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Neutral Zone Wrap: A time to trade

by | Rotowire.com
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Ask not what your Fantasy team can do for you, ask what others can do for your Fantasy team. The other owners in your league may be perceived as your so-called enemies but they can unknowingly help you achieve success.

How so?

Say you're looking to trade. The first task is to target the player(s) in question. Check the other rosters and find a way to get it done. This process may not be straightforward but you should be persistent in your endeavor. Heck, if you know someone favors a certain NHL club, then try to work that angle to your advantage. If that owner is out of contention, then he/she may be more likely to give up value for a chance to grab a familiar face.

The aforementioned procedure is by no means foolproof but it's definitely a viable option if you're aiming for the title. Maybe some skater in the following collection just happens to be the one you've targeted for weeks. OK, that's probably not likely but there has to be at least one guy who deserves your attention:

(Stats as of Monday February 3)

Give my regards to the Rangers. Who knows what the future holds for Ryan Callahan in the Big Apple, but they'll be fine on the right side if Mats Zuccarello keeps up his run (four points in three games, nine in his last 11). After a couple seasons of grooming, Chris Kreider may be emerging as the forward New York has been waiting for (he's much better than a three-point night shoved in between eight scoreless efforts). Being the #3 center isn't as bad as it sounds for Derick Brassard (four in three, slots nicely on the second power-play). Don't get your hopes up on Benoit Pouliot (two in seven). The deep crater left behind by Michael Del Zotto has been adequately filled by Marc Staal (four in three, plus-6) and allows John Moore (the 21st pick in 2009) extended opportunities.

The Big Bad Bruins are back. As long as Reilly Smith (recent seven-game point streak) keeps producing, Loui Eriksson (four in 10 since a concussion) may have to wait longer to recover his scoring touch. It's amazing to see how Carl Soderberg (28 in 46) has excelled, especially when he's down on the third line. Unfortunately for you, Chris Kelly (who peaked at 38 in 2011-12) scores much higher on intangibles than he does in the scoring department. And if you're a Tuukka Rask owner (raises hand, shakes head), you have to be miffed to see Chad Johnson (stealing four wins and a shutout the last two weeks) fill in more than he's supposed to.

Phoenix are hanging around the edge of playoff contention, so it remains to be seen what moves they make approaching the trade deadline. One would never be able to guess Shane Doan (four in six, including two power-play assists) is 37 based on the way he battles. Reliability and hard work have paid off for Lauri Korpikoski (six in seven), as he received the call to join Team Finland in Sochi. Even if the ice time ain't what it used to be, Mike Ribeiro (seven in seven) doesn't disappoint. And without much defensive special-team duty left, it's up to you to decide between veterans Derek Morris (two in 16) and Zbynek Michalek (points in two after nothing in seven following an injury) or 2011 first-rounder Connor Murphy (could sneak his way in one of the PP units).

Like the Coyotes, the 'Canes sit right behind the top eight in the East. The return of Cam Ward should provide a boost, even if Anton Khudobin (five victories in six, no more than three allowed in any of those) has performed admirably of late. Even time out and a temporary demotion shouldn't hurt Jiri Tlusty (five in six) for the rest of the campaign. The future is now for Elias Lindholm (one in 10), but maybe the 19-year old isn't ready for it. How Manny Malhotra made his way back from an eye injury is heartwarming, but don't be fooled by the offensive anomalies (three points last week vs. Ottawa, but the surrounding 11 goose eggs remain closer to the norm). Enjoy whatever John-Michael Liles (scoreless in six) can earn before he loses his prime power-play position.

One of these days the Islanders will figure it out. After arriving in October, Thomas Vanek (a blistering 31 in 32 in Long Island) realized where he was and apparently doesn't want to stay long-term. Congrats to Frans Nielsen (eight in 10, three PPAs) for keeping up the consistency and making many eat their words. Brock Nelson (four goals in eight) is slowly maturing and definitely worth a flyer for his secondary power-play action. Calvin De Haan hasn't necessarily wowed offensively since turning pro (but ran a five-game point streak in the middle of January), but the minutes are there to build a Fantasy resume. And if Andrew MacDonald is also ready to be traded to a contender, perhaps Thomas Hickey (four in six) can move up to a larger role.

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Player News
Noah Hanifin
Hanifin To Get Chance At Cracking Canes' Roster
Noah Hanifin, D, CAR
1:42 PM
News: Carolina GM Ron Francis said that Noah Hanifin will receive consideration for opening the season with the parent club, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. "We don't want to force him [up to the NHL] if he's not ready," Francis said. "We'll give him time to develop. I'm certainly not ruling [making Carolina's opening roster] out, but we want to be careful and make sure we do what's right for Noah."
Analysis: Noah Hanifin, the fifth overall pick in June's NHL Entry Draft, made the surprise decision to sign an entry-level contract with the Hurricanes two weeks after being selected, thereby foregoing the remaining three years of his eligibility at Boston College. While an assignment of an 18-year-old defenseman to the NHL isn't unprecedented, Hanifin isn't quite on the same level as Florida's Aaron Ekblad, who achieved the rare "exceptional player" status during his time in the OHL before capturing the Calder Trophy last season. The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Hanifin profiles as a top-tier, two-way defenseman in the long run, but he still needs some further refinement, particularly on the offensive end. He should be the Canes' top defenseman before long, though it's more likely he'll spend most of 2015-16 developing at AHL Charlotte.

