Fantasy Pool Look: Eight pre-deadline fantasy hockey targets

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This year’s trade deadline lands on March 5, which is just over a week away. There are a lot of names being churned through the rumor mill right now, but you and I both know that once the player is dealt your odds of acquiring him from a fellow owner start to become slim. And even if he’s still available, the price of said player goes up.

So you have to roll the dice a bit and try to land the player before he gets traded. But that’s not without its risks. First of all, he’ll actually need to be traded. Secondly, he’d need to go to a team that would actually help his production (i.e. linemates and ice time).

In looking at some of the available names, I’ve pulled out eight players who stand to gain the most value with a change in scenery. You won’t see big names such as Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson on this list, since I don’t believe that a different team will suddenly lead to a big spike in their production.

8. P-A Parenteau, Colorado Avalanche - Parenteau is a very productive NHLer when he’s with the Islanders. And he’s a very productive NHLer when he’s on the Avalanche under Joe Sacco. But under Patrick Roy? Not so much. I get the sense Roy is not a fan. And given that Parenteau was a career minor leaguer until he was 27, other coaches share that feeling. But there are some coaches who will play on his strengths. He has good hockey sense and is an excellent complimentary player for a star center. He could fly again if he’s traded to the right team.

7. Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers - Gagner is already getting premium ice time in Edmonton and his linemates have a lot of talent. He’s miscast as a first liner, but his eight-point game from a couple of years ago still resonates with poolies. The thinking with putting him on this list is the idea that he will put up some pretty big points early on with his new team. That often happens with skilled, slumping players when they change cities. And even though his initial production surge will slow, it will be enough to bump his trade value even further heading into the summer – and that’s when you flip him. A lot of ifs with this one, so make sure you can actually acquire him on the cheap.

6. Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers – The first of three Panthers on this list of eight and it’s for good reason. Florida is looking as though it may not have a 40-point player on its roster at the end of the season. Granted, Kulikov plays a role in that. But he’s also passing the puck to a 35-point player, regardless of which direction he looks. On a new team, I’m guessing he’ll have some 70-point players to pass to soon enough.

5. Brad Boyes, Florida Panthers - This one is a boom or bust, because Boyes tends to disappear if he’s not playing with that team’s superstar. With 20 games, give or take, to play after the deadline, Boyes could tally anywhere from zero to 20 points. But my thinking, as noted above, is that anywhere is better than Florida.

4. Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames - Cammalleri is shooting the puck with the frequency of the old days in which he was scoring 34 to 39 goals. But right now he lacks the supporting cast, which is holding him to an abysmal eight assists. Give him linemates and he’ll fly. But I can’t think of (Pittsburgh) any playoff team (Pittsburgh) with highly skilled centers (Pittsburgh) who like to acquire wingers at the trade deadline (Pittsburgh)…can you?

3. Tomas Fleischmann, Florida Panthers - For all of the reasons outlined beside Kulikov and Boyes, but ‘Flash’ also has a history of making a big splash with a new team. He had 21 points in 22 games after being dealt to Colorado in 2011 and he had a 61-point season in his first campaign with the Panthers.

2. Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers - Injuries have slowed the talented Hemsky over the years, but it also doesn’t help that he’s seeing secondary power play time. A new team with new linemates will be just what the doctor ordered.

1. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres - The biggest, most talked about name in the trade market, Miller is one of the better goalies in the league. But he’s on a team that isn’t helping him get wins and last time I checked, that’s a key category in every fantasy league that includes goalies. It’s hard to have a 30-win season when your team doesn’t win 25 games.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

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