Fantasy Impact: The Colorado Avalanche have traded goalie Craig Anderson to Ottawa in exchange for Brian Elliott.
The Sens get: a struggling goalie who is an impending free agent. They make this deal for one of two reasons: 1) They believe Anderson will re-sign before July 1st, or 2) They believe last year was more indicative of the kind of goalie he is than this year. A pretty big fall in value for Anderson from last March/April.
The Avalanche get: a young goalie who has had an inconsistent season. He probably has played more than he should have over the past few years because of the Pascal Leclaire injury issues. He has the talent to succeed in the NHL (14 game win streak last season attests to that), but he needs to improve in terms of consistency and on the mental side of things (seems to come unravelled after a bad goal or two).
Fantasy Players Impacted: Both goalies, obviously. Anderson goes from a struggling team to a plain bad one. Elliott's value increases tremendously, as Colorado more than likely has long-term plans for his development. I don't see Peter Budaj sticking around after this season, either. Anderson will get a lot of time down the stretch to improve his faltering value around the league.
Anderson needed this change. And like we saw when he was signed by the Avalanche, his new role energized him and built up his confidence to a very high level. I expect the same to happen with him in Ottawa. He's "the man" again on a team that really benefits from a "big" goalie that can handle workhorse minutes. It kind of reminds me of when Ottawa had anotehr vicious, energetic, aggressive goalie named Ray Emery. I think Anderson will take a few games to get acclimated to his new team, but post solid stats down the stretch as the undisputed starter. I think eventually he is re-signed by the Sens to be their goalie for next season. I think a .915 save percentage, about a 2.50 GAA and a shutout or two are safe statistical expectations for the rest of this season.
Brian Elliott is a very well-rounded, technically sound goalie that has been very streaky this season. He can win 7-8 games in a row, but he can obviously lose 9-10 in a row. I think he fits very well in Colorado because he has a very positive attitude and a strong work ethic, which is something that Anderson really lacked in the past few months. This becomes a very healthy tandem with Budaj, and both will push each other very hard in practice as they fight for the starting role. It kind of reminds me when the Avs rolled with Andrew Raycroft and Budaj for a season. Both were steady and had some good and some bad streaks. I wouldn't expect anything great from Elliott considering how pourous the defense has been. But this is a great opportunity for him to claim a starting role in Colorado for next season. I think he's capable of posting a .910 save percentage, a 2.65 GAA and potentially a nice winning streak to finish the season.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Elliott (more from a long-term perspective)
2. Anderson (I toyed with this one a bit - even with Ottawa struggling, he is going to be playing in a relatively pressure-free environment as the team has zero expectations at this point).
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Calvin Pickard