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Fantasy Nuggets

Fantasy Nuggets Week 20

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

By this time next week, the NHL trade deadline will have come and gone.  As per usual, most of the activity is expected to happen on the deadline day - in this case March 1 - but we will see some activity in the lead up to it.  There's already been a handful of trades this month, though most of them weren't particularly noteworthy.

 

The one of the exceptions to that was Arizona trading defenseman Michael Stone to Calgary in exchange for a 2017 third-round pick and a 2018 conditional fifth round pick.  Stone had been logging over 20 minutes per game with Arizona and while he might see his role decline a touch in Calgary, he is expected he'll likely end up logging 18-20 minutes per contest and get a bit of power-play ice time included in that.  The Flames might also sign him to a new deal rather than let him walk as an unrestricted free agent.  Stone does have some pre-existing connections with Calgary given his former time with the WHL Calgary Hitmen and the fact that his wife is from the area, so he'll also likely be open to sticking with the Flames if this rental period goes well.

 

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Meanwhile, the Flames will likely let Dennis Wideman leave as a free agent this summer.  Not that they were expected to re-sign him to begin with, but their intentions became particularly clear when Stone's debut led to Wideman being listed as a healthy scratch.  Calgary will probably still work Wideman into the lineup a decent amount of time, but it does illustrate how much his importance to the Flames has dipped since its peak in 2014-15 when he recorded 56 points and was averaging 24:39 minutes per game.

 

You have wonder if there's any teams looking at this situation though and wondering if they could acquire Wideman before the deadline.  His $5.25 million annual cap hit isn't great, even as a short-term rental, and he has a no-movement clause so ultimately it would require Wideman's blessing, but if he's out of favor in Calgary, maybe he'll give it and as for his cap hit, the Flames might be willing to retain some of it as freeing up some space is better than freeing none at all.  It also probably wouldn't take much to acquire him and you never know if he'll find his spark when given a change of scenery.  After all, he's not too old at 33 (34 on March 20) and he's not so far removed from his offensively productive seasons.

 

Another trade of note happened while this article was being written: The Penguins acquired Ron Hainsey from Carolina in exchange for a 2017 second rounder and AHLer Danny Kristo.  Hainsey is a rental, but a critical one for Pittsburgh given that the team is missing Kris Letang, Justin Schultz, Trevor Daley, and Olli Maatta because of injuries.  Hainsey can slot in seamlessly into a top-four role and if the Penguins' defense starts getting healthy again, then they'll be fairly deep in that regard in the playoffs.

 

That's two of the major available defensemen now off the market, but the top blueline trade target remains there.  That's the Blues' Kevin Shattenkirk, who about as attractive of a trade target as you'll ever find in the middle of the season.  He's excelling this season with 11 goals and 42 points in 60 games and this will be his fourth straight 40-plus point campaign.  If not for the fact that he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, he would never be on the block.

 

The Blues still might not trade him, despite all the rumors surrounding Shattenkirk.  After all, St. Louis is currently in a playoff position and the squad has gone 7-3-0 since Mike Yeo took over as the team's head coach.  Losing Shattenkirk for nothing as a free agent would hurt, but so would dealing him away just before a playoff run.

 

Beyond him, the top trade chips are mostly from a few teams that are out of the playoff hunt.  Arizona has already dealt Michael Stone, but they might still trade Radim Vrbata and, if he decides he wants to move, Shane Doan.  The Colorado Avalanche might also give Jarome Iginla another shot at his first Stanley Cup championship by moving him to a contender.  The Avalanche also might end up making a blockbuster trade by dealing Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog.

 

Moving either of Duchene or Landeskog would represent a major shakeup, which might be needed as the club faces its sixth campaign without a playoff berth in the span of seven years.  That being said, both of them are tied to long-term contracts, so it might make more sense to revisit those kind of trades talks in the summer when teams have more cap flexibility.

 

There are some players from other teams that should attract attention too.  With Detroit's playoff streak looking more and more like it will end, the Red Wings might decide to trade Thomas Vanek.  He's having a resurgence season with 15 goals and 38 points in 47 contests, so there should be a decent amount of demand for his services.

 

We might also see a major goaltender trade like Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop or Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury.  The prior is eligible to be a free agent this summer and the latter would probably get scooped up in the expansion draft.  Plus both teams have younger goalies that are seen as the future of their respective franchises.  At the same time, the Penguins are looking to make another serious playoff run and the Lightning are still in the hunt too, so both clubs might be reluctant to thin their goaltending at this time.

 

There will also probably be some trades that surprise us and there will likely be a significant volume of moves beyond just the ones containing big names.  We'll know for certain in a week.

 

Ryan Dadoun

Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on NBC Sports Edge. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.