Trade Deadline Wrap Including Rakell, Fleury, Copp, and More; Updates to Byram and Merzlikins – March 22 – DobberHockey

It has been quite the week in the NHL as far as trades are concerned, even if the NHL’s trade deadline day itself wasn’t as busy as in some recent seasons. There were a handful of trades over the weekend, a couple of them significant like Claude Giroux heading to Florida, Hampus Lindholm off to Boston, and Mark Giordano being acquired by Toronto. All the trade analysis from the last several days can be viewed here.

Before we get to all the trades from Monday, I wanted to give my thoughts on some of the bigger deals we saw over the weekend.

Claude Giroux

This really reminds me of when Florida brought in Sam Reinhart in the offseason. At that time, the thought was that Reinhart could either skate on the top line with Aleksander Barkov, as he did with Jack Eichel in Buffalo, or help lengthen the lineup down on the third line. It has largely ended up being the latter, which should have been a death knell for his fantasy value. That obviously hasn’t come to pass, as Reinhart is over a point-per-game pace on the year. What about Giroux?

This is a case where it does seem to make the most sense to have him on the top line. There has been a revolving door of wingers up there and the other two lines have largely been great. He should also be replacing Anthony Duclair on the top power-play unit, as Ian mentioned in his trade breakdown, and that’s probably the most important part here. Whether he’s skating next to Barkov, as the second-line centre, or down with Anton Lundell, he should be able to produce at 5-on-5. It’s whether he gets the top PP minutes, and I don’t see why he wouldn’t. There is a case to be made that they don’t want to shake up the power play’s chemistry, but we don’t need to look further than Tyler Toffoli in Calgary to see that’s not necessarily true.

Update: It appears we got confirmation that he’s going to the top line to play with Barkov. Great news for Giroux fantasy owners.

Hampus Lindholm

It should be very interesting to see how Lindholm actually fares here. He had outstanding defensive metrics years ago but those have fallen off in recent seasons. Now, there are other micro stats that work heavily in his favor so it could be a case of the last two seasons wreaking havoc on basically everybody. While there should always be concerns about how a defensive defenseman ages (ask San Jose and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) because if that one skill disappears, for whatever reason, the player is basically toast as an NHLer. There is also the value of adding a defensive defenseman to arguably the best defensive team in hockey when Erik Haula is the second-line center, but I digress.

In fantasy, it’s hard to see a massive upgrade here. He won’t get to the top PP unit and may be asked to anchor the second pair, skating somewhere around 22 minutes a night. We will see what they decide to do but it’s hard to see him skating more than the 22-23 minutes he has been. If he does that, it’s hard to see him as being more than a 30- to 35-point defenseman with decent peripherals. In other words, largely what he’s been for most of his Anaheim career. It really does seem a lateral move for him in the fantasy real, but we’ll have to see how the ice time works out for him.

Mark Giordano

Sometimes it can be hard to tell exactly how good or bad a player really is because of the team around him. I wonder to what extent that applies to Giordano.

I wonder about Giordano’s real value. He hasn’t looked great offensively in Seattle this year, but literally no one has looked good offensively in Seattle this year. He doesn’t have a lot of good micro stats as far as offense is concerned (according to this data from Corey Sznajder) but again, how much of that is because he’s fallen off and how much of that is his team.

We should note that his last season with Calgary wasn’t pretty either, but he did fare better in transitional play and shot rates. So, there could still be some useful skills left here for a Toronto playoff run, and he’s a guy that deserves a deep run himself, seeing what’s going on with Calgary this year. Let’s see how he does under a much more offensively-minded team.

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As for trades that came on Monday, the first big name to be moved was Marc-André Fleury, who was sent from Chicago to Minnesota. The Wild then sent Kaapo Kahkonen to San Jose in a separate trade for Jacob Middleton. Dobber had his breakdown of these trades here. In fact, kudos to Dobber on the job he did yesterday, as things got busy towards the end of the day.

Fleury has had a very up-and-down season this year, as he’s been known to do, on a very up-and-down Chicago team. The Wild clearly needed to make a change in net but it was surprising to see this one go through. This probably kills any value Cam Talbot had for the rest of the season.

I am very interested in seeing how Kahkonen fares in San Jose. That team has completely fallen apart defensively this year and it’ll be very hard for anyone to look good back there. Not sure how it gets better in the next year or two, either, given the absurd costs of the many anchor contracts they have. He may get some run as a true starter, but he may be behind a very bad team.

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Rickard Rakell was shipped out to Pittsburgh. This is a very interesting pickup because they tried this not long ago with Jason Zucker, and that hasn’t worked out at all. Not that Zucker and Rakell are the same player, but it’s a very similar situation to when the former Wild winger got traded to the Penguins.

My entire issue with Rakell over the years has been a lack of playmaking centers to skate with. From 2018-21, the team was roughly league average in expected goals generated with Rakell on the ice. When skating with Trevor Zegras this year, their expected goals generated goes up 20% compared to that earlier sample. With Rakell going to skate with Evgeni Malkin, hopefully he can keep up the scoring touch he showed with Zegras.

I have my doubts here. Rakell won’t skate 18-19 minutes a night and he’s not a lock to stay on the second line, given how often Pittsburgh switches up their depth lines. Maybe he fits like a glove, but it seems a push, fantasy-wise.

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Andrew Copp was traded to the New York Rangers by Winnipeg. It is an interesting spot for Copp to land because he is a versatile player. I know coaches like to say that players can play up and down the lineup, but very few actually can. Copp is one of those guys, so he could fit anywhere in the top-9. Realistically, I think he moves to the third line, an area of ​​great weakness for this team. That would help lengthen this lineup and take pressure off both the power play and the goalie.

The issue for Copp could be ice time. Not that he’s relying on peripherals, but the Rangers’ power-play guys are the ones that get big minutes. Everyone else plays significantly less. Copp was near 20 minutes a game this season for the Jets. He won’t get that in New York, and that’ll hurt his shot totals. He could drop back down to two shots per game, and with little PP time, there could be a big fantasy value loss here. This is a situation where he’ll likely end up being far more valuable in real life than in fantasy.

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Karel Vejmelka signed a contract extension with Arizona:

With the Coyotes, there are any number of reasons for them to give a player a contract, and it’s not necessarily because they’re good. This is a team that could struggle to reach the cap floor next year without taking on bad contracts or handing out lots of money. This isn’t to say that Vejmelka isn’t worth it, as he’s certainly played well this year behind a bad team. At the same time, he has 36 career NHL games and handing out that contract to a goalie with 36 games under his belt screams “cap floor” to me. Either way, cap league owners will have a decision to make on Vejmelka as his AAV more than triples next year.

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Elvis Merzlikins was not at Columbus practice

This has been something that’s been going on with Columbus goalies basically all season. It has been tough to roster any one of them as they don’t seem to last more than a few weeks without injury. A tough break for them and we’ll see how long this one lasts.

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We had an interesting duo lining up on the second line for Detroit in practice:

We haven’t seen much of Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana play together given injuries to either, or other issues that have come up. Regardless, Bertuzzi might be the best all-around offensive player the Wings have and Vrana is an elite goal scorer. That seems like a duo that could really light up the NHL and I hope Jeff Blashill gives them lots of run together.

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Bowen Byram was skating in a normal jersey on Monday morning for Colorado:

That is a huge step in his hopeful return to the lineup. He has had concussion issues plague him for a few years now and just that he can take contact in practice is a great sign. We always hope for the best in these situations because we have seen so many careers end in this manner.

Byram and the Avs will take all the time he needs to make sure he’s 100% but this is all great news for both parties.

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