RANKINGS: 📈 250 | Forward | 'D' | Goalie
Fantasy spin: 2021 NHL Draft
NHL.com has the fantasy hockey reaction to the top 2021 NHL Draft picks and biggest trades from July 23-24.
Read: Fantasy impact: NHL Draft trades, picks
Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic acquired by Red Wings
Fantasy spin: Nedeljkovic was traded to the Red Wings by the Carolina Hurricanes on July 22, losing fantasy value for next season. But although Nedeljkovic has dropped out of the top 25 goalie rankings with the move to rebuilding Detroit, he still has sneaky fantasy upside in keeper and dynasty leagues.
Nedeljkovic was 15-5-3 with a .932 save percentage (led NHL; minimum 20 games) and three shutouts in 23 regular-season games and 4-5 with a .920 SV% and one shutout in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games this season, emerging as the starter for the Hurricanes and finishing as a finalist for the Calder Trophy (top rookie).
Nedeljkovic should see an increased start volume with the Red Wings without the competition he had in Carolina from Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, but the goalie's peripherals will likely decline playing behind Detroit's inexperienced defense and top-heavy forward group, led by center Dylan Larkin and wing Jakub Vrana. Nedeljkovic's outlook within the scope of his position remains promising in long-term leagues, but he's now a late-round sleeper worth targeting anytime outside the top 150 overall as a third or fourth fantasy goalie in a standard draft.
The Nedeljkovic trade boosts the value of Mrazek, who has moved back into the fantasy top 10 goalie rankings. Mrazek was 6-2-3 with a .923 SV% and three shutouts in 12 regular-season games and was 1-1 with an .873 SV% in two postseason games. If the Hurricanes do not sign another standout goalie in free agency and Mrazek (potential unrestricted free agent) returns, he could have one of the highest fantasy ceilings at the position this season.
Fantasy spin: NHL Expansion Draft
NHL.com identifies the most valuable players in fantasy hockey for next season who were selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
Read: Top Kraken players after Expansion Draft
Defenseman Ryan Ellis acquired by Philadelphia Flyers
Fantasy spin: Ellis was traded to the Flyers by the Nashville Predators on July 17, boosting his fantasy outlook for next season. Ellis is now among NHL.com's top 150 overall fantasy rankings after the move and gives the Flyers two defensemen among the top 30 at the position, joining new teammate Ivan Provorov.
Ellis is a well-rounded defenseman who ranks 27th at the position in points (199 points in 360 games) and fourth in plus/minus (plus-94) since 2015-16. He scored 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 35 games and five points (one goal, four assists) in six postseason games for the Predators this season. Although Provorov has been relevant in fantasy with 62 points (20 goals, 42 assists) in his past 125 games over the past two seasons, the Flyers haven't had an elite offensive defenseman since Shayne Gostisbehere scored 65 points (13 goals, 52 assists) in 78 games during the 2017-18 season.
Ellis has scored at least 38 points three times in his NHL career as Nashville's No. 2 fantasy defenseman behind elite option Roman Josi and has a high fantasy ceiling in a top-pair role at even strength and especially if he plays on Philadelphia's first power-play unit. The Ellis trade, along with a separate move to land Rasmus Ristolainen from the Buffalo Sabres on July 23, also boosts the fantasy bounce-back appeal of young goalie Carter Hart, who took a big step back last season (.877 save percentage in 27 games; .915 in 74 games over first two NHL seasons) largely because of the Flyers' defensive struggles.
Forward Viktor Arvidsson acquired by Los Angeles Kings
Fantasy spin: Arvidsson was traded to the Kings by the Nashville Predators on July 1, giving him renewed upside to return to prior fantasy relevance. Arvidsson, who is still in his prime at 28 years old, will likely be a fixture in the Kings' top six skating on the second line with either young center Quinton Byfield or Gabriel Vilardi and could get a trial on the top line with elite center Anze Kopitar if veteran wing Dustin Brown moves down the lineup.
Either lineup position should give Arvidsson more fantasy intrigue than he had with the Predators, who were 22nd in goals per game (2.70) this season. He scored 61 points in consecutive seasons (2016-18) before scoring an NHL career-high 34 goals in 58 games in 2018-19. Arvidsson has also been valuable for shots on goal with at least 246 in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and his NHL career-high nine power-play points could easily be exceeded with consistent exposure to Kopitar and valuable defenseman Drew Doughty on the top power-play unit.
Fantasy managers should target Arvidsson in the final few rounds of a standard 12-team fantasy draft and view him as an intriguing bounce-back candidate on a team with offensive upside and plenty of young talent around him.
Fantasy spins on NHL coaching changes
-- CBJ hired Brad Larsen on June 10
-- NYR hired Gerard Gallant on June 16
-- ARI hired Andre Tourigny on July 1
Forward Vasily Podkolzin signed by Vancouver Canucks
Fantasy spin: Podkolzin, the No. 10 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Canucks on May 30. He's among NHL.com's top 100 rankings for keeper and dynasty leagues and could play right wing in Vancouver's top six as early as next season on a line with valuable center Elias Pettersson or Bo Horvat.
Podkolzin scored 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 16 playoff games with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League, matching his regular-season scoring total (35 games), and could emerge as a Calder Trophy candidate next season.
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