With all the attention given to the draft picks lately – and deservedly so – the trades that went down, both minor and major, haven’t been properly analyzed. Let’s take care of that right now.
First a note on some of the draft picks that were swapped. In a lot of cases, teams would give up three or four picks just to move up three or four slots in the draft. I wouldn’t advise that in any fantasy draft (or this real NHL draft, for that matter). Think about it – you are gambling that the one player you take, and let’s use the Islanders as an example at 12th will be better than the one you would take at 16th, plus the ones you would take at 77 and 182. Even if the guy you want doesn’t slip four spots, you’re still getting a good player and it’s further hedged by those other two picks. Not smart. This game is all about acquiring assets.
Now the real deals.
The Flyers acquired defenseman Chris Pronger and forward Ryan Dingle from the Ducks for winger Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Luca Sbisa, a first-round draft pick in 2009, a first-round draft pick in 2010 and a conditional third-round pick in 2010 or 2011.
Philadelphia: In shedding Lupul, they created room for James van Riemsdyk and/or Andreas Nodl. Bringing in Pronger’s salary makes the need to free up some cap space even more urgent. As things stand now, by my calculations, the Flyers would be within $1.5 million of the cap already committed. Daniel Briere is almost certainly on the block and the team will pretty much beg him to waive his NTC.
Meanwhile, the back end becomes a little crowded. Braydon Coburn led the Flyers in ice time last season, playing over 24 minutes. However, he was on the second power-play unit. It stands to reason that, given his youth, he would have progressed onto the top power play this season. That won’t happen now with Pronger on the season. So Coburn will be hurt in the sense that he won’t take that step forward offensively. His overall ice time will slip to 22 or 23 minutes, his PP time will slip from 2:43 ATOI to about 2:20. In the end, Coburn’s offense will still probably rise above the 30-mark just from increased experience and strength. He may have topped 40 without this deal though. Kimmo Timonen has posted 40 points or more for seven consecutive seasons. He may be in for a career year partnered with Pronger. Matt Carle stands to lose out here, as he gets bumped to fourth choice to run the power play – and that’s not even considering the fact that Mike Richards is often used there.
Two things you need to watch out for: 1) What if Coburn clicks with Pronger? Then it will be Pronger setting career highs and Timonen suffering. We all assume – myself included – that the veteran Timonen would be No.2 behind Pronger. But what if it becomes Coburn? For that reason – he becomes an interesting sleeper. 2) Since Timonen, Coburn, Pronger and Matt Carle all shoot left, what if it was Timonen (and not Briere) who was dealt?
Fantasy Value End Result: Pronger equal; Timonen up; Coburn equal; Carle down; van Riemsdyk up; Nodl up; Claude Giroux up; Ray Emery up;
Anaheim: For the purpose of this analysis, we will assume that the Ducks will re-sign Scott Niedermayer. Moving Pronger pushes the value of Ryan Whitney up, as well as James Wisniewski. Joffrey Lupul returning to the city where he found the most success will certainly help him. The Ducks are desperate to fill out their second line and now look to have done that. The drafted Matthew Clark (defenseman) and Kyle Palmieri (forward) thanks to trading this first-round pick to Columbus (another example of that “no-no” I wrote of up top).
Fantasy Value End Result: Niedermayer equal; Whitney up; Wisniewski up; Andrew Ebbett equal; Teemu Selanne equal; Lupul way up; Ryan Carter down; Drew Miller down; Erik Christensen down; Sbisa equal;
The Flames acquired defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from the Panthers for defenseman Jordan Leopold and a third-round draft pick in 2009.
Calgary: Yes, the Flames have added a top rearguard in Bouwmeester, but since there are no games to be played between today and July 1, they in essence only acquired his rights. Assuming they can re-sign him, this puts them in a great position. 1) They can do a “sign and trade”, sending him to Ottawa for Dany Heatley. 2) They could trade Dion Phaneuf. 3) They could have the most dominant 1-2 punch in the league, similar to Pronger and Niedermayer in Anaheim several years ago. Look for the team to sign J-Bo and go with Option 3 above. This would tie their hands as far as signing another offensive forward, which could put a drag on the production of some forwards on the second line, although with Jarome Iginla he’ll get his numbers regardless. Bringing back Adrian Aucoin won’t happen if they re-sign Bouwmeester.
Fantasy Value End Result: Phaneuf way up; Iginla equal; Olli Jokinen up; Daymond Langkow down; Dustin Boyd up; Adrian Aucoin down; Miikka Kiprusoff up;
Florida: It matters little to me that Leopold played 83 games last season – he’s a Band-Aid Boy. Assuming the Panthers can re-sign him, and I always do assume it will happen if players are traded just before they become a free agent, they still run the risk of only having him for half the games. Still, if he can shake his injury-prone reputation by staying healthy for a second straight season, his situation remains the same – only Bryan McCabe will be his PP partner instead of Phaneuf. Essentially, the Panthers really did this deal to land right wing Josh Birkholz with that pick in the third round. In the Prospects Report, Matt Bugg ranked Birkholz as a third/fourth rounder with good size and speed – but needed to make smarter decisions with the puck. The tools are there, so the upside is there.
Fantasy Value End Result: Leopold equal; McCabe up; Keith Ballard up; Steve Eminger equal;
The Rangers acquired center Brian Boyle from the Kings for a third-round draft pick in 2010.
NY Rangers: A small price to pay for a good prospect with only one weak year under his belt. Boyle is a 6-7 forward with potential to produce in the high 60’s. He is also versatile, able play any position on the ice except goaltending (and at 6-7, who knows?). He’ll battle Artem Anisimov for the No.3 center job.
Fantasy Value End Result: Boyle up; Anisimov down;
The Coyotes acquired defenseman Jim Vandermeer from the Flames for forward Brandon Prust.
This deal has no fantasy significance. Prust is a solid PIM guy who will get the same amount in either city. Phoenix will now possibly find an agitator, with no Daniel Carcillo or Prust around.
The Coyotes acquired defenseman Sami Lepisto from the Capitals for a fifth-round draft pick in 2010.
Phoenix: What a great deal for the ‘Yotes. Lepisto is NHL ready and he just caught a huge break. In Phoenix there is room for him and he should man the second power-play unit behind Keith Yandle and Ed Jovanovski.
Washington: This deal makes a huge statement – John Carlson may be closer than we thought. I still think he’s a year away, but the Caps are putting their faith in him being the next big thing on the blue line.
Fantasy Value End Result: Lepisto way up; Carlson up;
The Wild acquired forward Kyle Brodziak from the Oilers for a fourth-round draft pick in 2009.
Maybe in Minnesota, Brodziak could become that 40-point player that is…still not valuable in fantasy leagues.
The Rangers acquired goaltender Chad Johnson from the Penguins for a fifth-round draft pick in 2009.
Johnson is a decent goaltender who didn’t have a chance of moving up in the Pittsburgh organization. In New York, he has a glimmer of hope. We’ll reserve judgment for a year or so on this one.
The Coyotes acquired defenseman Shaun Heshka from the Canucks for a seventh-round draft pick in 2009.
Another deal of no fantasy significance.