Carl Soderberg
Avs' Soderberg Could Center Second Line
Carl Soderberg, C, COL
1:31 PM
News: Carl Soderberg is expected to center Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon on the Avs' second line during the upcoming season, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Carl Soderberg was the Avs' most high-profile acquisition of the offseason, with the team acquiring the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent on June 25 and signing him to a lucrative five-year extension before he could reach the open market. The amount of money committed to Soderberg along with the departure of Ryan O'Reilly should open up a fruitful role for the Swedish pivot, as he's have the luxury of skating next to two of the league's last four Calder Trophy winners. If that line arrangement indeed materializes, Soderberg -- who averaged 46 points during his two seasons with the Bruins -- could make a run at 60 points.

Joey Hishon
Hishon Inks One-Year Deal With Avalanche
Joey Hishon, C, COL
10:06 AM
News: Joey Hishon signed a one-year contract with the Avalanche on Monday.
Analysis: Joey Hishon suited up for 13 games with the Avalanche last season, managing to tally two points (one goal, one assist) in those contests. He fared better with AHL Lake Erie, registering 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 53 games with the team. The 23-year-old will get a chance to compete for a roster spot with the big club in training camp.

Colin Wilson
Wilson Signs Four-Year Contract With Predators
Colin Wilson, C, NSH
8:36 AM
News: Colin Wilson signed a four-year, $15.75 million contract with the Predators on Monday, Adam Vingan of the Tennessean reports.
Analysis: Colin Wilson was a solid offensive contributor for the Predators in 2014-15, registering 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) in 77 games with the team. He will return to a top-six role with Nashville this season, and should be similarly productive barring injury.

Derek Stepan
Rangers And Stepan Agree To Six-Year Extension
Derek Stepan, C, NYR
7:14 AM
News: Derek Stepan agreed to a six-year extension with the Rangers on Monday that will net him $6.5 million annually, Katie Strang of ESPN reports.
Analysis: Derek Stepan has avoided arbitration with the deal, and will now remain in a Rangers uniform for a long time to come. The 25-year-old center posted 55 points (16 goals, 39 assists) in 2014-15, and will look to build off the effort once again in 2015 as he'll likely center the Rangers' top line once again.

Paul Byron
Flames, Byron Reach Agreement
Paul Byron, C, CGY
12:55 AM
News: Paul Byron re-signed Sunday with the Flames on a one-year, $900,000 contract, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reports.
Analysis: Paul Byron didn't skate for the Flames during the playoffs due to a wrist injury and later required sports hernia surgery, but he was a quality depth contributor during the regular season, providing six goals and 19 points in 57 games. He's expected to be recovered from all his ailments before training camp commences in September.

Alex Chiasson
Sens, Chiasson Come To Terms
Alex Chiasson, RW, OTT
7/26/2015
News: Alex Chiasson was awarded a one-year, $1.2 million contract Sunday through the arbitration process, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports.
Analysis: Alex Chiasson was seeking a $2.475 million contract, but after the winger tallied just 11 goals and 26 points in 76 games last season, the arbiter determined that valuation was too high. The Senators' primary get in the trade last summer that sent Jason Spezza to the Stars, Chiasson will be need to step up his productivity in 2015-16 in order to meet the high expectations the Senators have set for him. However, with Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman emerging last season as viable top-six forwards, Chiasson's opportunities to earn increased ice time may be limited.

Adam Larsson
Larsson Re-Signs With Devils
Adam Larsson, D, NJ
7/26/2015
News: Adam Larsson signed a six-year, $25 million contract with the Devils on Saturday.
Analysis: Adam Larsson was great for the Devils last season, tallying 24 points (three goals, 21 assists) in 64 games with the team. He's only 22 years old, and could develop into one of the league's best defensemen over the next few years. He will return to his role as a top-pair defender with New Jersey in 2015-16.

Braden Holtby
Holtby Signs Five-Year Contract With Capitals
Braden Holtby, G, WAS
7/25/2015
News: Braden Holtby signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract with the Capitals on Friday, Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press reports.
Analysis: Braden Holtby was in for a big pay day after his fantastic performance in 2014-15, going 41-20-10 with a 2.22 GAA and a .923 save percentage. He's only 25 years old, and should continue to be one of the league's top netminders for the foreseeable future.

Tomas Jurco
Jurco Re-Signs With Red Wings
Tomas Jurco, RW, DET
7/24/2015
News: Tomas Jurco signed a two-year, $1.8 million contract with the Red Wings on Friday.
Analysis: Tomas Jurco was a solid contributor for the Red Wings in 2014-15, tallying 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) and 97 hits in 63 games with the team. He will likely return to a bottom-six role with Detroit this season.

 
 
 
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