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NHL:CULLEN – 20 FANTASY POINTS – Lindholm and Kuzmenko are traded, plus Logan O’Connor, Ivan Barbashev, Adam Henrique, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and much, much more!

 Elias Lindholm (28). (Photo by John Crouch/Icon Sportswire)

Each week, I dive into the numbers to help make decisions when it comes time to make fantasy hockey decisions.

This week, Elias Lindholm and Andrei Kuzmenko are traded, plus Logan O’Connor, Ivan Barbashev, Adam Henrique, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and much, much more!

#1 The Calgary Flames were likely to be a team to watch this season, with so many quality players in the final year of their contracts. The Flames started their trade season in earnest when they moved Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks. Lindholm has logged a career-high 20:45 of ice time per game for the Flames this season, but has a modest 32 points (9 G, 23 A) in 49 games. Part of the problem is that he has scored on just 6.9 percent of his shots, his lowest rate since 2015-2016. While Lindholm has typically been a solid play driver for most of his career, he has struggled in that respect this season, so a new situation may help. It will be fascinating to see how Lindholm fits in Vancouver. It’s entirely possible that he is the second line centre, behind Elias Pettersson, which could put a limit on his offensive upside, but there could very well be opportunities for Lindholm to play with Pettersson, too. At the very least, he should be able to expect positive regression on his shooting percentage, so there is some reasonable hope that his production improves down the stretch.

#2 Heading to Calgary in exchange for Lindholm is second-year winger Andrei Kuzmenko, a 27-year-old winger who burst onto the NHL scene by scoring 39 goals for the Canucks last season. This season, he has just eight goals in 43 games and had been a regular resident in Rick Tocchet’s doghouse. Kuzmenko scored on 27.3 percent of his shots last season, so he was among the most obvious regression candidates in the league, but he had also been healthy scratched for multiple games and had seen his ice time cut by nearly two minutes per game. With the Flames, Kuzmenko should see his ice time pick up, with a regular role on the top power play unit. He could be worth a speculative pick up, just because he has to be better than he showed in Vancouver this season, but the Flames are not about to get better, so it could be a challenge for Kuzmenko to put up big numbers the rest of the way.

#3 A couple of Flames players to monitor in the aftermath of the deal are wingers Jonathan Huberdeau and Yegor Sharangovich. If Kuzmenko is going to get a chance on the top line, one of those wingers will slide down the depth chart. Sharangovich has tallied 24 points (15 G, 9 A) in his past 24 games, and it would make sense for the Flames to keep him in a prime scoring role. Huberdeau has been wildly disappointing this season, managing 26 points (6 G, 20 A) in 48 games, though he does have nine points (1 G, 8 A) in his past 10 games. As a setup man, Huberdeau may get first crack to play with Kuzmenko, but his performance hardly indicates that this is a surefire solution for either of them.

#4 Although the big stars at the top of the depth chart command the attention in Colorado, one of the unsung heroes for the Avalanche has been right winger Logan O’Connor, a 27-year-old high energy forward who has 16 points (9 G, 7 A) and 30 shots on goal in his past 16 games. O’Connor has zero power play points among his 24 points this season, scoring 21 at evens and three while shorthanded. While it is to his credit that O’Connor has more even-strength points than Nick Suzuki, Steven Stamkos, or Mats Zuccarello, a regular role on the power play helps raise the floor of a player’s potential offensive production.

#5 While the Vegas Golden Knights are battling through some injury trouble, winger Ivan Barbashev has stepped up his game and heads into the All-Star break with 11 points (4 G, 7 A) and 14 shots on goal during a six-game point streak. While he has been productive recently, Barbarashev has seen his ice time drop by more than two minutes per game compared to how much he played for Vegas last season.

#6 A prime candidate on the trade market heading into the All-Star break, Anaheim Ducks centre Adam Henrique has nine points (4 G, 5 A) and 20 shots on goal during a six-game point streak. While he is not going to score a point-and-a-half per game over the long haul, it is very encouraging that Henrique is generating shots at that rate, even in a relatively small sample of games.

#7 After scoring 39 points in 82 games during his sophomore campaign last season, Carolina Hurricanes right winger Seth Jarvis has taken his game to a new level this season. He enters the All-Star break having scored 10 points (1 G, 9 A) with 21 shots on goal in his past eight games and he has scored 38 points (15 G, 23 A) in 48 games. He plays primarily with Sebastian Aho on the Hurricanes’ top line, which is obviously a favorable spot for Jarvis to continue his high level of production.

#8 At the start of the season, the Buffalo Sabres were really giving rookie netminder Devon Levi every opportunity to claim the starting job, but he just couldn’t do it. It turns out that the young goaltender who was ready to handle the starting job was 24-year-old Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. He has really made his case in the new year, posting a .944 save percentage in eight games since the calendar turned to 2024. Wins don’t come that easily in Buffalo, but Luukkonen is a goaltender who could help provide answers at a position that has tended to offer plenty of questions marks this season.

#9 The Colorado Avalanche inked 39-year-old left winger Zach Parise, which should give them better depth up front. It is unlikely that Parise will step into a significant scoring role, but that can’t be guaranteed, either. As a 38-year-old with the Islanders last season, Parise had contributed 34 points, including 21 goals. It is at least worth watching Parise, to see where he lands when he finally gets into the Colorado lineup.

