Fantasy Hockey pickups to make after all the NHL trades

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Sorry we ever doubted you, NHL general managers. Little was happening a week ago, but then they — at least, most of them — made the trade deadline full of wheels, deals and steals. And all the thrills from Monday right up to the last second, and even past it.

RotoWire is packed with analysis of the transactions and also has you covered as to the latest news and in-depth material.

Some of the players who recently moved have already contributed with their new clubs. Let's see if any show up on our list.

(Rostered rates/stats as of March 24.)

Forwards

Evan Rodrigues, PIT (Yahoo: 31%)

Rodrigues developed into a fantasy All-Star earlier this season after racking up 30 points in his first 33 games. Those stats tumbled following Evgeni Malkin's return as Rodrigues was bumped to the third line and second power play. Since being promoted alongside Sidney Crosby, Rodrigues registered assists in back-to-back contests. As long as nothing changes, he's worth the add. Just brace yourself for a possible slip back down the depth chart.

Kailer Yamamoto, EDM (Yahoo: 20%)

When it comes to offensively gifted linemates, there's arguably no better one than Connor McDavid. And Yamamoto is reaping the rewards with six goals, four assists, 16 shots and 14 hits in seven games. He's also involved on the Oilers' top unit in the form of two power-play markers. Like Rodrigues, Yamamoto's value is tied to a superstar center — realistically, two — so make sure that placement holds.

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Kevin Hayes, PHI (Yahoo: 8%)

Hayes endured a rough season after tragically losing his brother and then missing significant time to injury. But he's back and scoring big, totaling nine points in nine games. Hayes is also assuming the top pivot role vacated by Claude Giroux and has racked up 21 shots, 16 hits and 59 faceoff wins. With the Flyers out of postseason contention and Hayes relatively fresh from only playing 29 games, expect him to get plenty of responsibility the rest of the year.

Kevin Hayes #13 of the Philadelphia Flyers is a winner after the NHL trade deadline
Kevin Hayes was one of the biggest winners of the NHL trade deadline. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Frank Vatrano, NYR (Yahoo: 6%)

As someone who rarely got a sniff on the first two lines while in Florida, it's nice to see Vatrano starting with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome on Broadway. Just one goal in four games with his new club, but also eight shots. Vatrano has also received a man-advantage spot when none existed with the Panthers. But like they say in real estate, it's all about location, location, location. So if he gets placed in a lower location, it may be time to cut ties.

Quinton Byfield, LA (Yahoo: 5%)

With lower-half placement since being drafted second overall in 2020, it's understandable Byfield hasn't immediately excelled in the NHL. Tuesday may have been a turning point for the 19-year-old with three points, including two goals and a first career PPP. The Kings might be hesitant to burden Byfield with a larger role in the heat of a playoff battle, yet they might want to see what the kid can consistently do with all that talent. Monitor the situation and pounce if things continue to look promising.

Alexander Barabanov, SJ (Yahoo: 2%)

Barabanov has found himself in this column again — and at the same coverage rate — after first bursting on the scene with a solid debut run. The production has been inconsistent overall, but he's getting attention the last two weeks having posted two goals and five assists with Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier on the first five-on-five trio. San Jose isn't the most reliable when it comes to scoring, though Barabanov is logging significant ice time. A point of caution is that he hasn't registered anything while up a man since dropping to the second unit.

Taylor Raddysh, CHI (Yahoo: 2%)

Since Tampa Bay traded Raddysh, his minutes have skyrocketed. Granted, it's only three outings, but Chicago's planning for the future and are more than happy to deploy their youth. Raddysh even joined the lead power play and has already potted a pair of goals. While primarily a fourth liner and sometimes a healthy scratch with the Bolts, he's boasting better billing beside Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik.

Joel Armia, MON (Yahoo: 0%)

It's no secret the Habs have looked like a different team under Martin St. Louis behind the bench. Armia has also improved under the new regime and isn't afraid to use his big frame to punish the opposition. As for adding to the attack, he's getting back on track with a goal in each of his last two appearances and a couple of assists against the Coyotes. And skating with Christian Dvorak and the recently returning Jonathan Drouin can only add to Armia's offensive upside.

