Many fantasy general managers were disappointed with the lack of NHL trades this past weekend.
Not only were we expecting plenty of movement, but a player’s value spikes tremendously immediately after a deal. Now that the expansion lists are in, you might think the likelihood of trades not involving Vegas would diminish. Look at Dion Phaneuf; the Sens were thinking of trading him so they could protect Marc Methot. With the expansion lists submitted, there’s almost no point in trading Phaneuf unless Ottawa gets a tremendous offer.
But, you would be wrong in thinking trading would slow down. The next two weeks will play a large role in player movement. Last year, there were 26 deals from the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs to July 1 (including Teuvo Teravainen, Frederik Andersen, Keith Yandle, Brian Elliott, Taylor Hall, P.K. Subban and Shea Weber), and just four more from July to the start of October.
Here are the top 10 players fantasy-wise that are rumoured to be dealt.
10. Brent Seabrook
There was plenty of discussion a couple of weeks ago that the Blackhawks were ready to move a core piece of their squad. Which player is open for debate, but many seem to believe it is Brent Seabrook. There are, however, three problems with this scenario: Seabrook has a no movement clause, he’s being paid almost $7 million annually for the next seven years, and at the age of 32, he’s starting to decline.
There has been a lot of focus on teammate Matt Duchene, but Landeskog was also heavily rumoured to be dealt during the season. That obviously didn’t happen and trade rumours surrounding him seem to have died down quite a bit. There is still plenty of interest, however, and Boston seems to come up a lot as a potential landing spot. Landeskog was awful this year but has proven in the past to be a 20-goal, 50-point guy so a new team may be what he needs.
8. Robin Lehner
The rumours of Lehner’s departure started soon after new GM Jason Botterill was hired. Right now, Lehner is the top goalie in play for a potential trade, provided that Las Vegas doesn’t deal a goalie it drafts. He’s a tough guy to judge for value. He hasn’t had a winning record in the last four years. In his two years in Buffalo, he had a 28-35-13 record with a .921 SV %, a 2.63 GAA and three shutouts. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of teams looking for a goalie. He is also a restricted free agent, and may be looking for more than the $2.225 million he made last year.
7. Derek Stepan
It seems a little strange that Stepan’s name has come up in trade rumours so frequently this offseason until you start to delve into his statistics a little more. He just turned 27 years old and has ranged from 53 to 57 points the last four years. His faceoff winning percentage is horrible. This past season, he won 47 per cent of his faceoffs, a career high. He’s also making $6.5 million for the next four years.
6. Evander Kane
Kane will never live up to the billing of being the fourth overall pick in 2009 but he’s still an excellent option in fantasy leagues with peripheral categories. He’s always a threat to get 25 goals, 100-plus PIM, 250 shots and 100 hits. His injuries and off-ice antics keep him undervalued but a trade would see his value temporarily skyrocket.
Eberle is a bit of a strange case. He started his career great with 76 points as a sophomore, and then 60-point pace seasons the next three years. But once Connor McDavid arrived in Edmonton, Eberle’s production dipped to 47 points in 69 games (a 56-point pace) and then 51 points this past campaign. You would think having McDavid would boost production. Regardless, Eberle seems to be the Oiler most likely to be traded.
4. Matt Duchene
Much has been written about Duchene being a number one centre. That’s something I vehemently disagree with. In the past three years, Duchene has posted seasons of 55, 59 and 41 points. That’s not number one centre worthy. His shot totals have declined since 2013-14 and his power play production has been woeful almost his entire career. There’s lots of hype with Duchene but not much substance.
The rumours around RNH doesn’t seem to be as high this offseason (so far) as compared to years past. But Edmonton has three forwards making $6 million annually. Leon Draisaitl needs to be re-signed this summer and Connor McDavid next summer. The Oilers need to start finding money somewhere. At 24 years old, RNH is young enough that other teams would be interested. Plus, he also fits by being a centre, which seems to be a necessity for most trade rumours.
Because of the rules that states he can’t sign an NHL contract until July 1, Kovalchuk will be part of a rare summertime trade. Kovalchuk has already stated he wants to come back and it’s looking more likely every day. KHL insider Aivis Kalnins tweeted that Kovalchuk has decided to move to North America. There will be plenty of interest, but the top-rumoured teams are the St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks.
Many hockey insiders believe that Galchenyuk’s days as a Hab are numbered. People remember that Galch struggled this past season, even if it’s not entirely accurate. He had 11 points in his first 12 games under Claude Julien. And then there’s this:
Random fact: Alex Galchenyuk was tied for 11th in NHL scoring and capably playing center when he injured his knee in December. Carry on.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 14, 2017
Galchenyuk, despite spending time on the fourth line for part of the season and dealing with a knee injury, finished with 44 points in 61 games (a 59-point pace). He’s already proven he can be a 30-goal scorer and he’s only 23 years old. Whoever gets him is going to be very happy.
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