Fantasy Impact: The New York Rangers have traded winger Mats Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars for a second-round draft pick in 2019 and a third-round draft pick in 2020. The second rounder becomes a first if Dallas wins two playoff rounds, and the third rounder becomes a first if Dallas re-signs Zuccarello. New York retains 30% of Zuccarello's salary, per TSN.
Boy, teams sure suck the risk out of trades these days with all these if, ands or buts put in. Salary retention? Shifting draft picks that improve with success? Throw in lottery-protected picks that have become the trend and you need to hire an accountant to properly analyze any deals.
The Stars get: A shifty, dynamic, though at times streaky winger who is having a career season…but most of that offense has come during a crazy run over the past several weeks. Zuccarello is on a 0.80 points-per-game pace which tops his previous career high of 0.77 set in 2013-14. But 22 of those points have come in the last 16 games. He is pointless in his last two contests, which is timely because it emphasises his streaky nature.
The Rangers get: Well, we're not really sure yet. A couple of good picks but they could become great if the Stars do well and/or re-sign Zuke (which is also doing well, but in a different way).
Fantasy Players Impacted: The Stars have been a three-forward team for a couple of years now. Almost embarrassingly so. Thanks to the decline of Jason Spezza, Dallas really didn't have a secondary scoring option. After Jamie Benn's 41 points, the next best forward was…well, Spezza (at 24 points). Coach Jim Montgomery continues to fiddle with his lines in an effort to spread out the offense and get other players going, but after repeated failures he has always gone back to Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin and Benn. He's tried Roope Hintz on the top line and moved Benn down. He's tried Mattias Janmark on the top line. Recently, when Radulov was sick, he had Jason Spezza fill in. All to no avail. Now there is finally an option.
Furthermore, the PP unit has often been a four-forward unit with John Klingbeg: the top trio along with Brett Ritchie. Brett Ritchie? Yes, Brett Ritchie. Doesn't "Mats Zuccarello" sound much better? The second line seems to be Benn with Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa. Montgomery could keep Hintz (the current linemate for Radulov and Seguin) on the top line, and slot Zuccarello on the line with Faksa and Benn. Or he could put Zuke on the top line and slide Hintz down to replace Comeau. Either way, it should help Benn and should help Faksa. It absolutely helps Seguin and Radulov, just from the power play alone. One more note on the power play – if the Stars went with a three-forward unit then that meant Miro Heiskanen gets in there as Klingberg's partner. Less a chance of that now, which hurts Heiskanen's PP time.
For the Rangers, the move frees up a ton of PP time. We've already seen Pavel Buchnevich pick up his game lately with nine points in nine games, but Jimmy Vesey has also done well (six points, last nine games). Both players finally get that bump in ice time that fantasy owners have been hoping for. Zuccarello, as noted already, has really been flying over the past month. His linemates Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider could see a short-term slowdown as a result of getting accustomed to a new winger. As for Zuke himself, it's deciding between the great chemistry that he enjoyed with Kreider and Zibanejad vs. the upgrade in talent he could play with if it's Seguin and Radulov. Playing on that line is no guarantee, but playing with them on the power play is a likelihood. The hunch here is that his points-per-game average of 0.80 will slip a little with this move. The chemistry really was great.
Fantasy players this helps, in order:
Fantasy players this hurts, in order:
3. Comeau/Ritchie (if you consider them having fantasy value to begin with)
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The trade is being discussed in the Forum right now – check it out here
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