Top 10 NHL Trade Candidates (2016)

by Tom Collins on February 22, 2016

As we near the NHL Trade Deadline – Top 10 trade candidates that would impact your fantasy hockey team


We are just seven days from the NHL Trade Deadline. This is when things get serious in a lot of hockey pools with many hockey pool trade deadlines around the same time and the playoffs soon to begin.

The fantasy value spikes whenever a player is traded. Everyone expects a struggling player to all of a sudden excel in a new city and for good players to become great with a change of address. That's not always the case, so you need to be careful not to overvalue players once they're dealt. Below you'll find 10 of the most intriguing players rumoured to be traded within the next seven days. We're excluding guys who are playing well on playoff teams such as Kyle Okposo and Loui Eriksson as they will probably be kept for the postseason.

Note that it's too difficult to determine the impact of these guys on potential new teams because it's tough to know where they are going. A player traded to Pittsburgh would have a different fantasy outcome than being dealt to Detroit.

On to the list.


10. Justin Schultz

Any type of trade would be an automatic improvement for Schultz's fantasy value because he has zero right now. Maybe he just needs the right situation where the right teammates can protect him and cover for his glaring defensive deficiencies. Maybe he needs to go somewhere where all he is counted on is to man the power play. Maybe he needs to go somewhere where no one has seen him play for the past four years. Regardless he just needs to go somewhere other than Edmonton.


9. Jiri Hudler

The Flames are way out of the playoffs, Hudler is a free agent and is also underperforming. So that makes him a great candidate to be traded but a horrible candidate for fantasy purposes. Unless he gets traded to a team when he can play with an elite forward, he won't improve that much over his 0.64 points-per-game.


8. Travis Hamonic

It's interesting how some trade demands work in the NHL. Some guys refuse to play with the squad any more. Others create a toxic atmosphere. And then there's guys like Hamonic. He asks for a trade to be closer to family for personal reasons. But continues to play while patiently waiting. Meanwhile, Hamonic is having a good, not great, season and that would probably continue where ever he is traded to.


7. Mikkel Boedker

Boedker is on pace for 53 points. If he gets there, that would be the second time in the last three years he hit that mark. He does have some sneaky good value for fantasy leagues. He's a great addition for power play points as his 15 power play assists is tied for 10th in the league. And he takes about 2.2 shots a game. His biggest downside is his horrendous minus-27.


6. Radim Vrbata

Vrbata has been the victim of some bad puck luck this season. Before last night's game against the Avalanche, he was on pace for 267 shots. That would be his third straight season of at least 260 shots. The pucks just aren't going in for him this season. One benefit of a trade would be that his league-worst minus-32 is bound to improve on any club he goes to.


5. Eric Staal

No longer the dominant centre he once was, Staal's fantasy value is dropping faster than his real-life value. Every single aspect of his game is worst this year than last year. The Canes captain has one power play goal. That's crazy when you consider he has the second-highest power play average time on Carolina. While there's no going back in time to the player he once was, Staal could become at least somewhat fantasy relevant if he were to go to the right squad.


4. Andrew Ladd

Poolies are almost begging for Ladd to be traded somewhere so he regains some sort of fantasy value. The guy's got just 33 points this year and is on pace for just 47 points. That's not good for a player who many expect to get 60. The Jets, who are far outside a playoff spot, will deal him if he is not re-signed within the next seven days.


3. Scott Hartnell

Hartnell is only one year removed from a 60-point season. He's still on pace for 26 goals and 53 points and is tied for first on the Blue Jackets in points. He'd be a great addition to any team and most fantasy squads. Even better is he is a great peripheral guy in most fantasy leagues as he contributes plenty of PIM (seventh in the league), power play goals (in the top 20) and hits (about 1.9 per game).


2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

RNH's name comes up every time there's a trade rumour of a superstar: Seth Jones, Ryan Johansen, P.K. Subban, etc. It's almost as if everyone knows he's the most expendable Oiler who can bring a decent return. However, Nugent-Hopkins is on pace for just 44 points this year. He has scored 20 goals just once and has never posted more than 56 points despite being the Oilers' number one centre for the past few years.


1. Jonathan Drouin

My gut tells me he won't be traded until the draft when teams know exactly their draft pick. But there is still a chance he gets moved as Tampa looks to gear up for a playoff run and he's the most expendable. Drouin has a ton of talent and will be anxious to prove haters wrong once he does get into a lineup somewhere. A team that trades for him will slot him immediately into a top-six role if not the top line completely.