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The Fantasy Hockey Impact of the NHL Trade Deadline (Part 3)

It was a busy Monday deadline – who schedules games on these days anyway? – with plenty to dive in. Here’s Part 3 of the fantasy implications of key players that switched teams.
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It was a busy Monday deadline – who schedules games on these days anyway? – with plenty to dive in. Here’s Part 3 of the fantasy implications of key players that switched teams.

Wild acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from the Blackhawks for a conditional second-round pick, trade Kaapo Kahkonen to the Sharks for Jacob Middleton

The Wild will go ahead and try and make a Cup run with Fleury and Cam Talbot tandem knowing that the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise buyout penalties increase to over $12 million next season. Kahkonen was exposed during the expansion draft, which gave us some idea of what they thought of him, and Fleury should be an upgrade. Look for Talbot, who has been very good lately, to split the starts with Fleury until one of them takes a good hold of the starting job. Even having Fleury as the backup should push Talbot to play better, who ended up shutting out the Knights on Monday.

Middleton is a great complementary piece as a no-frills, stay-at-home defender. It seems as though adding another quality forward wasn’t really part of the Wild’s plans, and instead have opted to shore up their defense. Middleton may slot in next to Jared Spurgeon on the second pair, potentially giving him a bit of a fantasy boost, or take either Jon Merrill or Dmitry Kulikov’s spot on the third pair.

Kahkonen will likely see some kind of timeshare with the Sharks with James Reimer. Adin Hill is injured but once he is healthy, there’s a bit of a logjam in their crease. It’s worth noting that Kahkonen is waivers exempt, which provides the Sharks with some roster flexibility.

Penguins acquire Rickard Rakell from the Ducks for Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, Calle Clang and a second-round pick

This is a huge win for Rakell, who was having a good bounce-back season with 16 goals this season and now finds himself playing next to Evgeni Malkin. Rakell’s a strong two-way player whose finishing ability has diminished, but perhaps playing with a potential future Hall of Famer will increase his production. Rakell went from a fringe fantasy asset to one that’s become a lot more intriguing all of a sudden.

ZAR and Simon were good role players and will likely play more minutes for the Ducks, but may not figure into their long-term plans. ZAR is a bit of a darling when it comes to analytics, and on a side note will be interesting to see how good he can be with more ice time.

Oilers acquire Derick Brassard from the Flyers for a fourth-round pick

Once again, the Oilers didn’t make any moves to shore up their defense or goaltending, but did manage to land a depth center in Brassard, who can also play the wing. It’ll provide a little more depth scoring, though any boost in fantasy value will depend on whether or not Brassard gets to play any shifts with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. With Jesse Puljujarvi back in the lineup and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returning soon, Brassard will have a tough battle for quality minutes and offensive opportunities.

Stars acquire Vladislav Namestnikov from the Red Wings for a fourth-round pick

Namestnikov has been an effective, versatile, two-way player at every destination and he adds some much-needed depth to the Stars lineup. Other than their top line, Rick Bowness hasn’t really been able to coax much out of the rest of the lineup, and perhaps the addition of Namestnikov will kick them into higher gear as he drags them into battle. Namestnikov’s fantasy gets a marginal boost, if any, for playing on a better team but remains on the periphery.

Avalanche acquire Artturi Lehkonen from the Canadiens for Justin Barron and a second-round pick

Avalanche acquire Andrew Cogliano from the Sharks for a fifth-round pick

The Avs solidify their bottom six by adding two effective checking wingers in Lehkonen and Cogliano. It was arguably the weakest part of their roster, and after trading Barron, the Avs have basically emptied their pipeline on defense after trading Drew Helleson to the Ducks earlier last week for Josh Manson. Lehkonen’s fantasy value gets a boost because he plays on stronger team, but unless he moves into a top-six role, the change in his fantasy value will likely be muted. Cogliano is 34 years old and will likely be a staple on the fourth line and has not scored double-digit goals in three seasons and counting.

Capitals acquire Johan Larsson from the Coyotes for a third-round pick

Larsson is a very intriguing player. He’s incredibly versatile and showed flashes of top-six potential with the Sabres before suffering a devastating elbow injury. This will be the first time we get to see Larsson on a good team, though his fantasy value will depend on how the Caps deploy him. He scored 15 points in 29 games, a pretty good clip for a team that had trouble scoring until recently. The Caps will likely use him in a bottom-six role and he will likely average less than 17:52 TOI per game, but it’s quality over quantity for him.

Blues acquire Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski from the Red Wings for Oskar Sundqvist, Jake Walman and a second-round pick

Leddy immediately strengthens the Blues’ left-side defense and take some pressure off Torey Krug. The right side is settled with Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk, so this trade rounds out the Blues’ top four nicely and should also help Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso in net. Leddy played a ton of tough minutes in Detroit and his point production has been relatively modest after three straight 40-point seasons from 2015-18 on Long Island, but he skates well and generally very reliable. This will free up Krug to jump up a little more on offense, and gives him a slight boost in fantasy value when he’s already been quite good this season with 35 points in 56 games.

