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Fantasy waiver wire: Veterans to watch at deadline

Martin Hanzal joins deep Wild offense; Radim Vrbata, Thomas Vanek could be traded

by Ben Zweiman @BZweimanNHL / Staff Writer

With the NHL Trade Deadline coming up March 1 at 3 p.m. ET, trying to land a player who may get traded to a better situation is a solid fantasy practice. 

Trades are already flying in, with the Los Angeles Kings acquiring goalie Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a package that included Peter Budaj. The impact of this trade is a positive one for the Kings' goalie tandem, a negative one for Budaj and a long-term boost for Lightning youngster Andrei Vasilevskiy.


Later Sunday, the Minnesota Wild acquired center Martin Hanzal from the Arizona Coyotes. Ranked 227th in Yahoo's performance-based rankings, Hanzal (C, 13 percent owned in Yahoo) covers points (26), power-play points (eight), penalty minutes (43) and shots on goal (126), and has added value in leagues that count hits (105; eight straight seasons of at least 100) and/or faceoff wins (596, 16th).

Hanzal's power-play usage won't be anything close to what it was in Arizona (2:58 per game), but this trade should help even out his minus-15. He was a minus player in six of his 10 seasons with the Coyotes, but the Wild have one of the deepest offenses in the NHL, five of the League's top seven in plus/minus and the second best goal differential (plus-60).

Minnesota's top two centers are clear (Mikko Koivu, Eric Staal), but Hanzal could feasibly step into an even-strength role on the third line with Zach Parise once the Wild return from their break Feb. 27. This is the beauty of the deadline. It can offer a fresh start and potentially alter fantasy value in an instant. 

The Coyotes are also likely to move veteran right wing Radim Vrbata (21 percent owned), but his value could take a hit depending on where he lands. Vrbata is playing 17:01 per game for the Coyotes, who are 29th in the NHL with 51 points. Being dealt to a Stanley Cup Playoff contender could lower his average ice time per game. He could go from a top-line forward with a prominent power-play role, to a third-line depth scorer. Still, Vrbata is ranked 99th overall in Yahoo with 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists), 13 PPP and 186 SOG in 61 games, and is worth adding to see where he ends up.

Video: ARI@DAL: Vrbata rips home a one-timer from the slot

Generally veteran players who can become unrestricted free agents after this season are likely candidates to be dealt. That sentence basically screams Thomas Vanek.

With the Detroit Red Wings looking like they'll fail to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 26 seasons, Vanek (LW/RW, 31 percent owned) is almost a lock to be traded to a playoff contender. The 33-year-old leads the Red Wings with 15 goals and 11 PPP in 47 games this season. He can fill a need for a team looking for a top-six forward and power-play specialist, two traits that translate well in fantasy. 

It also helps that Vanek has been in this situation before, when he was traded by the New York Islanders to the Montreal Canadiens before the 2014 deadline. He had 15 points and was plus-8 with 61 SOG in 18 games for the Canadiens, so a change of scenery has the chance to boost his value rather than hurt it.




Jiri Hudler, C/LW/RW, DAL (3 percent owned)

The Dallas Stars continue to fall further out of a playoff spot, which increases the odds Hudler could be traded. Again, it depends largely on where he falls, but Hudler isn't far removed from finishing tied for eighth in the NHL in scoring with 76 points for the Calgary Flames in 2014-15. He has tri-eligibility (which is rare) and could move from a bottom-six role with Dallas to a top-six spot with another team. Three of Hudler's 10 points this season have come in the past two games.

Video: BOS@DAL: Hudler rips a one-timer past Rask for PPG


Jarome Iginla, RW, COL (16 percent owned)

Iginla is trying to win his first Stanley Cup title, so expect the Colorado Avalanche to give him that opportunity. His lack of production this season is directly linked to the Avalanche's struggles, so a trade could wake up the giant. Iginla had scored a combined 51 goals in his prior two season with Colorado, and like Vanek, has been in this situation before. The veteran wing had 11 points and was plus-2 with 34 SOG in 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins after being traded by the Flames before the 2013 deadline.


Jacob Markstrom, G, VAN (11 percent owned)

There has been talk that the Vancouver Canucks are shopping goalie Ryan Miller, who has given them a list of teams he would approve a trade to. Should Miller be traded, Markstrom would be thrust into the No. 1 goalie role for the Canucks. His stats may not be inspiring (10-11-3, 2.63 goals-against average, .910 save percentage), but the volume of starts he would get is appealing. Markstrom is also an interesting add in a deep keeper league. With Miller out of the picture, the Canucks could give Markstrom a chance to win the No. 1 job going into next season.


Alex Goligoski, D, ARI (18 percent owned)

Goligoski should survive the Coyotes' impending sale because he's a defenseman who can eat up minutes. His playing time has been erratic, but that would likely change should Arizona's roster thin out. Goligoski has six assists in his past six games, and is plus-3 with nine SOG in that span. He's currently on the second power-play unit and could see a promotion to the first group if Vrbata joins Hanzal on the move; the Coyotes use four forwards and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on their initial power play. Goligoski also has value in a league that counts blocks (114 in 61 games).

Video: MTL@ARI: Goligoski streaks into slot, buries SHG


Nick Schmaltz, C/LW, CHI (6 percent owned)

It took a while, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has finally found a way to get Schmaltz going. He stuck the rookie forward with captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Richard Panik, and the trio has taken off. Schmaltz had an assist against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, giving him at least a point in seven of his past eight games for a total of 10 points and a plus-12 in the span. He's even seeing time on the second power play, though that hasn't translated into points just yet.


Other candidates: Mika Zibanejad (C/RW, NYR; 34 percent owned), Erik Johnson (D, COL; 14 percent), Eddie Lack (G, CAR; 8 percent), Mathieu Perreault (C/LW, WPG; 3 percent)

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