It’s the final day before the NHL trade deadline hits. Wednesday’s the last day that teams can swap players, and we’ve already seen a couple blockbusters. Let’s talk about ‘em.
1. The Lightning trade Ben Bishop and a 2017 fifth-rounder to the Kings for Petr Budaj, 19-year-old defenseman Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick, and a conditional 2017 pick.
If it seems like Tampa didn’t get much back… well, Tampa didn’t get much back. Budaj’s had a solid year, but he’s no kind of long-term answer; Cernak is a defensive defenseman; that conditional pick could be the redeemer, as it could turn into a second-rounder in the best case, but that’s still a slender return for a guy with Bishop’s track record. While this is a great deal for the Kings, who needed a backup plan in case Jonathan Quick’s health doesn’t hold up, I can’t help but feel like the Lightning got quantity instead of quality back.
2. The Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk and AHL goalie Pheonix Copley to the Capitals for a 2017 first-round pick, a semi-complicated set of conditional picks, and minor league forwards Zach Sanford and Brad Malone.
Pretty much everything here outside of that first-rounder is just noise. Even that pick is a little slim – it’s guaranteed to be a low pick because the Caps currently lead the NHL in points, and the track record for No. 30 overall picks is not exactly spectacular. The most recent No. 30 pick to make it as a full-time NHLer is Tanner Pearson (2012), who’s set to clear 40 points for the first time this season. That’s one hell of a long time to wait for a payoff from trading your star blueliner.
All in all, it looks like a buyer’s market right now, which means we might see a good number of deals over the next 24 or so hours as non-contending teams look to dump big and/or expiring contracts.
Avalanche (PP: 29, PK: 24) at Flyers (PP: 11, PK: 16), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Calvin Pickard (10-19-2, 2.88, .909), Steve Mason (16-17-6, 2.90, .900)
Key Injuries: Calvin Pickard (neck), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Nikita Zadorov (ankle), Travis Konecny (lower body), Brandon Manning (suspension)
Pickard missed Saturday’s game with a stiff neck, and there’s still been no confirmation that he’ll take the ice for this one. That could mean 27-year-old Jeremy Smith – who’s allowed three goals in all three of his NHL starts so far – ends up starting this one. On the other side, both Mason and Michal Neuvirth have struggled mightily all year; you don’t want to use either of them even in this friendly matchup, as this game could see plentiful offense from both sides. That could mean this is an opportune moment to get Claude Giroux in your lineup; he should be available at a discount due to his ongoing slump. Brayden Schenn reads like a budget-friendly option, and Shayne Gostisbehere can be had quite affordably too. Gabriel Landeskog’s a nice play on the other end.
Coyotes (PP: 27, PK: 26) at Bruins (PP: 13, PK: 2), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Louis Domingue (6-14-1, 3.31, .895), Tuukka Rask (29-14-4, 2.30, .912)
Key Injuries: Alex Burmistrov (upper body), Brad Richardson (leg)
If you read the starting goalies here, you probably already know what I’m going to tell you: Load up with Bruins against Louis Domingue and the sad-sack Coyotes, who just traded one of their better players (Martin Hanzal) and own an atrocious 8-18-4 road record this year. The Coyotes' highest-performing player on the road this year has been Radim Vrbata, who has 19 points and a minus-9 rating through 30 games. So yeah, it’s a good time to use Rask and some of his mates, especially the uber-affordable Frank Vatrano.
Predators (PP: 12, PK: 13) at Sabres (PP: 4, PK: 29), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Pekka Rinne (24-15-6, 2.52, .915), Linus Ullmark (N/A)
Key Injuries: William Carrier (knee), Johan Larsson (wrist), Robin Lehner (head), Cody McLeod (lower body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body)
The Preds’ season rank on the power play may not be impressive, but they sport the league’s second-most-successful man advantage in the month of February – 11 goals on 37 opportunities. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s penalty killing has been noticeably better this month, but the Sabres are still in the cellar in that category for good reason. With Ullmark (who owns an unimpressive 2.90 GAA and .910 save mark in the AHL) slated to make his season debut Tuesday, this is a good spot to load up on Nashvillians, Nashvillains, Nashvillites or whatever you want to call them. Calle Jarnkrok particularly sticks out as a guy who’s seeing a lot of minutes and available cheaply in DFS, and P.K. Subban has been insanely hot of late; he makes for a nice play at a friendly salary too. And if you want to feel good about your odds of getting a win, Rinne might not give you the shiniest numbers, but he’s got a good chance to come out on top. But you’ll want to check back on Lehner’s status prior to the game nonetheless, just in case, as he’s reportedly feeling better.
Capitals (PP: 6, PK: 7) at Rangers (PP: 16, PK: 14), 7:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Braden Holtby (31-8-5, 1.97, .928), Henrik Lundqvist (28-15-2, 2.64, .912)
Key Injuries: Pavel Buchnevich (illness), Kevin Klein (back), Andre Burakovsky (hand), Matt Niskanen (lower body), Brooks Orpik (lower body), T.J. Oshie (upper body)
The Rangers’ power play seems to be looking for answers every year. Shattenkirk might have been the answer this year, but the Caps made sure that wasn’t the case; now it’s unclear how they might address that need, but this is certainly a team that needs help on the blue line. It’ll be interesting to see how Shattenkirk fits in with Washington, starting Tuesday, but my guess is: well.
Blue Jackets (PP: 5, PK: 10) at Canadiens (PP: 9, PK: 21), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky (32-13-3, 2.20, .925), Carey Price (26-16-5, 2.42, .919)
Key Injuries: Matt Calvert (oblique), David Clarkson (back), Lukas Sedlak (lower body)
With the Habs scuffling on offense lately, it’s intriguing to consider rolling out Bobrovsky, but the end result of this game could really go either way. Price has been playing relatively well, but not spectacularly. All in all, this isn’t a DFS gold mine on paper.
