Fantasy Hockey Trade Deadline Review: Will Eric Staal Wake Up Now?
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Now we break down the trades that have taken place over the past few days that are Fantasy Hockey relevant. As always, there were quite a few deals that were really more for depth purposes as NHL teams make their run at the Stanley Cup. Those trades won't be reviewed here, but deals where a team either sent or acquired a Top 6 forward or Top 4 defender are worth discussing. Let’s take a look at some players that were dealt that may help you make a run at a Fantasy title.
[caption id="attachment_54699" align="alignright" width="441"] Will a change of scenery help Eric Staal find his scoring touch? Photo Credit - Daniel E. Dobish[/caption]
Calgary trades Jiri Hudler to Florida for a 2016 2nd-round pick and 2018 4th round pick -- Hudler always had the talent to be an offensive force and did score 31 goals for Calgary last season, but in the end the Flames thought they were better off with two draft picks rather than holding onto him. The deal makes sense for both sides, as Hudler is 32 years of age and may not have re-signed with Calgary anyway. The Panthers will likely play Hudler on the second line, as Jaromir Jagr seems to be entrenched as the top line right wing. If Hudler can make the switch to left wing, then he becomes much more interesting, as playing with Jagr and Alexander Barkov could be the incentive he needs to return to being the offensive force he was last season.
Edmonton trades Teddy Purcell to Florida for a 2016 3rd round pick - Hopefully you weren’t relying on Purcell to carry your Fantasy team, but if you were, this trade is a downgrade for him. He will likely be slotted on the second line for Florida with very little offensive talent around him. He wasn’t producing big numbers with Edmonton but at least he was seeing playing time with the likes of Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Leon Draisaitl.
Edmonton trades Justin Schultz to Pittsburgh for a 2016 3rd round pick - Schultz is actually one of the bigger enigmas in the NHL. He came to Edmonton with the reputation as an offensive defenseman, but that talent just never materialized for the Oilers. Perhaps playing with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can wake him up, and if you have a dead spot on the roster he’s worth a shot, but he will still be behind Kris Letang and Olli Maatta and maybe even Trevor Daley when the pecking order is handed out on the power play.
Rangers trade Aleksi Saarela, 2016 2nd round pick, and a 2017 2nd round pick to Carolina for Eric Staal - This was the big deal from the weekend. Staal was once one of the better players in the NHL but hasn’t hit the 25-goal mark since the 2010-11 season, so the question with his move to New York will be has the game passed him by or will a trade out of Carolina get his game back in gear? While Carolina is bereft of offensive talent outside of Jeff Skinner, that doesn’t explain all of his lackluster play over the past few seasons. Some will point out that his game might pick up now that he will join his brother Marc on Broadway. Okay, but wasn’t he playing with his other brother Jordan in Carolina? Does he like one more than the other? The next question is what line will he play on? It was assumed, especially with Rick Nash (knee bruise) out of the lineup that Staal would be a Top 6 forward, but rumors are flying about that he will start his Rangers career on the third line. Perhaps the Rangers want to ease him into the lineup, but if this is where they envision his future with the club, then Staal isn’t likely to see a career revival.
Los Angeles trades Valentin Zykov and conditional fifth round pick for Kris Versteeg - You may have heard the name, as Versteeg has seemed to be around forever but he is not someone you need to go out and claim. The Kings are loaded at forward and Versteeg not only won’t be a Top 6 forward but could be slotted on the fourth line. Nothing to see here.
Arizona trades Mikkel Boedker to Colorado for Alex Tanguay, Kyle Wood, and Connor Bleackley - Now this is a player you may want to grab. Boedker looked to just be coasting through the season of late and may be the a player who needs a change of scenery. He could end up on a line with Nathan Mackinnon and/or Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene. Either way this should be a boon for his production. Most of us need wings for our Fantasy team, he’s a player who could help out during the Fantasy playoffs.
New Jersey trades Lee Stempniak to Boston for a 2016 fourth round pick and 2017 second round pick - Stempniak was having his best season (16G, 25A) since 2009-10 and likely would’ve put up career best numbers had he stayed in New Jersey. That’s not to say he won’t do much offensively in Boston, but with the Devils he was relied upon to score goals and saw top minutes when the team was at even strength and on the power play, something he is unlikely to do with the Bruins.
Players who I expected to be dealt that weren’t were Pierre Parenteau and Radim Vrbata. I wonder if the injuries they suffered, even though minor, killed any chance of them being dealt for anything of value. Loui Eriksson and Kyle Okposo also weren’t dealt and that wasn’t surprising. Both players are in the final year of their contracts, but both teams are also in the playoff mix and subtracting for the playoff run wouldn’t have made much sense for either organization.
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