NHL trade deadline: Ideal destinations for Chychrun, Meier and more

What is the ideal fantasy hockey destination for Jakob Chychrun? Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

What if the NHL general managers let us decide which players went where for the approaching trade deadline?

That's what this fantasy exercise is about: What's the most fantasy-conducive landing spot for each player being floated around as tradable?

There's a better than good chance that none of the proposed new uniforms below will end up being correct when we wake up on March 4. But the process of identifying the right fit for each player should help prepare us for what kind of role, opportunity and production we can hope for once the dealing is done. All the players below (with the exception of the last one I just wanted to include) are found on most online "trade bait" lists, but I relied on TSN.ca.

To be crystal clear: All of the new teams below are a complete fabrication and were arrived at by me as a dream location for these players. It's also not part of my job here to make the trade work within the confines of the salary cap or practicality. I tried to not pick more than one player for any given team and focused on clubs with a decent chance of making the postseason. The idea, again, is to focus on the kind of role and club that would help elevate what these players do best for fantasy rosters.

Timo Meier, W, New Jersey Devils (San Jose Sharks): Definitely the biggest fish in the trade pond, Meier is an even better fantasy player than he is an NHL player -- and he's a phenomenal NHL player. I chose the Devils here because Meier is a Corsi machine (third in individual Corsi for in the NHL) and the Devils are a Corsi machine (fourth in Corsi for per 60); put the two together and it should be possession and production magic. The fantasy fallout of giving Meier a center like Jack Hughes, but also having other lines on the team that are a threat, would potentially elevate him to top-10 fantasy territory.

Jakob Chychrun, D, Minnesota Wild (Arizona Coyotes): There are a few destinations that would benefit from a power-play quarterback, but the Wild offer a unique solution in that they would also benefit from Chychrun's presence away from the advantage. He's a dominant figure on the blue line and does very well at 5-on-5. I mean, playing for a Coyotes team with 44.08 goals percentage at 5-on-5 (EvolvingHockey) and maintaining a personal 58.33 goals percentage (NaturalStatTrick) is a feat in itself. The Wild could use a boost in 5-on-5 scoring and a boost on the power-play point (Calen Addison still doesn't have a power-play goal despite sitting fifth in total ice time on the advantage among defensemen).

Ryan O'Reilly, C, Colorado Avalanche (St. Louis Blues): Frankly, it wouldn't take much for O'Reilly to be in a better fantasy spot than he currently is with the languishing Blues. Robert Thomas is a center, too, and Thomas gets to play with Jordan Kyrou. Those two facts take plenty of shine off O'Reilly's potential supporting cast -- especially with Vladimir Tarasenko now out the door. In a place like Colorado, where there is a clear and gaping hole at the No. 2 center spot, O'Reilly would get plenty of ice time, elevated linemates (especially later in the season when Gabriel Landeskog hopefully returns) and potentially even some fringe power-play work. I don't know that even this dream spot elevates him to a roster lock, but it would certainly merit keeping an eye on him.

John Klingberg, D, Edmonton Oilers (Anaheim Ducks): Sure, Chychrun and Erik Karlsson would be a fit here, too, but Klingberg is all the Oilers would need. No, not 2022-23 Klingberg, but the version that produced year after year for the Dallas Stars. I guess the question is whether Klingberg would be an upgrade over Tyson Barrie, but that's not hard to believe in if you can look past this season. Imagine the Klingberg who could approach 2.0 fantasy points per game on a power play with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers might not even have to worry that his defensive metrics have been tanking.

Patrick Kane, W, Toronto Maple Leafs (Chicago Blackhawks): The Leafs are a dream landing spot for any winger who possesses scoring chops that would outshine Michael Bunting and/or Calle Jarnkrok. With the Leafs' deadly duos on offense (Auston Matthews-William Nylander and John Tavares-Mitchell Marner) set in stone, Kane could join either one and leave his forgettable season in Chicago behind.

Jake McCabe, D, Washington Capitals (Chicago Blackhawks): Give McCabe to a contending team with a top defenseman who shoots right (John Carlson) and let him push his defensive agenda. With the sinking Hawks, McCabe has managed to produce 1.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) by virtue of his 102 hits and 102 blocked shots (heading into Tuesday's tilt). The Capitals already have managed to produce some fringe fantasy plays in the hits and blocked shots departments such as Martin Fehervary and Trevor van Riemsdyk, so an elite producer such as McCabe could thrive in this environment.

