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Impact of offseason moves in fantasy by association

by David Satriano

There are not many factors that would cause you to pass on drafting Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or John Tavares if given the opportunity. If they had different linemates or a new coach, you could still count on them to be productive.

Phil Kessel is primed for a big season after being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he will get to play with Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, but he was likely to be chosen in the first round anyway. However, his trade does affect the value of players on the team he was traded from, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Someone will get more of an opportunity to play on the top line in Toronto and fill his role; it could be center Nazem Kadri.

Similarly, forward Patrick Sharp was traded to the Dallas Stars by the Chicago Blackhawks on July 10, and as a result, new teammate Jason Spezza should see an increase in offense.

When drafting, be sure to take into account each player's situation based on what happened this offseason with his current team.

Here are six players who could see an increase in production as a result of those factors (position listings are according to Yahoo eligibility):

Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars, C

Not only did the Stars add Sharp, but forward Valeri Nichushkin, who played eight games last season, is fully healthy. Along with Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Ales Hemsky, Spezza will be part of one of the most dynamic top-six forward groups in the League. Spezza's first season in Dallas was a disappointment; he had 17 goals and 62 points in 82 games after scoring 20-plus goals (including four 30-goal seasons) in each of his previous seven full seasons with the Ottawa Senators. His 8.3 shooting percentage was the lowest of his career. But the Stars, who were the second-highest scoring team in the League last season, should provide Spezza with plenty of chances to bounce back.

Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs, C

With Kessel traded to the Penguins, Kadri has a chance to produce more offense and could be the Maple Leafs' No. 1 center. New coach Mike Babcock has praised Kadri for his work ethic this summer and said he's become more mature after missing meetings and being a distraction to the team last season. Kadri had 18 goals and 39 points in 77 games, a drop from his career-high totals of 20 goals and 50 points in 2013-14. His shooting percentage dropped to 10.2 from 13.5, and his penalty minutes fell to 28 from 67. Kadri is entering a contract year, having signed a one-year deal with Toronto in July. Babcock is expecting big things from Kadri and Kadri is expecting big things from himself, which should benefit fantasy owners.

Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers, C/LW

Hall was limited to 53 games last season because of an ankle injury that limited him to 14 goals, 38 points and three power-play goals. In 2013-14, Hall had career highs of 27 goals and 80 points, and he was among the League leaders in shots (250). This season, he could be the beneficiary of many of 18-year old rookie phenom Connor McDavid's passes, as the two likely will skate on the Oilers' top line. Hall's three power-play goals were the lowest total of his five- year career; that number is likely to rise as he sees more power-play time on a unit that improved in the offseason.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals, C/LW

Kuznetsov had 11 goals, 37 points and 127 shots in 80 games in his first full season with the Capitals. Having stars like Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on his line at times helped. Kuznetsov could end up on the Capitals' top line, but if not, he could see playing time with newcomers T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams. The 23-year-old also had five goals in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff seasons and is a candidate to score 20-plus this season.

Kevin Bieksa, Anaheim Ducks, D

Anaheim had 41 goals from its defensemen last season (18 percent of the Ducks' non-shootout goals) and three of its top seven scorers were defensemen (Sami Vatanen had 37 points; Hampus Lindholm and Cam Fowler each had 34). It's safe to say Bieksa, who will be a top-six defenseman for the Ducks, should see a spike in goals (four) and assists (10) from last season. He also spent nine seasons with Ducks forward Ryan Kesler on the Vancouver Canucks, so the two should have some have chemistry. Bieksa also is worth watching for his penalty minutes (77 in 60 games last season).

David Perron, Pittsburgh Penguins, LW/RW

Perron had 12 goals and 22 points in 43 games last season with the Penguins after he was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers, but had one goal in the final 14 games of the season and three goals in the past 27 games. He could be on a line with Crosby and Kessel, which should increase his stock. His average draft position in Yahoo leagues is 171, but playing with those two, he could see a year similar to his 2013-14 season when he had career highs in goals (28), points (57), shots on goal (220) and power-play goals (eight). If not Perron, teammate Chris Kunitz (LW eligible in Yahoo Leagues) will play with Crosby and Kessel and should see a boost from the 40 points he had last season, his lowest since the 2009-10 season


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