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As we approach the end of the playoffs and the start of the entry draft, trade target lists are hitting the internet.
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 recent European free agent signings, Mikheyev is expected to slide striaght into the NHL. The 24-year-old brings a good scoring resume from the KHL and can fit right to a bottom-six RW spot, should one be left available after a cap-related move. This is a complicated insertion however – despite being a RW Mikheyev actually shoots left, so there’s a chance that coach Babcock will try and convert him, puttin him in competition with Trevor Moore in the paragraph above. In addition, many of the trade rumours surrounding Brown have cheap depth forwards coming back the other way, which would obviously mean there isn’t actually a void to be filled.
On The Block: Colin Miller
The one-time 40-point Miller fell out of favor of coaches this year, seeing healthy scratches and supposedly being available at the trade deadline. Should he remain trade bait and be moved out, a depth RD position opens up.
Beneficiary: Zach Whitecloud
Golden Knights management is high on Whitecloud and for good reason. 6’2″, 210lbs, 28 points as an AHL rookie who can play in all situations. He is by no means a comparable skillset or asset, but his presence in the system is one of the reasons Vegas was able to move Brannstrom out in the Stone deal. All signs point to him getting a good look on the blueline out of camp, but his relative youth and inexperience compared to most players on this list make him a bit more of a longshot. No sense rushing anyone, but the opportunity could be there for him.
Just in case you’ve been under a rock for the last week, the 2019 Dobber Fantasy Prospects Report has been released!!
- Full profiles, with long-term and upside stat predictions, of every notable prospect on the planet. Over 480 total.
- Deep reads and fantasy outlooks for over 100 2019-draft eligible prospects.
- Top-50 prospect rankings from Dobber himself, Cam Robinson, and over a dozen other prospect experts, all compiled for comparison.
- Goalies are ranked and profiled as well – this isn’t exclusive to skaters.
- NEW – A quick-glance summary for every NHL team’s top prospects in a variety of categories
You can check it out here:
And if you’re still on the fence, I gave away a few sneak previews in my last ramblings here:
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the last game (or two) of the 2018-19 season. It been a wild year and a good reminder to pessimistic fantasy owners that ANYTHING can happen in this sport, all it takes is a few bounces going your way.
- Robinson: Final 2019 NHL Draft Rankings
- Robinson: Final 2019 NHL Draft Rankings (Part 3)
- Robinson: Four (More) Bold Predictions for the NHL Draft
- Hedlund: Top Swedish Prospects for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft
- Prospect Ramblings: 2019 NHL draft by the numbers
- Prospect Deep Dive: Arthur Kaliyev
- DPR Episode 56: First Round Review with Cam Robinson
- DPR episode 57: Fantasy Hockey Scouting Tips From Russ Cohen and Shane Malloy