Fantasy Impact: In a pair of deals today, the Flyers have traded Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Jeff Carter was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, a first and a third-round draft pick. Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
The Flyers get: a skilled, but inconsistent winger in Voracek, and possibly the No.1 prospect not playing in the NHL right now in Schenn. They also get a solid, industrious, all-around young player in Simmonds. To say nothing of all the cap space and the nice draft picks.
The Blue Jackets get: one of the best centermen in the game today. Giving up the picks hurt, but they have a pile of skilled, unrealized potential forwards so giving up one doesn't hurt.
The Kings get: A leader, a warrior and a talented No.1A centerman.
Needs were filled by all teams today.
Fantasy Players Impacted: In Columbus, Jeff Carter's numbers move up. The added power-play time alone (even though his PP time was fine in Philadelphia, it will be ALL the PP time in Columbus) will see to that. Carter is a sniper and so is Rick Nash. Regardless, the two elite players will play together and that can only help both. The lucky set-up man on the wing wins the lottery. Your natural instinct is to put Kristian Huselius there, but not so fast - Derick Brassard won just 46.6% of his face-offs - that is worse than Sami Pahlsson, Derek McKenzie, Antoine Vermette and RJ Umberger. Move Brassard to the wing. They may not do that at first, but I believe it's inevitable. This hurts Vermette, who gets bumped down the depth chart. As for Ryan Johansen - short term this will hurt. No longer a lock to make the team. But long-term, that's a good thing. Columbus has screwed up enough of their top picks and they are all too aware of that. Wait another year for Johansen to make the jump.
My projected depth chart:
UFA they'll sign - Pahlsson - Boll/Dorsett
As you can see, a nice dark horse in Derek McKenzie is now out of the dark-horse mix. One other thing to consider is how much the Blue Jackets' power play improves. When you factor in Kris Russell's strong final 30 games, he could very well shock the fantasy world with something nice (like 50 points). I stress "may".
In Philadelphia, things finally settle in proper in terms of line combos. No more questions about moving this center to that wing, or this other center to another wing, or this center is No. 1, 2 or 3. It's now Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere as the 1a/1b options up the middle. Brayden Schenn will apprentice on the third line, which is a great fit for him. The cap space is cleared to announce the Ilya Bryzgalov signing, and they didn't lose any grit in giving up Richards - they acquired some in Schenn and Simmonds. There is now room to re-sign Ville Leino. Here is how the line combos shape up:
My projected depth chart:
Carcillo - Betts -Powe/Shelley
This is a nice-looking squad. Nicer still if Schenn develops into the guy he is most compared to: Mike Richards. With Carter and Richards gone, this helps give JVR some ice time and allows them to re-sign Leino, thereby keeping the Leino, Hartnell, Briere line not only intact but also thrusts the line into the spotlight. No more second fiddle for them. With Richards off the point on the power play, it frees up more ice time for Matt Carle as well, so I like him for a small bump. As for Schenn - he'll be brought in more slowly in Philadelphia as a third liner. Long-term, that's a very good thing. But you may want to put your Calder Trophy expectations aside. I am assuming that Kris Versteeg will be traded soon.
Philadelphia's depth chart, in my opinion, has been fixed today. No more shoving square pegs into round holes.
In Los Angeles, this move gives their offense a whole new dimension. And with leaders Richards, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, they have the core they need around Anze Kopitar to win hockey games. Let's look at the depth chart:
My projected depth chart:
Right off the top you can see that this will hurt Andrei Loktionov. Richards eats a lot more ice time at center than Schenn would have. I also think Richards is a better fit to get Dustin Penner going, although I don't see Penner up over 60 points. As for Richards himself, his line quality has gone down. But he was only getting 65 points in Philadelphia - getting out of the clutter in Philly is countered by the lesser linemates in LA. So call it a wash. With Simmonds out of the mix, I like Trevor Lewis more. He is a Smyth or Williams injury away (likely) from a top-six job.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Jeff Carter
2. Ville Leino
3. Daneil Briere
4. Jakub Voracek
5. Anze Kopitar
6. Kris Russell
7. Rick Nash
8. Derick Brassard
9. Matt Carle
10. Dustin Penner
11. James van Riemsdyk
12. Claude Giroux
13. Trevor Lewis
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Antoine Vermette
2. Andrei Loktionov
3. Derek McKenzie
4. Ryan Johansen
5. Brayden Schenn
6. Mike Richards (marginally, as I noted in the write-up - 1% - to keep it in perspective)
Don't forget - these deals now pretty much make the Ilya Bryzgalov signing official. He is a top fantasy goalie to own right now, if not THE top. The Flyers will go with Bryzgalov and Mike Leighton (awesome), and give Sergei Bobrovsky much-needed AHL time.