The NHL trade deadline is under a week away, and we’ve already seen some major moves made around the league. Like every other year, players swapping teams in real life can have a major impact on their fantasy outlook for the rest of the season. If a player can go from a bottom feeder to a contender at the deadline, their fantasy value can take a massive jump.
Typically with a trade like this comes better linemates, more ice-time, and a better overall offensive roster. This can take a player from a middling fantasy asset to being a must-own. This season there are plenty of under the radar players on the trade market who could get a nice bump in fantasy if dealt in real life. Let’s take a look.
Ivan Barbashev – F – St. Louis Blues
Ivan Barbashev came out of nowhere last season to post a career high 60 points in 81 games, and go from fantasy irrelevance to a widely rostered player. This season however his offence has dropped off, as he’s currently on pace for just 41 points across 82 games and is only 13% owned in Yahoo! At the very least he’s shooting the puck more, and is on pace for 123 shots versus his career high of 111 from last year. He’s been one of the mainstays in trade rumours and will almost certainly end up on a new team after March 3rd.
If he can land on a contender who has room in their top six, he could receive a nice boost in value. The Blues currently rank 21st in the NHL for goals per game and have the 18th ranked powerplay, so they’re not exactly an offensive juggernaut. Given his reported asking price, any team acquiring him will likely want to try him in their top-six. He’s been linked to the likes of the Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, and Carolina Hurricanes among others. If he ends up playing on the wing with an elite centre on one of those teams, he could provide some nice value down the stretch.
James Van Riemsdyk – F – Philadelphia Flyers
Another name that will almost certainly be dealt is James Van Riemsdyk. At 33, he may not be the player he once was, but he could still put up some solid production if given the chance on a good team. As it stand he’s produced 23 points in 40 games for the dreadful Flyers. He’s also averaging right around two shots a game with 80 on the year, and he’s done this while playing on the league’s 27th best offence in terms of goals per game.
He’d be the perfect complementary veteran option for a contender looking to add an offensive winger to their top six. While he’s been linked to teams like Dallas, Winnipeg, New Jersey and Seattle, any team acquiring JVR will be doing so to add him into their top-six and powerplay alongside their star players. If given the opportunity with a strong supporting cast, he could immediately become a valuable asset in fantasy. At only 13% owned he can easily be claimed in most league’s when he’s finally dealt.
Max Domi – F – Chicago Blackhawks
Most people didn’t predict just how good Max Domi would be for the tanking Blackhawks this season. As it stands Domi is currently on pace for 66 points as he leads Chicago in scoring. He’s also on pace for 182 shots on the year. Despite this he’s flown under the radar on a terrible Blackhawks team and is only 37% owned in Yahoo! If the Blackhawks do decide to trade him to a contender, he’d become a must-own player in fantasy with the way he’s played this season.
Domi’s career has been up and down to say the least but he’s shown in the past and again this season that he can be a high-end point producer in the right situation. He’s been linked to the usual suspects in Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey and Edmonton. Any of those options would be great landing spots for Domi as he’d be surrounded by a much stronger offence. For reference the Blackhawks currently rank 31st in the league in goals for per game and have the 27th ranked powerplay. If he’s moved, he’s a must add.
Shayne Gostisbehere – D – Arizona Coyotes
Shayne Gostisbehere revitalized his career last season in Arizona, posted 51 points in 82 games. This season he was well on his way to similar production before going down with an injury. Still though, he’s posted 29 points in 50 games and is on pace for 43 across 74 games. He also ranks 34th for shots among defencemen and has done this while playing for the league’s 28th ranked offence. At 36% owned in Yahoo, that number would no doubt jump if he were picked up by a contender at the deadline.
Gostisbehere is also a noted powerplay specialist and ranks 35th in the NHL among defencemen for powerplay points despite playing on Arizona’s 24th ranked powerplay and missing eight games this season. He’s been linked to teams like Tampa Bay, Edmonton and Ottawa. All three of those teams have top five powerplays in the NHL and it would provide a massive boost to Gostisbehere’s value if he found a spot on one.
Joonas Korpisalo – G – Columbus Blue Jackets
The trade market for goaltenders hasn’t been super active this year, but one name that fantasy managers should keep their eye on is Joonas Korpisalo. The Blue Jackets goaltender has quietly had a very strong year playing for arguably the worst team in the NHL. As a pending UFA, his name has been thrown around as a potential option for contenders running with a 1A/1B system, which should interest fantasy managers in need of goaltending help. He’s currently just 15% owned in Yahoo!
Korpisalo currently has a 10-11-3 record, along with a .914 save percentage and 3.10 GAA. Those numbers may not seem amazing, but the fact he’s doing that behind the league’s 30th ranked defence in terms of goals against per game and shots against per game is impressive. Since the calendar turned to 2023, he’s posted a save percentage above .900 in nine of 12 games. To do that on this Blue Jackets roster is no small feat.
If he were dealt to a playoff team and utilized in a tandem, he would bring some value at a very low cost to fantasy’s most fickle position.
What to watch for this week
As trade rumours reach a crescendo culminating in the NHL Trade Deadline on Friday, there is a god chance some or all of these players are wearing new colours. And while most league’s add drop rules prohibit you from adding all of these names, if you are able to snag one or two, it may make a world of difference going down the stretch into the playoffs.