Peter Forsberg is a great player who has often been injured. The Nashville Predators picked him up thinking he would put them “over the top” to win the Stanley Cup. For Nashville, it was a gamble that they thought was worth it. The addition of Forsberg made many fantasy owners scramble for his new teammates such as Alexander Radulov.
While Forsberg does appear to be playing on the top line alongside Paul Kariya and Martin Erat, his injuries and overall impact are questionable. Forsberg has been rumored to have worn over 40 pairs of skates this season, but his foot still does not feel 100% in them. Since joining the Predators it has already been reported that between periods, Forsberg walks in the hallway with his skates off in an attempt to get his foot feeling better. If he is this fragile now, there is plenty of doubt he can play for the long playoff haul. An obvious high risk/high reward for poolies.
The Montreal Canadiens looked really flat and unemotional in Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers in which they were shutout. The Canadiens did not appear to be playing like a team that wanted to be in the playoffs or even had a chance. With Sergei Samsonov and Chris Higgins out of the lineup due to the flu, the overall effort was very weak. This team relies too much on Sheldon Souray and his tremendous shot. I’m saying the Habs will slip out of the top eight spots before the playoffs.
One team that could slip into that spot is the Maple Leafs. The acquisition of faceoff expert Yanic Perreault should help. Perreault made an immediate impact on the Coyotes this season after being signed after the season started. His strong play earned him a trip to the All-star game. Perreault’s departure from Phoenix hurts Shane Doan but helps his new line mate Jeff O’Neill. O’Neill has played much better than expected this season. While O’Neill does not have the sniper shot he used to have, he is still capable of scoring. Watch for the progress on this line.
Between the Ed Jovanovski injury and the trading of Perreault, Nagy, and Comrie is there any reason to think that the Coyotes will do anything for the rest of the season?
The New York Islanders have been an underrated team all season long. Surprisingly the team got stronger, not weaker after the injury to captain Alexei Yashin. Miroslav Satan and Trent Hunter have resurrected their scoring touch since his absence. The recent additions of Marc- Andre Bergeron and Ryan Smyth should give this team even more offensive punch. Jason Blake, who was happy not to be traded at the deadline, responded with a hat trick the next game.
Bergeron has solid quarterbacking skills. He will steal time from Tom Poti and Chris Campoli on the power play. His shot from the point will lead to more rebound goals. Bergeron’s former (and now current) teammate Ryan Smyth, is well aware of playing the power play with him. Also, keep an eye on any reports on the health status of Alexei Yashin. With all these guys scoring, Yashin has to be dying to get back into the lineup and could do so as early as this weekend.
The Rangers, who already have problems on defense, traded their only stay-at-home defensemen Aaron Ward for another offensive defenseman, Paul Mara. Mara could be the missing link on the Ranger power play. The Rangers have been lacking a defenseman that can be a threat and can take the shot on the power play. While on Boston, that role went to Zdeno Chara and Brad Stuart. Mara could shine again like he did in Phoenix. It is rumored that Ward had been feuding back and forth with Jaromir Jagr since an early February game against Tampa Bay. With the injuries to Brendan Shanahan and Martin Straka, this team is going nowhere and will not make the playoffs. Do not be surprised if Coach Tom Renney is fired at some point.
Not much has gone well for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. Rick Nash, Sergei Fedorov, Nikolai Zherdev, Gilbert Brule, Fredrik Modin, and Anson Carter were all major fantasy disappointments, killing poolies. David Vyborny, Ron Hainsey, and perhaps Rostislav Klesla are among the few worth mentioning for fantasy hockey. The Blue Jackets could have done more to rebuild this team at the trade deadline. It appears they let Bryan Berard take his time getting healthy and then tried to showcase him for a short time prior the trade deadline to show that he could still be an asset. In that short window he did not do much, to say the least. They failed to move him and he was then placed on waivers.
Even on waivers, he was not claimed. Many thought the Devils would jump at him. It is possible money and or fear of disrupting team chemistry may have been a concern for New Jersey. The Blue Jackets did move Carter and picked up goalie Brian Boucher. Carter’s success in Vancouver last season was greatly attributed to playing alongside the talented Sedin twins. Expect Carter to fair better in Carolina playing alongside talented linemates Eric Staal and Scott Walker.
The Columbus re-signing of 32-year-old Fredrik Modin to a new multi year contract after quite possibly his worst season since his rookie year is very baffling. Modin, who was a pretty high left wing commodity just a few seasons ago on Tampa Bay, has tremendously declined in value and I do not see that changing. This team had trouble all season long moving the puck up ice and controlling any flow of the game. Modin will continue to fade away just like Fedorov.
Next week Part II:
Todd Bertuzzi - Does this power forward bring the much-needed muscle to Detroit?
Bill Guerin - How does he affect Steve Bernier, Joe Pavelski, & Ryane Clowe?
Nikita Alexeev - So much for playing alongside Martin St. Louis!
Kyle Calder - The man who ruined Philly this season?