Just two weeks ago we took a look at why trading for Andrew Ladd in fantasy hockey was worth the gamble. As fate would have it, Ladd was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks — arguably the best team in the league — just a few days ago.
Ladd’s return to the team where he won a Cup in 2010 will have a dramatic impact in the world of fantasy hockey. Let’s take a look at some of the fallout in the world of fantasy puck following the blockbuster Andrew Ladd trade.
Andrew Ladd: The skater that will benefit the most from this trade, fittingly enough, is Ladd himself. In addition to his plus-minus getting a huge boost thanks to playing on a powerhouse team filled with star players, Ladd will see a jump in his power play production. Skating with better players, including some he’s familiar with, means better stats and a great deal more fantasy value for the Jets’ former captain.
Before the trade, Ladd had 17 goals, 17 assists, and 9 power play points. Watch for those numbers to grow in a big way in the coming weeks playing on Chicago’s top line.
Jonathan Toews: When Marian Hossa returns from his leg injury it appears that the Blackhawks’ captain will be spoiled with his wingers now that Ladd has joined the team. The decorated center was skating with Richard Panik and Andrew Shaw before the Ladd trade. Toews was already among fantasy hockey’s top centers, but this trade will only increase his value and Hossa’s.
Andrew Shaw: The tough forward will almost certainly be kicked down to the third line and will no longer benefit from playing with Toews once Hossa returns from his injury. Shaw, who has lingered just outside of fantasy’s top 100 players in standard scoring categories this season, will still have fantasy value but nowhere near what he had when Toews was his center. Consider him an option in deep leagues unless Hossa is held out of the lineup longer than expected with his injury.
Mark Scheifele– Bryan Little will miss the rest of the season with a fractured vertebrae which means that Scheifele will finish the season as the top center for the Jets. In Winnipeg’s first game after the Ladd deal, Scheifele tallied four points, which is an early sign that he is ready to embrace his bigger role in the offense. Scheifele’s 34 points and 127 shots in the 49 games before the Ladd trade were respectable, but his numbers, and particularly his power play production, have plenty of room to grow. With his increased ice time, they almost certainly will.
Nikolaj Ehlers– Sitting at the top of Winnipeg’s depth chart on the left wing is the young Dane, Ehlers. Mathieu Perreault could take a run at the spot on the top line opposite of Blake Wheeler, but for now it appears that it’s Ehler’s job to lose.
In the first game after the blockbuster deal Perreault was on the ice with Alexander Burmistrov and Drew Stafford — both of whom will enjoy a bigger role in Winnipeg’s offense with Ladd gone. With that being said, Ehlers has been hot and a big surprise throughout the season and is the winger to pay attention to fofr your fantasy team.
With every big trade that comes before and on deadline day there will be winners and losers in the NHL and in fantasy leagues. The big winners of the Ladd trade will be those fantasy managers who were patient with Ladd all season long or dealt for him when his stock was low.
The other winners of the trade might just be those managers who jump on lesser-known fantasy gems like Scheifele and Ehlers who will be asked to fill the vacuum left by the departure of the former Jets’ captain in Winnipeg.