Sundqvist is a solid bottom-six forward who can play a variety of roles. He’ll likely get more playing time with a thin roster on Detroit, but it’s unlikely Sundqvist will be able to take advantage of it on the offensive side of the puck.

Capitals acquire Marcus Johansson from the Kraken for Daniel Sprong, a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick

Johansson returns to D.C. where he played his best hockey, after failing to find a fit in *takes breathe* New Jersey, Boston, Buffalo, Minnesota and Seattle. He found a lot of success playing alongside both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom, but the Caps seem pretty settled on playing Kuznetsov with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson on the top line, which means Johansson will play with Backstrom and Anthony Mantha on the second. It’s a good spot for Johansson and he becomes fantasy-relevant again after scoring just 23 points with a minus-22 rating in 51 games with the Kraken. If Johansson can re-capture the magic he previously had with the Caps, he’s a very good option for fantasy managers looking for depth scoring.

Sprong will likely be inserted into the Kraken lineup right away, seeing how they’ve traded away so many players. Sprong averaged 12:45 with the Caps and he should slot into the top six considering the Kraken have already traded three of their top nine forwards (Johansson, Mason Appleton and Colin Blackwell). He’s a sneaky add for some offense and perhaps Sprong will get a chance to improve his subpar shooting percentage. The big drawback is the Kraken lack good playmakers, so Sprong will have to create his own shots rather than having someone set him up, and it’s not really one of his strengths.

Rangers acquire Andrew Copp and a sixth-round pick from the Jets for Morgan Barron, two second-round picks and a fifth-round pick

Rangers acquire Tyler Motte from the Canucks for a fourth-round pick

Copp likely won’t average close to 20 minutes per game like he did with the Jets, but he’s a dependable, versatile winger who can possibly unseat Frank Vatrano, Alexis Lafreniere or Kaapo Kakko (when he returns) from the top six. He’s got enough scoring touch to play in the top six, and playing with Mika Zibanejad or Artemi Panarin could give him a fantasy boost.

Motte, on the other hand, is an exceptional penalty killer but doesn’t possess any high-end offensive ability and will simply be depth. He remains of little value in most fantasy leagues.

Senators acquire Zach Senyshyn and a fifth-round pick from the Bruins for Josh Brown and a seventh-round pick

Senators trade Zach Sanford to the Jets for a fifth-round pick

The Sens have always made a habit of acquiring local boys, and Senyshyn follows a long line of them. He was one of the three ill-fated first-round picks the Bruins made in 2015, and after years of patience finally capitulated and added some depth on their blue line in Brown. Senyshyn will get a chance on the Sens, but they have a ton of young talent and it won’t be that much easier to crack the lineup. Senyshyn’s long-term value goes up a tick but remains irrelevant for fantasy purposes.

The Sens then turned around and received another fifth-round pick for Sanford, who hasn’t been able to carve out a role after scoring a career-high 30 points in 58 games with the Blues in 2019-20, even after years of toiling in the Caps system. At 27 years old, he’s purely a depth player and any hopes of becoming a top-six player have effectively vanished. He’ll get a bottom-six role with the Jets so don’t expect much.

Golden Knights trade Evgenii Dadonov to the Ducks

Getting rid of Dadonov already represents a big win for the Knights because he hasn’t lived up to expectations for two seasons now. The talented winger will add some offense to the Ducks, but with just 47 points in his past 117 games, and now playing on a lesser team with no playoff aspirations, you wonder how motivated Dadonov will be. His fantasy value plummeted after a poor season with the Sens and it has not recovered since. There’s little reason to think that will change now, and with the snafu that the Ducks should’ve been on Dadonov’s no-trade list, is there a chance that Dadonov never plays a single game for them?

Coyotes acquire Jack McBain from the Wild for a second-round pick

Coyotes acquire Nathan Smith and Bryan Little from the Jets for a fourth-round pick

There are zero fantasy implications for these trades unless the Coyotes manage to sign both. McBain is finishing up his fourth season with Boston College and scored two points in five games for the Canadian Olympic team while Smith is finishing up his junior season with Minnesota-Mankato and scored two points in four games for the U.S. Olympic team. This is just tidy business for the Coyotes as they look toward the future, and they’re an enticing destination for college players because their lack of depth means roster spots are immediately open.

From THN prospects guru Ryan Kennedy:

McBain: Arizona gets a big, strong two-way center in Jack McBain. Took a big offensive step as a senior with Boston College. Best-case scenario is a middle-six pivot in my opinion.

Smith: Arizona gets an excellent two-way center in Nathan Smith. His Minnesota State team has designs on a Frozen Four title and Smith has been one of the Mavs' best scorers, too.

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