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Miller, Vanek among top fantasy trade candidates

by Matt Cubeta

The NHL Trade Deadline is at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 5. The standard fantasy hockey league trade deadline is the very next day.

In order to have you fully prepared, fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with a three-part "Fantasy Hockey Trade Deadline Decisions" series. Each part will feature a different list of players. Part 1: A list of players who could be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline and how it would affect their fantasy value. Part 2: A list of players Cubeta believes you should be trying to acquire before your deadline -- also known as buy-low candidates. Part 3: A list of players you should be trying to trade away before your deadline -- also known as sell-high candidates.

Remember, when you're trying to make a trade, don't be afraid to start your negotiation off a little higher than what you're hoping to eventually land. You can always lower your asking price, but you won't be able to raise it if the other person you're trading with already accepts the deal.

Players who could be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline and how it would affect their fantasy value

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres -- 40 games: 15-22-3, 2.72 GAA, .923 SV%, 0 SO

Miller currently ranks 304th among all players in Yahoo fantasy leagues. Not exactly what his drafters were hoping for. However, the American goalie has a .923 save percentage, which is good for seventh best in the NHL among goalies that have made at least 30 starts. The Sabres have allowed the third-most shots on goal per game (34.2) and are dead last in goals per game by an enormous margin (1.84 for Buffalo, 2.25 for the Los Angeles Kings). Assuming Miller gets dealt to a playoff-contending team, you can expect his wins and goals-against average to improve significantly, making Miller a potential top-10 fantasy goalie for the rest of the season.

Thomas Vanek was already traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the New York Islanders back in late October, but a second trade this season could be coming for the 30-year-old forward. (Photo: Getty Images)

Thomas Vanek, New York Islanders -- 57 games: 19 G, 30 A, plus-1, 36 PIMs, 15 PPP, 173 SOG

Vanek is the big fish on offense and he is almost definitely going to be on the move considering he's already said he won't sign a contract extension with the Islanders. Since joining the Islanders he has been a near point-per-game player (40 points in 44 games) while skating alongside John Tavares, who is now sidelined for the rest of the season. Even if he ends up getting dealt, I'm not sure his value will change much unless he gets paired up with another superstar that's close to as good as Tavares. With the Islanders, Vanek was surprisingly a plus-6 so his plus/minus doesn't even have much to gain if he lands on a better team. I currently have Vanek ranked 29th among all forwards and I expect him to remain around that spot.

Matt Moulson, Buffalo Sabres -- 52 games: 15 G, 19 A, minus-8, 22 PIMs, 16 PPP, 127 SOG

Moulson's fantasy owners can't wait for him to get dealt. As an Islander and playing with Tavares, Moulson had three consecutive 30-plus goal seasons from 2009 to 2012. He also had six goals and nine points in 11 games with them before he got traded to the Sabres. With Buffalo, it's been the complete opposite. He has struggled mightily with nine goals, 25 points and a minus-11 in 41 games. A trade to any team that would pair Moulson with a talented playmaker would benefit his fantasy value greatly.

Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers -- 42 games: 11 G, 13 A, even, 14 PIMs, 7 PPP, 99 SOG

Sticking with players based in New York, Callahan finds himself in a strange spot. The Rangers are likely a playoff-bound team, but Callahan is an unrestricted free-agent after this season and his demands appear to be too high for the Rangers, so New York has become open to trading him. It hasn't been a very good season for Callahan and his 17:52 of ice time per game is his lowest since 2008-09 (his first full season), but I have to imagine a change of scenery wouldn't help his fantasy value. Callahan is the captain and heart and soul of the Rangers, and despite limited opportunities he still has the skill and potential to turn things around for the rest of the season as New York looks to march into the playoffs.

Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils -- 59 games: 17 G, 32 A, plus-21, 32 PIMs, 12 PPP, 151 SOG

Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 32 | PTS: 49
PIMS: 32 | SOG: 151 | +/-: 21
At 42, Jagr has continued to prove that he's still one of the game's best players, even in fantasy hockey, where he's ranked 27th overall. Whether he can keep at this pace for the rest of the season remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: teams will be calling about Jagr. I believe staying in New Jersey would benefit Jagr the most; why change something that's working? If he ends up with a new team, he'll have to change his game in some fashion and that could lead to less production. If he stays with the Devils, he might cool off a bit, but he's comfortable there and has already proven their system works for him, so a 25-goal, 65-point season certainly seems attainable.

Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames -- 41 games: 13 G, 8 A, minus-22, 20 PIMs, 6 PPP, 128 SOG

Anyone that owned Cammalleri back in 2008-09 when he scored 39 goals for the Flames are still hoping he'll one day return to that level of hockey. For the rest of us, we're all aware those days are long gone for the 31-year-old forward. Cammalleri has struggled to even stay on the ice since then. He's missed 69 games over the past four-plus seasons and has really struggled since re-joining the Flames in 2011-12 (37 goals, 72 points and a minus-41 rating in 113 games). A trade to a contending team would increase his value for sure, but he still wouldn't be worth adding unless he proves he can return to his old scoring ways.

PA Parenteau, Colorado Avalanche -- 46 games: 10 G, 18 A, plus-2, 24 PIMs, 2 PPP, 87 SOG

In his first year with the Avalanche, Parenteau finished with 43 points in 48 games last season. This year hasn't been the same story and he might find himself on a new team soon enough. A change of scenery and a top-six role would definitely benefit the 30-year-old, and if that does happen Parenteau could make for a nice pick-up in fantasy leagues (available in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues).

Anaheim Ducks Goaltending

Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller finished the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a 0.67 GAA and .971 SV%. His dominant play should result in Anaheim sticking with him as their No. 1 goalie for the rest of the season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jonas Hiller -- 39 starts: 25-9-4, 2.34 GAA, .917 SV%, 4 SO

Frederik Andersen -- 16 starts: 14-3-0, 2.06 GAA, .928 SV%

Viktor Fasth -- 5 starts: 2-2-1, 2.95 GAA, .885 SV%

There's a very good chance one of these goaltenders will be dealt, and if I had to choose I would say it will be Andersen. Hiller has been fantastic since the start of December and looked great for Switzerland at the Olympics, so I'm betting he remains the No. 1 goalie for the Pacific-leading Ducks. Fasth was a big surprise last season who has missed a lot of time this season due to injury, but he's healthy again and playing in the American Hockey League for the Norfolk Admirals. Andersen, like Fasth last season, has come out of nowhere to be sensational between the pipes. And the reason I think he's most likely to get dealt is because he's only 24 years old and would bring back the best package for Anaheim. With Hiller at the helm and a reliable Fasth backing him up, Andersen becomes expendable. All said, Hiller is the player you'd want to own in this threesome and Andersen would be next if he ends up on a team that can give him playing time.

Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers -- 47 games: 6 G, 18 A, minus-20, 31 PIMs, 5 PPP, 90 SOG

Gagner had his best NHL season last year with 38 points in 48 games, but it hasn't been pretty in 2013-14. There's a good chance he gets traded to a contending team, but if he does, there's also a good chance he ends up playing a third-line role for a better team, thus making him all but non-existent in fantasy terms. Gagner is only 24 and has tremendous skill, but he doesn't appear to be someone worth owning for this fantasy season.

Steve Ott, Buffalo Sabres -- 58 games: 9 G, 11 A, minus-26, 55 PIMs, 8 PPP, 98 SOG

Ott could see a boost in fantasy value if he's traded. He's a player that's capable of putting up a few points and certainly isn't afraid of piling on some penalty minutes. The one thing that's really hampered his value this season is his minus-26, and if he gets dealt to a contender that should certainly change. Keep a close eye on Ott leading into the deadline, and if he does get moved and you need some PIMs, then Ott's the guy to grab.


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