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Fantasy impact of Fleury trade on Wild; Kahkonen to Sharks
Marc-Andre Fleury was acquired by the Minnesota Wild from the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, making him a fringe top 10 fantasy goalie again.
Fleury, who’s already rostered in most fantasy leagues, is expected to be the new No. 1 goalie for the Wild, who are tied for the eighth worst team save percentage (.899) in the NHL this season, ahead of fellow veteran Cam Talbot. Minnesota traded rookie goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to the San Jose Sharks on Monday in a separate move.
The 37-year-old Fleury is 19-21-5 with a .908 save percentage (.914 at even strength) and four shutouts this season with the Blackhawks and leads active NHL goalies in regular-season wins (511 in 928 games) and shutouts (71) and also Stanley Cup Playoff wins (90) and shutouts (16). He won the Vezina Trophy voted the NHL’s top goalie last season with the Vegas Golden Knights, going 26-10-0 with a .928 SV% and six shutouts.
The Fleury trade boosts the Wild’s Stanley Cup chances with Fleury being a three-time champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as the fantasy appeal of the Wild’s relevant defensemen (Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba) and forwards (Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Boldy, Ryan Hartman, Joel Eriksson Ek) for the rest of the season. The move diminishes the fantasy value of Talbot as their 1B or backup option.
Kahkonen, who is 31-17-4 with a .907 SV% and two shutouts in 54 NHL games, has a chance to become the clear No. 1 goalie for San Jose over James Reimer and Adin Hill and is worth considering as a potential fantasy sleeper in deep or dynasty leagues.
The Sharks, who agreed on an eight-year contract with top center Tomas Hertl on March 16, are not planning to rebuild, giving Kahkonen the chance to help them be more competitive down the stretch and into next season with a roster that features Hertl, elite wing Timo Meier, center Logan Couture and scoring defensemen Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.
Fantasy impact of Rakell trade on Penguins
Forward Rickard Rakell has been acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Anaheim Ducks, giving him bounce-back potential for the rest of the fantasy season. The move gives the Penguins an upgrade on the second line with elite center Evgeni Malkin, and Rakell could also potentially see time on the top line with elite forwards Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel if Bryan Rust is moved back to Malkin’s wing.
Either way, the Rakell trade boosts Pittsburgh’s scoring depth, chances of coming out of the Metropolitan Division in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and makes them a dark horse Stanley Cup contender. Rakell, a two-time 30-goal scorer in his NHL career, was tied for second on the Ducks in goals (16) behind Troy Terry (29) and is tied with Terry for their most shots on goal (136) this season despite being limited to 51 of their 64 games. He has also provided strong hits coverage through the years with 61 this season and 1.3 per game in his career.
Fantasy impact of Copp trade on Rangers
Forward Andrew Copp has been acquired by the New York Rangers from the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, boosting his fantasy value for the rest of the season in deep leagues. Copp, who’s tri-eligible in Yahoo Fantasy leagues (C/LW/RW) and 33 percent rostered, will play in the top-nine forward group for New York and is more than capable of slotting in at wing on one of their top two lines with either Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider or Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.
Copp, who’s ranked among the top 200 overall in standard fantasy leagues based on performance this season, played heavy minutes (19:47 per game) as a secondary center and wing in Winnipeg and was fantasy-relevant anywhere from the first to the third line covering five of the six standard categories (13 goals, 22 assists, plus-2, nine power-play points, 151 shots on goal). Copp had three assists for the Jets in their win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday in his final game before the trade.
Forward Claude Giroux was acquired by the Florida Panthers from the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, giving him renewed upside in all fantasy formats. He’s is likely to start one of the top two lines with an elite linemate in either left wing Jonathan Huberdeau or center Aleksander Barkov. Right wing Owen Tippett has fantasy sleeper appeal with the Flyers, especially in dynasty leagues for next season.
Two fantasy-relevant defensemen were traded this weekend; Mark Giordano was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Seattle Kraken on Sunday, and Hampus Lindholm was acquired by the Boston Bruins from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday before signing an eight-year contract Sunday.
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