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 part two of a multi-part series on the fantasy impact following the 2022 NHL trade deadline:
The Trade: Panthers acquire Robert Hagg from the Sabres for a sixth-round pick
The Trade: Panthers acquire Claude Giroux, Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov and a fifth-round pick from the Flyers for Owen Tippett, a first-round pick and a third-round pick
The Trade: Panthers acquire Ben Chiarot from the Canadiens for Ty Smilanic, a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick
Giroux is a huge addition to an already stacked Panthers offense, and the fun for Andrew Brunette is figuring out where he plays. Assuming that Aleksander Barkov and Anton Lundell (once healthy) remain at center, there will be two other spots to fill. Playing Giroux on the fourth line is a waste of his talent, and the third spot has been held by Sam Bennett for most of the season. Barkov is the only Panther to win over 50 percent of his faceoffs and Giroux has won over 60 percent this season, so that may factor into Brunette’s decision, but he might be loathed to break up Bennett’s line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair.
That basically leaves Giroux to be the right winger on Barkov’s line, with Lundell centering Mason Marchment and Sam Reinhart. Giroux, with 42 points in 57 games and already one of fantasy’s most reliable performers, now goes from anchoring a mediocre offense to playing wingman on one of the league’s best, and that gives him a huge boost in fantasy value. There’s some flexibility, too, if Duclair moves back up with Barkov and Verhaeghe, giving the Panthers two centers – a righty and a lefty – on the second line between Giroux and Bennett.
Chiarot and Hagg will both be depth defensemen for the Panthers as they figure out how to fill the void left by Aaron Ekblad, who was placed on LTIR and may stay there until the playoffs. But note that there are only 18 defensemen who have registered at least 100 hits and 100 blocked shots this season, and Hagg is nine blocks and three hits away from joining the club while Chiarot is nine blocks away. In a bangers fantasy league (ie. leagues that count hits and blocked shots), both Hagg and Chiarot could be underrated assets. One thing to keep in mind: does the Panthers’ transition game suffer as a result of losing Ekblad and getting Hagg and Chiarot to join a defense that already has Radko Gudas?
Acquiring Tippett was an interesting decision by the Flyers, though the Panthers’ prospect pool lacks ready-now players save for maybe Grigori Denisenko. What the Flyers need most are centers, not wingers, and Tippett formed a kid line in his Flyers debut with Oskar Lindblom on the left wing and Morgan Frost at center. Tippett never developed into the goal-scoring power forward many projected him to be, and without a top-tier center it seems unlikely he’ll make a significant impact on offense.
As for the other pieces… Bunnaman and Rubtsov will purely be young depth players on the Panthers and unlikely to figure into their plans until the playoffs when they may be called up as Black Aces. Smilanic is finishing his season with Quinnipiac as they hunt for the NCAA title, and he will figure into the Habs’ long-term plans when and if he signs.
The Trade: The Kraken trade Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell to the Maple Leafs for two second-round picks and a third-round pick; Leafs sign Harri Sateri and waive Petr Mrazek
The Trade: The Kraken trade Jeremy Lauzon to the Predators for a second-round pick
The Trade: The Kraken trade Mason Appleton to the Jets for a fourth-round pick
Giordano takes the headlines as a former Norris Trophy winner and a well-respected captain, but the 38-year-old shouldn’t be expected to play anything more than a depth role. Remember, the Leafs are already pretty stacked with left-handed defensemen, including Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie, Jake Muzzin and Rasmus Sandin. Giordano averaged 21:29 with the Kraken and seems unlikely to play that much for the Leafs, especially if and when Muzzin returns.
The more interesting piece is Blackwell, a versatile 28-year-old forward who has managed to score 20 goals in his past 86 games with a career shooting percentage of 14.3 percent. That’s definitely above average and his possession numbers, other than his one season with the Rangers, have looked rather promising. It remains to be seen where Blackwell fits, but he’s got finishing ability and can move up and down the lineup with ease. Their top line is pretty much set, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Blackwell take a whirl on John Tavares’ line. There’s some sneaky fantasy value to be had with Blackwell, who is also in a contract year.
The trade also necessitated putting Mrazek on waivers, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t mean he’s completely out of the Leafs’ plans, and given his cap hit it seems unlikely he’ll get claimed. Remember, there is no cap in the playoffs. But, in the meantime, it does hint that the Leafs will likely roll with a Jack Campbell and Erik Kallgren tandem for the remainder of the season. Mrazek has been disastrous for the Leafs even though he was supposed to be the veteran insurance policy for Campbell, and has not been a reliable fantasy option this season. Not much has changed for Mrazek, but Kallgren seems like an even more astute pickup by fantasy managers who have already snatched him up.
The Kraken firesale continued with Lauzon moving to the Preds, a left-shot defenseman who can play either side and provide more stability and experience to their rarely-used third pairing. There are virtually no fantasy implications with this transaction, but not so for Appleton, whom the Jets re-acquired for a lower pick than what the Preds paid for Lauzon.
It re-unites Appleton with Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry (currently in COVID protocol), and together they had formed one of the Jets’ most dependable lines. There was scuttlebutt the Jets may trade Copp, but the addition of Appleton makes that prospect unlikely. Why go through the trouble of re-uniting the line only to break it up again? Appleton’s numbers dipped with the Kraken, as was expected, and gets a slight tick in fantasy value with the Jets but still remains very much on the periphery in most leagues.
The Trade: Canucks trade Travis Hamonic to the Senators for a third-round pick, acquire Travis Dermott from the Maple Leafs for a third-round pick
Getting the Sens to take Hamonic was a win itself, but after re-acquiring their own third-round pick, sent their extra third-round pick (Winnipeg) for Dermott. The Canucks make a good move by getting a younger, more mobile defenseman at a lower cap hit, but in the grand picture didn’t really improve their playoff chances. For the Sens, Hamonic is a veteran they can plug into their lineup on the right side, and they’ll get another season out of him, basically whatever dollars they could’ve committed to a Nick Paul extension to shore up their blueline. Neither player will be relevant for fantasy purposes.
The Trade: Kings acquire Troy Stecher from the Red Wings for a seventh-round pick
Stecher’s play has tailed off a little bit but he’s also missed a big chunk of the season due to injury. The Kings get much-needed depth with Drew Doughty, Matt Roy and Sean Walker all on injured reserve, and it’ll lessen the pressure on rookies Sean Durzi and Jordan Spence, who are offensively gifted but still shaky at times in their own end. Durzi’s fantasy value, which had been climbing steadily since Doughty’s injury, takes a small hit because Stecher might siphon away some playing time, but should still retain his spot on the power play.
The Trade: Stars acquire Scott Wedgewood from the Coyotes for a fourth-round pick
This is potentially a signal that Braden Holtby’s injury is pretty serious, and more evidence the Stars will lean on Jake Oettinger even more. Oettinger put in another solid performance Sunday against the Caps, but we can expect Wedgewood to take get a few starts to take some pressure off Oettinger, making Wedgewood a viable streamer for the occasional spot start, and his chances of winning are definitely with the Stars.
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