Hurricanes (PP: 23, PK: 1) at Panthers (PP: 25, PK: 3), 7:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Cam Ward (21-19-7, 2.65, .904), Roberto Luongo (16-15-6, 2.73, .913)
Key Injuries: Bryan Bickell (illness), Brock McGinn (undisclosed)
Luongo is expected to start after doing so just twice in the last six games, and his recent returns (on those occasions when he’s been in the lineup) suggest that this might be a good time to use some Hurricanes skaters. After all, the NHL’s oldest active goalie has a 4.46 GAA and .872 save mark in his last six appearances.
Oilers (PP: 10, PK: 23) at Blues (PP: 8, PK: 6), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Cam Talbot (31-18-7, 2.40, .919), Jake Allen (22-17-3, 2.68, .904)
Key Injuries: Tyler Pitlick (knee), Benoit Pouliot (undisclosed), Ivan Barbashev (upper body), Robby Fabbri (knee), Ryan Reaves (foot)
This could still be a playoff-bound Blues team even with Shattenkirk gone, but you have to think the trade represents a big blow to team morale. St. Louis is just clinging to a playoff spot, and trading arguably the team’s second- or third-best player certainly won’t help in that regard. I’m going to guess that this team looks demoralized and gets beaten handily by the Oilers on Tuesday.
Wild (PP: 3, PK: 9) at Jets (PP: 20, PK: 27), 8:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Darcy Kuemper (7-3-3, 3.05, .910), Connor Hellebuyck (20-15-3, 2.79, .910)
Key Injuries: Victor Bartley (triceps), Zach Parise (illness), Jason Pominville (illness), Andrew Copp (upper body), Marko Dano (lower body), Toby Enstrom (lower body), Tyler Myers (lower body), Ondrej Pavelec (concussion), Drew Stafford (illness), Jacob Trouba (suspension)
The Wild are on the second of back-to-backs, they’re on the road, and they’re starting their backup goalie, so if the Jets are ever going to beat them, the time is now. Devan Dubnyk’s 3-0 against them this year, so they’ll surely be happy to take shots on the more beatable Kuemper instead.
Penguins (PP: 7, PK: 20) at Stars (PP: 19, PK: 30), 8:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Matt Murray (23-7-3, 2.27, .926), Kari Lehtonen (14-19-6, 2.94, .900)
Key Injuries: Adam Cracknell (leg), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Bryan Rust (arm), Conor Sheary (upper body)
If you’re willing to spend up in DFS, you know what to do here: Take advantage of the Stars’ porous defense and goaltending. Pay special attention to Justin Schultz, who was dominant while Letang was out with injury before.
Kings (PP: 24, PK: 5) at Flames (PP: 14, PK: 19), 9:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Ben Bishop (16-12-3, 2.55, .911), Brian Elliott (15-13-3, 2.75, .899)
Key Injuries: Matt Greene (undisclosed), Paul LaDue (upper body), Jordan Nolan (lower body)
After Jonathan Quick played Monday, Bishop should make his Kings debut in this one. Eyes will be on him to see whether he can carry forth his pre-trade dominance – five straight wins with a 1.17 GAA and .953 save mark – in a new uniform. Considering the Kings’ defensively oriented style, I think we can feel good about using Bishop when he gets to play. After all, this is a Los Angeles team that was able to paper over Budaj’s shortcomings.
Red Wings (PP: 30, PK: 15) at Canucks (PP: 28, PK: 25), 10:00 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Petr Mrazek (14-16-6, 2.98, .902), Ryan Miller (16-18-3, 2.65, .916)
Key Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Johan Franzen (concussion), Jimmy Howard (knee), Gustav Nyquist (suspension), Sven Baertschi (concussion), Michael Chaput (illness), Derek Dorsett (neck), Markus Granlund (illness), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Ben Hutton (illness), Jacob Markstrom (lower body), Anton Rodin (knee), Jack Skille (groin), Troy Stecher (illness), Chris Tanev (illness), Nikita Tryamkin (illness)
Well, that’s about as hefty a list of injured players as you’ll ever see. The Canucks have been hit hard by the mumps, which means it’s a good time to A, stay at least 10 feet away from all of them at all times, and B, use your Red Wings in a situation that could be particularly favorable to them due to the extenuating circumstances.
Maple Leafs (PP: 1, PK: 8) at Sharks (PP: 21, PK: 12), 10:30 p.m.
Expected Goalies: Frederik Andersen (24-13-12, 2.77, .914), Martin Jones (29-15-6, 2.31, .915)
Key Injuries: Dylan DeMelo (wrist), Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Connor Carrick (upper body), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen)
As impressive as the Leafs’ rise this year has been, the Sharks have been an immovable object for them. San Jose’s won eight consecutive encounters between these two squads. Andersen’s been inconsistent all year, but you can say the same for Jones, so the story of this game could truly go either way. After all, the Sharks can’t win every time, can they?
Nick Schmaltz, RW, CHI – A 21-year-old (as of last week) Wisconsin native, Schmaltz was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and he showed signs of growing into an explosive playmaker with the University of North Dakota last year. His NHL career had a quiet start, but Schmaltz has been on fire for most of February, corresponding with his move to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik. Over the last eight games, Schmaltz has racked up three goals, seven assists and a plus-12 rating. He doesn’t shoot much, as you might expect from a guy who plays a passing-oriented game, and he’s only seeing moderate power-play time, but there’s clearly value to be found for fantasy owners here.