#10 The fifth pick in the 2019 Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, centre Alex Turcotte had zero points in 12 NHL games coming into this season. He started the season in the American Hockey League, where he produced 23 points (7 G, 16 A) in 28 games, earning a promotion to a struggling Kings squad. Turcotte picked up a goal and an assist in just over 10 minutes of ice time in his second game with Los Angeles, and that might be enough to get him a longer look. Given his relatively slow progress for such a high draft pick, it’s probably wise to proceed with caution when it comes to Turcotte.

#11 Despite Ryan Johansen being a relative disappointment for the Colorado Avalanche, they are getting quality production out of centre Ross Colton. He enters the All-Star break having scored nine points (2 G, 7 A) with 16 shots on goal in his past seven games. Colton is getting a chance on Colorado’s top power play unit, which is enough reason to consider adding him in deeper leagues.

#12 Veteran centre Brayden Schenn was off to a slow start this season and was mired in a 16-game goalless slump when he found the net against Florida on January 9. That started him on the road to scoring 11 points (5 G, 6 A) with 23 shots on goal in his past 11 games. Schenn is skating on a line with Brandon Saad and Jake Neighbours at evens and has been moved to the second power play unit, so his upside is not that high but, right now, he could be a useful addition.

#13 Although wins are not coming easily in Chicago, goaltender Petr Mrazek has been playing very well, giving him surprising fantasy value. Mrazek has a .940 save percentage in his past seven starts, which is outstanding, but he was credited with two victories in that time, so that decreases his relative value.

#14 There are some potential goaltending battles taking place in Southern California. David Rittich has emerged as a viable option for the Los Angeles Kings, outplaying Cam Talbot in recent weeks. Rittich, who started the season in the AHL, has a .924 save percentage in 11 appearances for the Kings. Talbot, who was outstanding early in the season, has managed a .886 save percentage in his past 14 appearances, opening the door for Rittich to earn more time in the crease. In Anaheim, rookie Lukas Dostal is pushing veteran starter John Gibson. Dostal has a .918 save percentage in his past 10 games, which is good enough to earn more playing time. Gibson has a .882 save percentage in his past nine appearances, which is good enough to lose playing time. Gibson is a potential trade candidate for teams needing an answer in goal, which would obviously increase Dostal’s value if that were to ever happen.

#15 The Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin was the best goaltender in the world in 2021-2022, when he easily won the Vezina Trophy. He has fallen on hard times recently, though, posting a .863 save percentage in 10 starts since the calendar flipped to January 2024. It’s not as though the Rangers can give veteran Jonathan Quick a significantly larger role, so they just need Shesterkin to get back on track.

#16 Buffalo Sabres right winger Jack Quinn had missed the first couple of months after suffering an Achilles injury, but he stepped right into the lineup and produced 12 points (5 G, 7 A) in 17 games. Unfortunately, he will miss the next two months while he recovers from a lower-body injury that required surgery. The initial beneficiary in the Sabres lineup could be captain Kyle Okposo, who has just two points (1 G, 1 A) in his past 12 games but is looking at an opportunity to skate on the Sabres’ top line with Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson.

#17 It has been a tough season for the Columbus Blue Jackets and does not appear to be getting any easier for them heading down the stretch. Rookie centre Adam Fantilli will miss the next two months due to a lacerated calf. Fantilli ranked fourth among rookies in scoring with 27 points (12 G,15 A). The Blue Jackets also lost Patrik Laine to the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Laine hasn’t played since mid-December and was getting the lowest average ice time of his career (15:13 per game). Rookie centre Dmitri Voronkov, who has five goals and 24 shots on goal in his past seven games, is one Blue Jackets players that could get a bigger role, as could sophomore winger Kent Johnson, who is very talented but also has zero goals and two assists in his past 11 games.

#18 The New York Rangers have lost centre Filip Chytil for the rest of the season due to concussions. He had been out since November 2, but there was still some hope that he could return to his role as a valuable third-line centre before suffering a setback in his recovery. The Rangers were already candidates to acquire another centre via trade, but this situation makes that a virtual certainty now. As it is, journeyman Jonny Brodzinski, who has a career-high 11 points (2 G, 9 A) in 30 games, is the Blueshirts’ third line centre.

#19 Here are three forwards that could be buy-low candidates because of relatively low on-ice shooting percentages. Tom Wilson (5.2 OiSH%) last finished with an on-ice shooting percentage under 8.0% was 2014-2015. Matty Beniers (5.4 OiSH%) finished last season with an on-ice shooting percentage of 11.9% and maybe that was unsustainably high, but the pendulum has moved too far in the other direction this season. Jamie Benn (6.7 OiSH%) had a career-high 13.1% on-ice shooting percentage last season and regression has hit him hard in 2023-2024 as he is now at a career low.

#20 At the other end, here are three players that have benefitted from high on-ice shooting percentages and might be good sell-high candidates. Tyler Seguin (12.1 OiSH%) is rocking a career-high on-ice shooting percentage and the last time he finished a season higher than 10.0% was in 2014-2015. Casey Mittelstadt (12.7 OiSH%) finished last season with a 9.7 OiSH%, a career high, and he is obliterating that this season, so he is probably due for regression. Dylan Larkin (12.2 OiSH%) has never finished a season with an on-ice shooting percentage over 10.0% and is more than 20% beyond that mark right now.