Well, here we are with just over a month left in the NHL season. That means that fantasy hockey leagues are gearing up for the last playoff push, or your team is trying to pick up just a few more points to climb the standings. With the trade deadline now in the rearview, it’s time to look at who could be available to help your team. Here are a few forwards and defensemen who are on new teams with a chance to turn theirs and your seasons around.
The first forward who I think will have the biggest upside is Jason Zucker. The former member of the Wild was traded to the Penguins a little before the deadline, but may have been the most talented player moved this season after Hall. Zucker had his best season back in 2017-18, scoring 64 points and 33 goals. Since then Zucker has not been able to replicate those numbers, and this trade may be just what he needed. So far, in ten games for the Penguins, Zucker has five goals and seven points so scoop him up fast if he’s still available.
Another player traded to the Penguins, and on his second stint with the team, was Conor Sheary. Back in the 2016-17 season Sheary scored 53 points in just 61 games, but has not come close to those numbers since. With two seasons scoring under 35 points since then, perhaps reuniting with Crosby will get his scoring numbers back up. In three games since the trade Sheary has yet to hit the score sheet, but he is worth keeping an eye on. If he can maintain a spot in the Penguins top six the points should pile up quickly.
The third forward on this list is Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli was traded to the Vancouver Canucks and has seen time playing with all world center Elias Pettersson. With four goals in five games since the trade Toffoli is looking right at home on Vancouver’s top line. Toffoli has four 20 goal seasons to his name already, with his career-high of 31 coming back in 2015-16. With 22 goals on the season, and 18 games remaining for the Canucks, Toffoli could have a new career high in goals if he stays hot to finish the season. If he is still available pick him up and enjoy his scoring resurgence.
Vincent Trocheck makes this list after he was traded from Florida to the Carolina Hurricanes. With 75 points in the 2017-18 season it looked like the Panthers had one of the leagues best one-two punchs at center. Since his breakout Trocheck has had some issues staying healthy, and when on the ice he has not had the same scoring touch. A move to Carolina brings some improved linemates so that should help Trocheck improve his scoring output. With three games gone, and no points to show for his efforts, the adjustment period is hopefully over and the points should start to pile up. Until he starts scoring he should remain available, but keep a very close eye on him.
The final forward on the list is Jean Gabriel Pageau. Pageau is having his best season in the NHL with 26 goals and 42 points in 63 games. Moving from one of the worst teams in the Senators to the Islanders, who are fighting for playoff position, will improve his numbers across the board. Pageau is no longer the main source of offense on his team, and the decreased defensive pressure will allow him to continue his breakout. In three games Pageau has scored two goals and has secured a spot on the team’s power play. Look for a strong finish to his season, and if he was dropped after cooling off from his hot start add him to your lineup and reap the benefits.
The first defenseman on this list is Alec Martinez, who was traded from the Kings to the Vegas Golden Knights. Martinez had been having a down season like most of the Kings roster with just right points in 41 games. Since the trade Martinez has been lighting it up with six points in just five games. While he likely won’t keep up that scoring pace, Martinez has scored over 30 points twice in his career so he does have offensive ability. With how poorly his season started he is going to be available in the majority of leagues so pick him up while you can.
The next Defenseman on the list is Erik Gustafsson, who was traded from Chicago to Calgary. After a breakout season last year saw him score 17 goals and 60 points Gustafsson has regressed, With only six goals and 26 points with Chicago Gustafsson was moved in an attempt to capitalize on his high value from last season. The Flames are in a battle for the last playoff spot and have a deeper roster than Chicago, which should help Gustafsson across the board in his stats. A spot on the Flames top power-play unit would be a huge potential boost to his production. So far in three games, Gustafsson has two assists but could score much more as he becomes comfortable in the new system. With the down year, Gustafsson could have been dropped, so take advantage of those other team’s mistakes.
A name that may surprise some of you making this list is Mike Green. The former prolific scoring defenseman is no longer the player who scored 30 goals and 70 points, but his recent move could bring back some old magic. Green was moved from league-worst Detroit to the Oilers to bring some veteran leadership to their playoff push. With offensive superstars in McDavid and Draisaitl, plus some injuries to their defense, Green could be in line for some big offensive improvement. If he can get a spot in the top four defensemen, or a spot on the power play Green could have a great end to the season. So far in two games, he has yet to hit the scoresheet, but keep a very close eye on him as the points could pile up in a hurry.
The final defenseman on the list is Sami Vatanen. Vatanen was moved from New Jersey to Carolina after some injuries left the Canes without two of their top defensemen. Vatanen is still on IR but is expected to return sometime in the next week, so you may want to pick him up and stash him till he returns. With three 30 point seasons to his name Vatanen brings some much-needed scoring to the Cane’s blueline. Already with 23 points on the year in 47 games, Vatanen is well on his way to another 30 point campaign. Pick him up while you can before he starts lighting it up on a very good Carolina powerplay.
There you have it a few players who could be just what your fantasy team needs to make its final push towards a championship. No goalies were included because none were moved to a spot where they would be in an improved enough situation to be a difference-maker. If you think I missed any players or think I’m crazy for including who I did please leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions. Maybe a player you mention could help someone’s team as well. As always don’t forget to check out our other team pages and get all the latest on the goings-on in Boston sports.