NHL Fantasy: Players who could gain significant value if dealt before the trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching, as we are now just over three weeks away from the deadline date of Monday, March 21. As we near closer to the date, there’s no doubt that trade rumours will ramp up.

In most years, the headliner deals involving the biggest players typically happen in the weeks and days leading up to deadline day. With that in mind, it’s worth it for fantasy managers to start monitoring certain players who may gain significant fantasy value if traded at the deadline.

Acquiring a player for cheap before his value skyrockets on a new team is a great way to boost your fantasy roster right before the playoffs. Let’s take a look at some major names who could gain value in fantasy if moved before the deadline.

Claude Giroux – C/RW – Philadelphia Flyers

Perhaps the biggest name on the trade market this year, longtime Flyers captain Claude Giroux is almost a lock at this point to get moved at the deadline. So far this season, Giroux sits with 40 points in 50 games as well as 137 shots. He leads the Flyers in both categories. Some impressive totals considering his team sits 29th in the NHL for goals per game.

Given his reputation and the assumed cost to acquire, Giroux would no doubt step right into his new team’s top-six which would give him exposure to much more talent than he currently has around him in Philadelphia. Some teams he’s been linked with are the Avalanche, Panthers, Wild, and Blues.

In particular, Giroux is apparently a top target of the Avalanche. It’s no secret that Colorado is the best team in the NHL, and if Giroux were to gain exposure to the likes of Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar, look out. He’s also been one of the league’s best power play options throughout his career, and adding him to the Avs 11th ranked power play would increase his value even further.

Giroux currently ranks right around the top 100 players in Yahoo! leagues but is only 73% owned. Adding him to your team now through trade or even a waiver pickup while his value is low could provide your team a huge boost going into the fantasy playoffs.

Jakob Chychrun – D – Arizona Coyotes

One of the biggest disappointments of the 2021–22 season in fantasy, Jakob Chychrun is the top defenceman available on the market going into the trade deadline. There’s no player in more need of a change of scenery than Chychrun. His offence has completely evaporated this season playing for the dreadful Coyotes.

Last season, Chychrun was a bonafide star in fantasy, leading all defencemen in goals with 18 and ranking 10th for points. This season however he sits with just three goals and 16 points and ranks 360th in Yahoo! leagues. It’s worth noting Chychrun has 125 shots this season which ranks 19th among defenceman and has an ixG of 6.51, but has a brutal 2.4% shooting percentage.

All hope is not lost though. He’s currently being linked with the Kings, Panthers, Hurricanes, and Bruins. We’ve seen what Chychrun can do when he’s not playing with an AHL level roster, so if he were to be dealt he’d immediately become fantasy relevant again, especially if it’s to one of those teams.

He’s currently just 54% owned so he could potentially even be a free pickup and stash in your league. He’s also a great buy-low target in keeper leagues.

Jeff Petry – D – Montreal Canadiens

If it weren’t for Chychrun’s season, Jeff Petry would be the biggest bust on defence this year. The Montreal Canadiens veteran went from ranking seventh among defenceman last season with 42 points, to having just four goals and 13 points in 2021–22.

This season, Petry has registered just 72 shots, along with a 5.6% shooting percentage after posting a 9.4% shooting percentage last season. Not surprising considering he’s been stuck on the bottom feeder Canadiens all season. After four straight seasons with at least 40 points, Petry is on pace for just 20 points this season.

He’s already seen a big resurgence since the hiring of Martin St. Louis as head coach however. Petry has posted seven points in his last eight games, showing he’s still got some offensive touch left in him. He’s been linked with the Kings, Panthers, Stars and Predators, all of which offer more talent to play with than the Canadiens.

Petry is currently just 51% owned in Yahoo! leagues as he ranks 377th among all players in fantasy. His value is so low right now that he could be had for very cheap in a trade. He’d be a great stash heading into the fantasy playoffs if you’re in need of help on defence as his value would improve in a big way if he were dealt to a contender.

Phil Kessel – RW – Arizona Coyotes

Yet another Coyote who would benefit in a huge way if he were to be dealt to a contending team. Veteran Phil Kessel has flown under the radar in Arizona the past three years, however he’s still very much a useful player on offence. On the last year of his contract, it’d be a shock if Kessel isn’t moved before the deadline.

On a league-worst Coyotes team, Kessel has still managed to put up 33 points in 54 games this season, which ranks second on the Coyotes behind only Clayton Keller. Kessel’s 27 assists lead the team. He’s still providing a solid amount of shots as well, with 113 in 53 games but sits with a brutal 5.3% shooting percentage. Essentially half his career average of 10.9%.

Kessel currently has an ixG of 11.52 this season, compared to his actual goal total of just six—a sign of some incredibly bad luck. If he were to find himself as a complementary piece on a contending team, there’s no doubt his expected versus actual goal total would even out quickly. He’s been linked with the likes of the Penguins, Wild and Bruins. All three spots would provide him a great opportunity for success.

At just 10% owned in Yahoo! league’s right now, Kessel is worth picking up before the trade deadline. If he is dealt to one of the above teams, he’d immediately become fantasy relevant.

Marc-Andre Fleury – G – Chicago Blackhawks

Marc-Andre Fleury was included on our list of the most disappointing players in fantasy so far this season, and he’s certainly earned it. The 37-year-old goalie has had a tough go of it this season in his first year with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Fleury currently sits with an ugly 17–19–4 record along with a 2.83 GAA and .911 save percentage. His 17 wins rank 19th among goalies after being drafted as the seventh goalie in Yahoo! leagues. Not the worst numbers, but certainly well under what we’ve come to expect from Fleury who was among the best goalies in fantasy while playing for the Golden Knights.

There’s still hope that Fleury can end up on a playoff team and save his season though. He’s currently been linked with the Oilers, Golden Knights, Capitals and Avalanche. If a team like that traded for Fleury it would immediately make him one of the top options in fantasy. As well, any team giving up assets for Fleury will most likely expect him to be their go to starter, further increasing his value.

Even on the dreadful Blackhawks, Fleury hasn’t been completely useless this season but there’s no doubt if he ended up on a contender at the deadline he would experience a massive boost in value.

A change of scenery

Trade deadline moves in the NHL provide shakeups not just in the real world, but in fantasy leagues as well. Players can go from being dragged down by a bottom feeder team to a prime lineup spot on one of the league’s most talented teams.

If any of the above five players were moved to a playoff team before the trade deadline they would gain significant value in fantasy. Adding them to your teams before someone else does could give your team a big boost going into the fantasy playoffs for a low cost.

Ahead of tonight’s Flames contest, the bookies have predicted the Flames as the underdog, with Betway Sports pricing the Flames at +185 and the Wild at -105 to win the game in regulation, with an overtime decision being priced at +350.

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