Top 10 underrated trade candidates, as the NHL trade deadline approaches…
The NHL trade deadline is a little more than two weeks away, but it’s not too early to think about how potential trades could impact your fantasy hockey squad. While much of the focus is on players like Kevin Shattenkirk and Ben Bishop, there are still plenty of players that could help you in your drive for a championship.
10. Brian Boyle
Alexander MacLean talked about Boyle in his Capped column last week in terms of Boyle staying a member of the Lightning. But on the flip side, what if he gets dealt? Boyle is someone who can score goals (on pace for 20 right now), rack up PIM, hit and win faceoffs. And he can also hold his own on the power play. That’s an attractive option for almost every NHL team.
It’s tough to gauge the goalie market because they are so rarely traded during the season and when they are, the return isn’t very high. The trade market is saturated with goalies this year (Ben Bishop, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Miller, Eddie Lack and Jaroslav Halak could all be available). Elliott has only recently won back the starter’s job but has still allowed three-plus goals in five of his last eight starts. Maybe Calgary rolls the dice with Chad Johnson the rest of the year and allows Elliott the opportunity to prove himself elsewhere.
Much of the trade focus in Dallas has been on Patrick Eaves and his 21 goals. But Sharp is also available and could be a sneaky good pickup. Remember in previous years that a good chunk of his production came from being on the top power play unit. Now he’s on the second unit and has just one power play point (his previous three seasons he had 24, 14 and 25 PPP). He’s also playing on the third line. Sharp needs to be a top-six guy to be effective, and a trade to the right team could help him rebound.
If Calgary is still in the playoff race in two weeks time, the team could become buyers instead of sellers. But should they be sellers, Wideman would be the first to go. He’s having a quiet year with his worst points-per-game of the past five years, but let’s not forget that he’s only two years removed from a 15-goal, 56-point season. Some team would take a chance on him with the hope he could either add some offensive depth or boost a power play.
6. Tyler Bozak
Bozak may not have the sexy name that teammate James Van Riemsdyk has, but he’s should still be an attractive option in your fantasy league. He’s on pace for 20 goals, 56 points and 19 power play points. He’s also winning 56.6 per cent of his faceoffs. The only problem with Bozak is he needs to play with very good to elite players to produce. So, if you also want to target Bozak, make sure there’s opportunity for him to play on a team’s top line first.
5. Curtis Lazar
Lazar has had a rough season in Ottawa and even a rougher one in fantasy hockey circles. He’s averaging 8:24 TOI on ice per game, down from almost 14 minutes a game a season ago. He’s also been a healthy scratch several times. Part of his problem could be from his battle with mononucleosis during the preseason that caused him to miss the first month of the season. Let’s not forget Lazar had an excellent WHL career (although he played just one season) and was captain of Canada’s World Junior team that won gold in 2015 when Lazar had nine points in seven games. He just turned 22 and may be given more ice time if he went to another squad.
4. Mike Fisher
Fisher has quietly proven himself to be an excellent fantasy option this year. He’s on pace for 20 goals and 50 points. He’s hitting and taking shots. He’s in the top 25 for blocked shots by a forward. He’s 15th in faceoffs won and is on pace for 20-plus power play points. He’s a free agent this summer and the odds of him being moved are low as Nashville is fighting for a playoff spot. But he has to be on the radar since he’s a UFA this summer.
Many hockey fans are saying Iginla is done being a relevant hockey player. This time last year we were saying the same thing about Eric Staal and the year before we said it about Loui Eriksson. But these two guys proved they can still provide a valuable contribution on the right squad and in the right situation. Yeah, Iggy has been awful this year, but so has everyone else on Colorado. He could turn it around on the right squad.
2. Mike Ribeiro
Ribeiro has spent the last few games in the AHL after clearing waivers. But as we get closer to the trade deadline, his name may be in play. Ribeiro won’t be able to help a fantasy squad too much but he still has plenty of hockey ability. He could still be an effective designated hitter for a playoff squad, a la Sam Gagner in Columbus. Ribeiro could absolutely be a fourth-line guy who plays on the top power play unit for a playoff squad desperate for a power play boost.
Don’t underestimate the power of a goalie to go on a hot run. Halak’s stock has fallen tremendously, from being the best goalie at the World Cup of Hockey to being sent to the AHL in a few months later. But look what happened to Peter Budaj and Mike Condon this season. Halak has been sensational in the AHL (a 10-1-1 record with a 1.87 GAA and a .935 SV%). Wouldn’t it make sense for a team like Calgary to trade for Halak and hope he can also go on a hot run and put them in the playoffs? It would also give Calgary a goalie they could expose in the expansion draft. There are other goalies available but Halak’s expectations would be lower than the others.
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