20 Fantasy Thoughts: How trade deadline could impact player value

Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston look at some of the bigger stories in the NHL as the trade deadline approaches, touching on Tyson Barrie and what the Flames may be looking for.

Trick question: Who has better fantasy value right now, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen or Toronto Marlies Zamboni driver David Ayres? Seriously, tough day for Alex Ovechkin to pot career goal No. 700.

It was such a crazy Saturday in the NHL world that it was easy to forget what looms on Monday at 3 p.m. E.T. / noon P.T. — the 2020 trade deadline. Is it the calm before the storm? For Jeff Marek’s sake, let’s hope it is.

From a fantasy perspective, this was never going to be an earth-altering deadline, anyways. The rental with the highest fantasy ceiling, Taylor Hall, was dealt well advance of this week’s festivities. That said, there’s still plenty to uncover.

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1. Keep Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg on your radar. Both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek left Saturday night’s game in Toronto due to injury. Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell may be forced to make a move here. Robin Lehner? Stay tuned.

2. Go out and grab Tyler Toffoli immediately. The 27-year-old dual eligible winger is a perfect fit in Vancouver. He’s skating with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson — need I say more? That’s two goals and two assists in two games so far with the Canucks.

3. Pick up Gabe Vilardi. Toffoli’s exit means there are minutes to be had in Los Angeles’ top-six. All Vilardi did in his NHL debut was tally a goal and an assist. If he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for the 20-year-old centre.

4. You might want to consider Vilardi’s linemate, Martin Frk, next time you’re looking for a streamer play. The two ripped it up together this season for Ontario in the American Hockey League.

5. Try to upgrade on Blake Coleman. Because Tampa is so loaded, the 28-year-old’s fantasy stock will undoubtedly take a bit of a hit. He’s not in New Jersey anymore, that’s for sure.

6. Speaking of the Devils, anyone not named MacKenzie Blackwood or Kyle Palmieri is droppable at this point. It’s been a long season in Newark.

7. Scoop up Ondrej Kase. The newly acquired Bruins right winger will likely skate with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk to start. Rest assured, the analytics community is fired up about this one.

8. Another cheeky daily fantasy play to look at is Denis Malgin. Only one per cent owned in standard Yahoo! Leagues, the Swiss dangler is skating five-on-five with John Tavares and William Nylander. That’s a favourable position to be in if you ask me.

9. Shoutout to the NHL’s Italian population! Speaking of which, take a flier on Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane. The Bolton, Ont., native has three goals and seven points over the past six contests. Right now, the 23-year-old is seeing routine deployment on the second line as well as the second power play unit. Value buy.

10. Provided your league trade deadline hasn’t passed, you should be working feverishly to deal Shea Weber. As surprising as his return to the Canadiens lineup was, I won’t be shocked if and when Montreal shuts their captain down for the season. Be ahead of the curve.

11. Despite Toronto’s continued defensive struggles, I’d contemplate executing a buy-low on Frederik Andersen. If the Maple Leafs do make the playoffs, it’ll be because of their goaltending.

12. Place Andre Burakovsky on the trade block and see what’s out there. Rest assured, the 25-year-old Avalanche forward’s fantasy value has reached an all-time high. Burakovsky has seven goals and 21 points in 2020. Due to Mikko Rantanen’s injury, he was promoted to the top line to play with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. Not too shabby.

13. Staying in Denver, monitor Valeri Nichushkin closely. He remains on line two, but it’s his current power play utilization that has me intrigued — Rantanen’s reps on PP1. Think about it.

14. Externally, here are some short-term Rantanen replacement options to ponder grabbing: Dominik Kubalik (CHI), Kevin Fiala (MIN), Mikael Backlund (CGY) and Nick Suzuki (MTL).

15. Place Emil Bemstrom on your watch list. The rookie stands to gain a boost after another ankle injury in Columbus — this time to the red-hot Oliver Bjorkstrand. Nick Foligno has been moved to the top-line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Gustav Nyquist.

16. Move Elvis Merzlikins and look at acquiring Joonas Korpisalo. Once the Fin returns from his AHL conditioning assignment, he’ll likely see the bulk of the load once again. It was a fun run for Elvis, but he’s certainly left the building. Thank you, thank you very much.

17. If Thomas Chabot is forced to miss time, take a flier on Mike Reilly. He’ll run Ottawa’s first power play unit.

18. Outside of Kanata, here’s a couple of short-term blue liners to target on waivers: Nate Schmidt (VGK), Ben Chiarot (MTL) and Travis Sanheim (PHI).

19. Nice to see only one game in the NHL on Deadline Day. By the way, the upcoming week features 50 contests in total. Stay away from Coyotes waiver additions – they play just twice.

20. Eight teams will enjoy busy four-game dockets (CGY, CBJ, FLA, MIN, NJD, NYR, OTT, VAN). Take a closer look at these three schedules:

Columbus Blue Jackets: Mon (OTT), Tues (at MIN), Fri (MIN), Sun (VAN)
Waiver Looks: Nick Foligno (25%), Emil Bemstrom (0%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Pierre-Luc Dubois (2), Zach Werenski (2), Nick Foligno (1)

Minnesota Wild: Tues (CBJ), Thurs (at DET), Fri (at CBJ), Sun (WSH)
Waiver Looks: Kevin Fiala (38%), Eric Staal (30%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Devan Dubnyk (3), Ryan Suter (2), Eric Staal (2)

New York Rangers: Tues (at NYI), Thurs (at MTL), Fri (at PHI), Sun (PHI)
Waiver Looks: Pavel Buchnevich (20%), Brendan Lemieux (6%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Artemi Panarin (4), Ryan Strome (2), Igor Shesterkin (2)

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