The fantasy take on the upcoming trade deadline, featuring the Western Conference
Ilya Kovalchuk has already been dealt, but there are still some smaller deals out there that could have serious repercussions on your fantasy squad. Here are some things to watch out for. All cap figures are according to Cap Geek.
Cap Room – over $3 million (pro-rates to a $12 million acquired salary)
Status: Outside of the playoff picture, but close. However, their only UFA’s aside from Evgeni Artyukhin and Scott Niedermayer are vets who signed for one year and thus won’t be dealt. Their deal acquiring Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala may be it for them.
Fantasy Outlook: Artyukhin may be dealt, given that the Ducks are just scratching him these days. If moved, he is a rotisserie asset capable of 50 penalty minutes and five points in a 20-game stretch. Niedermayer getting moved is a rumor that won’t die, but the teams who have room for his salary make a very short list.
Cap Room – over $1.8 million
Status: In the playoffs – barely. They are buyers and though they have already bought, do not rule out more deals. Darryl Sutter seems intent in not only setting the team up to make a playoff splash, but also for a massive offseason retool. Eight Flames will be unrestricted free agents in the summer, plus two more who will be restricted. If the team falls flat, there will be a big exodus.
Fantasy Outlook: Matthew Stajan owners could be in trouble and ditto for Rene Bourque owners. If the team decides that Stajan is not a fit with Jarome Iginla, they could go after another pivot – perhaps trading Stajan for the second time this season in the process. He has looked pretty good on the line, but the numbers (four points in seven games) leave something to be desired. As for Bourque, he has enjoyed a breakout campaign and the Olympic break is just what he needed to heal his shoulder injury. However, the Flames keep adding forwards to the mix and it’s hurting him. Prior to getting hurt (he only played 52 seconds, so we won’t count that game) he had seven points in 18 contests. That pace will continue to fall if the squad adds another forward without subtracting one.
Cap Room – not much ($0.5 million)
Status: A Stanley Cup contender, but the Hawks are over the cap limit for 2010-11 and pressing against the ceiling this year. It will take some fancy maneuvering to improve this team via trade while at the same time reducing next year’s hit and staying under this year’s hit. They already traded Cam Barker and brought in more salary in Kim Johnsson, but that salary is off the books come summer – an example of the fancy maneuvering that I mentioned above. Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien – one or both of them – will be dealt either before March 3 or in the summer.
Fantasy Outlook: If Byfuglien is moved and a forward is not brought back in, prospect Jack Skille will be brought up. Skille has found his game in the AHL, tallying 34 points in his last 33 games. Byfuglien was a playoff stud for the team last spring though, so a summer deal is more likely. Sharp has shown enough to be a weak No. 1 center on a weak team, or a strong No.2 center and should be a 70-point guy on any squad. Byfuglien would flourish on another team, although I wouldn’t expect more than a 55-point impact.
Cap Room – Plenty. Over $8 million (pro-rates to a $31 million-plus acquired salary)
Status: The envy of the NHL – in the playoffs and rebuilding at the same time. The Avs seem to be content with their team and whenever a player gets hurt, they just bring up another prospect who jumps right in and makes an impact. What are they feeding these guys? Brandon Yip and more recently Ryan Stoa have joined rookies T.J. Galiardi, Matt Duchene, Ryan Wilson, Ryan O’Reilly and the emerging Chris Stewart in making a big statement. Only John-Michael Liles has run into his share of problems and the team may look to move him. The market for a puck-moving defenseman is a big one.
Fantasy Outlook: Liles will flourish on another team. His big salary will require the team to take on salary in return, so any deal involving Liles will likely involve several assets moving back and forth. He is a potential 50-point defenseman in the right system. His departure will neither help nor hinder fellow rearguard Kyle Quincey.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap Room – over $9 million (pro-rates to a $35 million-plus acquired salary)
Status: Sellers. Too far out of the playoffs to bother. Raffi Torres is the prize being shopped and he will be moved as he is set to become a UFA. Fredrik Modin is also a pending UFA. There are several players with inflated salaries who shouldn’t surprise if you if they are moved, but it would take some fancy accounting to make it happen.
Fantasy Outlook: Torres could become a big-time rotisserie asset under a new system, as he is capable of over a penalty minute per game and 50-point production. Modin has injured his way down the depth chart, so who knows how he could perform in a new environment with a skilled pivot.
Cap Room – nearly $9 million
Status: On the cusp and so they should be buyers. It is no secret that Marty Turco is likely on the way out, given the acquisition of Kari Lehtonen. The Stars could also dangle Fabian Brunnstrom, who can’t be happy with his situation there. His salary and pending RFA status could be tough for another team to swallow unless Dallas can absorb salary in the deal.
Fantasy Outlook: Brunnstrom bears watching on another team. He has shown in the past that he can flourish in a top six spot. Turco is a goaltender on the decline and I don’t have a whole lot of faith in a career turnaround unless he goes to a team with a strong defensive system – and those teams (Phoenix, New Jersey, etc.) already have goaltenders.
Detroit Red Wings
Cap Room – you couldn’t slip a piece of paper between Detroit’s total cap hit and the NHL’s allowable cap ceiling.
Status: Outside of the playoff picture, but close. The Wings have added to their lineup simply by having their injured players return. A deadline deal is doubtful, unless it is to beef up their experienced AHLers or a salary-for-salary swap.
Fantasy Outlook: The return of injured players should see the likes of Bertuzzi, Miller and Eaves slip.
Cap Room – nearly $9 million
Status: Fire Sale! Whoever they can trade for good value will go. Exceptions are Sam Gagner… and I’m hesitant to name any other name, because stranger things have happened.
