With the NHL All-Star break in the rear view mirror the NHL season resumes with the trade deadline on the horizon. This is the home stretch for the fantasy hockey season as in most leagues, once the trade deadline passes, rosters are frozen. With that in mind you know if your team is a contender for a money position or not, and if so this is the time to make an aggressive push. Perhaps you fancy taking a gamble on a player who is likely to be traded in the NHL prior to or at the deadline. These players can be a great bargain if you acquire them in advance of their impending trade. For example, if a player on a team destined to miss the post season and who is also a pending unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season is a cheap rental for contending NHL teams. Often such a player can find a spike in his value after the deal is completed moving from a bottom dweller to a top team and on a scoring line with super stars. Even if you are not a contender, you may be able to buy low, and then flip the recently acquired asset. Here are some examples of players who may be available in your league.
No doubt Vermette may be one of the bigger names heading into free agency and he is widely owned so he may not be as cheap as some other players, but his upside is the best. With 30 points in 46 games this season for the offensively starved Coyotes you have to think his production would take a jump if he were moved to a team that scores more.
Jiri Tlusty, LW – Carolina Hurricanes 37% Fantrax Owned
It seems evident that Carolina has designs on a top lottery pick as they did little to nothing to bolster their roster since last season and have already begun selling players like Jay Harrison. Tlusty is still a young player at 26 years old and when he played with a healthy Eric Stall was a valuable asset. If he were to find himself on the left side on a line with players like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry his value could explode.
Chris Stewart, RW – Buffalo Sabres 32% Fantrax Owned
The bottom has dropped out on Stewarts value since his early days in Colorado. To think he is having as poor a season as he is in a contract year is concerning but then, Buffalo is in such a bad situation it is conceivable that if he were traded to a team like the Bruins the 27 year old power forward could find his groove again. His career season saw him score 64 points, so the talent is there and if properly motivated he could be a bargain.
Nick Shore, Centre – Los Angeles Kings 10% Fantrax Owned
Shore is not a pending UFA I know but given the circumstances with the Kings I am compelled to include him. With injuries to Tanner Pearson (week-to-week) and Tyler Toffoli day-to-day) and Mike Richards having cleared waivers and heading to the AHL, Shore has been recalled from the AHL and has an opportunity to make an impression. Shore has been lighting it up in the AHL with 43 points in 38 games, don’t sleep on this promising youngster.
Kyle Brodziak, Centre – Minnesota Wild 5% Fantrax Owned
The Wild are a long shot at best to make the post season, and with plenty of youth pushing for playing time, veterans with expiring contracts like Brodziak are goners. The question is, if he is moved as a rental to a contender for depth will it impact his fantasy value in any way? This season he has scored 12 points in 40 games which is not overly impressive and explains the 5% ownership. If moved to a contending team it is safe to assume he plays a depth role so there is risk his production takes a dip if anything. However, if your league counts peripheral stats such as draws, hits and blocked shots he cold see a moderate boost in these categories