Defensemen

Vince Dunn, SEA (Yahoo: 25%)

The departure of Mark Giordano opened the door for Dunn to take control of Seattle's lead power play, and he's responded with a pair of PPAs in the last three games. The former Blue has also notched an assist in five straight with six total. Dunn is primed to expand his point and shot output with this enhanced role while chipping in a hit and block per game.

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Hampus Lindholm, BOS (Yahoo: 16%)

It's tough to get a clear idea of how a player will perform with a new team before making their debut, though Lindholm has been projected to debut on the top duo with Charlie McAvoy at even-strength and will probably log his usual 22-23 minutes a game. Combine that with a sizable shorthanded spot and that should hypothetically translate to more points, though it's doubtful he could somehow improve on his two-shot average.

Filip Hronek, DET (Yahoo: 16%)

Five goals and 26 assists from 59 games represent a nice haul for a defender. With Nick Leddy gone to St. Louis, Hronek could see more offensive opportunities. He was already skating more than 22 minutes, including places on both special-teams groups where he's accumulated six PPPs. And like the previous two blueliners mentioned, Hronek fires a decent number of pucks of net while supplying sufficient supplementary stats.

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Erik Brannstrom, OTT (Yahoo: 1%)

Someone has to step in for Thomas Chabot on Ottawa's first man-advantage for the remainder of the campaign and it appears that person — by process of elimination and skill — will be Brannstrom. The young Swede has received 19 minutes a game since Feb. 26 (and 23-plus across the last four) yet only managed an assist and a minus-12 during that span while also recording 20 shots, 13 hits and 10 blocks. Since there's no one ready from the minors, Brannstrom is the Sens' best current option.

Goaltenders

Logan Thompson, VGK (Yahoo: 7%)

The Golden Knights have struggled the last few weeks with several players sidelined. Robin Lehner hasn't seen action since earlier this month and no timetable is set for his return. Laurent Brossoit was believed to be the natural replacement, but he's been horrendous the last four games compiling a 4.01 GAA and .848 save percentage. That's left Thompson as Vegas' workhorse with appearances in six consecutive games. Even though his 3.34/.902 marks during that stretch aren't great, the club's seven matchups after Thursday will be against the Canucks (x3), Kraken (x2), Blackhawks and Coyotes.

Scott Wedgewood, DAL (Yahoo: 6%)

Over Wedgewood's considerable pro career, he's mainly stopped pucks in the AHL and only previously received a decent NHL shot with a 20-game stint in 2017-18. With the Coyotes having allowed the second-most shots in the league this season, it's impressive he was able to produce a 3.16 GAA and .911 save percentage. In the Stars' superior defensive system, Wedgewood won't be asked to regularly bail out his blueliners. He's also clearly Dallas' No. 2 in net with Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin both out for a while. Jake Oettinger is the clear top dog, but Wedgewood should operate as a decent fill-in.

(Players to consider from past columns: Nazem Kadri, Nick Schmaltz, Dylan Strome, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Tim Stutzle, Joel Eriksson Ek, Nico Hischier, Robert Thomas, Lucas Raymond, Valeri Nichushkin, Michael Bunting, Ryan Hartman, Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Tyler Toffoli, Brock Nelson, Jesper Bratt, Cole Caufield, Andrew Mangiapane, Jakub Voracek, Mason Marchment, Rickard Rakell, Anthony Cirelli, Matthew Boldy, Anthony Mantha, Trevor Zegras, Jack Roslovic, Tage Thompson, Ivan Barbashev, Lawson Crouse, Alex Tuch, Jake DeBrusk, Boone Jenner, Troy Terry, Matt Duchene, Yegor Sharangovich, Evan Bouchard, Jared Spurgeon, Damon Severson, Noah Hanifin, Noah Dobson, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nate Schmidt, Moritz Seider, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Ryan Pulock, Cam Fowler, Mikko Koskinen, Ville Husso, Nico Daws, Jeremy Swayman, Jonathan Quick, Jake Oettinger, Anton Forsberg, Cal Petersen, Antti Raanta)