The 2018 NHL trade deadline provided some serious fireworks, even though Erik Karlsson and Max Pacioretty didn’t move.
Over the next two days, PHT will assess the deadline from a fantasy standpoint. Today, we begin with the East. Look out for the West edition on Friday.
Boston Bruins: Rick Nash is looking good so far, continuing to fire a high volume of shots (10 SOG in his first two Bruins games, one resulting in a sweet goal). At the moment, he’s skating with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, not too extreme a drop-off from Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello in New York.
Buffalo Sabres: Sheesh, with Evander Kane traded and Jack Eichel injured, who’s going to score for Buffalo? Ryan O'Reilly and Jason Pominville?
At least the Sabres have no choice but to turtle ahead of two pending free agent goalies in Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson. I wouldn’t expect many W’s, but maybe they’ll have high-save nights for those spot starting goalies? (Yes, I agree with your “Meh.”)
Carolina Hurricanes: *cricket chirps*
Columbus Blue Jackets: Thomas Vanek gets a golden opportunity to prove he’s still worth something, or at least able to cosplay as 2016-17 Sam Gagner, what with his spot on the Blue Jackets’ top power-play unit.
Detroit Red Wings: Seems like Tyler Bertuzzi will be the biggest winner of the Tomas Tatar trade, as Tatar’s most common linemates were Dylan Larkin (by a large margin) and Andreas Athanasiou.
While his injury might make the point moot, Mike Green staying with the Red Wings might not be such a bad thing for his fantasy value. On a contender, Green would probably see fewer minutes, and be more of a specialist. In Detroit, he seems more likely to get those specialist PP minutes while also receiving something closer to a featured role overall.
Florida Panthers: Frank Vatrano could be interesting in an elevated role, once healthy … but not exactly a busy trade deadline for the Cats. Then again, with all the turbulence lately, it’s almost certainly wisest to aim for some stability.
Although Max Pacioretty would have been a lot of fun, if that ever was going to happen without Vincent Trocheck going the other way …
Montreal Canadiens: Patches might have benefited from a breath of fresh air. Even so, Habs fans get to let out a sigh of relief that Marc Bergevin didn’t bungle another trade.
New Jersey Devils: Via Left Wing Lock, Patrick Maroon might begin on the Devils’ fourth line with Brian Boyle and Blake Coleman. I’d imagine that’s to allow Maroon to get accustomed to a new team?
Michael Grabner‘s currently on a third line with Travis Zajac and Stefan Noesen. There’s no doubt that Ray Shero’s latest slew of trades were made to improve depth, but I’d imagine the Devils would probably like to see those two forwards eventually solidify the top nine, with one of them ideally on the first or second line.
Maroon owners might already be nostalgic for the Connor McDavid days.
New York Islanders: *Cricket takes out a billboard that says “chirp”*
New York Rangers: Ryan Spooner hearts NY. So far in two games, the underrated former-Bruin has five assists, including three from last night. Vladislav Namestnikov looked great in his Rangers debut, too, scoring a goal and an assist.
Both forwards are in contract years and should get nice opportunities on a team in transition, so they are both nice deeper league options.
Ottawa Senators: Life might be weird for Erik Karlsson after not getting moved, but he’ll probably pile up points just the same. Exhibit A:
Sure, there were scenarios in which Karlsson would generate better numbers on a contender. He’d be less likely to deal with teammates going through the motions and might simply have better players to set up.
Still, there’s always an adjustment in going to a new team, especially for a star. So it’s not all great or all bad for Karlsson owners.
Philadelphia Flyers: Tough to gripe too much with staying the course when this team is positioned so strongly, even after ignoring calls for change after a 10-game losing streak. News flash: Ron Hextall is pretty good at this GM’ing thing.
Pittsburgh Penguins: It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Penguins experiment with different alignments regarding Derick Brassard, especially when you consider how comfortable they are moving wingers around Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
You wonder if Mike Sullivan might also experiment with Brassard on one of the top two lines, even if it’s just to take a look. That would be the ideal scenario for fantasy, as playing on the third line could be a slight issue for Brassard, although those worries are mitigated by Phil Kessel currently joining him (and, hey, Conor Sheary isn’t chopped liver either).
Tampa Bay Lightning: We may need to wait a bit for returns on the big trade. Both Ryan McDonagh and Nikita Kucherov are injured. The Bolts lost to the lowly Sabres last night, and maybe worse, they were noticeably out-shot.
The dream scenario for J.T. Miller owners is that he’d eventually just slide into Namestnikov’s usual role as “Good Player Who Looks Great next to Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.” Right now it’s just sort of a mess, although Tyler Johnson isn’t the worst consolation prize.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Much like the Bolts with Kucherov, things are a little funky in Toronto with Auston Matthews out.
Tomas Plekanec‘s a decent pick up, yet he’s not really expected to light scoreboards on fire. That said, depending upon linemates, he could get a boost. We’ll see, but I wouldn’t scramble to add him in typical leagues, either.
I mean, unless you need to win the coveted turtlenecks category.
Washington Capitals: Rumors have it that the Capitals at least dipped their toes in the water re: Erik Karlsson and Ryan McDonagh. Instead, they’re not making a splash after doing so during many recent deadlines.
That’s probably most heartening to John Carlson, who won’t even need to fend off an aging Mike Green as he continues to pile up numbers in a contract year. He already has 50 points this season.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.