Which players benefit the most after the 2016 trade deadline from a fantasy hockey perspective? Consider grabbing these names.
The team-swapping fun doesn’t change as soon as the NHL trade deadline ends. Now, we get to study the ripple effects across the league. We won’t know the true impact of every contender’s moves until the playoffs, and the sellers acquired pieces that may not bear fruit for years. In fantasy hockey pools, however, we’ll see immediate changes in player values. Some guys will benefit from being thrust into bigger assignments on new teams. Others will improve simply because they suddenly have better linemates. And vacancies left by seller teams may create room for youngsters to climb depth charts.
Here are five names enjoying value boosts for the stretch run after the trade deadline.
5. Jamie McGinn (Available in 97% of Yahoo leagues)
Just rubbing shoulders with an Anaheim Duck might set your clothes on fire. That’s how hot this team is right now. Coach Bruce Boudreau really likes to juggle his wingers, and freshly acquired McGinn could wind up on any line. Don’t be surprised if he gets an immediate shot as a top-six left winger, occupying the spot of prospect Nick Ritchie, who still looks a bit overmatched playing with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry.
4. Eric Staal (Available in 29% of Yahoo leagues)
Staal’s new Manhattan address makes him an intriguing fantasy add, but for different reasons than one might guess. Joining the deep New York Rangers means Staal doesn’t have to be The Man, and he only earned third-line duty in his debut. He played 19:17 per game with Carolina this season yet logged 15:43 in his first game as a Blueshirt. A lesser role might hurt Staal’s value in terms of opportunities, but the hunch here is the combination of (a) better linemates and (b) a Stanley Cup chase invigorates him. He’s hardly ancient at age 31. He played with Oscar Lindberg and Kevin Hayes Monday and saw second-unit power play time. Staal is worth a look.
3. William Nylander (Available in 82% of Yahoo leagues)
Look no further than Nylander’s ice time in his NHL debut: 18:41, which led every forward on the team. The Toronto Maple Leafs have cleared out their entire roster via seller deals, creating space for their elite prospect, who ranks No. 2 in all of hockey according to THN Future watch 2016. The skills are NHL-ready, and the opportunity is there. Maybe Nylander chips in a healthy bushel of points over the next six weeks.
2. Andrew Ladd (Available in 16% of Yahoo leagues)
Ladd had a prominent role before being traded last week, of course. He was a mainstay on Winnipeg’s top line. But Ladd gets Jonathan Toews as his center now and has already gotten looks on the mighty Chicago Blackhawks’ power play. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine him picking up 15 points or so over Chicago’s final 18 games this season.
1. Mikkel Boedker (Available in 72% of Yahoo leagues)
Boedker gets the nod over Ladd since Boedker’s situation improves so drastically from his old team to his new one. No disrespect to the Arizona Coyotes’ Antoine Vermette and Jordan Martinook, but…Boedker is slated to begin his Colorado Avalanche career with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. That’s a gargantuan leap in quality of company. Boedker is also one of the few wingers quick enough to keep pace with Mackinnon, so they could mesh nicely. Boedker has never quite lived up to the offensive potential that made him the No. 8 overall pick of the 2008 draft, but he’s never had elite linemates. We may see a whole new player. Go get him if he’s out there in your league.
Other players to watch: Justin Schultz, Eric Gelinas, Patrick Maroon
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