Last Friday, we discussed how the trade deadline may not help those Fantasy owners that need help in goal. Today, we will look at several skaters that could get traded and how their fortunes could change. Unlike goaltenders, forwards or defensemen that are dealt could see their value rise. They could play with better teammates, get more power play time, or just have more energy knowing they are playing for something. The opposite could be true also. Maybe they go from currently playing on the top line and first power play unit to a secondary role. In other words, be careful what you look for. Away we go.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: Unless you have been living in a cave, you know the deal here; Stamkos is in the final year of his contract, and he and the Lightning have yet to come to terms on a new deal. There are several complicating factors here. The Lightning want him back but have several top players that will also need contracts in the next couple of seasons. Any team that wants to acquire Stamkos would have to give up a boatload of talent or risk losing Stamkos to free agency themselves in the offseason. Stamkos may not end up with Tampa next season (although, I believe he will) but he is even less likely to be traded by the deadline.
Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders: He is in the same boat as Stamkos, but to a lesser degree. He also will become a free agent after the season. Okposo and the Islanders haven’t had contract discussions in weeks and it seems the Isles don’t want to give him a contract north of the $7 million per season that he can command in the open market. There is also plenty of trade talk regarding defenseman Travis Hamonic. While Hamonic has tremendous NHL value, in Fantasy, not so much. Both players are likely staying anyway, as the Isles may want to make a run at the Stanley Cup. However, there could be plenty of rumors surrounding the team from Brooklyn.
Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins: If the Bruins decide to deal Eriksson (final year of his contract) it will be a bitter pill to swallow. He was the main piece brought back in the Tyler Seguin trade and may only last two plus seasons with the team. Eriksson finally looks comfortable in Boston but could also bring back a solid piece or two should the Bruins decide they won’t re-sign him. The Bruins are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, so trading away one of their top offensive pieces may not be the way to go.
Players like Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak could bring the Devils back younger prospects or draft picks to help with their rebuilding, but like the Bruins they are still in the playoff hunt (sixth in the east) and are unlikely to fall out in two weeks. This is a team that may end up trading out, even though they are still in the hunt if they are looking towards the future.
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks: Marleau stated back in October that he would be okay with being dealt away from San Jose, but his age and salary may make that move hard to come by. Marleau is also only likely to accept a trade to the Ducks, Blackhawks, Rangers, or Kings. In other words, he wants to play with a winner. The problem is that all of those teams are up against the salary cap, which would make taking on his almost $7 million a year salary very problematic unless San Jose is willing to take on a big salary in return.
Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets: Ladd has stated he wants to stay in Winnipeg and would like to work out a deal to remain, but salary cap implications could make this impossible. Ladd is a 25-30 goal scorer who would look good on just about any playoff team. He could be the answer for the Islanders who still need someone to play with John Tavares. He could also help the Rangers with their lack of offense. The Blackhawks always seem to add depth before the deadline. He would seem to be the most likely forward to be dealt by Feb. 29, but his value really won’t change all that much, as he is playing for a good offensive team now in the Jets.
Just about any forward not named Connor McDavid on Edmonton. The Oilers need a top notch defenseman. They have for years, but keep taking the best available forward with their draft picks. There are some in Edmonton that believe the team should offer Jordan Eberle to the Islanders for Hamonic. The problem here is that Eberle looks like a world beater since being placed on a line with McDavid, and the Isles may feel that as much as Eberle would look great on a line with Tavares. The hit to their defense would be too much to overcome in season. The general manager of both teams, however, have done plenty of business in the past, so this deal or one like it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
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