With the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline on March 2 a few weeks away, the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres set the tone Wednesday with a blockbuster trade that should have fantasy owners taking note.
The NHL players moving were injured forward Evander Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian from the Jets to the Sabres for defenseman Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford. Myers (owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues) is the biggest winner, fantasy-wise, with the relocation to a stronger Winnipeg team, but anyone with Kane (owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues) on their roster in a keeper league should see the opportunity for him to possibly play with top 2015 NHL Draft prospects Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel as a big plus for next season.
Myers began his career as a fantasy stud, winning the Calder Trophy in 2009-10 after leading rookie defensemen with 48 points (11 goals, 37 assists), but his numbers declined each season afterward. The Sabres were last in the NHL with an average of 1.83 goals per game in 2013-14 and are at the bottom this season at 1.76 goals per game. Joining an offensively solid Jets team figures to boost Myers' output, but if Yahoo forward-defenseman eligible Dustin Byfuglien returns to playing primarily on the blue line for Winnipeg, then it remains to be seen where Myers lands on the depth chart.
Stafford (owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues) is worth keeping an eye on because his nine goals and 24 points with 91 shots on goal already had him marginally fantasy relevant before the trade. Now that he switches from playing for the League's poorest offense to the Jets (averaging 2.68 goals per game), it's safe to assume his numbers could get an uptick if coach Paul Maurice uses him as a top-six forward. As of now, fantasy owners are recommended to take the wait-and-see approach with Stafford.