Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Puck Stops Here: Trading Places

Before I begin, I want to wish my younger brother a speedy recovery. He broke his collarbone and dislocated his A/C joint when he slammed into the boards while diving for a puck in our game last night. His play opened up a break away for me and lead to a huge goal. I wish some NHLers would give the kind of effort he does in an adult league. Get well soon Greg.

Well the trade deadline has come and gone and Jay Bouwmeester is still a Panther, Chris Pronger is still a Duck and the Rangers stepped up and snagged Derek Morris. Overall, it was a fairly disappointing trade deadline. The big moves involved Morris and Nik Antropov going to the Rangers and Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold to Calgary. But the most surprising parts of the day were certain teams not doing anything.

The big winners today were obviously Calgary and New York. Calgary cemented themselves as by far the third best team in the west and have given themselves a chance to compete with Detroit and San Jose. The Rangers solidified their blue line with Morris and gave themselves more size and offense up front with Antropov. The Penguins and Sabres also improved, slightly. The Pens added a little more grit, offense, and depth, but didn’t significantly improve their team. The Sabres added some goaltending and help at the pivot. They gave themselves a chance at making the playoffs, but even that is far from a sure thing.

The Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals are by far the biggest losers today. The Canadiens saw three teams similar to them in the standings and ability get better, while they only watched. The Capitals also didn’t improve on a weak defense and poor goaltending situation. The Caps can score with the best of them, but every year we see defense wins championships and the Caps did nothing to improve their glaring weaknesses. The Columbus Blue Jackets also didn’t do much to help their situation. They desperately need help at center, have solid depth at wing, and they addressed their needs by bringing in another winger. Confusing, at best. Tampa Bay is completely inept at this point and deserve their own article, keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks.

Let’s jump to the fantasy winners and losers. The biggest winner has to be Jokinen. He jumps from an abysmal offense in Phoenix to the fourth highest scoring offense in the league. How much his value improves depends on who plays on his wing. He will either have Cammalleri or Iginla on his wing, but either is an improvement over what he was playing with in Phoenix. Jokinen is most likely owned in all leagues, but he is worth trading for. Jokkinen on Calgary instantly becomes a number one center. Leopold gets a slight upgrade for moving out of Colorado, but he probably won’t enter the fantasy radar.

After Jokinen, the fantasy fallout is fairly minor, but Bill Guerin would have to be the next biggest winner. He moves from the worst offense in the NHL to the ninth best. I have a feeling he will find himself on the wing with Malkin and Sykora and will plop himself in front of the net on the top power play unit. He may also be available in your league. Guerin should provide more offense and continue to provide decent PIM. If he is available, he is a definite pick up.

Nik Antropov gets a slight upgrade because he is playing with better overall talent, but his numbers shouldn’t really change. The main improvement may be in the area of plus/minus. With 20 games left on the slate, I expect Antropov to end with about eight goals and nine assists over that span. He will give you slightly more value, but don’t break the bank trying to get him. As for the other new Ranger, Derek Morris is a very good defenseman, but he never was on your fantasy radar and shouldn’t enter it now either.

For those of you who need wing help, keep an eye on the Patrick O’Sullivan, Justin Williams, and Erik Cole swap. No team is a huge upgrade over the other, but a change in scenery may help each player. If you asked me to pick one, I would choose O’Sullivan. The Kings are probably the worst team involved and Edmonton is the best, so his new team may provide the best opportunity. Neither of the three will save your season, but one may get hot with his new team and help you down the stretch.

I wanted to wait until the deadline passed before I dissected the Ryan Whitney trade, and my initial suspicions were right. He is worthless. Ok, he’s not that bad, but his value actually takes a hit from when he was in Pittsburgh. He will play on the second power play unit with less talent as compared to the Penguins top unit. Better times may be ahead for Mr. Whitney, but I doubt those come this year. Downgrade him, but he is still ownable, just don't expect number two defenseman type numbers.

If you need goalie help, I would look to Mikael Tellqvist rather than Pascal Leclaire. Buffalo is a better team than Ottawa and Tellqvist is probably the better goalie too...In case you fell asleep this week, Chris Kunitz has three goals and two assists since joining the Pens. It will be interesting to see the line combos with Sid and Guerin in the lineup, but I expect the strong numbers to continue...In a throwback to 1992, Mark Recchi has put together a respectable stat line while playing for a joke of an organization in Tampa. I am interested to see what he does playing for a real live NHL team. Keep an eye on the Recchin Ball.

Well, it was an exciting, though disappointing, deadline day. Feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments you may have. Until next week, The Puck Stops Here.

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