit
I’ve been a believer in Streit for a long time but he’s been shaking my confidence lately as he has just one point in his last 11 games. He’s playing with Shayne Gostisbehere at even strength, but unfortunately, not on the power play. He’s still taking plenty of shots, dishing out a few hits and a blocking pucks so he is contributing somewhat. He needs to get to a team where he can take over a power play to really bolster his fantasy worth.
The Lightning may be in a full-scale selling mode, with one of the main goals to shed cap space so they can re-sign a bunch of their young guys in the next year or two. Filppula falls squarely in that category. He’s not posting overwhelming numbers but is still on pace for 47 points without playing on the top PP unit or without much support (last game he lined up with Brian Boyle and Cory Conacher).
7. Radim Vrbata
Vrbata has spent the last couple of weeks proving why he should be considered a top trade target. He’s got 11 points in his last nine games and is on pace for 60 points overall. It’s looking like we should be taking his horrific 2015-16 season with the Canucks as an aberration. He should be an attractive fantasy option as he takes plenty of shots and also contributes on the power play. His worst attribute is his minus-16 but that should improve tremendously on a new team with a better netminder.
6. Brian Boyle
Boyle will never be an offensive force. But he does contribute in many of the peripheral categories. He is on pace for two shots a game, 117 hits and 68 PIM. I think those numbers move up if he’s dealt as he will want to prove his role with a new team. Think of Andrew Shaw in Montreal, who has already hit a career high in PIM, and is hitting and shooting the puck at per game levels he never accomplished in Chicago. Boyle will look to do that with his new squad as well.
Landeskog is having one of his worst seasons offensively but let’s not forget that the Avs’ captain is just 24 years old and Colorado is just horrific. Landeskog is still producing shots and hits and is on pace for 69 PIM. He just needs to step up the points and a trade to almost any other squad should help tremendously with that.
4. Evander Kane
Kane is finally showing signs of the being fantasy force that we expected from him many years ago. Especially once Jack Eichel got back in the lineup. Since then, Kane has 21 goals and 30 points in 40 games. It will be difficult for Buffalo to deal Kane as the Sabres gave up so much to get him, and it will be tough for an NHL general manager to trade high for him.
3. Thomas Vanek
Vanek is being somewhat overlooked in fantasy circles — owned in just 31 per cent of Yahoo leagues — even though he’s the 87th highest-ranked player in Dobber’s roto ranker. He’d be a prime candidate for comeback player of the year if he hadn’t already missed 14 games due to injury. But Vanek has a points-per-game of 0.81, and has 15 goals and 23 assists despite playing just 14:38 per game. He’s shown in the past that he can adapt to other systems and players quickly (think of when he was dealt to the Islanders and Habs).
2. Matt Duchene
I know many disagree with my position on Duchene as I treat him as a 25-goal, 55-point player. But there’s plenty of poolies who think Duchene can be a 65-70-point player with the right squad. Much of that potential success, like everyone on this list, will depend on where he goes. Obviously, being traded to a team like Pittsburgh is completely different than going to Calgary.
I said last week that I doubt that Shattenkirk is dealt by the deadline. But that doesn’t mean he’s not the best fantasy option out there. Before yesterday’s evening games, Shattenkirk was the 25th highest rated defenseman in standard Yahoo pools, ahead of guys like John Klingberg, Keith Yandle and John Carlson. Shattenkirk is only three goals and three points off his career highs. Going to a contender will only help his plus-minus, which is at minus-10 right now.
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