CANADIENS SELECT SLAFKOVSKY, ACQUIRE DACH
The Montreal Canadiens selected left wing Juraj Slafkovsky with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and then acquired center Kirby Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
Slafkovsky was a bold pick by Montreal over center Shane Wright but could have a higher fantasy ceiling if he ends up eventually playing on the top line with valuable forwards Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Dach, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, gives the Canadiens a No. 2 center with untapped potential.
The 6-foot-4 wing has thrived at times against high-end competition; his highlights from him were scoring seven goals in seven games at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and having seven points (two goals, five assists) in 18 playoff games for TPS in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, this past season.
It’s unclear if Slafkovsky will play in the NHL next season, but he could be worth a top 150 overall fantasy pick if he does considering he’s the highest Slovakia-born player selected in League history with a chance to play in the top-six forward group immediately. Slafkovsky told NHL.com after being selected that he will do everything he can over the summer to prepare himself to play in the NHL next season.
Dach, also 6-foot-4, has played in mostly the bottom six under multiple coaches for Chicago but could play on a line with at least one of wings Caufield, Slafkovsky and/or Brendan Gallagher in the seasons ahead under coach Martin St. Louis. Dach is ranked among NHL.com’s top 250 rankings with breakout potential for next season.
Read more: 2022 NHL Draft first-round results, analysis
DEBRINCAT TRADED TO SENATORS
The Ottawa Senators acquired wing Alex DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 7, accelerating their rebuild, boosting the fantasy stock of their other young talent and making them a potential Stanley Cup Playoff contender as early as next season. DeBrincat, who goes from a non-contending team in Chicago to an up-and-coming group in Ottawa, remains a top 50 overall fantasy player after the trade.
The Senators’ top-six forward group is now even more potent with DeBrincat likely to play on a line with either center Josh Norris or Tim Stutzle. If DeBrincat plays right wing, he would likely either play on the top line with Norris and elite left wing Brady Tkachuk or second unit with Stützle and left wing alex formenton.
DeBrincat had an NHL career high in points (78 in 82 games; second on Chicago behind patrick kane‘s 92) and tied his best goal total (41) this season. He led the Blackhawks in goals (tied for 13th in NHL) in the category this season and also over his tenure in Chicago (160 goals since 2017-18). He also had the first 100-hit season of his NHL career (101) this season.
After the DeBrincat trade, the Senators will now have nine players in NHL.com’s fantasy keeper/dynasty rankings (players who will be 25-or-younger around the start of next season), the most of any team. Ottawa also has valuable fantasy commodities in long-term leagues including right wing Drake Bathersondefensemen Thomas Chabot and jake sanderson and forward Shane Pinto.
The biggest fantasy beneficiaries of the DeBrincat trade include Stützle, who had Ottawa’s second-most points (58) behind Tkachuk (67) this season, and Norris, who had their third-most points (55). Chabot and/or Sanderson could gain value from power-play exposure to Ottawa’s elite forward talent, and goalie Anton Forsberg could build off his NHL career-best season (22 wins, .917 save percentage in 46 games). Depending on whether DeBrincat plays left wing or right wing, the fantasy stock of his wing linemate, Tkachuk, Batherson or Formenton, could also rise drastically.
GEORGIEV TRADED TO AVALANCHE
The Colorado Avalanche acquired goalie Alexander Georgiev from the New York Rangers on July 7, giving him renewed fantasy appeal with a chance to be at least a timeshare goalie for the defending Stanley Cup champions next season.
Georgiev joins the early fantasy top 25 goalie rankings with a chance to compete for the starting job with Pavel Françouz (.921 save percentage in 57 NHL regular-season games). Georgiev, 26, can become a restricted free agent July 13 but gains significant value in keeper and dynasty leagues going to Colorado from New York, where he was the clear backup to elite goalie Igor Shesterkin.
With an elite offense (3.76 goals per game this season; fourth in NHL) and defense that includes Cala Makar, Devon Toews, Bowen-Byram, Samuel Girard and Erik Johnson, Georgiev could have his best season yet in 2022-23. Georgiev’s best fantasy season came in 2018-19 (.914 SV% in 33 games), and he has shown flashes of brilliance with two shutouts in each of the past four seasons.
Darcy Kümper, a potential 2022 unrestricted free agent, is now less likely to re-sign with Colorado after the Georgiev trade considering Francouz’s new two-year contract begins next season. Kuemper was 37-12-4 for the Avalanche this season with a .921 SV% (fifth in NHL; minimum 40 games) and had 10 of the 16 wins during their Stanley Cup run but drops to 15th in the fantasy goalie rankings for now .
NHL.com’s Pete Jensen and Anna Dua contributed to this analysis.
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