Which players get the most significant changes in value from trade deals over the past week? Here’s a look at risers and fallers.
Time to take a deep breath after several weeks worth of stunning NHL trades. We’ve seen Evander Kane, David Clarkson (!), Jaromir Jagr and Keith Yandle change teams, just to name a few players.
Real-life GMs can rest until the draft. Fantasy GMs? No way. Now’s the time to capitalize on altered player values as a result of the trade flurry. Some players’ situations improve in their new environments and others’ take a downturn. The guys to dig deep for are those whose values change by association. A new linemate or ‘D’ partner can work wonders.
Here’s a look at some risers, fallers and changes to keeper-league stocks in hockey pools.
Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau
The Florida young guns sure looked comfy on a line with a man older than both of them combined: Jaromir Jagr. The flashy trio contributed two goals in a crucial win over Tampa Bay Sunday night. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see significant spikes in confidence and production for the kids over the final month and a half. Relative to value before the deal, they receive a bigger short-term boost than Jagr.
This one’s a no brainer. Yandle now gets to quarterback a power play that will include Rick Nash, Martin St-Louis and Derek Stepan. Yandle will help the Rangers with the man advantage greatly, and vice-versa. Yandle has always been an elite point-getter among D-men, but he’ll have more talent around him in New York than he ever did in Arizona. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him go on a tear down the stretch. He didn’t play on the top power play unit in his debut, but he was just getting his feet wet. He’ll get every opportunity, given the price Glen Sather paid.
From not playing because of blood clots to playing. From a Flyer to a Blackhawk. From a guy sitting on most leagues’ waiver wires – eight percent owned in Yahoo leagues – to your roster. Or at least your watch list. He may have some rust to work off once he suits up. It’s worth noting the Hawks played Timonen with Duncan Keith on Chicago’s top power play unit Monday night.
We know the Washington Capitals wanted a veteran winger to play with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. They got one in Glencross. Here’s a guy you should race to grab off your waiver wire. He’s been a 26-goal scorer in the past, and he has the opportunity of a lifetime in Washington. If the chemistry is there, he could experience a late breakout in D.C. like Chris Kunitz did when traded to Pittsburgh.
Vermette gets a boost, but tread carefully here. He debuted Monday night on the second line between Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad, which is a plum assignment, but Vermette could eventually wind up on the third unit. Between Vermette and Brad Richards, Vermette’s versatile skill set is much more conducive to shutdown-line duty. He’s worth a wait-and-see pickup if you have the roster space, but you shouldn’t break your back to get him.
Coming from Buffalo to any NHL team constitutes an upgrade. Stewart legitimately bears watching, though. He’s been known to explode when placed in a good situation. He scored 15 goals in 26 games after Colorado traded him to St. Louis in 2011. If he lands on a top-six unit with the Wild, with Mikko Koivu or Mikael Granlund centering him, Stewart can produce at a high level for a short stretch. Give the right winger an additional boost in leagues counting hits and/or penalty minutes. Just as I typed these words, it was announced Stewart would debut with Koivu and Thomas Vanek. There you go.
Zidlicky is 38 years old and has 762 NHL games to his name. We know what he brings to the table: a big shot and general offensive acumen, particularly on the power play. Detroit GM Ken Holland surely knows this. He didn’t bring Zidlicky in to do something other than what Zidlicky does best. Expect him to log significant time with the man advantage. He’s available in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues.
At least you won’t find Wisniewski in the Ducks press box. His big shot should come in handy on Anaheim’s power play, though it remains to be seen if Wisniewski takes a back seat once Sami Vatanen returns from injury. Still, Wisniewski just went from the NHL’s 24th-ranked offense to the 11th. His value undoubtedly rises.
Don’t panic if you own OEL in a keeper league. He’s an absolute stud blueliner with many good seasons ahead. He’s just 23. This season, though? He just lost Yandle as a power play ‘D’ partner. That can’t be good news for Ekman-Larsson’s production.
As one body comes in to play a signifcant role, another gets nudged out of said role. If Vermette continues getting No. 2 center minutes, it’s a major blow to Richards’ already-shaky value.
Acquiring Yandle essentially says to Boyle, “you aren’t doing the job we signed you to do, so we traded for a younger version of you.” It’s possible we’ll see Boyle and Yandle together on the top power play unit in New York, which would be a boon to Boyle’s value. They can complement each other since Yandle shoots left and Boyle shoots right, too. But since they bring similar puck-moving skills to the table, it makes more sense to play Boyle on the second unit. The two were split up during Yandle’s first game, with Boyle on the top group. For now.
The advantage of playing for a weak team like Carolina: Sekera had all the minutes he could possibly want, including power play time. The Kings are Drew Doughty’s team, and he plays almost half every game. It’s hard to imagine coach Darryl Sutter breaking up Doughty and Jake Muzzin on the top pairing for more than a few games, either. Sekera averaged 22:46 overall and 1:45 on the power play in Carolina this season. His first two games in L.A.: 19:22 and 1:37. The power pay minutes are decent on the second pairing, but that’s a notable dropoff in overall ice time. The Kings simply don’t need Sekera to do as much as he did in Carolina.
Neuvirth excelled in a short stint as the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie after they traded Jhonas Enroth. Anyone who picked him up during that hot streak can drop him now. Neuvirth is relegated to backup duty behind Jaroslav Halak on Long Island.
KEEPER LEAGUE WATCH
Anthony Duclair joins a weaker franchise in Arizona, but also one that needs him a lot more. He’ll get a chance to bloom, perhaps alongside his world junior linemate Max Domi. Both are smart targets for keeper league trades.
Sven Baertschi just couldn’t crack the Calgary Flames lineup despite his high-end prospect status as recently as last season. The Vancouver Canucks will give him a chance to rise up their depth chart. General manager Jim Benning said he envisions Baertschi as a top-six forward one day. The Swiss winger should come dirt cheap in most keeper and dynasty leagues. There are worse fliers to take.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin