Hutch's Hockey: Trade Deadline Recap

Hutch's Hockey: Trade Deadline Recap

While there were a fair amount of trades made well ahead of the deadline, the final five days before the cutoff were also busy. It's time to figure out what all the movement means for fantasy with one last set of trade breakdowns. With few stats on players with their new teams, this is more about figuring out what kind of role they're going to play and who might fill the void on their old squads. For the sake of keeping this as concise and relevant as possible, only trades involving at least one NHL level player will be covered. 

Blockbusters

Patrick Kane to the Rangers: Kane was the big fish in the NHL trade pool, and he made it pretty clear it was Rangers or bust. If you took Kane in fantasy drafts this season, this was the moment you were waiting for: a trade to a contender. The Rangers' top six is as good as anyone's now, with Kane expected to settle into a playmaker role alongside Vincent Trocheck and old pal Artemi Panarin. Vladimir Tarasenko's managers should fret not -- he's a good fit for a utilitarian scoring line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, and everyone's getting power-play time here. The loser of this trade will be one of Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Neither of them are escaping the third line now, and one of them will be left out of the power-play plans. Kakko looks to have the advantage for

While there were a fair amount of trades made well ahead of the deadline, the final five days before the cutoff were also busy. It's time to figure out what all the movement means for fantasy with one last set of trade breakdowns. With few stats on players with their new teams, this is more about figuring out what kind of role they're going to play and who might fill the void on their old squads. For the sake of keeping this as concise and relevant as possible, only trades involving at least one NHL level player will be covered. 

Blockbusters

Patrick Kane to the Rangers: Kane was the big fish in the NHL trade pool, and he made it pretty clear it was Rangers or bust. If you took Kane in fantasy drafts this season, this was the moment you were waiting for: a trade to a contender. The Rangers' top six is as good as anyone's now, with Kane expected to settle into a playmaker role alongside Vincent Trocheck and old pal Artemi Panarin. Vladimir Tarasenko's managers should fret not -- he's a good fit for a utilitarian scoring line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, and everyone's getting power-play time here. The loser of this trade will be one of Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. Neither of them are escaping the third line now, and one of them will be left out of the power-play plans. Kakko looks to have the advantage for now. 

Jakob Chychrun to the Senators: Another trade that everyone was waiting for was Chychrun out of Arizona. The return (three picks) left a lot to be desired, and the destination is another tough one to swallow. Chychrun will get his minutes and some power-play time with the Senators, but it's far from the plum role he had in the desert. Thomas Chabot is still the top dog on the Senators' blue line, while Erik Brannstrom and Nick Holden figure to be part-timers. In Arizona, Juuso Valimaki and Janis Moser are the blueliners to take a look at for redraft formats, while Victor Soderstrom could be of interest in dynasty. 

Max Domi to the Stars: Kane's sidekick for the last few weeks was realistically never going to follow him to New York, but Domi lands in a good spot with the Stars. He didn't get a point in his Stars debut, but playing alongside Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment is an assignment that should play to his playmaking tendencies. The big concern here is that Domi was a product of Kane's success -- if that's the case, Domi may be out of the picture in shallow formats, since he won't be seeing top-line usage in Dallas. Back in Chicago, the time is now for Cole Guttman and Lukas Reichel to fill the gaps left behind from Domi and Kane. They'll have opportunity, but it's tough to trust either of these youngsters in a weak offense. Also in the Domi deal, Anton Khudobin went to the Blackhawks; there's a chance he gets a look in the NHL at some point if Petr Mrazek or Alex Stalock get hurt again. 

Big deals

Tyler Bertuzzi to the Bruins: Taylor Hall's lower-body injury became a long-term concern, opening the door for the Bruins to make a big swing by picking up Bertuzzi to add to their third line. That usage is the only real concern here. Injuries plagued Bertuzzi in Detroit, but he was a top-line player when healthy. That won't be the case in Boston, though the Bruins can roll three scoring lines -- Charlie Coyle isn't a terrible consolation prize, but he's no Dylan Larkin. Speaking of Larkin, Dominik Kubalik regains some fantasy value due to this trade as the first fill-in on the top line. 

Marcus Johansson (back) to the Wild: General managers love to cycle back to known quantities at the deadline. It's been a couple of years, but Johansson's second stint with the Capitals ended up leading to the start of a run-back with the Wild. The 32-year-old is a quintessential middle-six winger -- he can play on the power play, he kills penalties, and he can chip in at a about a 35-to-40-point pace. He's worth a look in deeper formats, but offense is about all you'll get from him. 

Rasmus Sandin to the Capitals, Erik Gustafsson to the Maple Leafs: Sometimes you get things right, and sometimes you get them very wrong. Last week, I called for Gustafsson as a waiver-wire add. A couple days later, his No. 1 blueliner spot in Washington disappeared when he was flipped to the Maple Leafs, where he's fit in as a power-play specialist in a seven-defensemen lineup. If you need to recalibrate your defense, do like the Capitals did: go get Sandin, who had three assists in his Washington debut. Overall, the Capitals did well at this deadline to turn expiring contracts into draft assets and depth pieces. Sandin could be the best addition they made, and now he'll be a top blueliner until John Carlson (face) comes back. The good news for Sandin is that his playing time is finally secure. 

Mattias Ekholm to the Oilers, Tyson Barrie to the Predators: This is generally something I'd consider to be a win-win trade from a hockey standpoint. Fantasy managers won't feel the same, as an excellent power-play quarterback in Barrie gets, well, buried on the Predators' depth chart behind do-it-all blueliner Roman Josi. In Edmonton, Ekholm isn't the kind of high-scoring force that Barrie is, so it's not a like-for-like change. He'll help the Oilers defensively in his roughly 20 minutes a night -- he went plus-1 during Saturday's 7-5 loss to the Jets, and he's plus-6 over three contests with his new club. If you need power-play help, Evan Bouchard's the guy to look at, since he'll be on the top unit with Barrie out of the picture. Should Bouchard slip, Darnell Nurse's fantasy managers may luck into some added offense. 

Mikael Granlund to the Penguins: In the long run, this should be a move that boosts Granlund's productivity. His spot on the third line is safe, but the Penguins are easing him into the new team, so he hasn't seen much power-play time yet. Until that changes, this playmaker is best left on the waiver wire -- he was barely doing enough to maintain interest with the Predators, and the reduced role in Pittsburgh isn't particularly encouraging. 

John Klingberg to the Wild, Andrej Sustr to the Ducks: Klingberg came a deflection short of earning a helper in his Wild debut, but he went plus-3 in Saturday's 3-0 win over the Flames. Grabbing a (theoretically) high-scoring blueliner makes sense for the Wild, who have one of the best defenses in the league and a high-end goalie tandem with Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson. Klingberg will add some risk to the mix here, but he's talented, and this is the best team he's played on in a while. Calen Addison managers in redraft formats can safely move on now -- Klingberg's defensive failings can be covered, but it's tough to see head coach Dean Evason putting Addison in the lineup as well. I include Sustr in the commentary here mainly because he's on his third stint in the Ducks' organization, and there's always a chance he gets a call-up late in the season. 

Goalie market

Jonathan Quick (eventually) to the Golden Knights, Joonas Korpisalo (and Vladislav Gavrikov) to the Kings, Michael Hutchinson to the Blue Jackets: This wasn't a true three-team swap, but it serves that function as the only major goalie moves on the market. Out of respect for seniority, let's talk about Quick first. Namely, it's weird to see him in anything outside of Kings colors -- he defines their black-and-silver era on a level matched only by Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Quick didn't want to play in Columbus following the first trade, so he was sent to Vegas, a division rival and potential playoff opponent of the Kings. Revenge can be a powerful motivator, but it remains to be seen if Quick will get the chance to exact any. Ever since Robin Lehner (hip) was ruled out for the season, the Golden Knights have turned an inexperienced set of twine-tenders into a potential Calder candidate (Logan Thompson), a late-bloomer success story (Adin Hill) and a capable stopgap (Laurent Brossoit). When Thompson and Brossoit are ready to return from injuries, Quick will need to have established himself, or else this could be quite the crowded crease. Given how well Hill is playing (2.51 GAA, .913 save percentage) over 26 games this year, Quick may not get that chance. 

Korpisalo finally gets out of the goaltending purgatory that is Columbus. He won't be the outright starter in LA -- Pheonix Copley's ratios are iffy at times, but he's found ways to win. Korpisalo won his Kings debut with 24 saves on 26 shots Saturday versus the Blues; if nothing else, the lighter workloads will be welcome for him. Both of the Kings' goalies have fantasy appeal for a team that has plus-3 goal differential, good for just 18th in the league. Adding Gavrikov, a blue-collar defenseman with limited scoring upside, also gives the Kings' defense and goaltending a boost. 

Hutchinson (no relation, by the way) will probably get a chance to be in the NHL again with the Blue Jackets. He won't get many wins, or even all that much playing time, but his presence on an NHL roster is enough to add him in the deepest fantasy formats. The journeyman has been all over the continent to keep his hockey career going at age 33, but Elvis Merzlikins is the man in Columbus now. 

Some fantasy impact

Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe to the Maple Leafs, Joey Anderson to the Blackhawks: This trade was bigger in size than impact. Both Lafferty and McCabe established themselves as standout pieces during a down year in Chicago, but their responsibilities will be defensive in nature as Maple Leafs. Lafferty will have some appeal as a penalty-killing forward who could chip in shorthanded points, while McCabe's physicality and top-four spot can help in deeper fantasy formats. Anderson has just 16 points in his NHL career through 76 appearances, and there's not much time for the 24-year-old to find another level. He'll be a similar replacement in Chicago for Lafferty, though not to the same quality. Caleb Jones looks like the best bet for an increased role on the Blackhawks' blue line going forward, though his effectiveness (11 points, 88 hits, 87 blocked shots in 53 contests) remains to be seen. 

Filip Hronek to the Canucks: I like this trade for the Canucks. Hronek cost them a couple of picks, but this is a player that provides a near-instant upgrade -- once he returns from an upper-body injury -- to a blue line that is wildly unstable outside of Quinn Hughes. Hronek's matched his career high with 38 points through 60 outings this season, and he's strong enough all around to help in fantasy. The thing that confused me here was why the Red Wings made him available in the first place. He's in his prime at 25 years old, and he seems like an ideal second-pairing defenseman. His perceived defensive woes appeared to be a product of playing top-pairing minutes on a rebuilding team for years, and he largely corrected them this season, so it seems like an odd time for a team on the upswing to move on. The Red Wings' prospect pool is not short of blueliners, but I thought Hronek would settle in as the Samuel Girard to Moritz Seider's Cale Makar once Detroit hit its stride. 

Shayne Gostisbehere to the Hurricanes: After 82 points in 134 games with the Coyotes, Gostisbehere's mid-career revival made him coveted by one of the league's generally smartest teams. This is another case of a player taking on some risk -- his role with the Hurricanes will be significantly smaller than it was with the Coyotes, but deployed in the right manner, he should be able to put up solid offense without hurting the defense. I won't blame fantasy managers for dropping him now, but I'd wait and see for a week or so, because playing in a stronger offense may help more than it hurts. 

Jakub Vrana to the Blues: It's too early to say what Vrana could be with the Blues, but ideally, he'll get a chance to be a top-six winger. He had 52 points in 69 contests in a breakout campaign in 2019-20, but injuries and a stint in the player assistance program have limited him to 81 contests over the last three campaigns. He should get to add to that total for the Blues, but the big question is where. If he's alongside Brayden Schenn or Robert Thomas, I'd pick him up in deeper fantasy formats. If he gets stuck on the third line, the Blues aren't deep enough to make that a worthwhile move. 

Jesse Puljujarvi to the Hurricanes: Another case of a much-needed change of scenery. Once Puljujarvi gets his immigration issues sorted out, the 24-year-old winger will get to start over with the Hurricanes after scrutiny and inconsistency in Edmonton. This is as much an audition to be part of the Hurricanes' long-term plans as it is a chance for Puljujarvi to reinvent himself. That said, his new team doesn't have Connor McDavid on it, so Puljujarvi's chance of putting up good numbers is low, regardless of his role. He'll likely have to start on the fourth line in place of Derek Stepan and work his way up. 

Pierre Engvall to the Islanders: Engvall was always a relatively useful bottom-six forward with the Maple Leafs. He collected 83 points over 226 games with Toronto, but the Islanders' lack of wing depth should give him a chance to be a much more important player. He'll need to perform in a top-six role to justify a fantasy roster spot, but doing so alongside Bo Horvat as he did in his Islanders debut could make him a sneaky add down the stretch. There's no guarantee Engvall will see power-play time, but there's a path to success as the Islanders battle for a wild-card spot. 

Luke Schenn (back) to the Maple Leafs: Back where it all began, Schenn rejoins the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2008. He never really lived up to that lofty position, but he has emerged as a solid defender with an elite ability to throw his body around. He's picked up 265 hits and 21 points through 57 contests this season between Vancouver and Toronto. Look elsewhere if you need offense, but if your fantasy squad needs some bite, Schenn's particular brand of toughness will play well. 

Mikey Eyssimont to the Lightning, Vladislav Namestnikov (eventually) to the Jets via the Sharks: I'll start with Namestnikov here, who went from Cup contender to rebuilding team to wild-card battle in a span of a couple of days. Since the start of 2019-20, he's been a member of eight different teams, logging at least one appearance with seven of them. He was a flip for the Sharks, but he should fit in on the Jets' third line now. With 15 points in 57 games for the Lightning, it's fair to say his stock has dipped, but it could rise again since the Jets' offense isn't as deep. Eyssimont, coincidentally, was claimed off waivers from the Jets by the Sharks earlier in the season. He's picked up 13 points through 41 appearances this season. I like Eyssimont as a player, and if he can be one of those classic Lightning moves that becomes a third-line cult hero in the playoffs, it'll be a worthy move for all involved. For the rest of the regular season, however, his bottom-six assignment doesn't bode well for fantasy value. 

Nick Bjugstad to the Oilers, Michael Kesselring to the Coyotes: Bjugstad scored in his Oilers debut -- that's a good way to make a strong first impression. My concern here is that he'll fall into the trap that is the Oilers' bottom six. Many solid veterans have played in that role, only to see their offense disappear due to limited ice time and poor linemates. He'll have a better chance of returning fantasy value if the Oilers keep rolling out seven-defensemen lineups, which necessitates a big-name forward to take some double-shifts with guys like Bjugstad and Devin Shore, who could ultimately lose his place in the lineup in this move. Kesselring was one of the Oilers' better prospects, and he should at least have a chance to compete for NHL minutes with the Coyotes following their deadline sell-off. He made his debut Friday, but he was back in the AHL on Saturday, so Kesselring's is more of a wait-and-see situation. 

Nick Bonino (back) to the Penguins: Not included were deals for Patric Hornqvist (concussion, out for the season) and Phil Kessel. Nonetheless, the Penguins brought back an excellent defensive forward who had bounced around the Sharks' bottom six while picking up 19 points in 59 games by the bay. Bonino also has 76 blocked shots this season, which is tied for second with Elias Pettersson among all forwards. Only Auston Matthews (78) has more. Bonino can be a defensive specialist, but his offense likely takes a hit in his second stint with the Penguins. 

Jordan Greenway to the Sabres: Greenway needed a change of scenery after he was limited to seven points in 45 contests with the Wild. The big winger has long been better in concept than in practice, but going from the Wild's defensive system to a bottom-six spot on an exciting Sabres team gives me a little hope his offense can get back on track this season. He's shot just 2.9 percent through 45 contests, so there is room to grow, even though he's rarely been anything more than average in that area. 

Zack MacEwen to the Kings, Brendan Lemieux to the Flyers: No, this isn't the NHL inter-conference fight card. For hits and PIM, it doesn't matter which team someone plays for -- they just need to be in the lineup. MacEwen has a little more scoring pop than Lemieux, and MacEwen should be a good fit on the Kings' fourth line if he can bump Carl Grundstrom from the lineup. Lemieux will likely be the exact kind of player head coach John Tortorella promotes to a top-six role for two periods in a blowout loss because he wants to light a fire under a skilled forward. Don't let those mid-game promotions fool you, as there's not much Lemieux will add to fantasy rosters. 

Oh, Brother

Nick Ritchie and Troy Stecher to the Flames, Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey to the Coyotes: A trade so unique, it gets its own segment. This was the first time in recorded NHL history that two brothers were swapped for each other in a deal. Brett, the elder of the brothers, figures to benefit from actually playing after falling out of favor in Calgary. He should take a run at Zack Kassian's fourth-line job eventually. The younger brother, Nick, was surprisingly effective during his time at the Arizona career revival camp, logging 35 points over 82 contests with the Coyotes. He saw power-play time on occasion with the Coyotes, but he'll likely have to hope his brother kept a seat warm in the Saddledome press box. He could ultimately challenge Walker Duehr for a fourth-line role, though it's also possible head coach Darryl Sutter eventually scratches prospect Jakob Pelleter and plugs Ritchie into a second-line spot. 

The rest of the deal was a swap of defensemen. Stecher has hardly been a fantasy darling -- he had seven assists in 61 outings with the Coyotes, but he is an upgrade over Dennis Gilbert on the third pairing in Calgary. Mackey was never able to be that kind of player with the Flames, but a move to Arizona should at least get him on the ice more regularly. He's expected to begin his Coyotes career in a third-pairing role, though he could also reunite with another former Flame, Juuso Valimaki, if he plays well. 

Small swaps

Brock McGinn to the Ducks, Dmitry Kulikov to the Penguins: Kulikov gives the Penguins a bit of defensive stability on the third pairing. He could even see top-four minutes -- Brian Dumoulin doesn't always look like a good fit partnered with Kris Letang, and Kulikov's defensive acumen would be best used in larger minutes. McGinn figures to join the middle-six mix with the Ducks, though he also recently cleared waivers, so they could stash him at AHL San Diego. Sam Carrick, Jayson Megna and Max Comtois should be concerned about their playing time with McGinn in the fold, while the absence of Kulikov (and Klingberg) in Anaheim likely means Kevin Shattenkirk plays a larger role over the final quarter of the season. 

Riley Stillman to the Sabres: Stillman didn't help the cause with the Canucks, so it was interesting that the Sabres, who aren't all that stable defensively either, would take a chance on him. He was hurt Saturday (upper body), so it's unclear if he'll be able to contribute much to their playoff chase. With five assists through 37 outings, Stillman's not a factor in fantasy at age 24, and it's looking less likely he'll have a sudden breakout year down the line. 

Lars Eller to the Avalanche: Alex Newhook has been moved in and out of the third-line center spot for the Avalanche throughout the year, but sometimes it's better to let young centers learn the NHL on the wing first. Bringing in Eller makes that a possibility for the Avalanche. The 33-year-old has a championship pedigree, not that the Avs are lacking in that area as the defending champions. It's a savvy hockey move, and Eller's 16 points in 60 contests with the Capitals show that he has more to give if he can participate in a stronger offense. 

Teddy Blueger to the Golden Knights: The Golden Knights wanted to upgrade their fourth line at the deadline, and Blueger fits the bill. The 28-year-old had 10 points in 45 contests with the Penguins, but that's a down year compared to what he's done in his career. Again, Blueger isn't the type of player that moves the needle in fantasy, but he should have a consistent role while Nicolas Roy (lower body) and William Carrier (lower body) are out. 

Curtis Lazar to the Devils: It's tough to have many strong opinions about Lazar's play. The Devils will be his sixth NHL team over nine seasons -- he seems to find a way to earn a bottom-six spot, but he tends not to hold onto it for extended stretches. He'll add some grit for the Devils, but that doesn't really fit their speedy playing style. He had just five points in 45 contests with the Canucks, so he won't add much offense either. He has experience on his side, but the younger Michael McLeod hasn't really looked out of place in a bottom-six role, though Jesper Boqvist is a weak spot in an otherwise strong lineup. 

Patrick Brown to the Senators: Rinse and repeat from the Lazar paragraph. Brown represents an upgrade over either of Mark Kastelic or Austin Watson, but the difference is negligible. Where he fits in the Senators' lineup remains to be seen. Brown had 16 points over 87 outings with the Flyers over two seasons, and he added 225 hits in that time. For all the top-six skill in Ottawa, they haven't evolved their style to count upon scoring rather than toughness in the bottom six. 

Oskar Sundqvist to the Wild: Sundqvist's 21 points in 52 games with the Red Wings put him on pace to challenge his career-high 31 points from 2018-19. The Wild are in the thick of the playoff race, and it's safe to say Sundqvist is a noticeable upgrade over Mason Shaw and/or Connor Dewar, who have been just okay this season. Sundqvist will fit into a physical bottom six just fine, but the favorable power-play usage he saw in Detroit may not follow him from Hockeytown to the State of Hockey. 

Rasmus Asplund to the Predators: "Oh yeah, that happened" is a perfectly fair reaction to this trade. Asplund had 27 points in 80 contests just a year ago, but the prospect rush in Buffalo pinched him out of the lineup this season. A bottom-six role awaits this scoring-only forward in Nashville. With the right usage, he can become a fringe fantasy option, but the Predators' offense doesn't inspire a lot of confidence following a fire sale ahead of the deadline. 

Gustav Nyquist to the Wild: Nyquist has a chance to play before the end of the regular season, but he's still likely to be out for multiple weeks in March before having a chance to return. The Blue Jackets opted to make a move to get something for him, and the Wild took the chance that he'll be able to help them, either in the playoff push or once the postseason begins. The 33-year-old would be much higher on this list if he was healthy -- he had 22 points in 48 outings before suffering an upper-body injury that was initially believed to be a season-ender. If he comes back during the fantasy playoffs, he's worth taking a chance on. Stash him if you have the room, look elsewhere if you don't. 

There's still value to be had from players not impacted by the flurry of trades over the last few weeks. Just about every team changed at least a little bit, but with how early some of those deals went down, the adjustment period shouldn't be as harsh as in years past. Take a look at some waiver-wire adds that can help you down the stretch. 

J.T. Compher continues to get things done for the Avalanche since taking on the second-line role. He's picked up three goals and seven assists over his last eight contests. The Avalanche have shaken off their early struggles and have their sights set on solidifying their playoff positioning, and Compher's been a big help in that regard. He's already earned a career year with 42 points through 61 games, and head coach Jared Bednar has kept his top six pretty much intact since the Avalanche fought off the injury bug. Add Compher with confidence.

If an eight-game goal streak hasn't gotten your attention yet, Dawson Mercer can't do much more. That streak ended Sunday versus the Coyotes, but he still had an assist. He's rostered in 60 percent of Yahoo! formats, but a top-six role with the Devils and multi-position eligiblity means that number is still way too low. During his heater, he's earned 10 goals and six helpers over nine games while riding alongside Nico Hischier. Don't let someone else scoop him up. 

Pure speculation here, but someone has to score with the Blackhawks. If the aforementioned Guttman or Reichel represent too much rookie risk, take a look at Tyler Johnson instead. He's had a quietly solid season on a terrible team with 22 points through 36 outings. He should be a fixture on the power play, where he's earned three of his last five points over the last seven games. The 32-year-old is a risk himself with a balky ankle that's bothered him all year, but healthy and productive is all you can ask for out of Chicago for anyone. 

I'm huge on Mike Matheson right now. Since the All-Star break: four goals, seven assists (two on the power play), plus-8 rating, 21 blocked shots, 31 shots on goal, 17 hits in 12 games. Whether you think he's a No. 1 defenseman or not -- and I'm skeptical from a long-term view -- he's playing like one for the Canadiens now that he's healthy. If he can avoid another trip to the trainer's room this season, he's a difference-maker. 

I talked about the Lightning's ability to turn relative unknowns into productive third-liners earlier. Take a look at one of those success stories in Ross Colton, who has three goals, one assist, 21 shots on net and 17 hits over his last eight games. The Lightning are reeling after five straight losses -- if head coach Jon Cooper is intent on really stirring the pot with his team, Colton can only move up the lineup. If nothing else, the hits and modest offense can hold you over for a week or so. 

Don't look now, but Cam Fowler is pushing for a second straight career year. He's already matched last season's nine goals, and he's at 27 helpers through 63 contests. He's six points back of matching the 42 he had a year ago, and with the aforementioned Klingberg-to-Minnesota deal, Fowler's the unquestioned power-play quarterback. The Ducks' measly 16.5 percent conversion rate on the power play isn't great, but Fowler's already earned 13 of his points with the man advantage. Minutes in all situations with the likes of Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Troy Terry don't hurt. 

I was initially skeptical on Ivan Barbashev as a Golden Knight, but if head coach Bruce Cassidy's just going to plop him on the top line, that works for me. It's led to two goals and three helpers over the last week. More important, he has enough of a scoring touch to fit the role alongside Jack Eichel better than Paul Cotter did. If you had Cotter, it's time to move on, though Barbashev could be a bit tougher to snag off the waiver wire. 

Conor Garland has been a player to benefit from the Canucks' on-the-fly remodeling. Since Rick Tocchet replaced Bruce Boudreau as the Canucks' coach, Garland has gone off for four goals and eight assists with a plus-5 rating over 16 contests. He had 22 points in 45 outings and a minus-10 rating before the coaching change. He'll likely never live up to his nearly $5 million cap hit, but getting Garland going in the middle six has been a clear success for Tocchet, and fantasy managers should take notice. 

Last call on adding Filip Gustavsson. There's one knock on him, and that's the 50-50 timeshare he has with Marc-Andre Fleury. Gustavsson is 6-1-2 with a 1.46 GAA and a .952 save percentage since the start of February. The worst team he's faced in that stretch is the Flames, and they're still clinging to the playoff bubble. Those are Vezina numbers if he had more playing time -- and Linus Ullmark disappeared from the planet. Even at 67 percent rostered in Yahoo!, Gustavsson is way too low. Change that this week if you can get him. 

With the trade deadline over, both players and fantasy managers can unclench their jaws a bit. Movement over the last quarter of the season is greatly reduced, and in fantasy, the biggest concerns now are injuries. Even a relatively minor issue can put a player out for the rest of the regular season at this stage -- it doesn't do you any good if he's going to be ready for the real playoffs. 

I've detailed the trades that should have an NHL impact this season. Not all of them matter for fantasy, but there will be good players squeezed out of favorable spots on good teams, and lesser players filling larger roles down the stretch. I've mentioned it before, but with bad teams, you have to separate name from role. If a player is getting more minutes and making the most of them, take advantage. Sustainability isn't a concern this late in the season, especially if they're just now getting hot. Let's see how the dust from the last week settles, and I'll check in again next Monday. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shawn Hutchinson
Shawn has covered sports independently since 2010, and joined RotoWire in 2019. In 2023, he was named FSWA Hockey Writer of the Year. Shawn serves as a contributor for hockey and baseball, and pens the "Hutch's Hockey" column. He also enjoys soccer, rooting for his hometown teams: Sounders FC and Reign FC.
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