The NHL trade deadline didn't have any major fantasy implications on the surface -- at least not like we've had during past deadlines -- but there is still plenty to digest. Several talented players landed in situations that will present a fresh opportunity.
Victoria Matiash offered a terrific breakdown of the individuals who were moved, but I'll offer a few more thoughts in the rankings below. But before we get there, I wanted to dive a little deeper for both keeper or very deep re-draft league managers by looking again at the vacuums left behind on the selling teams. There is plenty to digest out there when it comes to the players moving, but the players left behind are often forgotten about.
The Blues still have three fantasy forwards to act as catalysts in Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz, and the team hasn't been stacking the box with them very often. That means a second center will be needed in the absence of Paul Stastny. Enter Berglund, who has had some muted success in offensive roles in the past. If it feels like he often comes on later in seasons, it's because he does. He has more goals and shots in March than any other month throughout his career. Considering that Stastny was serving as the center for Tarasenko, here's hoping Berglund gets the same opportunity.
While Brady Skjei may lead the way for minutes, DeAngelo has scored six of his seven points (in 25 games this season) on the power play. Skjei has been leading in minutes with Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan McDonagh out of the lineup, but DeAngelo has been producing at a better rate. Now that we know McDonagh isn't coming back, Shattenkirk's early rehab from a knee injury is the only thing stopping DeAngelo from quarterbacking a nothing-to-lose Rangers' power play for the bulk of March.
I've been a fan of Rattie for fantasy purposes for a while and have lamented his lack of opportunity in the Blues system for several years. Now with the Oilers on a one-year contract, he's already having his best AHL season. With the departure of Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu, he now has a chance to stay with the Oilers to finish the season. While Rattie played with Leon Draisaitl and Mike Cammalleri in his debut, there are opportunities with Connor McDavid going forward, too. He had a prolific 18-year-old season in the WHL with 57 goals and 121 points, totals that are historically in spitting distance of such players as Jarome Iginla or Theo Fleury. Rattie has been knocked for his defensive play and size over the years (the Oilers have a type, eh?), but offers yet another chance for the team to find a scoring winger who fits well with their prolific center.
I mentioned Rodrigues in the prequel trade vacuum piece last week, but want to touch on him again to point out an interesting tidbit. The Sabres received prospect Danny O'Regan from the Sharks in the deal for Evander Kane, giving the Sabres all three members of the Boston University Terriers' top line from 2014-15. That's when Jack Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award after combining with Rodrigues and O'Regan for 182 points in the 41-game season. These kind of developmental reunions don't always pan out (Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique?), but it certainly will temper my expectations for any winger in the Sabres organization headed into next season.
Forwards on the move
Evander Kane, LW, San Jose Sharks (22 spots to No. 76)
I'm actually fairly keen on Kane in a Sharks uniform. While GM Doug Wilson is of the opinion that Joe Thornton will return in the regular season, it won't be until near the end. That leaves Kane squarely on a top power-play unit that also includes Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. That's a pretty imposing fivesome that should be invigorated with the addition of Kane and his affinity for shooting the puck.
More often than not, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are going to be playing together. More often than not, the third member of that line has been Vladislav Namestnikov this season. Furthermore, Namestnikov vacates a spot on the power play as the net-front man for the Bolts. Miller fits the profile for both of those roles and will be in competition with the Lightning's internal candidates for the prime ice time. There's a better than remote chance that Miller wins out and becomes arguably the biggest impact name from the trade deadline for fantasy hockey.
Paul Stastny, C, Winnipeg Jets (up 10 spots to No. 139)
This feels like a lateral move for Stastny, but could become more if he ends up being energized by flanking youthful snipers. In other words, this is possibly an exciting trade if Stastny gets a chance and responds positively to playing time with Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers.
Part of this is just an obligatory "Vegas bump" in the rankings, as all players mediocre or not end up being fantasy darlings in the desert. Still, there isn't an obvious role carved out for Tatar on two scoring lines that bank largely on chemistry. The rub is that the Golden Knights power play has not kept pace with the prolific results at even strength, and Tatar is a beast on the man advantage. Look for him to get prime power-play ice time and perhaps carve that into a larger role.
Going over the past month of production, I'm not even sure Rick is the best "R. Nash" for fantasy managers on the Bruins. Riley Nash has three goals and three helpers in the past month, compared to Rick Nash's three goals and no assists. All jokes aside, Nash landed the exact type of role that will be conducive to his fantasy success for the remainder of the season. He's on the second scoring line for the Bruins and replaces Ryan Spooner on the top power-play unit. With Patrice Bergeron out for at least the next two weeks with a broken foot, however, the second line for the Bruins just got a little weaker, as David Krejci will likely be tasked with Bergeron's top line role. We'll have to see how the team looks sans Bergeron against Carolina on Tuesday, as there's a chance the whole deck is reshuffled and Nash comes out on top.
Similar to Tatar, the even-strength deployment doesn't look promising, especially once Nick Foligno returns to health. However, the Blue Jackets power play has not been awesome this season, and that's a significant understatement. Vanek is a power-play specialist at his core and could help lift the production of several other key members of the first unit.
Vladislav Namestnikov, C/LW/RW, New York Rangers (down 73 spots to No. 229)
It's not clear how the new-look Rangers will deploy their assets for the stretch run, but even if Namestnikov is an offensive leader in role and ice time, it won't come close to his former assignment with the Lightning.
Defensemen on the move
Ryan McDonagh, D, Tampa Bay Lightning (down 36 spots to No. 187)
McDonagh is going to be an exceptional addition to the Lightning as they make a run for their first of at least two consecutive potential Stanley Cup championships, but this is not a positive move for his fantasy profile. McDonagh is easily second fiddle to Victor Hedman in every role that matters for fantasy managers. He at least had a path to the top of the Rangers depth chart with Shattenkirk's knee-related struggles this season, but McDonagh won't have the same offensive chances he would have elsewhere. That's not even to mention that Mikhail Sergachev has perhaps already surpassed McDonagh for offensive potential at the NHL level (even though the Lightning will be limiting the rookie's minutes).
Goalies on the move
As a Mrazek believer all season (and last), I feel vindicated by his three-game run with the Flyers, but I'm being careful not to forget the bad times, too. That said, I'm trying to be conservative with this ranking. The Mrazek apologist in me wants to push him into the top-10 goaltender ranks (with upside for a top-five spot) for the remainder of the season. He's on a team with much better defensive tendencies, and the ghosts of his struggles with the Detroit Red Wings are behind him. But before I go all-in on this guy again, I want to see him beat teams other than the Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. Mrazek has at least four more weeks to build a body of work before Brian Elliott and/or Michal Neuvirth return.
Jeff Carter is back and played on his usual line with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, as well as on the top power-play unit with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. He already has a goal and 13 shots in two games. ... Replacing Mikko Koivu with Eric Staal on a line flanked by Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker lit a fire under the trio for the past two games. Zucker remains the most underappreciated player on pace to top 30 goals. ... One Rangers player who is in position for a strong finish is Chris Kreider. With all the bodies moving out on deadline day, this is his team to take by the reins. He was back to regular minutes in his second game back from blood clot-related issues.