Last week we discussed the art of fantasy trading. This week we’ll take a look at the first instalment of players who could find themselves on a new team come Feb. 27. TSN has pretty good coverage of the Western Conference teams, but it probably lacks a bit of fantasy analysis, so I’ll borrow some of their thoughts, but add that extra dimension to gives you a clearer picture.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Ducks need to go 17-6-4 in the remaining games to have a greater than 50 percent chance of making the post-season. Realistically speaking that’s probably too much of an ask, so expect them to be sellers at the deadline.
Out of Anaheim’s possible UFA list, Saku Koivu would probably garner the most interest. There are a couple of teams out there that could genuinely use a second line center, especially one that has posted 55 points in 60 career post-season contests. Plus his current 60.7 faceoff winning percentage on the PP would be another strong addition that many teams would be seeking. His salary of $2.5 mil really wouldn’t hurt the wallet at the deadline either.
Potential destination: Washington or Chicago could make sense.
Another player that could potentially leave Anaheim could be Niklas Hagman. He hasn’t had a great statistical season, but he could be a valuable third-line depth player come playoff time.
Potential destination: Toronto could be a possible destination. Hagman had his best years (75 points in 120 contests), when playing in Toronto between 2008-10. During that time, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and Hagman had plenty of chemistry as line mates, which could potentially be more productive than their current set up of Grabovski, Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur. The cost probably wouldn’t be too steep for his services to be acquired.
A third mover could be Sheldon Brookbank. The rough and tough defender won’t bring much offensive upside to his new team, but his 80 HITs and 73 BS in 53 games could help teams solidify a bottom defensive pairing.
Potential destination: Washington or Chicago could make sense.
If Koivu goes, that will pretty much hand the second line center spot on a silver platter to Andrew Cogliano. When Koivu was out of the lineup dealing with a groin injury in mid-December, it was Cogliano that picked up the extra slack. In the eight contests that Koivu missed, Cogs averaged 16:24 and 1:19 on the PP per contest. Look for a big boost in value if Koivu is moved.
If Hagman is moved, Devante Smith-Pelly could receive a nice top-six role to finish the season. He’s currently on a 14-day conditioning stint, which could prepare him for a return at the end of Feb.
If Brookbank goes, Nate Guenin should draw back into the lineup regularly. He doesn’t carry much fantasy value, so I wouldn’t worry too much about him.
GM Jay Feaster has stated numerous times that Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff won’t be moved at the deadline, so that pretty much nips any trade rumours on the bud. The Flames are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, so look for them to be buyers at the deadline.
Anton Babchuk, who’s been a healthy scratch during the last eight contests, will probably be moved at the deadline. His $2.5 mil cap hit isn’t too bad given that he’s not shy at doing any of the little things (19 SOG, 13 HITs and 29 BS in 17 contests).
Potential destination: Tampa Bay is desperately looking for some help on the blue-line which could make sense. Plus Feaster could still have some ties with his old club. Ottawa could also be looking for a top-four filler.
A second mover could be Cory Sarich, much like Brookbank, the stay-at-home defender won’t bring much offensive upside to his new team, but could help stabilize a bottom pairing. His 57 games of playoff experience could also bring some veteran presence on the blue-line.
Potential destination: San Jose could make sense.
With mostly excess players potentially moving, there won’t be very many gainers in the Flames’ lineup.
A long shot might be David Moss. He’s been out of the Flames’ lineup since mid-November, due to a broken ankle, but could return prior to the end of the regular season. It’s been a month since the last update, so who knows?
The Hawks have now lost eight consecutive contests, so a shakeup is certainly in order if they are going to make a pitch for the post-season. It probably won’t help that they’ll be on the road for five out of the eight contests prior to the trade deadline. They’re just too talented to let it slip away like this, so look for them to be buyers at the deadline.
The most likely candidate to be moved may be Andrew Brunette. He signed a one-year, $2 mil deal in the off-season, but has seldom been utilized this campaign (12:51 per contest but 2:14 on the PP). If they can land a certified number two center, then Brunette could be moved the other way or in a separate package.
