Taylor Hall is a Buffalo Sabre – that’s the lead.
Aside from Mike Hoffman, and maybe a couple of trades still yet to come, much of the NHL’s off-season heavy lifting has been done. Just don’t tell that to the Tampa Bay Lightning, of course.
Even in the midst of a pandemic and a market drier than turkey, there’s been no shortage of storylines to document. Honestly, the Oliver Ekman-Larsson saga was fantastic, even if it lasted just a few short days.
With that in mind, let’s analyze the fantasy impact of the NHL’s biggest off-season moves to-date.
1. Taylor Hall, Buffalo Sabres, LW
This came out of nowhere. After the initial shock wore off, the salivation process proceeded. For the first time in his career, Hall will have dynamic options all around him; Jack Eichel, Victor Olofsson and Rasmus Dahlin to name a few. Being reunited with Ralph Krueger, a coach he actually liked playing for, won’t hurt either. I’m buying.
2. Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas Golden Knights, D
Sadly, no picture emerged of Pietrangelo as a kid fully decked in Golden Knights paraphernalia. That’s right, they’ve only been in the league for three years. Love the player and the fit, I think the fantasy stock drops a little, however. Two words: Shea Theodore. Enough said. Sell.
3. Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues, D
This was a shocker, especially the way it went down with Pietrangelo, at the time, still on the board. From a production standpoint, it should be an easy transition for Krug, who goes from the league’s second-best power-play unit in Boston to the third with the Blues. In addition to notching 40 assists in each of the past five seasons, the 29-year-old has averaged 29 power-play points over the past three seasons. No drop off coming here.
4. Evgenii Dadonov, Ottawa Senators, LW/RW
Another good move by Pierre Dorion – Dadonov should really bolster the top-six for the rebuilding Senators. In three seasons since returning to the NHL, the 31-year-old has tallied 81 goals and 182 points in 225 games, spending all three with the Florida Panthers. Look for Dadonov to play on the top line with Brady Tkachuk. Bargain buy.
5. Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets, C/LW | Josh Anderson, Montreal Canadiens, RW
Quite frankly, I expect this trade to work out for both sides. Domi is coming off a turbulent season spent predominantly jumping in and out of Claude Julien’s doghouse. Meantime, due to a shoulder injury, Anderson was limited to just 26 games potting one measly goal for the Blue Jackets. Fantasy wise, I give the slight nod to Domi – he has a higher point ceiling as well as a greater potential for multi-category coverage; the dual-position eligibility helps too.
6. Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks, D
Good to see Shattenkirk regain his confidence in Tampa after a miserable time on Broadway. I like the fit in Anaheim. While it’s likely the 31-year-old starts the season quarterbacking the second power-play unit, I wouldn’t be surprised if he overtook Cam Fowler on PP1, at some point. 10 goals and 40 to 45 points is doable. Sleeper pick.
7. Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers, D
Similar to Shattenkirk last season, there’s plenty of bounce back appeal on the Barrie file too. Simply put, it just didn’t work in Toronto. The 29-year-old inked a one-year ‘show me’ deal with Edmonton, not a bad landing spot if you ask me, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding Oscar Klefbom’s health. Barrie is set to quarterback a power play that ranked No. 1 in the NHL this past season. Take a flier.
8. Tyler Toffoli, Montreal Canadiens, LW/RW
Fresh off potting 26 goals in 75 total games split with the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks, the 28-year-old projects to settle into a second or third-line role in Montreal. All things being equal, I’d say 20 goals and 45 points is an achievable objective. Due to career-long inconsistency issues, Toffoli should be viewed as more of a streamer option than a long-term roster mainstay.
9. Patric Hornqvist, Florida Panthers, RW
Coming off an underwhelming season in Pittsburgh, the 33-year-old should slot into a top-six role with the Panthers. While Hornqvist isn’t the fantasy option he was five years ago, he’s still fully capable of generating some value, especially in a hits league. I like the streamer appeal here.
10. Eric Staal, Buffalo Sabres, C
Simply put, the Hall addition positively affects the fantasy value of every player around him, including Staal’s. Despite the fact that he’s 35, I still feel like Staal has a lot to give. In 66 games this past season with Minnesota, the veteran pivot potted 19 goals and 47 points. Call me crazy, but I don’t think 20-25 goals and 50-55 points is as egregious as one might think. A potential Jeff Skinner - Staal - Olofsson second line in Buffalo excites me immensely. Target Staal in your drafts.