Keep, Trade, Hold, Cut
The 2014 NHL Draft has provided the league with some exceptional talent such as: Aaron Ekblad, David Pastrnak, Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl, Nikolaj Ehlers, William Nylander and many more. There may also a few misses in that draft such as: Conner Bleackley, Michael Dal Colle and Jake Virtanen. Only time will tell if those youngsters can revive their careers. If you’re like me, you have plenty of decisions to make near the end of your fantasy hockey season as to who to Keep, Trade, Cut or even to hold on to. In Dynasty formats, cutting a highly touted prospect is part of the game. Below are 4 defenseman that have been getting somewhat consistent playing time this season who also were 1st round draft picks in 2014. I will try to guide you on who to Keep, Trade, Hold and Cut from your roster. Keep in mind, this is for deeper Dynasty Leagues only. Well, here goes:
Keep: Anthony DeAngelo – New York Rangers (31 GP | 0 G | 8 A)
DeAngelo was selected 19th overall in 2014 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played his junior hockey in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting and also a short stint with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Due to maturity issues in junior, he was shipped on draft day to the Arizona Coyotes for the 37th overall selection (Libor Hajek) in the 2016 draft. After spending some time in the AHL, he eventually was recalled by the Coyotes. In his brief time in the NHL with Arizona, Tony looked great. Playing in 39 games he ended his first NHL campaign with a total of 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists). During this past off-season, however, DeAngelo was yet again traded. This time, he was shipped to the New York Rangers as part of the deal for Derek Stepan. So far, his first season as a Ranger has had its ups and downs. At times he looks lost defensively and will have a mental lapse that will lead to bad plays. Then there are instances where he looks amazing and will take the puck coast to coast, or make a beautiful pass up ice tape to tape from the defensive zone. Consistency seems to be an issue. Tony is clearly talented with a combination of smooth skating, speed and offensive instincts. After the trade of Ryan McDonagh to Tampa, more ice time is available for DeAngelo. Goals and points will come in time as he should quarterback the power play. Owners need to be patient. He’s a keeper in my book.
*Note: Due to a sprained ankle, DeAngelo will miss the rest of the 2017-18 season.*
Trade: Travis Sanheim – Philadelphia Flyers. (36 GP | 1 G | 4 A)
Travis Sanheim was a puck moving defenseman from the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. He put up a 65 point season before being drafted by the Flyers 17th overall in 2014. When his junior career came to a close, Sanheim spent time developing in the AHL. After the 2017 training camp, he made the Flyers opening night roster. His play though has been inconsistent so far this year. Tack on a log jam at defense in Philly and it hasn’t been an easy for the 21 year old. Eventually, he ended up getting caught in the numbers game and was sent down for almost 7 weeks this season to the AHL. If you have seen Sanheim play though, you can see that he is making strides towards consistent NHL action. There isn’t a lot of physicality to his game, but he is able to use his big body to clear the crease when needed. The type of style Travis plays is more of a puck mover that can quarterback a power play or lead an offensive rush. He’s definitely worth something to someone in your league in deeper formats. It’s possible you could get someone to bite on the potential he has. Travis Sanheim is a trade for me.
Hold: Julius Honka – Dallas Stars (34 GP | 1 G | 3 A)
Julius Honka was the 14th selection in the 2014 draft. Honka played his junior hockey in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos. After putting up 108 points in the AHL with the Texas Stars (44 points in 2015-16 alone), Honka had a nice audition with the big club last season (16 games played with 5 points). It looked like he could have a large role with Dallas. However, the Stars loaded up with defense in free agency and Honka was the 7th defenseman on the opening night roster. So far, Honka has played sparingly and has been working closely with assistant coach Ron Wilson on his defense in practice. The coaching staff has used Honka mostly in offensive situations this year because they clearly see him as a defensive liability. This may be the reason Honka has played only 3 of the Stars previous 13 games. With Marc Methot our with a hand injury, the Stars will have to insert Honka into the lineup. Will he be able to answer the call or will he flop? I for one am anxious to see how he performs. Don’t cut him yet, hold onto Honka as he had great offensive upside potential.
Cut: Haydn Fleury – Carolina Hurricanes
(54 GP | 0 G | 6 A)
Haydn Fleury was selected 7th overall in 2014. Fleury played his junior hockey in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels. He was everything a GM could want in a defenseman; size, speed, physicality, and a good puck-mover. Basically, Fleury is a master of none. Carolina did not rush him to the NHL. The front office let Fleury spend more time in junior to work on his development. In the 2016-17 season, he finally became a regular in the AHL. In 69 games played, he put up 26 points. This season, Haydn took the next step in his development and made the Hurricanes roster. This is where his game may have been exposed. Fleury doesn’t appear to be what was advertised when the Hurricanes drafted him. The offense just isn’t there and you can somewhat see a lack of confidence when he has the puck. It seems Carolina is pushing for him to be a bottom pairing defenseman or a shutdown guy. Normally this isn’t the type of player you draft at 7th overall. It’s hard for me to say being a fan of his from his days in junior, but Haydn Fleury just isn’t worth a thing to most in Dynasty Leagues. I think it’s safe to go ahead and cut him as his trade value is basically nothing at this point. You actually may have already done this.
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