Fantasy Hockey: Deadline winners, losers
The NHL's trade deadline day — mercifully — downsized this year, with a relatively modest 16 deals made on Monday.
While fans wonder how new acquisitions may improve their team's Stanley Cup chances, poolies are more concerned with how the final flurry of trades could affect their push for the top prize in their league.
In this week's edition of Fantasy Hockey 1-on-1, we break down which players might benefit most from their change of scenery, and which could be negatively impacted. Plus we give advice on some moves to make in your league.
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All stats are through Wednesday.
1. Which player's value increased the most after the NHL trade deadline?
Jordan: Many experts speculated that if Dennis Wideman got traded out of Florida, his ice time, along with his value, would drastically decrease. On the contrary. Washington was the perfect team for the defenceman to join. Filled with offensive power up front, the Capitals are a woeful 25th in the league on the power play at 16.1 per cent and have been lacking a PP quarterback all season. That need has been further magnified with the absence of Mike Green, who recently suffered though the loss of his grandmother and is now sidelined with a head injury. As a member of the Panthers, Wideman averaged 23:57 of ice-time per game and 4:10 of ice-time with the man advantage. If his first game with the Caps is any indication, he'll fit in nicely. On Tuesday against the Islanders, Wideman had 30 shifts for a team-high 26:44 of ice time to go along with 3:39 of a possible four minutes of ice time on the power play. His former teammate Cory Stillman is also seeing immediate benefits of a trade out of the Sunshine State. In three games in his second stint with Carolina, Stillman has two goals, an assist and a rating of plus-4. In 44 games with the Panthers, Stillman averaged just 15:55 of ice-time and under three minutes on the power-play. With the Canes he's already averaging almost 21 minutes on the ice and just over three minutes on the power play.
Jesse: Everyone's wondering which traded players might see an uptick in production, but sometimes the biggest beneficiary of a deal can be a guy who's left behind. The Panthers have gutted their roster, particularly their blue-line. After the departures of Wideman and Bryan McCabe — Florida's top two defencemen in total power-play ice time — Dmitry Kulikov and Jason Garrison are now the team leaders in that department. Of the two, Kulikov is clearly the most intriguing. Only 20 years old, the 2009 first-round pick has a respectable 19 points (five goals) in 53 games while averaging a relatively modest 18:42 of ice time and 2:22 of power-play time. Now that he's suddenly the most dangerous offensive defenceman on a depleted Florida roster, those numbers should go up (Kulikov played more than 20 minutes in each of his last two games). There's plenty of potential here, as Kulikov was a point-a-game player in his final season in the Quebec junior league, and scouts liked his skating and shot. The young Russian is owned in only two per cent of Yahoo! leagues, but I'll bet that number goes up too as he gets more opportunities down the stretch.
2. Which player's value decreased the most after the NHL trade deadline?
Jordan: All signs point to Stephen Weiss. The subject of trade rumours for what seemed like weeks, Weiss opted not to waive his no-movement clause in order to stay in Florida — at least for now. But he certainly didn't stay to play alongside any superstars. Just think about the players that are no longer his teammates. On or before the trade deadline, the Panthers parted ways with a majority of their best players, including the aforementioned Wideman, Stillman, and McCabe, as well as Michael Frolik, Chris Higgins, Radek Dvorak and Bryan Allen, not to mention Nathan Horton last summer. (Sidenote: Allen was the last remaining piece of the Roberto Luongo deal with Vancouver.) The only other bona fide player left is winger David Booth. All you have to do is look at the ice-time leaders from Florida's first game after the deadline to know Weiss is in for a rough ride going forward: Kulikov, Jason Garrison, Weiss, Joe Callahan, Booth, Marty Reasoner, Alexander Sulzer and Keaton Ellerby saw the most playing time. Class dismissed.
Jesse: I think we just broke the record for most words about the Florida Panthers ever written in a fantasy column. Enough! I want to revisit Jason Arnott, about whom I wrote in our trade-deadline preview: "Arnott, 36, is getting long in the tooth, but he's only two years removed from scoring 33 goals in 65 games with Nashville [and] a new team could reinvigorate him if it needs power-play help." So where does he end up? Washington. True, as you pointed out, the Caps' power-play has struggled big-time this season, but I feel like Bruce Boudreau is more likely to continue deploying the likes of Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and even Brooks Laich (maybe just in different combinations) in hopes that they'll get going, rather than turn to Arnott. Sure enough, in his first game as a Cap (a small sample, I know, but it's all we've got to go on right now) Arnott saw 1:23 of power-play time — the same amount as Backstrom but significantly less than Ovechkin and Semin and slightly less than Laich and Mike Knuble. I worry that there's just not enough playing time to go around on Washington's star-studded roster.
3. What's your move of the week?
Jordan: I'll keep this one short and sweet. More than once this year I've wondered why Sheldon Souray was still owned in a relatively large percentage of Yahoo! pools. The only true reason could have been that his managers were holding out hope that Souray would be recalled and snapped up by someone on the NHL waiver wire or that the Oilers would trade him. Well, that time has officially come and gone. If your league allows for the move and you have enough transactions left, Souray shouldn't be on your roster.
Jesse: Matt Calvert is quietly putting together an impressive rookie run for Columbus. Since being called up from the minors in early January, the 21-year-old winger has 14 points, including 10 goals, in only 22 games. Calvert has been red hot of late, scoring six goals in his last five games, including his first NHL hat trick on Feb. 25 against Phoenix. With the Blue Jackets falling out of playoff contention, Calvert could soon see an increase in his very modest 9:51 of ice time per game, which is the second-lowest average on the team. Grab him now, while he's owned in just nine per cent of Yahoo! leagues.