Fantasy Outlook: If the Oilers can offload a couple of defensemen, then perhaps Denis Grebeshkov and Tom Gilbert will step up the production. Or perhaps they will be the ones getting unloaded. Either way, it should end up being favorable for their owners. If Andrew Cogliano or Robert Nilsson go, the change of scenery will help. Space will be cleared for Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall (in the likely event that they win the draft lottery) next year.
Los Angeles Kings
Cap Room – over $7.2 million
Status: In the postseason after several years of rebuilding. The organization is flush with talent and they should be buyers at the deadline. Although prying one of their many great prospects will be difficult, so the Kings may come up empty if they take playing hardball a little too far.
Fantasy Outlook: Parting with any prospect will probably help that prospect, since he will likely be joining an organization with less depth. Keep an eye on any kid who moves. Teddy Purcell could use a change of scenery, because toiling in Los Angeles as a depth player is not doing him any good. Alexander Frolov is set to become a UFA in the summer, so he could be dealt. Brad Richardson and Purcell are set to become RFA’s.
Cap Room – a shade over $2 million (pro-rates to about $8 million in acquired annual salary)
Status: Although they’ve turned things around nicely and have pulled themselves into playoff contention, the organization would be best served as sellers. They have already pulled off some fantastic moves, bringing in the likes of Cam Barker and Guillaume Latendresse. The word is that they will want to re-sign Marek Zidlicky, but now that they have Barker I wonder how smart a move that would be. Zidlicky could bring in a pretty decent prospect – and the Minnesota prospect cupboards are pretty bare. Owen Nolan and Eric Belanger are also pending UFAs and goaltender Josh Harding will soon be an RFA.
Fantasy Outlook: If the Wild were to deal James Sheppard, it could have a Benoit Pouliot effect on him. Zidlicky leaving would help Barker owners, as the power play would be his to run. If the team finally does deal Harding, then the patience of Harding owners will finally pay off. If Belanger is dealt, look for Andrew Ebbett to become a nice dark horse (again). This will be a great team to keep an eye on come March 3rd – chances are some advantages can be found in your fantasy league at that time.
Cap Room – a mind-boggling $13 million, or $52 million in pro-rated annual salary. They tend to not use all that, though.
Status: In the thick of the playoff race – not comfortably so, however. They could use a high-end scorer, but those don’t grow on trees. As a team, the team scores a fair amount – nine players have 10 goals and 10 players have between 21 and 37 points. Dan Hamhuis’ name has been bandied about pretty heavily, and the Preds may want to deal Dan Ellis rather than lose him for nothing in the summer.
Fantasy Outlook: If the Preds manage to bring in any kind of offensive player, it will be Patric Hornqvist who suffers. He always seems to feel the brunt of a healthy lineup (and yet he still perseveres). That will change as he gets older and more experienced, but this year such moves will hurt his ice time. If a winger is brought in, look for Joel Ward’s production to drop. If it’s a pivot, look for Marcel Goc’s. If Hamhuis moves for picks and/or prospects, than Cody Franson will see more ice time.
Cap Room – Tons – probably the most in the NHL.
Status: Well into the playoff picture and, like Colorado, they are rebuilding at the same time. Restricted free agent Peter Mueller’s name has been mentioned all over the ‘net, but the team has almost nobody signed for next season so many different players could be moved if they wanted to further their rebuild while still keeping an eye on the here and now. Matthew Lombardi, Scott Upshall, Martin Hanzal, Taylor Pyatt, Adrian Aucoin, Zbynek Michalek and Sami Lepisto are the other notables that need new contracts.
Fantasy Outlook: A change of scenery would really help Mueller, but I think he’ll be fine in a year or two right where he is. The ‘Yotes would love to add a power-play specialist up front, so anyone brought in could hurt the PP ice time of some of the forwards. I think Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata would be safe from that, but anyone else would be fair game to lose the PP time.
St. Louis Blues
Cap Room – nearly $10 million
Status: There are seven teams separating seventh place from 13th spot and, much like Minnesota, the Blues would be best served to sit this one out and come back hard next year. They could really take advantage of a seller’s market. Chris Mason, Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk are all pending UFA’s and given how many goaltenders are on the market in the coming summer, dealing their starter may not be a bad idea. I don’t think it would happen…I’m just sayin’. Because the Blues were in the mix for Ilya Kovalchuk, it suggests that they are buyers. Bad idea or not, it’s probably what they are.
Fantasy Outlook: Any top forward that the Blues bring in will hurt the likes of David Perron, T. J. Oshie and of course Patrik Berglund. There is only so much ice time to go around.
San Jose Sharks
Cap Room – less than half a million
Status: Stanley Cup contender. All they would be on the lookout for would be some playoff leadership on the cheap. With Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov set to become unrestricted, the Sharks may look to free up even more salary to bring in that leadership. Devin Setoguchi is set to become a restricted free agent and if they hope to re-sign Nabokov and replace Marleau, they will have to do some fancy juggling.
Fantasy Outlook: If they do the expected – which is little to nothing – then no impact. If they make a surprising splash, such as dealing a Setoguchi, then that would help a young scorer in a big way as he will likely see top ice time on a new team.
Cap Room – just over half a million
Status: The playoffs are secure – they are definitely buyers. They need some defensive specialists, as the team is flush with offensive depth and can easily call up even more from Manitoba. Who can they dangle? The logical choice would be prospect Corey Schneider, but it would have to be for a pretty damn good defensive specialist.
Fantasy Outlook: Schneider owners have their fingers crossed. Another team would shoot him from zero starts next year to perhaps 50.