Brock Boeser, W, Vegas Golden Knights (Vancouver Canucks): Even if Mark Stone were healthy, but especially with him sidelined, Boeser would be a massive upgrade on the wings for the plucky Knights -- who seem to be getting by with Band-Aid solutions around their centers. A reset for Boeser on a line with Jack Eichel could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the struggling winger. He has 30-goal hands, so a change of scenery could make him a fantasy regular, especially if an elite center is there to welcome him.

James van Riemsdyk, W, Tampa Bay Lightning (Philadelphia Flyers): I love what Brandon Hagel is doing this season and Alex Killorn has been a passable power-play mainstay with this unit in the past, but this is van Riemsdyk's bread and butter. He's a through and through threat on the advantage when placed there on elite teams. And, no, you don't need to go back to his time in Toronto to back that up. In the past two seasons, van Riemsdyk ranks 10th in power-play goals per 60 minutes among players with at least 300 total minutes on the advantage.

Erik Karlsson, D, Dallas Stars (San Jose Sharks): In finding a "fantasy" fantasy-friendly landing spot for Karlsson, we also had to consider the negative impact his presence would have on other defensemen. Let's face it, not many other No. 1 defenseman could keep up their production once Karlsson strolled into the locker room. But Miro Heiskanen has proved he can play second fiddle like a No. 1 based on his seasons alongside John Klingberg. It's fun to envision the best line in the NHL getting to share the ice with a puck mover of Karlsson's ability -- not to mention adding him to the advantage with Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski.

Shayne Gostisbehere, D, New York Islanders (Arizona Coyotes): Adding a power-play specialist shouldn't detract too much from the value Noah Dobson delivers. In fact, I can envision a world in which Dobson and Gostisbehere would both be on the top unit. The Isles still have a very defense-first-oriented crew of blueliners as holdovers from their more stay-at-home persona from recent seasons. Adding an offense-first defenseman such as Gostisbehere could be what this struggling power play needs.

Karel Vejmelka, G, Los Angeles Kings (Arizona Coyotes): Jonathan Quick hasn't been good enough this season; Cal Peterson was waived to the AHL; and who knows how many blooms are left on the Pheonix Copley rose. Why not Vejmelka? He's ninth in the league in goals saved above expected this season (MoneyPuck.com) for a basement-dwelling Coyotes team. Behind the legitimate roster of the Kings, Vejmelka could turn them into a deep playoff team.

Jonathan Toews, C, Nashville Predators (Chicago Blackhawks): Technically, the Predators are awash in centers. Practically, though, Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund have been better on the wings. Although a late-career Toews might not be an improvement over Ryan Johansen, he certainly is a step up from Cody Glass down the middle. The Predators might be the only contenders for whom a player such as Toews (or Ryan O'Reilly) could waltz in and be in consideration for the No. 1 center role.

Max Domi, C/W, Calgary Flames (Chicago Blackhawks): The Flames are spreading out the offense in a way that leaves plenty of room on the top two lines to add another scoring winger. Dillon Dube and/or Jakob Pelletier don't need to be there, and Domi could bring a bit of offense blended with tenacity to a line -- whether it's with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli or with Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri.

Jesse Puljujarvi, W, Seattle Kraken (Edmonton Oilers): The skills on display in his draft year still have to be there somewhere, and another chance for Puljujarvi to rediscover them isn't going to happen in Edmonton. A team such as the Kraken, built down the middle with lineup flexibility down the flanks for years to come, might be the perfect spot for another chance. Seattle might be the only contender where you could argue giving him a chance on the top line without the pressure to immediately score like a star. It's certainly working there for Eeli Tolvanen.

Vladislav Gavrikov, D, Winnipeg Jets (Columbus Blue Jackets): With him hardly front and center on fantasy rosters to begin with, there's only a small hope that a change in scenery could push Gavrikov to a level as a fantasy starter. But a solid, defensively sound team such as Winnipeg could do just that -- especially if he were on a top pairing and picking up supplementary assists by feeding the Jets' elite scoring lines.

John Gibson, G, Buffalo Sabres (Anaheim Ducks): Admittedly, Gibson is on nobody's "trade bait" list, but he's a player I would really like to see moved by the Ducks. Anaheim got a swift kick in the pants this season when it came to its hopes to be competitive again and I would argue that its window isn't quite open yet and might not be fully realized with Gibson still in his prime. Lukas Dostal is a great goalie prospect, and his development might line up nicely with that of the other young Ducks. It would be great to see a player as talented as Gibson get flipped to a team a little closer to the competitive window being wide open. Heck, with a goalie like Gibson, the Sabres might even be a playoff contender as early as this season. One can hope, right?