Don’t look now, but the Apr. 12 NHL trade deadline is now only six short weeks away.
Taylor Hall enters the chat.
Given the uncertainty surrounding these times, it’s tough to project what this year’s market might look like. Here in Canada, players obtained from American teams are still required to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine before joining their new squads. Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois can tell you a thing or two about that.
Weirdly enough, time really is flying — this past Tuesday marked the one-month anniversary of January’s blockbuster deal between the Winnipeg Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Here’s how the players involved have fared so far:
Patrik Laine (CBJ)
• 12 GP: 6 G, 4 A, 10 P, -4
Jack Roslovic (CBJ)
• 15 GP: 4 G, 9 A, 13 P, -1
Pierre-Luc Dubois (WPG)
• 5 GP: 3 G, 2 A, 5 P, +1
Through five weeks, Roslovic, who was billed as the wildcard in the trade, has been the top performer of the trio. Not only is the 24-year-old currently centering Columbus’s second line, but its first power-play unit too. Laine, on the other hand, has been up and down early on in his Jackets tenure — even receiving the customary John Tortorella benching back on Feb. 8. He’s been skating on line No. 1 with Nick Foligno and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Columbus is 7-7-3 since the move.
Over in Winnipeg, because of the mandatory two-week quarantine and also a minor lower-body ailment, Dubois has only played in five games so far. Acquired to play up the middle, the 22-year-old has actually been skating on Mark Scheifele’s left wing with Blake Wheeler on the right since returning from injury. That’s even better news for fantasy owners. Winnipeg is 10-5-1 since the trade.
1. From a fantasy scope, there’s a lot of juice to squeeze from the Claude Julien firing in Montreal.
Keep close tabs on Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault. Both players, who coincidently enough are each in the midst of a contract year, were routine visitors to Julien’s doghouse this season. I expect both stocks to surge in the coming weeks.
2. Another Canadiens player to put on your watch list is Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Dominique Ducharme has a lengthy and successful resume working with young players, which is great news for the 20-year-old Kotkaniemi. He’s also the final year of his entry-level contract, and a strong finish could make him some extra coin, if you know what I’m saying. Mint.
3. Memo to Carey Price owners: It’s time to sit your number-one goalie until he can figure things out again. The 33-year-old has surrendered 14 goals over his past three starts.
4. Make a move for Jake Allen (4-2-2, 2.12, .929). To this point, the 30-year-old has grossly outplayed Price and is primed for an increase in playing time.
5. Speaking of Montreal, early returns on Josh Anderson have been tremendous. But Columbus can’t say the same about Max Domi. The 25-year-old has three goals in 22 games. Ouch! Drop him.
6. Scoop up Jack Campbell. Back from injury, all the 29-year-old did on Saturday night was beat Edmonton with a 30-save shutout, the third of his career. With Frederik Andersen currently sidelined due to injury, it’s Campbell’s crease for the foreseeable future.
7. Grab David Rittich. Like Campbell, the Flames backup will see the majority of the playing time with Jacob Markstrom on the shelf.
8. Now’s a good time to attempt a buy-low on a pair of underachieving number-one goalies: I’m talking about Jordan Binnington and Carter Hart. Both have stunk up the joint lately — bad news if you own them, good news if you’re looking to acquire them.
9. If you haven’t snatched up Mats Zuccarello yet, what are you waiting for? The veteran Wild forward has three goals and 11 points in seven games to kick off his season. Do it quickly.
10. Get set to activate Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. Returning from off-season shoulder surgery, the winger’s debut could come as soon as this week. In practice, he’s been taking reps on a line with Brayden Schenn and David Perron.
In the rare case that Tarasenko is available on your waiver wire, grab him immediately.
11. Take a flier on Anaheim rookie centre Trevor Zegras, who made his highly anticipated NHL debut this past week. That said, temper your expectations — the Ducks have really struggled to score this season. I’m not sure one player will change that.
12. A plethora of centres are currently day-to-day (Eichel, Matthews, Kuznetsov, Larkin). It’s all good, I got you: William Karlsson, Jack Roslovic, Nico Hischier and/or Jeff Carter can help you out.
13. Need a blueliner? Justin Schultz, Mattias Ekholm, Ty Smith, Jake Bean and Jonas Brodin are worth a flier.
14. Jump back in on Phil Kessel. The Coyotes sniper has four goals and four assists over his past six outings.
15. Get your Gabriel Landeskog buy-low offers in while you can. The Avalanche captain finally snapped a dismal 10-game goalless drought on Saturday night. Mark my words: A hot streak is coming.
16. Snatch up the red-hot Drake Batherson. The winger has a goal in five straight games and six of the past seven for the Senators. Ride the hot streak!
17. File this under the deep sleeper category, but Jared McCann intrigues me. After missing seven straight games due to a lower-body injury, the 24-year-old scored in his return to the Penguins lineup on Saturday night. At five-on-five, McCann skated with Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust. With Jason Zucker out indefinitely, McCann will get every opportunity to stick in that role. Monitor closely.
18. Across the NHL, March is going to be hectic. Unprecedentedly, there are eight teams slated to play 17 games (BUF, NJD, PHI, VGK, FLA, SJS, COL, DAL, WPG). That’s pretty much a game every other day, and then some.
19. Buckle up. 57 total games are scheduled for the upcoming week (Mar. 1-7).
Monday: 7 Games
Tuesday: 8 Games
Wednesday: 6 Games
Thursday: 10 Games
Friday: 6 Games
Saturday: 12 Games
Sunday: 8 Games
Stay away from Detroit (you should be already). That's the only team playing just twice.
20. Conversely, there are a staggering 22 teams with a busy four-game week ahead (ANA, BUF, CGY, CAR, COL, DAL, FLA, MIN, NSH, NJD, NYI, NYR, OTT, PHI, PIT, SJS, STL, TBL, TOR, VAN, VGK, WPG).
For roster manipulation purposes, take a closer look at these three particular schedules:
Carolina Hurricanes: Mon (@FLA), Tues (@NSH), Thurs (DET), Sun (FLA)
Waiver Looks: Martin Necas, Jesper Fast
SN Fantasy Pool: CAR Goalies 4, Sebastian Aho 3, Dougie Hamilton 2
Colorado Avalanche: Mon (@SJS), Wed (@SJS), Fri (ANA), Sat (ANA)
Waiver Looks: Andre Burakovsky, Brandon Saad
SN Fantasy Pool: COL Goalies 4, Nathan MacKinnon 4, Cale Makar 2
Vegas Golden Knights: Mon (MIN), Wed (MIN), Fri (@SJS), Sat (@SJS)
Waiver Looks: Alex Tuch, Cody Glass
SN Fantasy Pool: VGK Goalies 4, Mark Stone 3, Shea Theodore 2