It was another slow trade deadline day in the NHL and most of the deals that went down were finalized close to the 3 p.m. ET buzzer. There were 16 trades completed, which is the fewest in the last six seasons, involving 31 players. We didn’t get to see players like Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman or Max Pacioretty be dealt, but there were some intriguing names on the move. It is worth examining how those players and their teams look from a fantasy standpoint going into the final stretch of the 2017-18 regular season.
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Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning made the biggest splash on deadline day when GM Steven Yzerman made a blockbuster trade with the New York Rangers to acquire Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. Tampa Bay sent a Vladislav Namestnikov, prospects Libor Hajek and Brett Howden as well as a first-round pick in 2018 and a conditional second-round draft choice in 2019 to the Rangers. That is a hefty package, but the Bolts bolstered their back end and replaced Namestnikov with Miller. Miller could slot in alongside Steven Stamkos and see time on the power play. If he takes Namestnikov’s spots on the Lightning then his fantasy value is due for a jolt. McDonagh will have to compete with Victor Hedman for power-play action, but he will get to pass the puck up to a Tampa Bay roster averaging the most goals for per game in the league.
Rick Nash was shipped out by the Rangers before Monday’s deadline, as the Bruins did some shopping for depth over the weekend. Nash played alongside David Krejci in his Boston debut Sunday and he posted a team-high five shots in a 4-1 loss to Buffalo. Nash and Krejci have the potential to be a dangerous duo behind the top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The Bruins could use the depth scoring and Nash’s presence should help achieve that. Boston also signed Team USA Olympian Brian Gionta, obtained Tommy Wingels from Chicago and landed Nick Holden from the Rangers, but those players are unlikely to make a fantasy impact.
The Jets were in the market for depth up front and it was widely believed the club wanted to add a center, but the acquisition of Paul Stastny was still a surprise. He wasn’t a player who came up in trade rumors going into deadline day, but the Blues’ loss is Winnipeg’s gain. Stastny can pile up faceoff wins and he can contribute offensively. He could slot into a line between Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine, which would be very good for his fantasy value. Just keep in mind that Stastny has been a mixed bag from a fantasy perspective this year even though he received significant playing time alongside Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis. He has been hot and cold for stretches all year long. Still, this is a great spot for him, especially since he is expected to get time on the power play as well. Winnipeg also acquired Joe Morrow from Montreal in a depth move for the blueline.
San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane has the potential to be a good pickup for the Sharks after he was acquired from Buffalo in exchange for a couple of conditional draft picks (a first rounder in 2019 and a fourth rounder in 2020) and Daniel O'Regan. Kane, who is a pending unrestricted free agent, started the season red hot and he has been turning it around recently after going through a lengthy drought. He should be able to continue that production on a line with Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture. It’s likely he starts with Pavelski, who has been playing without Joe Thornton since Jan. 23.
New York Rangers
The Rangers were the biggest sellers and have a vastly different look to their team after dealing Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Michael Grabner and Nick Holden. Vladislav Namestnikov and Ryan Spooner, who was acquired in the Nash trade, have a chance to crack New York’s top-six forward group, but could start out further down the depth chart. Spooner picked up two assists in his Rangers debut on Sunday and one helper came on the power play. They also both have the versatility of being able to play at center or on the wing. Rob O’Gara, who was another piece in the Nash deal, spent most of Sunday’s contest on a pairing with Tony DeAngelo. The Rangers also landed a bevy of prospects and draft picks from their moves, which could help the team in the future.
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey landed Michael Grabner in the Rangers’ fire sale and received Patrick Maroon from the Edmonton Oilers. Grabner spent most of his debut with the Devils on a line with Pavel Zacha, but he skated with Travis Zajac on Monday morning. It will be interesting to see where Maroon fits in, but it’s likely his fantasy value takes a hit after he spent most of the 2017-18 season alongside Connor McDavid as a member of the Oilers. He should be a top-nine winger though and could see time on the second line.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights were mentioned frequently as a potential landing spot for Erik Karlsson, but they were unable to complete a trade before Monday’s deadline. This could be something that picks up again at the 2018 NHL Draft. Vegas did manage to make a trade with Detroit for Tomas Tatar. The Golden Knights sent a 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round selection and a 2021 third-round choice to the Red Wings in the deal. Tatar is an intriguing player because he has plenty of talent, but he has struggled with consistency. A fresh start on a Vegas team where most of the players are having career years could be a great situation for him even if he doesn’t get a spot in the top-six forward group.
Nashville made some minor-league moves and sent Pontus Aberg to the Edmonton Oilers. The big trade they made was getting Ryan Hartman from Chicago. The Predators had to ship out their first-round pick in 2018 as part of the deal, but Hartman and Mike Fisher, who officially signed with the Predators on Monday, will add more depth to Nashville’s bottom-six forward group. Hartman can chip in offensively, but he’ll probably occupy an energy-line role.
The Flyers grabbed Petr Mrazek after losing Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth to long-term injuries. Mrazek has been excellent in three starts since joining Philadelphia with a 3-0-0 record, a 1.30 goals-against average, a .947 save percentage and one shutout. This trade is already paying off and Mrazek's fantasy value has skyrocketed.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus made depth moves for Mark Letestu, Ian Cole and Thomas Vanek leading into the deadline. Letestu scored in his first game back with the Blue Jackets on Monday night. He played at even strength on the fourth line, but logged plenty of time on the man advantage. Vanek has a chance to see time on the power play as well and could be a good complimentary piece.
Derick Brassard’s debut with the Penguins has been delayed due to immigration, but his first game will come Tuesday night. He is slated to see time on the third line, but could have great linemates if he’s flanked by players like Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel, Carl Hagelin or Conor Sheary.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs were quiet on deadline day, but they acquired Tomas Plekanec from Montreal on Sunday for some more depth down the middle. He will skate on the fourth line and is expected to see work on the penalty kill. However, he probably still won’t have much in the way of fantasy value.
Florida picked up Frank Vatrano, who has offensive potential, from Boston. He is still out with a lower-body injury, but could return to action as soon as next week. If he gets an opportunity to play alongside Vincent Trocheck or perhaps even Aleksander Barkov then he could be worthy of a flier.
It wasn’t a trade, but Calgary claimed Chris Stewart off waivers from Minnesota on deadline day and he could be worth keeping an eye on if he stays in the Flames’ top-six forward group. He is slated to start Tuesday’s game alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
Pontus Aberg could be someone to keep an eye on, as the Oilers could give him a shot alongside Connor McDavid. Aberg has some offensive upside and great speed, so it makes sense to give him a chance to play further up the depth chart. However, he is slated to start out on the third line.