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The Fantasy Hockey Impact of the NHL Trade Deadline (Part 1)

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and as always, the fantasy impact of an event like this will be big. Jason Chen begins a multi-part series looking at the fantasy impact the deadline will have on some of the players moved.
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The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and as always, the fantasy impact of an event like this will be big.

In some cases, players left bigger roles to move to contending teams, which could sometimes lessen the total value. In other cases, the new opportunity could be all it takes to expand that value exponentially.

Jason Chen is back for a multi-part series on the fantasy impact following the 2022 NHL trade deadline:

The Trade: Lightning acquire Brandon Hagel and two fourth-round picks from the Blackhawks for two first-round picks, Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh

The Trade: Lightning acquire Nick Paul from the Senators for Mathieu Joseph and a fourth-round pick

No doubt GM Julien BriseBois sees Hagel and Paul as this year’s version of Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow – versatile forwards with some scoring touch, speed and sandpaper. The narrative is that the Lightning beat their opponents with skill, but even with their elite talent that hasn’t always been the case. They’re able to win games a multitude of ways, and part of that is being able to play a mean, physical game.

Playing on a better team is a double-edged sword for Hagel. It is highly unlikely he averages 17 minutes per game like he did with the Hawks because his role will be very different, and as a consequence, his fantasy value will dip. The Lightning have enough depth and talent to keep their top-six intact, and Hagel played just 10:40 in his debut and registered one shot and one hit. Also note that even though the Lightning received three power plays against the Rangers, Hagel did not play a second with the man advantage, though he did play 31 seconds on the PK. Perhaps his minutes will increase as he familiarizes himself with the Lightning, but he’s a role player on a Cup contender rather than a top-six player for a non-playoff team.

Like Hagel, Paul will be used in a bottom-six role but his ability to play both center and wing will give the Lightning a ton of flexibility. He played a top-six role for stretches with the Sens, averaging 17:22 per game, but still only managed to score 11 goals in 59 games. His fantasy value is unaffected by the trade and should remain on the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.

The big boosts in fantasy value will go to Katchouk and Raddysh, close friends and former World Juniors teammates who played on the third line with Kirby Dach and the second line with Jonathan Toews, respectively, in their debuts. There are a lot of moving parts in the Hawks lineup, but Katchouk and Raddysh will get an opportunity to make an impression after finding difficulty cracking the Lightning’s deeper lineup. Raddysh has more offensive upside between the two and scored a goal and an assist while also playing on the top power-play unit. It’s a wait-and-see approach with Raddysh, but there may be some sneaky fantasy value there if he continues to play a top-six role with power-play opportunities.

Joseph will get more minutes with the Sens and also an intriguing piece fantasy-wise in a flurry of moves by the Lightning. He’s a strong penalty killer with good finishing ability, but talent-wise would be miscast in a top-six role. Perhaps he will play more than the 13:42 he averaged with the Lightning, but it’s unlikely his scoring pace will increase significantly to the point where he becomes a reliable fantasy option.

The Trade: Rangers acquire Frank Vatrano from the Panthers for a fourth-round pick

Vatrano scored a goal in his third game with the Rangers and has seen his ice time increase to 15:34 from 12:12 in 49 games with the Panthers. It’s the fourth-straight season Vatrano has scored at least 10 goals, and with a career 10.0 shooting percentage has proven to be a reliable depth scorer. With the Rangers, he has been playing opposite Artemi Panarin on the second line with Alexis Lafrenière remaining on the top line and Kaapo Kakko still on injured reserve. Vatrano gets a big fantasy boost playing with elite talent, but at full strength, look for Vatrano to possibly move down the lineup. He’s a short-term fix for fantasy managers and holds little long-term value.

The Trade: Bruins acquire Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran from the Ducks for Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a first-round pick and two second-round picks

Lindholm fills a big void on the Bruins’ left-side defense, likely stepping in ahead of Mike Reilly and Matt Grzelcyk on the depth chart and joining Charlie McAvoy as the only defenders to average over 20 minutes per game. Lindholm is a high-quality two-way defenseman but has never been a huge contributor on offense, and his addition likely provides a fantasy boost for McAvoy rather than for himself by allowing McAvoy to focus a little more on offense with Lindholm serving as the safety valve. Look for Lindholm to take a lot of Derek Forbort’s minutes on the PK.

Vaakanainen and Moore may draw into a thin Ducks lineup having traded Josh Manson a week earlier, but neither are expected to move the needle. Vaakanainen is currently injured and both players have spent time in the AHL this season.

The Trade: Wild acquire Nic Deslauriers from the Ducks for a third-round pick

The Trade: Wild acquire Tyson Jost from the Avalanche for Nico Sturm

Deslauriers is popular in banger leagues as one of the league’s most consistent hitters. He’s like the Cal Clutterbuck of the west (Tanner Jeannot being the other), ranked fourth in the league with 210 hits and one of five forwards with over 200 entering Monday’s games.

The other piece the Wild acquired was Jost, another dependable bottom-six player who was swapped for Sturm, an impending UFA, to ensure some cost certainty in the future. Next season, the buyout penalties for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise will exceed $12 million. Jost and Deslauriers both played on the fourth line with Brandon Duhaime at Sunday’s practice, and both are fringe fantasy hockey assets at best in standard leagues.

Sturm will be an interesting case, but as of Sunday night, it seems unlikely the Avs are done adding to their roster. He played 15:07 in his debut, the third-highest total of the season with Alex Newhook and J.T. Compher on his wings. Considering who Sturm had to play with on the Wild – mostly Duhaime and Nick Bjugstad – his new linemates represent a massive upgrade. Newhook is an up-and-coming talent and Compher is a feisty two-way player who has scored only five fewer points than Duhaime and Bjugstad combined. On arguably the league’s best offensive team, Sturm may have some hidden value, but only in the deepest of fantasy leagues.

The Trade: Flames acquire Calle Jarnkrok from the Kraken for a second-round pick, a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick

Jarnkrok moved from a mediocre Kraken team to a dark horse Cup contender, and his new wingers – Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane – provide some grit and scoring touch that has eluded most of his previous Kraken brethren. They’ve looked together so far and even formed three-fifths of the Flames’ second power-play unit, and if their chemistry continues to build, there’s a chance Jarnkrok might really exceed expectations. Throughout his career, he’s been a steady, versatile forward who scores at a 40-point pace no matter who he plays with, and despite a little less playing time, he’s substituting quantity with quality. Fantasy managers should keep an eye on Jarnkrok. 

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