Sunday, April 2 2023

Special to Yahoo Sports

Injuries and the trade deadline — those two topics will dominate the NHL going forward. After Thanksgiving, and despite seemingly more parity than ever before, we have a pretty good idea of which teams will be buying and which will be selling between now and March 3. That, as well as goaltending, will be part of the focus for this week’s fantasy trade targets column.

Trade For

Jakob Chychrun, D, Coyotes (69 percent rostered)

It’s not the first time Chychrun has appeared in this space, but it’s worth mentioning again how good he’s looked since returning to the lineup. He’s carrying a five-game point streak at the moment and has nine points in 10 games on the season. He’s averaging over 22 minutes and 3.9 shots per game with PP1 duties while posting a plus-6 rating on a team with a minus-24 goal differential.

Those are elite numbers at a position short on scorers, and even if the Coyotes are just showcasing Chychrun for a potential trade, he’s slowly working his way back into top-pairing status.

The previous season was disappointing with only 21 points in 47 games and, having never played more than 68 games in any season, Chychrun’s injury history was a valid concern. His recent play has changed that notion, and given the significant amount of cap space some contenders have opened up this season using LTIR, it’s opened up a world of possibilities for Chychrun if he moves to a better team.

The strategy for Chychrun right now is to roster him if he’s available in your league, or otherwise trade for him while he’s still in the middle of an upward trajectory.

Rasmus Sandin, D, Maple Leafs (40 percent rostered)

We’re bending the rules slightly here since Sandin isn’t rostered in half of Yahoo leagues yet, but at this pace, he certainly will be. His rostered percentage climbed 13 points from Monday to Tuesday, and he rewarded quick-trigger fantasy managers with his second straight multi-assist effort. Despite three regulars missing from the Toronto blue line (Morgan Rielly, Jordie Benn and Jake Muzzin) due to injuries that could keep them out of the lineup for weeks, months or even the entire season, the Leafs defense has been one of the team’s bright spots.

Paired with fellow Swede Timothy Liljegren, they’ve been exceptional, generating a 58.8 xGoals percentage and 3.2 goals per 60 minutes in over 150 minutes together, according to It’s the second-best pairing so far behind the pairing of Sandin and Mark Giordano (60 xGoals%, 3.56 goals per 60), and there’s a good argument that Sandin is Toronto’s best defenseman right now, especially with how he’s provided an extra jolt to their power play.

Benn is the closest to returning to the lineup, but he’s no threat to Sandin’s role on the power play and it’s likely Conor Timmins is the one who comes out of the lineup. Rielly has yet to resume skating, and with the way Sandin is playing, even Rielly might not be a threat to significantly reduce Sandin’s minutes, especially on the PP, going forward.

Jacob Markstrom, G, Flames (94 percent rostered)

Markstrom has allowed just five goals in his past three games, but he’s just not getting the goal support. The Flames are now 21st in goals per game after ranking sixth the previous season. There’s no doubt Markstrom has been a frustrating fantasy player with his sub-.900 save percentage, and now Dan Vladar is taking up a significant portion of the playing time.

However, as bad as Markstrom has been, I think there’s definitely a desire to get him back on track. The Flames have gone to Vladar because he’s been winning games, but his past few starts haven’t been particularly great. Unlike the situation in Edmonton, Vladar isn’t exactly an up-and-comer like Stuart Skinner, while Markstrom has been nowhere near as bad as Jack Campbell.

Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Calgary Flames still has fantasy valueJacob Markstrom #25 of the Calgary Flames still has fantasy value

Don’t give up on Jacob Markstrom in fantasy leagues. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The Flames have a super-soft schedule coming up, facing weaker divisional opponents in the Canucks and Sharks (twice), and if fantasy managers strike now, they might be able to get Markstrom at a discount. Sure, there’s the risk that the Flames don’t find their footing at all this season after a sea change of their roster — Jonathan Huberdeau has been particularly disappointing — but even without the wins, look for Markstrom to start lowering his GAA and upping his save percentage. That’s where the smart money is; over the past three seasons, Markstrom ranks 17th in the league with a .912 Sv% (min. 50 GP), something that doesn’t happen without talent.

