Last minute trade offers: Why these six players have bonus value

Jared McCann nets power-play goal (0:45)

Jared McCann nets power-play goal (0:45)

While we count down the days until the actual NHL trade deadline (Mar. 8), our fantasy game's cutoff date to wheel-and-deal is now only hours away. In ESPN.com's default league, you have until 12 p.m. EST Friday, March 1, to improve your team through the art of brokering a useful swap with another manager. One that should, at least on paper, benefit both sides in filling varying holes. So give your roster a good going over in identifying needs and/or excesses, and suss out what you'd like in return for what you can afford to surrender. Then start with a little roster window shopping, always armed with the buy-low/sell-high mindsight, and try to zone in on an appropriate bartering partner.

On of my favorite approaches in assembling a successful fantasy roster in daily adjustment leagues, all else being equal, is pursuing skaters and goalies who play more often when the rest of the league is off. Hacking the NHL's unbalanced schedule, so to speak. From Mar. 1 until end of season, the Arizona Coyotes compete 18 times when the daily slate features six games or fewer. For contrast, the Montreal Canadiens figure in only two of those dates over the same stretch. So why not roster the skater who's available more often when others are not? Particularly if not dealing with lineup limits, and often find yourself trying to decide who to play and who to bench when the docket is jammed.

Here's a handful of players to target via trade, with their respective schedules in mind. Plus another under delivering pair who, correspondingly, are due to perform better down the stretch. Harkening back to the buy-low/sell-high bit.

Clayton Keller, F, Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes top forward is one of my favorite pre-fantasy trade deadline targets of 2023-24. As consistent a fantasy asset as they come, he's currently listed as day-to-day with what's believed to be a minor upper-body injury. Which both serve as a potential turnoff for current managers, but could also be a non-issue in short order. Assuming the injury isn't all that serious - this is key - Keller is also set to benefit from Arizona's schedule rhythm until the season's conclusion. As mentioned, the Coyotes play on 18 dates when six or fewer games are booked altogether. There will be plenty of opportunities to slot the valuable forward into your lineup when most of the league is idle. I also like defender Sean Durzi as a potential trade target for the very same reason.

Jared McCann, F, Seattle Kraken: You're not going to get the Kraken's top fantasy player without giving up an asset of value, but such an exchange could still work in your favor. First of all, only the aforementioned Coyotes play more often on dates with six or fewer games scheduled than Seattle (14). Then there's the player himself, who - already gaining momentum - wrapped up last season with 30 points (nearly half of them goals) in his final 25 contests. As added bonus, McCann qualifies across the forward board (RW/C/LW) in ESPN leagues that specify position. This guy is extra easy to jam into your lineup, on any given evening - busy or not. Fortunately, his name value also doesn't sparkle as much as others, which might make brokering a deal a little less difficult.

Alexandar Georgiev, G, Colorado Avalanche: No, snagging him won't be easy, but the idea is to target Colorado's No. 1 netminder after he's endured a rather ho-hum month - especially to start. Before Tuesday's impressive 5-1 win over Dallas, Georgiev had been mostly mediocre since the All-Star break, accruing fewer total fantasy points than 15 other NHL netminders in ESPN's standard game. That may have rendered a few of his managers a touch frustrated, and maybe, willing to make a move for the right return. A deal that could pay off for Georgiev's new managers, since the Avs compete on more lighter-scheduled nights than two thirds of the league, while their string of 13 games in March includes only one back-to-back set. He's going to play a lot. Plus, the club is better with forward Valeri Nichushkin back in the lineup, which could be the case again soon.

Stuart Skinner, G, Edmonton Oilers: Rostered in 80% of leagues, Edmonton's go-to has yet to convince the entire ESPN Fantasy universe that he ranks up there with the goaltending Top-10, despite putting up numbers that suggest as much. Except perhaps this past month. Which could work in your favor, if wanting to trade for netminding help. As with the Kraken, only the Coyotes play on more "slow" nights than the Oilers from Mar. 1 until it all wraps up, with eight of their next 10 games pitted against non-playoff teams. Sure, it hasn't been as pretty since the win streak ended, but Kris Knoblauch's club has already proven this season they can recalibrate defensively.

Roope Hintz, F, Dallas Stars: After stomping along at a point/game pace - 22 goals, 25 assists - through his first 47 contests, the Stars' top-line center has all of one goal and two assists to show for his past 12 contests. Zero one of them counting on the power play. But, he's still skating on Dallas's No. 1 line and power play with Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson, so this unproductive funk could break at any moment. If looking for a potential spark to bolster your own lineup, Hintz presents as one of the game's more appealing buy-low prospects at present.

Timo Meier, F, New Jersey: He needs to be better. I understand that doesn't mean a turnaround to Meier's lacklustre season is necessarily in order, only that there's a lot more for this $8.8-million/year player to give. His resume tells us as much. Offering some promise, back on a scoring line with Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt, the former Shark has a goal and three assists in his past three games. The Devils will need more of the same from Meier, and others (saving goalie trade talk for another day), if they're to have any slim hope of securing a playoff spot. Maybe make an offer to his current manager, perhaps as part of a package deal, hoping their feelings of frustration are more fraught than yours, and take it from there.