Fantasy Hockey Implications From Mattias Ekholm, Oilers Trade
Whether or not I believe the Mattias Ekholm trade will come back to bite Edmonton is totally irrelevant when it comes to fantasy hockey. We have to deal with the cards we’re dealt and there is no changing the fact that Ekholm is an Oiler now. Given the news of the trade, how does this impact things from a fantasy hockey perspective?
To be totally transparent, I’ve already picked up Ekholm. The former Predators defenseman is only owned in 10% of ESPN fantasy leagues. To me, he’s a must add right now. Ekholm is expected to play heavy minutes right behind Darnell Nurse and is being thrust into a second unit powerplay. Something that could turn into a promotion really quickly given the struggles of Evan Bouchard this year. Bouchard has only been skating at under 18 minutes a night for the Oilers.
If Ekholm comes in at around a 22 minute per game mark, he has immense value. The block shot and hit numbers are what they are. It’s not a league leading figure but he does rack them up. What matters here is the scoring output is going to increase. The assist totals will take a huge leap compared to playing in Nashville where the Predators almost refuse to score. Nashville averages 2.9 goals per game. Edmonton sits at 8th in the league at 3.8 goals per game. Playing heavy minutes five on five with McJesus will do wonders for the point total.
Darnell Nurse is currently averaging 2.4 fantasy points per game. Ekholm previously sat at 1.6, of course, there was a reason why Ekholm was previously unowned in so many leagues. However, would anybody be surprised if Ekholm gets to that 2.4 range now that he’s with the Oilers? If so, he’s a must add and a really useful piece to any fantasy lineup. In reality, it’s banking on the point total increasing. Thus far on the season, Ekholm has 18 points (five goals and 13 assists) in 57 games. There is no reason why those assist numbers can’t jump while with the Oilers.
We don’t have to spend too much time on this angle but Tyson Barrie is clearly the loser of this trade. Fantasy wise anyway. Barrie is a good powerplay guy but not good enough to surpass Roman Josi who was the Norris runner up a year ago. Josi is as good as it gets around the league. Barrie goes from the Oilers’ top unit to the Predators’ second unit. It’s devastating for his fantasy stock and can probably be dropped now altogether.
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