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Fantasy: 2018 NHL Draft trades, picks roundup

Hanifin, Lindholm gain value with Flames; Grubauer could split starts with Varlamov for Avalanche

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / Fantasy Editor examines the 2018 NHL Draft prospects that can make an immediate fantasy impact and the biggest trades with fantasy implications.


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Defenseman Noah Hanifin and forward Elias Lindholm were traded by the Carolina Hurricanes to the Calgary Flames for defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Adam Fox and forward Micheal Ferland.

The trade involves four fantasy relevant players in Hanifin, Lindholm, Hamilton and Ferland. Fox is a 20-year-old prospect that has been posting impressive numbers for Harvard University of the NCAA. The native of Jericho, New York has 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) over the past two seasons and will likely spend one more season in college before transitioning to the pro game.

Hanifin and Lindholm will be reunited with coach Bill Peters, who was hired by the Flames on April 23. The change of scenery for Hanfin could lead to an increased role with the Flames, who lose their top goal-scoring defenseman in Hamilton. The initial reaction for Hanifin is that his fantasy stock has increased and he will likely hit double-digit goals for the second straight season (10 in 2017-18) if he plays on Calgary's top power play.

Lindholm has had 39-45 points in each of his past four seasons, and coach Bill Peters has already said he could play the forward on the top line with elite fantasy players Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. The exposure makes Lindholm a late-round flier that can feasibly finish inside the top 100.

Hamilton to Carolina doesn't impact his value much initially (projected top-15 defenseman). He should occupy a spot on the Hurricanes' top power-play unit with any combination of forwards Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov. Although Hamilton's fantasy stock isn't likely to change, Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk could lose value in's top 50 defenseman rankings if the Hurricanes decide to play four forwards and one defenseman on the power play.

Ferland could be worth targeting in late rounds, given the abundance of talent in Carolina's top six and should be considered a must-own player in hits leagues (led Calgary with 171 in 77 games).

Video: Hurricanes, Flames announce big trade



Goaltender Philipp Grubauer was acquired by the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a second round pick (No. 47) in the 2018 Draft. Grubauer, who was looking to be a No. 1 goaltender, will likely compete with Semyon Varlamov for the starting job. Varlamov's season was cut short from a knee injury sustained on March 30 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Grubauer ranks third in even-strength save percentage (.935; minimum 50 games) over the past two seasons behind Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Arizona Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta. It's too early to say whether Grubauer projects to be a No. 1 goaltender or not but his fantasy stock has risen now that he will split starts with the injury-prone Varlamov.

Worth noting: The Avalanche have also received defenseman Brooks Orpik in the trade.

Video: NSH@WSH: Grubauer robs Sissons with the trapper



Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday, addresses a glaring weakness in their lineup for next season. He is a prototypical puck-moving defenseman and generational prospect that can be a game-changer for the Sabres and fantasy owners, both immediately and for many years to come.

The native of Sweden is coming off an impressive season for Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League (20 points in 41 games) and for his country in the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo (top defenseman of tournament) and 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. He was the obvious choice all along after the Sabres won the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery and is worth targeting among the top 20 defensemen with an even higher ceiling as an 18-year-old rookie.

READ MORE: Fantasy projection for Dahlin with Sabres in 2018-19 | Top 50 'D' ranks



Wing Andrei Svechnikov, drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday, gives their top six an immediate goal-scoring threat.

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Russian wing scored 40 goals in 44 games as a rookie for Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League. His 0.91 goals-per-game average led OHL skaters. Svechnikov's impressive goal total came despite missing nearly two months of the regular season with a hand injury. He also produced on the international stage with five assists in five games for Russia at the 2018 World Junior Championship.

His goal-scoring clip at the junior level combined with his size indicate he's ready to crack the Hurricanes lineup in 2018-19. It's easy to picture Svechnikov fitting in alongside either center Jordan Staal or Elias Lindholm and possibly even forward Teuvo Teravainen, who played center at times in 2017-18. The best-case scenario for prospective fantasy owners is Svechnikov playing on the top line with the highly skilled Finnish duo of Sebastian Aho and Teravainen. Aho and Tervainen had at least 60 points in 2017-18 and finished top five in scoring at the 2018 World Championship.

READ MORE: Fantasy projection for Svechnikov with Hurricanes in 2018-19.



Selected with the No. 3 pick by Montreal Canadiens, Jesperi Kotkaniemi fills a big need for the Canadiens at the position of center. It's not a certainty that Kotkaniemi will make the team in the 2018-19 season but if he does, he'll be given every opportunity to succeed from a fantasy standpoint. 

The best-case scenario would be for Kotkaniemi to immediately slot in as the No. 2 center behind Jonathan Drouin. Kotkaniemi could potentially play with recently acquired left wing, Max Domi, forming an underrated fantasy duo. In keeper leagues, Kotkaniemi should be seen as a high-value pick given the Canadiens dire need for more centers.


The Detroit Red wings took forward Filip Zadina with the No. 6 pick in the 2018 Draft. Zadina is a goal-scoring forward that could potentially crack the lineup in 2018-19. Detroit has been known to take additional time to develop prospects but with talented young center Michael Rasmussen (No. 9 pick in 2017) seemingly ready to compete for a starting spot, Zadina could also be NHL ready. Zadina scored 44 goals in 57 games for Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and would be worth a late-round flier if he's projected to make the team.



The Vancouver Canucks selected defenseman Quinn Hughes with the No. 7 pick. Hughes, who currently plays at the University of Michigan of the NCAA, made a name for himself by making the US team at the 2018 World Championship. The 18-year-old was the youngest player on the team, signifying he could be NHL ready. Hughes can be viewed as a deep sleeper in season-long fantasy leagues and as a one of the top defensemen in keeper leagues. He has the potential to be part of a lethal Canucks power play for years to come alongside forwards Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat.

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