Both goaltending trades and injuries factor into our latest list of players to target this week. With the trade deadline just around the corner, these trades could be the first of many, so stay tuned. As always, whether you add any of these players should depend on your league settings (points only versus multicategory), other available players, and team needs.
Jeff Carter, C
A 30-goal scorer from the previous season isn’t often found on a league’s waiver wire (available in nearly 40 per cent of Yahoo! leagues), but that could be the scenario in your league. Carter has missed most of the season because of an ankle injury, so he has been dropped in many leagues where owners couldn’t afford to hold onto him for months. He may be back as early as next week, so now would be the time to make your move if he’s available. If you’ve stashed him on IR, get ready to activate him soon.
Zach Aston-Reese, C/RW
Aston-Reese has only been in the NHL for eight games, but he’s been fortunate enough to line up alongside Sidney Crosby for over half of his ice time. He’s made good on that opportunity, scoring four goals and adding an assist over that brief stint. Aston-Reese was one of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award last season after scoring 63 points (31g-32a) in just 38 games for Northeastern University. He’s also a physical player, averaging over three hits per game during his time in the NHL.
Antti Raanta, G
With a 3-0-0 record, a 0.90 goals-against average, a .976 save percentage and one shutout last week, Raanta has probably performed better than the goalies on your roster recently. In fact, Raanta might be a preferred option to start at the moment over goalies drafted much higher than him such as Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, or Cam Talbot. That doesn’t mean you should completely give up on any of those goalies, as we’ve learned this season that the goaltending tides can turn quickly. Recently acquired Darcy Kuemper could cut into Raanta’s starts, but you can’t deny adding a goalie as hot as Raanta.
Petr Mrazek, G
Mrazek is expected to make his Flyers’ debut at home against Columbus on Thursday. Expect this to be the first of many starts for Mrazek over the next several weeks, now that both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are on IR. Mrazek’s numbers in Detroit haven’t been great over the past couple seasons, but he is moving to a better team – one that is occupying a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division in spite of various goaltending injuries throughout the season. Even if Mrazek doesn’t stay in Philadelphia long term, this is a move that could benefit both player and team.
Ryan Miller, G
Since John Gibson is currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury (definitely not his first injury), Miller could be in line for more starts in the near term. At the very least, he should start one of the Ducks’ weekend back-to-back games against non-playoff teams Arizona and Edmonton. If your league is deep enough, Miller could be treated as a handcuff for Gibson owners so that they do not lose valuable starts. Gibson stopped all 41 shots he faced in a shutout victory over the Stars on Wednesday.
Nate Schmidt, D
Schmidt’s value received a major boost after he was claimed by Vegas from Washington. In one season he has gone from a third-pairing defenseman with the Capitals to a first-pairing defenseman with the Golden Knights, a jump that has resulted in seven more minutes of icetime per game. He has also been able to turn up his offense, scoring points in eight of his last ten games. That recent stretch of production has Schmidt on pace for 40 points, a number that signifies ownership in many fantasy leagues.