Secondary players sometimes produce the greatest returns at the NHL Trade Deadline. That has certainly been the case the past few seasons.
Among players rumored to be available leading into the 2018 deadline (Monday, 3 p.m. ET), here are some whose contributions may exceed the assets surrendered to acquire them:
[RELATED: 2017-18 NHL Trade Tracker | Full trade coverage]
Brandon Davidson, Edmonton Oilers
Based on shot-based metrics and shot-blocking skills, Davidson could be a valuable depth defenseman.
In 136 NHL games, his team's share of shot attempts at 5-on-5 has increased from 49.01 to 51.40 when Davidson is on the ice, for a Relative SAT of plus-2.39. That ranks No. 27 among active defensemen who have played 100 games since 2014-15. His average of 1.7 blocked shots per game ties him for No. 52 during that span.
Video: CGY@EDM: Davidson nets a wrist shot from the circle
Nic Dowd, Vancouver Canucks
By traditional metrics, Dowd, a center, has a face-off winning percentage of 51.3 percent this season. But when measuring his success by the number of shot attempts that occur within 10 seconds of a face-off, relative to average, Dowd ranked No. 14 with a Net Shots Post Face-off (NSPF) of 20.13, according to Puck Base.
Among defensemen to play at least 20 games, Franson leads the NHL with a Relative SAT of plus-7.91. He ranked No. 13 with a plus-5.20 with the Buffalo Sabres last season.
Mark Letestu, Edmonton Oilers
Among forwards who have played at least 10 games, Letestu is Edmonton's top choice on the penalty kill, averaging 1:56 per game shorthanded, and in the defensive zone, with a 46.5 offensive-zone start percent. He can contribute in a variety of other areas, based on his 52.1 face-off winning percent in his NHL career and his 15 goals in 38 shootout attempts in the League.
Johnny Oduya, Ottawa Senators
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is advantageous to have an experienced defenseman like Oduya, who can block shots and kill penalties. His 106 playoff games rank No. 13 among active defensemen. This season, he is averaging 1.48 blocked shots per game and 1:57 killing penalties, second among Senators defensemen behind Cody Ceci (2:46) and Dion Phaneuf (2:07), who was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Feb 13.
Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes
Wins are not the most effective way to evaluate goaltending because they are dependent on the quality of defensive play and the number of goals scored by a goaltender's team. Instead, goalies can be evaluated using quality starts, which are awarded in any game when the goalie stopped at least a league-average percentage of the shots.
From this perspective, Raanta's NHL quality start percent of 63.4 ranks first among goalies who have started at least 60 games since he made his NHL debut in 2013-14, according to Hockey Reference.
Video: Raanta on being one of NHL's Three Stars of the Week
Luke Schenn, Arizona Coyotes
Teams looking for a hard-hitting defenseman for defensive-zone play could be interested in Schenn, who is tied for No. 6 among NHL defensemen who have played at least 10 games this season with 3.1 hits per game and has the lowest zone-start percent among among Arizona's defensemen at 41.87.
Thomas Vanek, Vancouver Canucks
Extra scoring can be hard to find for teams with an NHL salary cap situation that precludes pursuing one of the top options at the deadline. For them, Vanek may be the solution. His scoring rate of 2.10 points per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 ranks tied for No. 61 among those to play at least 300 minutes, and 6.93 at 5-on-4 ranks No. 16 among those to play 100 minutes, according to Corisca Hockey. With 28 goals on 70 NHL shootout attempts, he can help add a few extra points in the standings.
Video: TBL@VAN: Vanek pots wraparound goal in the 3rd
Tommy Wingels, Chicago Blackhawks
Some players are acquired just to create energy. Wingels is a fit as a forechecking presence. He ranks No. 22 in the NHL with 147 hits, is tied for No. 34 with 19 drawn penalties, and is tied for No. 6 with two shorthanded goals.