As ESPN’s Greg Wyszynski explained at length and professionally, this year’s trade deadline will be the most unusual in league history:

… There are unique challenges, such as quarantine and immigration. There has been a seismic shift in the league’s economic landscape. Teams have a hard time evaluating players outside of their organization. There are teams that struggle to understand why their own players fail. Oh, and in addition to the effects of the pandemic, there’s also a sea monster lurking in Seattle that casts a shadow over all things…..

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There is no doubt that the next 11 days will be more bizarre on the trading front than what we are used to. But what else can we expect in this unprecedented season? And some players will still be on the move. Probably more than one exceptional personality. So let’s look through the prism of fantasy – no offense to Luke Glendening’s outcasts – at a handful of potentially marketable characters and some of the league’s most interesting drop-off points.

Taylor Hall, LW/C, Buffalo Sabres (78.0%): Aside from one game, it’s hard to imagine why the worst team in the league wouldn’t contract a free agent for the 12th round. April would sell. If the Sabres and Hall really want to renew their relationship after this terrible season, they can make a deal this summer. Why not bring something back for the underperforming wing at this point? Fancy managers who have been around a long time – like many of you – might make it to next week. David Krejci’s spot on the bench in Boston, for example, will likely lead to a rapid rise in performance from the former Hart Award-winner (2018). With his two goals and 16 assists this season – including just five assists in his last 14 games – things can only get better.

Kyle Palmieri, RW, New Jersey Devils (54.5%): The last time Palmieri scored less than 0.52 points per game was in his final (and incomplete) season with the Ducks in 2014-15. He’s never come close to that mediocre pace since joining the Devils in 2015. And yet here we are. The unrestricted free agent should be excited about another rental this season if he is traded to a top-six New Jersey position. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues shouldn’t give up on the veteran just yet.

Tanner Pearson, L.V., Vancouver Canucks (42.8%): Despite an ankle injury in mid-March, Pearson remains a semi-attractive trade target in a very limited pool of cheap wingers this year. And why not? The 28-year-old could boost a contender in mid-April for the crucial final three weeks of the regular season before the playoffs begin. Pretty much all fantasy managers in deeper leagues with more infra slots – this part is key – have little to lose on Pearson’s shelves at this point. These low-risk investments can produce good returns if they are used elsewhere and enter the dynamic top six. Prior to this debacle, Pearson had scored 30 goals and 27 assists in 88 games in the previous two seasons with the Canucks. He’s clearly capable of putting the puck in the net and could do so again if he gets another start.

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Rickard Rakell, C/LW, Anaheim Ducks (29.7%): With one year left on his super contract (salary cap: $3.79 million), Rakell (currently listed daily) could use a change of scenery at worst. Remember Dak’s 30+ goal career from the past few years? That’s not too long ago (2016 – 2018). Getting on the scoreboard of a team that averages 2.22 goals per game could help Rakell maximize his trading position next season. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues should have an idea of where the 27-year-old is headed in the coming days, if at all.

Mikael Granlund, LW/C/RW, Nashville Predators (48.9%): Not to mention that Granlund has one foot in Bridgestone Arena and was seen halfway down Broadway just two weeks ago. Now, after eight wins in nine games, the Predators, who are in fourth place, may not want to trade their current No. 2 center – who has moved to the flank – and the league’s best power play. Nashville has until the 12th. The April schedule includes six games, including a rematch in Detroit, a game against the Stars and single games against the Blackhawks and Lightning. One successful run in the closing moments – you can’t guess how much better they look from the net – and versatile striker and defender Matthias Ekholm could have stayed on the pitch. This is a win for Granlund’s managers in deeper leagues. He needs to score if the Preds want to win. He plays elsewhere when they don’t.

Eminent roles to be fulfilled by competitive teams

Toronto Maple Leaves : The Leafs are reportedly actively looking for wingers to play in their top/mid six; perhaps we can expect wingers on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander. A perfect trio in that sense would be extremely dangerous for opposing defenses – who already have to stop the dynamic duo of Austin Matthews/Mitch Marner – while Tavares and Nylander would come in handy alongside the rookie. If the Predators lose again and decide to trade down, Mikael Granlund should be the target. There are also rumors of interest in Taylor Hall, because of course.

New York Islanders: Even before Anders Lee suffered a knee injury, the Islanders were reportedly interested in acquiring a top goal scorer. The unfortunate loss of their captain not only reinforces this need, but also frees up $7 million for the captain to work with. Center Matthew Barzal and winger Jordan Eberle need someone to fill in on their left side – someone not named Lev Komarov. Without getting too deep into the prediction game, Kyle Palmieri looks good here.

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Boston Bruins: You need a second opinion. The Bruins are aware that the perfection line can no longer have the main responsibility of scoring goals, and it is believed that the Bruins are chasing the winger to join centerman David Krejci on the second line. Whoever gets the job – Taylor Hall or another character – will immediately benefit from Krejci’s underrated playing skills. There is a lot of fantastic potential in Beantown.

Colorado Avalanche: Certainly, Phillip Grubauer hasn’t gotten much credit for his reliable play this year, taking the reins far more often than Colorado’s ineligible reliever, Paul Francouze. But Grubauer is just a guy who has never played more than 37 games in an NHL regular season. With the playoffs just a few weeks away, he’s already made 30 appearances. If Jonas Johansson or Hunter Bear don’t prove valuable enough, the Avalanche will likely be in the market to give Grubauer a break. Or, God forbid, fall from the pain. The Avs collectively believe they will win it all this year. If they get help from San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier or one of Carolina’s three capable goalies, so be it.

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