Potential destination: Minnesota or Colorado could make sense, since he’s played for both teams in the past. Both teams are desperate for help on the wings and don’t really have the assets to land a “big fish”, so they may have to settle on Brunette instead.
A couple of other movers could be Sami Lepisto, John Scott or Sean O’Donnell. The Hawks are desperate for a top-four D pairing complement to Nick Leddy, so the trio could be moved the other way in return.
Potential destination: Anyone that could use a few filler D for the rest of the year.
Much like the situation in Calgary, there won’t be very many gainers to the Hawks lineup, as they’re looking to add rather than subtract. Marcus Kruger has seen his ice-time increase over the last couple of contests, but it probably won’t be long-term thing.
Much like many of the other Western Conference teams, the Avs will also look to be buyers at the deadline. Their only problem is they don’t possess a lot of assets compared to their counterparts.
The strongest asset that Colorado possesses is David Jones. His seasonal stat line (12 G, 10 A and 69 SOG in 47 contests), doesn’t look all that flashy, but it’s the 17.0, 25.6, 17.6 and 17.4 shooting percentage during the last four campaigns that could attract some attention. He has been heating up lately, so the Avs can certainly toy with the idea of keeping his services if a deal isn’t to their liking.
Potential destination: Boston could make sense. He played three seasons at Dartmouth and could be a good replacement for Nathan Horton until he returns from his concussion.
Kyle Quincey could also be the hot commodity come deadline day. There aren’t too many offensive defenseman who could be potentially available, Meaning, if the Avs decide to make Quincey available, he could fetch a nice return come Feb. 27th. His $3 mil per year contract is a bit redundant since they have cheaper replacements in Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott, but Quincey is a cheap option for teams looking for some offensive help on the blue-line.
Potential destination: Tampa Bay, as highlighted before, could be interested and so could the Blackhawks, but I don’t know if the Avs would be open to dealing within their own conference. Ottawa is also another option.
Shane O’Brien could also draw some major attention on Feb. 27th. The only problem is whether or not the Avs can afford to move him while they’re in the playoff hunt. His 14 points, 93 HITs, 50 BS and 78 SOG could prove to be very valuable for any team during the playoffs.
Potential destination: Nashville (if they decide to cause a shakeup and move Ryan Suter), could make sense.
If Jones goes, the two most likely candidates to pick up the slack would be T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik. Galiardi is probably the more offensive of the two, while Winnik is the proto-typical third liner, so look for the former to get first dibs.
If O’Brien or Quincey is moved, then Elliott and Barrie should both receive full time gigs with the Avs. Their value could skyrocket for the stretch run.
The Jackets will be sellers at the deadline, and there’s little doubt about that. They’ll probably attempt to stockpile prospects and picks to help fill the cupboards once again.
There’s been plenty of banter about the Jackets making Jeff Carter available, but the problem for me is they gave up Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins for Carter. I don’t know if a team would be willing to part with a similar package in order to land Carter in return. If the Jackets take a lesser package, then they’ve essentially openly admitted that they made a mistake and mismanaged the whole situation and I don’t know if a GM would have the balls to admit that.
Potential destination: ?
Aaron Johnson could also garner a bit of attention on Feb. 27th. His overall numbers doesn’t look all that flashy, but over the last two weeks, he’s posted one point, four SOG, an even plus/minus rating, 11 HITs and 13 BS all while averaging 21:46 per contest during the last seven games. Plus he comes at a bargain basement price of just $550k.
Potential destination: Any team looking for blue-line depth.
A lot of it will depend on whether or not Carter is moved. If he is, R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette could see some extra value boost. Ryan Johansen could also see the reigns loosened a bit.
If Johnson is moved, it frees up some extra ice-time for a bottom pairing D. David Savard should get a bit of look, at least until Nikita Nikitin returns from his knee injury either this week or the next. It also would give youngster John Moore a bit more time to further develop his NHL game.
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