Trade Away

J.T. Miller, C/LW/RW, Canucks (99 percent rostered)

One of the reasons the Canucks have been so good in fantasy is because they’re monsters on the power play, but they’re potentially losing their most valuable piece in captain Bo Horvat, who’s tied for fifth in the league with eight PPG. The man advantage is where Miller has made a living for the past two years. It’s accounted for 14 of his 26 points (53.8%) this season, which is both a significant jump from last season (38 of 99, 38.4%) and an indictment against his 5-on-5 play.

Should the Canucks trade Horvat, and perhaps Brock Boeser — an occasional PP1 winger who formed their famed “Lotto Line” with Miller and Elias Pettersson last season — it could take a huge bite out of Miller’s production.

Miller’s faceoff wins are also down, and he ranks second-to-last (behind Boeser) with a minus-10 rating. The fantasy upside of having triple position eligibility is nice, but his peripherals have been so poor that it’s really eating away at his value, especially in roto leagues. Miller might get a slight bump if Horvat leaves because it’ll force the Canucks to play Miller at center, his preferred position, but the Canucks just aren’t a reliable team at the moment. It might be time to trade Miller while he still has some fantasy value before the Canucks start to strip their roster.

Vitek Vanecek, G, Devils (84 percent rostered)

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but perhaps cracks are starting to show in New Jersey with the Devils going 0-2-1 over the past week, allowing 14 goals (though Akira Schmid started two of those games) in just their second losing streak of the season. The Devils are excellent at puck possession and generating offense, and their defense has been very good when John Marino‘s been on the ice, but don’t forget that Vanecek struggled for long stretches last season; a big reason why the Capitals decided to part with him. Analytically speaking, Vanecek’s numbers are good but not great; he ranks 22nd in GSAA and 23rd in save percentage at 5-on-5 according to

The Devils are at the top of the standings, but perhaps no team is faced with more skepticism. The general belief is that the Devils are still too inexperienced to be labeled as legitimate contenders, and given the parity and close races in the league, it wouldn’t be surprising to see teams start ramping it up. With the intensity of the games getting ratcheted up, we’ve yet to really see how the Devils respond in high-pressure situations. There’s some uncertainty, and after providing fantasy managers with such a good run through the first few months, perhaps swapping Vanecek for someone with a more reliable track record will help fantasy managers avoid a potential second-half regression. Not to mention, the return of Mackenzie Blackwood might take away some of Vanecek’s playing time.

Source: Yahoo Sports


Kings may not be able to handle well-rested Raptors, plus other best bets for Wednesday


The Celtics’ incredible comeback win against the Lakers delivered a very bad beat for bettors

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

MLB unveils new replay technology and marketing approach

NEW YORK – A season of seismic changes for baseball gets underway Thursday highlighted by significant new rules designed to speed up the pace of play and create more action on the field. Major League Baseball also hopes fans noticed more transparency around replay reviews and efforts to boost marketing of players. Improved replay technology […]

Read More

Winnipeg Jets clip Detroit Red Wings, 6-2, but at least a loss helps draft lottery odds

There wasn’t much for the Detroit Red Wings to do after Friday’s dismantling than move on to the next game. After two energetic performances, their third outing in four nights fizzled against a Winnipeg Jets team with a Western Conference wild-card spot on the line. The Jets opened with six straight goals en route to […]

Read More

NASCAR expert talks driving career; Richmond’s FOX Bet Super 6 Stage 2 Contest

By Erica Renee DavisSpecial to FOX Sports What happens when you delve into the mind of a FOX Sports NASCAR analyst and pit reporter who’s also technically still an active driver ahead of race weekend in Richmond? You get an exclusive glimpse into how a pro navigates the racing industry — in and outside the […]

Read More