Chances are that the trade deadline in your fantasy hockey league precedes the NHL deadline of March 21. The question, therefore, becomes: Are there players to target while anticipating that a real-life change of scenery will boost their fantasy value? I’m going to say, “Yes, there are,” because saying, “No” would make for a very short article.
We’ll take a look at some options – in no particular order – that could fill that last gap on your team during your own playoff push if all the stars align to improve each player’s situation.
3 Players Whose Trades Should Result in Increased Fantasy Value
1. Marc-Andre Fleury – Goalie
Current team: Chicago
Potential landing spot: Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins
Fleury is the top trade candidate on every list available, even though he has a partial no-trade clause. Chicago doesn’t have to trade him, though it would make more sense to do so considering they are floundering in seventh place in the Central and going nowhere. Fantrax’s Brandon Altomonte has Fleury No. 17 in his ROS fantasy hockey goalie rankings, so the question is whether his value changes if he ends up somewhere else?
Chicago’s defense has allowed the eighth-most shots per game this season compared to Colorado (21), and Boston (28). Those other two teams score on average almost 4 and 3 goals per game (respectively) versus the Blackhawks who sit at only 2.39. Having superior players in front of Fleury would alleviate some of the stress he currently faces and improve both his percentages and counting stats.
While the 37-year-old is past his prime, he still brings a .910 save percentage, 2.88 GAA, .556 quality start percentage, and 15 years of veteran experience to a playoff contender. Any trade of this nature should boost his fantasy hockey value for any team and improve the goalie situation for, say, Cam Talbot or Ilya Samsonov managers. He is also outright available in 11 percent of Fantrax leagues.
2. Jakob Chychrun – Defenseman
Current team: Arizona Coyotes
Potential landing spots: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings
While Arizona isn’t going to necessarily have a fire sale, I imagine they are approaching the deadline in the mood to wheel and deal. Chychrun could see increased fantasy value immediately if he winds up being traded to a playoff contender like Anaheim or Boston. In dynasty leagues, though, fantasy managers should be hoping he somehow ends up in Detroit alongside Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond.
Chychrun is 23 years old, plays almost 24 minutes every night, and his putrid 1.7 percent shooting percentage can only go up. He ticks off boxes in every meaningful category with 40 hits, 54 blocked shots, 38 PIM, and 116 shots on goal. He could nicely fill a role for fantasy managers for the remainder of the season.
I am targeting him in my dynasty fantasy hockey leagues because the trade cost shouldn’t be that high. In redraft leagues, I like him, but defenseman is a strong position this season. However, if injuries or underperformance have decimated your squad, this Coyote could provide the filler you’re looking for and is outright available in 22% of Fantrax leagues.
3. Ben Chiarot – Defenseman
Current team: Montreal Canadiens
Potential landing spots: St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins
I thought about just listing “The Canadiens” as my third player focus because (a) it sounds like they are shopping almost all of their veterans and (b) given how the year has gone, it’s not an “out-on-a-limb” opinion that their situations would improve somewhere other than Quebec. In honor of space, though, I’ll focus on Chiarot who is perhaps the most intriguing fantasy hockey versus actual hockey player to target before the trade deadline.
The word on Chiarot is that it is only a matter of when he will be traded, not an if at this point. The timeline shifted a bit with his recent lower body injury, but he does not fit into Montreal’s plans going forward (if we’re sure they have a plan going forward).
The 30-year-old defenseman has been a real mixed bag this season in between injury stints. His offensive numbers are lousy with only five goals and four assists. However, he has a solid line with 75 blocks, 95 hits, and 36 PIM while skating over 23 minutes per game. If fantasy managers need help in those areas, Chiarot will fill the need, assuming he stays healthy.
The risks with Chiarot begin to glow brightly when observing his 3.08 expected goals per 60. On top of that, Mark Easson of The Athletic offers the statistic that Chiarot has taken 44 more minor penalties than he’s drawn since 2019. Leaving his team short-handed more frequently than he creates power-play opportunities for them is not an asset for teams and could affect his playing time on a contender. Could this type of play improve in St. Louis or Boston? I think it can, if for no other reason than he might feel a burst of inspiration landing on a team heading somewhere. Chances are good he’s available in your league as he is less than 10% rostered.
3 Honorable Mentions for Fantasy Players to Target Before Trade Deadline
- Jeff Petry (rumored teams include Detroit and Dallas)
- John Klingberg (rumored teams include Calgary, Minnesota, and Carolina)
- Claude Giroux (rumored teams include Colorado)
Obviously, you must assess the risk of swinging a trade for one of these players and then having him end up staying put in his situation. Targeting them prior to the flurry of trade deals coming to fruition gives you an edge over your league mates. Make sure your trade offers reflect more of their current position than anticipated future one. And, as always, good luck!