20 Fantasy Thoughts: NHL trade deadline edition


Matt Duchene, as a member of the Blue Jackets. (Fred Chartrand/CP)

It’s shaping up to be a crazy next 24 hours or so in the NHL world leading up to Monday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

Even with the biggest fish (Mark Stone) still on the board, the market finally started to open up a bit on Saturday night.

Dallas acquired Mats Zuccarello from the New York Rangers for multiple draft picks. Around the same time, Columbus and Ottawa hooked up on a deal for the second straight day – this time for Ryan Dzingel.

If we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that the Blue Jackets are loading the cannon up for what they hope is a long spring ahead.

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1. The arrival of Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel bodes extremely well for the Blue Jackets’ 28th ranked power play. When it comes to five-on-five deployment, I wonder if John Tortorella elects to keep the pair together.

Here’s what I’d do:

Panarin – Dubois – Atkinson

Dzingel – Duchene – Anderson

There’s minimal consternation over the fact that the Blue Jackets have improved immensely. Sergei Bobrovsky, Seth Jones and Josh Anderson owners could benefit the greatest.

2. With all the turnover in Ottawa, you should take a flier on the likes of Brady Tkachuk, Colin White and Drake Batherson. All three youngsters will get plenty of ice to finish up the season. Someone needs to score.

3. Keep tabs on Charlie Coyle. Early on, the new Bruins forward has been centering Boston’s third line. Needless to say, his fantasy value is limited until a potential move to a more favourable offensive standing. The Massachusetts native has an outside shot of getting a trial run on Boston’s top line with David Pastrnak still out of the lineup.

4. Even though his five-game goal-streak came to an end on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis, Jake DeBrusk is a must-own asset right now. The sophomore winger has been dominant lately notching 10 points over his past six outings. The Bruins are 9-0-2 in the month of February.

5. Now with Minnesota, Ryan Donato can provide you with some sneaky depth. The Harvard product has tallied three assists and seven shots on goal in two games for the Wild so far. Furthermore, he’s averaged 15:38 of ice, nearly three minutes more than he averaged in 34 contests with Boston this season.

6. It’s a good time to buy-low on Wild stock. Some names to target – Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, Devan Dubnyk and Jared Spurgeon. I wonder if Jason Zucker could be on the move soon too.

7. Dallas is a decent landing spot for Zuccarello. He should see considerable exposure to the likes of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alex Radulov. It’ll be intriguing to see how Jim Montgomery utilizes his newest offensive catalyst. Be realistic when it comes to expectation.

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8. Now that a path has been paved for a potential top-six look, scoop up Pavel Buchnevich. As things currently sit, there’s plenty of opportunity for the Russian to be elevated in the lineup. If Buchnevich continues to play well, he could find himself on New York’s first line with Chris Kreider and Mike Zibanejad in no time. Pay attention.

9. In search of a Nazem Kadri replacement? Any one of Alex Galchenyuk (ARI), Adam Henrique (ANA), Dylan Strome (CHI), and David Krejci (BOS) can help you out.

10. Now that he’s landed on Auston Matthews’ wing, Andreas Johnsson has thrusted back into fantasy focus. Additionally, the sophomore forward has assumed Kadri’s responsibilities on the No. 1 power play unit. Act accordingly.

11. Ryan Miller continues to provide some solid goaltending for Anaheim. In three games since returning from injury, the veteran has surrendered just four goals while picking up two victories along the way. Miller is a solid DFS option right now.

12. Pick up Jaden Schwartz immediately. The 26-year-old has notched at least one point in six of his last eight outings for the scorching hot Blues. Also, with Brayden Schenn once again landing on injured reserve, Schwartz is the most sensible stand-in option to move up with Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko.

13. Eyes on the future? A couple of highly touted prospects have arrived in the NHL. Stay tuned on Detroit’s Filip Zadina and Anaheim’s Sam Steele. Both should be considered strictly streamer options for the time being.

14. Erik Karlsson’s nagging groin injury worries me, especially with the fantasy playoffs just around the corner. Trade the former Senators captain if you can find a way. San Jose is comfortably in a playoff spot. A groin pull is nothing to mess with. Be smart.

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15. Might be time to get what you can for Taylor Hall. Mum continues to be the word on his injury status. Rumours of the Devils shutting the reigning Hart winner down for the year just won’t go away.

16. All aboard the Alex Kerfoot train. That is, of course, as long as he continues to roll with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Ratanen on Colorado’s top line. The 24-year-old potted two goals and an assist in a 5-0 beatdown of Nashville on Saturday night. Stream away.

17. Dare I say that Semyon Varlamov has turned a corner? He’s started nine of the last 10 for the suddenly surging Avalanche. They’ve won four in a row and five of six, surrendering just seven goals over that span. There’s a value buy available here.

18. Snag Justin Schultz pronto. Pittsburgh lost both Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin due to injury Saturday night in the Stadium Series game. The extent of the injuries are not yet known.

19. Provided he’s good to go, Cam Talbot should get plenty of action over the next little while with Carter Hart sidelined. He’s better than Brian Elliott.

20. Stock up your Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool roster with a healthy dose of Florida Panthers this week. They boast the golden unicorn of fantasy hockey schedules with five games in seven days. What in the world?

Not much value to be found in Detroit. They’ll play just twice. Also, don’t forget – Connor McDavid has one more game to serve on his two-game ban.

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