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Fantasy buzz: Duchene, Turris, Girard trade impact

Centers have more fantasy appeal than before move; defenseman has keeper upside with Avalanche

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.

 

Impact of Duchene trade to Senators

Forward Matt Duchene will finally get his long-awaited change in scenery, and fantasy owners have reason to believe it can spur greater results.

Duchene (C/RW, 64 percent owned) was traded to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday in a package that sent center Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators and defenseman prospect Samuel Girard to the Colorado Avalanche. There have been rumblings of a potential Duchene move for much of this calendar year, and many fantasy owners invested in the forward with a late-round pick (Yahoo ADP: 162.7) or off the waiver wire hoping for a trade.

 

[RELATED: Duchene traded to Senators, Turris to Predators in three-team trade]

 

The 26-year-old had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 14 games with Colorado this season. He did not play on the Avalanche's first power-play unit (one power-play point), but had three multi-point games to help his season totals. Even with all the uncertainty surrounding his future, Duchene significantly improved his points-per-game average (0.71) compared to last season (0.53) and enters Ottawa with positive momentum.

He's dual eligible and available in more than one-quarter of Yahoo leagues, making him a viable fantasy addition upon joining a Stanley Cup Playoff contender. His track record speaks for itself; he had 70 points in 71 games in 2013-14 and has five NHL seasons of at least 55 points for a team that only qualified for the postseason twice in his eight full seasons there.

With Turris no longer in the mix, expect Duchene to compete with Derick Brassard (C, 56 percent owned; 49th in Yahoo) for No. 1 center duties and also see frequent exposure to elite defenseman Erik Karlsson in many situations. Brassard has centered mostly Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan this season, so Duchene has a clear chance to play alongside another fantasy-relevant forward in Mike Hoffman (LW/RW, 47th in Yahoo).

The big takeaway from this trade is that Duchene could get a fresh start on the power play; he averaged 2:21 per game with the man-advantage in Colorado this season, but played on the second unit, away from top forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Tyson Barrie. Duchene should go from a secondary role to being a prime offensive option for Ottawa.

One similarity between the Avalanche and Senators is that their Shot Attempts percentages rank near the bottom of the League; the Avalanche rank 28th at 45.70, and the Senators are 29th at 45.69. Their 5-on-5 save percentages are low, and their shooting percentages could be due for regression. There are some concerns surrounding the Senators' sustainability as a team, but having Karlsson healthy and Duchene gives their offense plenty of fantasy appeal.

Video: Friedman breaks down the three team trade for Duchene

 

Impact of Turris to Predators

Although Duchene carries more fantasy intrigue, Turris is the perfect fit to fill the Predators' second-line center hole. Nashville's latest blockbuster trade has them well-equipped another playoff run. 

Turris (C, 67 percent owned) was in the final year of his five-year contract with the Senators and had mixed fantasy results to start the season. Playing mostly alongside forwards Zack Smith and Ryan Dzingel, Turris had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 11 games with four on the power play. He also had 26 shots on goal and was minus-3. But Turris continued to produce, despite lesser linemates compared to last season.

The workhorse center, who signed a six-year, $36 million contract with Nashville after the trade, provides much-needed depth behind top-liner Ryan Johansen. Duchene's current contract will expire after the 2018-19 season, meaning Nashville already has more certainty in their side of the trade than Ottawa.

 

READ: Top 100 forward rankings after Duchene/Turris trade

 

Turris scored an NHL career-high 27 goals last season and covered five of the six standard categories well to finish 89th in Yahoo. He's averaging 19:41 per game (3:32 on power play), much more significant usage than Duchene (15:46 per game) this season, and boosts a team that already ranked among the top five in face-off win percentage (52.1; T-4th in NHL). Ottawa ranks first in the category (53.4) before losing the efficient Turris (61.1 percent; second in NHL, minimum 149 face-offs), but Duchene (56.5; 62.6 last season) is not much of a downgrade in that regard.

Turris is well worth owning in fantasy and should get more out of Nashville's secondary scoring that we've seen so far this season. Only three current Predators are averaging more than one-half of a point per game: left wing Filip Forsberg (14 points in 14 games) and defensemen P.K. Subban (11 points in 14 games) and Roman Josi (eight in 11 games). The Predators have used Johansen, Forsberg, Subban, Josi and Scott Hartnell on their first power-play unit, but Turris has a chance to take Hartnell's spot on one of the League's top man-advantage groups (22.4 percent; T-8th).

Nashville's trade keeps its core of defensemen intact and provides enough reinforcement to either reunite the top line of Johansen, Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson or spread out the scoring more effectively. The best-case fantasy scenario would be if Turris ends up centering Forsberg for the rest of the season, but Turris would have better linemates than he did in Ottawa even if he plays with Arvidsson, Hartnell and/or Kevin Fiala.

 

Impact of Avalanche losing Duchene, landing Girard

The Avalanche have traded one of their top offensive threats, but still have plenty of young forwards capable of producing for fantasy owners.

Including Duchene, Colorado had six players with at least 10 points through 14 games this season. Rookie Alexander Kerfoot (1 percent owned) is the leading candidate to fill Duchene's spot; he has nine points (five goals, four assists), a plus-3 and three PPP in 14 games.

Colorado's top line has been MacKinnon centering Landeskog and Rantanen, meaning their second line could consist of Kerfoot centering Nail Yakupov and/or Sven Andrighetto. Forwards Tyson Jost (lower body) and J.T. Compher (broken thumb) are sidelined with injuries but remain candidates to fill the secondary scoring void left by Duchene. After the trade, the Avalanche's top line is expected to shoulder even more offensive responsibility, making each component worth owning in most formats - even with the plus/minus concerns. Rantanen (LW/RW, 35 percent owned) has especially become a hot fantasy commodity.

Fantasy owners in deeper leagues should consider adding Kerfoot and also monitor Girard (1 percent owned in Yahoo), who goes from barely cracking the lineup in Nashville to a potential top-four defenseman role with the Avalanche. He played five games for the Predators this season, scoring three points (one goal, two assists), including one PPP alongside Subban when Josi was out with injury. 

Barrie, a top-25 fantasy defenseman, will likely remain on Colorado's first power-play unit, but it's significant that Girard now has a full-time NHL role on the horizon. Girard, 19, has added value in a keeper and/or dynasty leagues; the left-shooter could potentially be paired with Colorado's right-shooting prospect Cale Makar (currently in first season at University of Massachusetts) in future years. This trade gives the Avalanche some short-term help on defense, and more importantly an asset in their greatest area of need.

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