The NHL trade deadline is Monday 2/29 at 3 PM. We have already seen a couple of trades that have been completed this week. The first one was between Toronto and San Jose. The Sharks acquired Roman Polak and Nick Spaling while dealing away Raffi Torres. While this is an interesting NHL trade, in the Fantasy world it means very little.
The second deal, however, completed between Chicago and Winnipeg, was much more Fantasy relevant. The Hawks acquired what might be the top forward on the market in Andrew Ladd along with Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison for prospect Marko Dano and a couple of draft picks. The price to acquire Ladd was extremely expensive but could be worth it for Chicago, as they are really once again on a Stanley Cup or bust run. The question now for Fantasy owners is, on what line and with whom will Ladd play?
We know that Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin will probably remain together, with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa (when he returns from his lower body injury) likely to do the same. Will Ladd play with Kane or Toews? This is the question. Will Ladd play on the top power play line? An educated guess would be that coach Joel Quennville with pair Ladd with Toews at first, to try and equalize the scoring and make it difficult for defenses. But this will be a work in progress, as it remains to be seen what kind of chemistry will develop between Ladd and Toews. No matter where he is used, Ladd’s Fantasy value increases slightly but not as much as some may think. It’s not like he was playing with chopped liver in Winnipeg.
The other big forward name who could be moved before the deadline is Loui Eriksson. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and it would seem to behoove the Bruins to get something for him before he walks away. The problem, of course, is that the Bruins are in a playoff spot at this point in time, and trading away Eriksson would seem to put a crimp in those plans. Eriksson is having a big season with 23 goals and 25 assists and could bring back a similar if not bigger package than Chicago got for Ladd. The Bruins will have to answer one of three questions. Should they trade Eriksson and get whatever they can for him? Should they hold onto Eriksson and treat him as their deadline rental acquisition? Should they look to re-sign him? As for what will happen to his Fantasy value if he is traded, that will depend upon where he lands.
The Islanders are in the same exact situation with Kyle Okposo, but right now there have been no signs that they have given any thought to trading him. They also haven’t had any contract negotiations with the winger either, so it seems that they will be content to go as far as they can go this season and lose Okposo to free agency during the summer.
I have mentioned over and over again, either in this column or on the air, that trading a goaltender in season can be incredibly difficult. The problem in a nutshell is that it is very tough to get equal value for the net minder. The Ducks, though, will likely at least try and test the waters regarding a trade of Frederik Andersen or John Gibson. The Ducks are the hottest team in the NHL right now, and are once again looking like a threat to win the Stanley Cup.
The problem for the Ducks has been that they are always a step behind the Kings or Blackhawks when they meet up in the playoffs. Sure, they have the defense and the goaltending to compete with those two clubs, but they are likely a forward short when it comes to putting up enough goals offensively. This is where Gibson or Andersen could be used as trade bait, but what team that needs a goalie will give up a forward that will make the deal worthwhile for Anaheim? The Flames could be an option but they aren’t trading Johnny Guadreau or Sean Monahan, and Jiri Hudler may not be enough in return. The other problem is that the Flames may want to see what they have in Joni Ortio, let him start the rest of the season, and then re-evaluate the crease during the offseason. How about Toronto? Is Pierre Parenteau enough? Probably not, and with James van Riemsdyk now out for the season with the foot injury, that’s another piece they can’t deal.
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