Prospect Ramblings – On the block roster openings

Hayden Soboleski


image courtesy of WinnipegFreePress



As we approach the end of the playoffs and the start of the entry draft, trade target lists are hitting the internet.

The Athletic posted a Top 20 trade list this week

TSN is updating their Trade Bait list


Imagining how different our favorite teams will look like in a few weeks is unavoidable, so we might as well put on our fantasy glasses and figure out what this is all going to mean.


Some cases will have minimal impact on fantasy prospects. For example, Hoffman’s name in the trade rumours is tied explicitly to Florida’s potential signing of Panarin. This would be a one-in one-out situation, with no void opening for a youngster in the top-six. But in many cases, change is coming for the sake of change, cap space, and room to rebuild, which very much creates opportunities you need to be aware of. I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it a hundred more times: a prospect’s opportunity is just as important to their fantasy value as their talent and upside.


Here’s a few situations that are worth keeping an eye on:


On The Block: Jacob Trouba

The Jets are currently stacked on RD with Byfuglien, Trouba, and Myers. But the rumours of Trouba wanting out of Winnipeg have been lingering for years and unless they can avoid a second arbitration battle, it may be happening now. On top of that, Myers may be re-signed or left to walk depending on the outcome. 

Beneficiary: Sami Niku

The 2017-18 AHL D-man of the Year only got into 30 NHL games in 2018-19 thanks to that loaded right side. Unless Cheveldayoff works some absolute magic, it looks like there will finally be an opening for him next season.


On The Block: Justin Faulk

Faulk has been supposedly on the block for years now, but it does finally seem to be time for Carolina to give up one of its plethora of talented blueliners in exchange for some help putting the puck in the net. Brett Pesce’s name has also made the rounds for the exact same reason, which makes sense – they are both right-handed shots on a team with four righty d-men currently among the top six. Time to balance that out.

Beneficiary: Haydn Fleury

67 NHL games in 2017-18, but only 20 this season thanks to a talented group above him. This is a downward trajectory, but he looked solid in the playoffs (albeit in very limited ice time) and has a high enough pedigree that its time to give him a bigger shot. Fellow left-handed first-rounder Jake Bean had a strong AHL campaign and will be hot on his heels as well.


On The Block: Patrick Marleau

Maple Leafs fans were being driven up the walls by the end of the season when they saw Marleau consistently receiving top-nine minutes and secondary powerplay time despite his deteriorating abilities. His minutes have been decreasing season-by-season, and it looks like he may become a cap casualty out of Toronto despite being a coach’s favorite. 

Beneficiary: Trevor Moore

The pipeline has been pumped out the likes of Kapanen, Johnsson, and Hyman in the Leafs’ top-nine, and Trevor Moore might be the next Marlies alumnus to make an appearance. Averaging under 10 minutes per game in 25 NHL games this season, most of which was on the 4th line with minimal offensive abilities around him, he still managed nearly a 30-point pace. His outstanding showing in the playoffs may have earned him a shot at the possibly-available 3LW spot this fall. 


On The Block: Connor Brown

Almost everything said above for Marleau can be said again for Brown. Reliable. Coaches love him. Minutes decreasing every year. Possible cap casualty. Nothing personal.

Beneficiary: Ilya Mikheyev

One of the rec