The rumor mill is spinning out of control these days, thanks to hockey news that is so infrequent that a Petteri Nokelainen signing in Finland becomes noteworthy. However, there are some rumors with substance to them and when some of these moves come to fruition you could find yourself on the plus or minus side of the fantasy ledger. Let’s take a closer look and see if you can’t be proactive and ensure that you have more of the former than the latter.
Hang Tight On...
Tomas Kaberle, Toronto – He’ll be on the move, despite his no-trade clause. He’ll waive it to go to a contender, despite what the spin doctors say. In Toronto, his responsibilities have all shifted to Dion Phaneuf, so it would be shocking if he even topped 45 points. But on a new team he could post 65. That’s worth keeping at any price.
Patrick O’Sullivan, free agent – His value can’t be any lower. His minus-a million plus/minus rating last year plummeted him in the eyes of all fantasy owners. If you haven’t dumped him by now, then hang in there. He’ll bounce back on any team, but the right team could see him flourish. It’s just so hard to see him as a failure after watching everything he did in all situations at both ends of the ice as a rookie.
Tim Kennedy, free agent – The diminutive forward was just catching onto the NHL game in the final quarter of last season. So that makes him a nice sleeper, as most fantasy owners look at the final numbers and not the last quarter. Rumored to be possibly going to Columbus, Los Angeles, Phoenix or Atlanta.
Lee Stempniak, free agent – He’s rumoured to be signing soon with Phoenix. Since he enjoyed so much success there at the end of the last campaign, it’s natural to assume that going back there would be the best fit for him.
Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver – He’ll be moved somewhere thanks to the cap crunch in Vancouver. That means the rumor mill is really spinning for this guy, which in turn means the hype-machine is in overdrive – fantasy owners are overrating him. Yes, he has offensive talent and upside and yes a new locale will do him good. But a new city won’t suddenly make him stop being a Band-Aid Boy. Take advantage of the hype and sell high.
Radim Vrbata, Phoenix – If Stempniak signs, Vrbata could be out of the power-play mix. He looks like a 45-point player who teases of 65-point potential. But kiss both those numbers goodbye if Stempniak shows up in a Coyote uniform.
Brian Lee, Ottawa – Not only has Erik Karlsson passed him on the depth chart (with authority, I might add), but the team added Sergei Gonchar. Also watch Patrick Wiercoch pass him in training camp...and next year David Rundblad will pass him. Bail now before the other guys catch on to this freefall.
Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey – Nobody was hurt more by Ilya Kovalchuk’s arrival than Langenbrunner. Kovalchuk’s contract with the Devils – the latest one, that is – is all but official. Then Langenbrunner’s numbers will “officially” plummet.