In last week’s Fantasy Nuggets, I mentioned how we were in the calm before the storm when it came to the trade market. Well, the storm hasn’t started yet, but it’s definitely raining. What I mean is that while we didn’t see a blockbuster trade over the last week and the moves certainly haven’t been coming at an overwhelming pace, we have gotten a steady stream of noteworthy moves.
Let’s go through last week’s trades chronically, starting with the Edmonton Oilers trading Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers for Anthony Stolarz. This trade happened on Friday, but so far neither player has made their debut for their new team. Talbot had to sort out some visa issues initially, but those are behind him now and he’s still set to be a healthy scratch Thursday night. Instead, Carter Hart will start while Brian Elliott is the backup goaltender.
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Elliott, who is back from a lower-body injury, got into part of Tuesday’s game and turned aside 22 of 23 shots. It’s likely that the Flyers will try to move him before the deadline, though it’s not clear if there will be a market for him after he spent most of the campaign on the sidelines. Unless Elliott gets traded, Talbot’s position with the Flyers is somewhat unclear. It’s still likely that he will settle into the second spot on the Flyers’ goaltending depth charts, but obviously having a third goalie on the roster doesn’t do Talbot any favors. On top of that, you have to remember that the Flyers still have Michal Neuvirth, though there’s no telling when or if he’ll return this season.
Stolarz’s role is at least cut-and-dry. He’s the backup goaltender behind Mikko Koskinen. Edmonton seemed to get more value out of this trade as Stolarz is younger, cheaper, and can be a RFA this summer as opposed to a UFA if he appears in at least 10 games the rest of the way. As has been the norm for Flyers goaltenders, Stolarz has spent considerable time on the sidelines due to injury, but there’s still some potential there if he can stay healthy going forward. That’s a big if though. Basically, he could turn into a decent goaltender for the Oilers, but he’s a gamble. Still, given that the cost of getting him was a goaltender Edmonton was very unlikely to re-sign, this trade looks good from their perspective.
The Oilers were also involved in the next trade, which saw them acquire Sam Gagner from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Ryan Spooner. Basically this is a swap of bad veterans with bad contracts that had worn out their welcomes. Gagner’s better days largely were as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, so perhaps his return will prove to be a positive. He averaged just 14:34 minutes in his first two games with Edmonton though, so we’re not terribly optimistic. Meanwhile, Vancouver would be Spooner’s third NHL team this season as he began 2018-19 with the Rangers.
Edmonton had sent Spooner to the minors – as Vancouver had done with Gagner – but while the Oilers were quick to recall Gagner and put him in their lineup, Spooner hasn’t made his debut with the Canucks yet. Still, Canucks GM Jim Benning expressed optimism about Spooner and said that he’ll get a chance. I don’t expect him to be fantasy relevant, but he might carve out a bottom-six role for himself in Vancouver.
The next trade of note that happened occurred last night when Boston acquired Charlie Coyle from Minnesota in exchange for Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick. It’s interesting to see the Wild trade away Nino Niederreiter and Coyle in relatively short order. Just a couple years ago, that duo was seen as a big part of Minnesota’s long-term hope for the future, but neither of them have worked out more recently. In Coyle’s case, he has just 10 goals and 28 points in 60 games this season, down from his peak of 56 points in 2016-17.
Coyle comes with a $3.2 million cap hit through 2019-20, so the Bruins have an opportunity here to get some extra value out of him if he bounces back with the change of scenery. That’s been the case for Niederreiter, who had nine goals and 23 points in 46 games with Minnesota before being traded and now has eight goals and 13 points in 14 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes.
At the least, the Bruins should have a solid third-line option in Coyle and there’s at least potential there for him to over perform relative to that role. He’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. Maybe Ryan Donato will benefit from the move too. He was a standout with Harvard University, scoring 26 goals and 43 points in 29 NCAA games in 2017-18 and he added another five goals and nine points in 12 games with Boston that season. However, the 2018-19 campaign has been less encouraging with him recording nine points in 34 games with Boston and 12 points in 18 AHL contests. Still, he’s just 22-years-old, so there’s time for him to bounce back and develop into a solid top-six forward. Somewhat like Coyle, there’s an element of risk here, but this trade could end up working out very nicely for Minnesota.
The final trade of the week actually happened this afternoon. The Washington Capitals acquired Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 conditional sixth-round pick. This is the second time Hagelin has been traded this season with Pittsburgh originally giving him to Los Angeles in exchange for Tanner Pearson. Hagelin comes with a $4 million annual cap hit, but that’s being divided between the three teams. Pittsburgh is retaining 6.25% of that cap hit while Los Angeles is retaining 50% of it. That’s vital for the Capitals because they’re right up against the cap ceiling. After this acquisition, it’s hard to envision Washington being able to make any more trades before the deadline. They could theoretically dump a contract or make a cap neutral move, but that’s unlikely to be pulled off unless we’re talking about swapping AHLers or something nearly as minor.
We’ll of course be covering the trade deadline thoroughly and there are a lot of major players who could be traded. Some of the biggest names you might see dealt still include Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Hayes.