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Ryan Dadoun

Fantasy Nuggets

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Fantasy Nuggets Week 14

Thursday, January 3, 2019


The NHL trade deadline is still more than a month and a half away, but since my last Fantasy Nuggets article, there have been five trades.  The market definitely seems to have heated up, but the trades that happened thus far are pretty minor.  There weren’t any players of significant fantasy value that changed hands and at most, you could say that these deals were setting up for future moves.

 

Probably the most interesting of the trades were the two made by Edmonton.  The Oilers acquired defenseman Alexander Petrovic from Florida in exchange for Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick and also got defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norell from Chicago from Chicago in exchange for blueliner Jason Garrison and forward Drake Caggiula.

 

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Neither of those deals are Earthshattering, but they are coming at a time when the Oilers are struggling mightily and the often criticized GM Peter Chiarelli seems to be taking even more heat as a result.  You could argue that the moves are meant to address a short-term need as the Oilers are currently without defensemen Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera, and Kris Russell due to injuries, so adding Petrovic and Manning offers something of a stopgap now and provides the squad with more defensive depth when everyone is healthy.

 

For what the Oilers got though, the price is on the high-end and the loss of Caggiula is noteworthy.  It also doesn’t address Edmonton’s biggest problem, which is a lack of scoring depth.  Caggiula had just seven goals in 29 games, but that still was good enough for fifth place on Edmonton.  Without him, the Oilers only have four forwards with at least five goals: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Alex Chiasson, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  In contrast, Toronto has nine forwards with five or more goals.

 

Edmonton’s offense comes almost exclusively from its top four forwards and that’s how a team with two elite forwards in Draisaitl and McDavid can still rank in the bottom-third of the league in terms of goals scored.  Of course, this is a problem that isn’t easy for the Oilers to solve, especially in the middle of a season, but also given their cap situation.  In part due to some unfavorable cap hits like Lucic being at $6 million annually and Spooner being at $3.1 million annually, Edmonton also doesn’t have a lot of cap space to work with at the moment, which complicates their ability to make big trades.

 

When it comes to 2019-20, Edmonton has $68,501,165 tied to 13 players, per Capfriendly.com.  Goaltenders Cam Talbot and Mikko Koskinen can both become unrestricted free agents, so a big priority for the Oilers will be to address their goaltending situation.  Beyond that though, they will hopefully be in the running for a top-six forward.

 

It’s kind of weird that adding skilled forwards is such a huge need for the Oilers given what they’ve gotten in the draft, but trading away Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle is a major contributing factor to that.

 

One trade that didn’t seem too interesting when it happened, but suddenly became relevant is the Maple Leafs’ acquisition of Michael Hutchinson from Florida in exchange for a fifth round pick.  Toronto made an interesting decision at the start of the season by picking Garret Sparks as its backup goaltender over Calvin Pickard and Curtis McElhinney.  The Maple Leafs waived Pickard and McElhinney as a result and both were claimed, giving Toronto something of an issue when it came to goaltending depth.

 

Acquiring Hutchinson on Dec. 29th was a move to address that and it became important in a hurry as Frederik Andersen (groin) and Sparks (concussion) are now both on the sidelines.  Meanwhile, Hutchinson is starting for Toronto Thursday afternoon.  How long he’ll be needed remains to be seen.  Concussions don’t come with easy timetables, so I’m not going to venture a guess at how long Sparks will be out for and groin injuries can be tricky to gauge too.  Andersen didn’t practice on Wednesday and at the time coach Mike Babcock didn’t offer a timetable.  It’s a challenging spot for the Maple Leafs to be in to say the least, but the acquisition of Hutchinson does make things a bit more bearable.

 

Hutchinson isn’t an ideal option by any stretch of the imagination.  He had a 4.17 GAA and .839 save percentage in four games with the Panthers before the trade.  However, he does have 106 career contests in the NHL and has held his own at the top level in the past, so if nothing else, he’s not out of place.

 

Moving past the trades, I wanted to highlight Elias Pettersson, who posted his first career hat trick on Wednesday.  He’s had some cold patches, which isn’t at all surprising for a rookie, but he’s been amazing overall with 22 goals and 42 points in 37 contests.  I feel like he hasn’t been getting as much attention as your typical rookie star and I think part of that is the lack of intrigue in this year’s Calder Trophy race.  In 2016-17, it was Auston Matthews versus Patrik Laine battling it out from basically start to finish with Matthews’ teammates William Nylander and Mitchell Marner being just behind that duo, providing an extra storyline about the Leafs’ future in addition to the big Calder battle.  In 2017-18, Mathew Barzal ended up running away with it, but if not for an injury, Brock Boeser might have been right up there with him and there were times when Clayton Keller was giving Barzal a run for his money as well.

 

This season has ended up being basically only Pettersson.  After him, the next best rookie is Colin White with 10 goals and 25 points in 40 contests.  White’s production is solid for a rookie, but it’s not exciting.  Those aren’t the kind of numbers that get you attention outside of your local market.  Brady Tkachuk had nine goals and 16 points in his first 14 games, but that stretch was cut into two segments due to injury and more recently he has just four points in his last 16 contests.  Rasmus Dahlin might be Pettersson’s biggest competitor as the defenseman has four goals and 20 points in 40 contests while logging 20:34 minutes per game.  Defensemen tend not to win the award though and the last two to do so – Aaron Ekblad (2014-15) and Tyler Myers (2009-10) – accomplished that feat in seasons where no rookie forward had 65 or more points.  Given that Pettersson is on track to easily surpass that milestone, it would be particularly difficult for Dahlin to take the title.

 

Regardless of how much attention Pettersson is getting, he’s part of a great youth movement in Vancouver that also features Boeser and 23-year-old Bo Horvat.  It might be enough to get the Canucks to eke into the playoffs this season, but even if they fall short of that, things are certainly looking up in Vancouver.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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