|Trade Recap (East 2012)|
While the number of quality players moved on this year’s trade deadline was rather disappointing, there were still a number of movements made. Below I’ll take a look at the moves made in the Eastern Conference on the actual deadline day, as well as a handful of others that happened within the week or so leading up to the deadline. Along with the actual trades being listed, I will also take a look at the fantasy impact (or potential impact) for each team that made a move.
Boston Bruins – The Bruins acquired Greg Zanon (for Steve Kampfer) and Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau (for Riendeau and Cantin). Boston was definitely trying to bolster their blue line before the playoffs so as to best defend their Stanley Cup title and they did so by giving up next to nothing. Zanon, who adds decent value in hits and blocked shots, has primarily been paired with Joe Corvo thus far, while Mottau is being reserved as a healthy scratch. Not that the Boston goaltenders needed much help anyway, but they definitely got more through the end of this season and into the postseason.
Rolston is a veteran with a ton of experience who can be used in a top-six role quite effectively. Early on, he has at times taken Tyler Seguin’s place on the Bergeron-Marchand line, but not to worry – Rolston is averaging only 12:14 ice time thus far. He also has a cannon from the point, where he is currently seeing time on the 2nd PP unit, and with one assist (power-play assist) in three games thus far, he may be a decent depth addition if he heats up.
Buffalo Sabres – The Sabres added Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer (for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani) and a first round pick (for Paul Gaustad and a 4th round pick). The Sabres were involved in what was likely the biggest trade of the deadline, bringing in the very skilled and promising youngster in Hodgson and added some defensive depth in Sulzer. Since the trade Hodgson, who was averaging 12:44 of ice time in Vancouver, is already averaging over 17 minutes per game in Buffalo. He has been primarily paired with Ennis and Stafford, two players with a ton of skill. The Sabres gave up two big pieces of their prospect system to get him, so fantasy owners can rest assured that Hodgson will get plenty of opportunity to blossom quickly.
Sulzer, a once promising offensive defenseman, has struggled to find his offensive game at the NHL level and is now skating for his fourth team in two seasons. In his first game for Buffalo (Saturday), he was paired with Ehrhoff and skated just 12:57. He was plus-one in that game though and is plus-seven on the season (in 13 games). The hope is that Sulzer will be more responsible in his own end, which should in turn help the performance of Ryan Miller, which has been rocky at times this season.
Florida Panthers – The Panthers acquired Wojtek Wolski (for Mike Vernace and a 2013 3rd round pick) and Jerred Smithson (for a 2012 6th round pick). Wolski has struggled to find a home in this league, and his season in New York was almost over before it started. There were rumors of a contract buyout over the summer and combined with various injuries, Wolski was in need of a new home. With the new-look Panthers, Wolski may have finally found his groove. He has seen time with either Santorelli-Matthias or Fleischmann-Goc, and he has three points in five games, while averaging 15:30 per game.
Smithson has had a harder time finding offense in Florida, scoring zero points in his five games as a Panther, while averaging less than 13 minutes per game and skating with the likes of Skille-Barch or Goc-Kopecky. Smithson is a depth forward who won’t provide any fantasy relevance this year, but could provide some important veteran experience for the Panthers in the playoffs.
Montreal Canadiens – The Canadiens acquired a 2013 2nd round pick and a conditional 2013 5th round pick (for Andrei Kostitsyn) and Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a 2012 2nd round pick (for Hal Gill and a conditional 2013 5th round pick). It was becoming increasingly clear that Kostitsyn was not in Montreal’s future plans, but the fact that he was reunited with his brother Sergei in Nashville was a bit of a shocker. Both picks that the Canadiens received are in 2013, so this trade was mostly cashing in whatever value they could get for a pending UFA that they weren’t planning on re-signing.
Since Kostitsyn wasn’t skating in the top-six, the move didn’t open any doors there, but it did open up room for Montreal to experiment shuffling their talent into three lines instead of two. With that shift, Blake Geoffrion has found himself on a line with Plekanec and White, with Rene Bourque skating with Eller and LeBlanc. The offense might not be there yet, but the Canadiens, who won’t make the playoffs, are doing the right thing by giving more ice time to their youngsters and focusing on developing them for next season.
New Jersey Devils – The Devils acquired Marek Zidlicky (for Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Vellieux, a 2012 2nd round pick, and a conditional 2013 3rd round pick). Heading into this season, the Devils were hoping that one of Andy Greene or Adam Larsson would serve as the team’s top defenseman. While each has played well at times, neither has had a consistently productive season the way they were hoping for. The goal was that Kurtis Foster (acquired from Anaheim) would serve this role. After another flop, the Devils paid a huge price to land Zidlicky.
Since arriving in New Jersey, Zidlicky has assumed the top role on the power play, averaging 20:13 per game, but going pointless and minus-four in his first four games. Zidlicky is signed through next season at $4M, but at 35 years of age, does he have what it takes to be the top dog in New Jersey? Based on the significant pieces that the Devils sacrificed to bring him in, you can sure bet that Zidlicky will get plenty of opportunities to shine.
New York Islanders – The Islanders acquired Yannick Riendeau and Marc Cantin (For Rolson and Mottau). For the Islanders, this trade was all about moving players that didn’t fit into their long-term vision and opening the door for existing players. Both Riendeau and Cantin are essentially ECHL players, so neither is expected to become a mainstay for the Isles. Instead, the move opened up room for guys like Josh Bailey, Nino Niederreiter, and Casey Cizikas. Thus far Bailey has been impressive and the line of Cizikas, Niederreiter, and Kyle Okposo has looked solid as well.
New York Rangers – The Rangers acquired John Scott (for a 2012 5th round pick) Mike Vernace and a 2013 3rd round pick (for Wojtek Wolski). With John Scott in the lineup, the Rangers added a mean, intimidating presence on their blue line who they likely won’t play too often, but will have available if needed. The price tag was relatively small, making the depth pickup a no-brainer for the Rangers. They also added Vernace, another depth pickup (currently in Connecticut) and a third rounder in 2013 for Wolski. They weren’t using Wolski, so they essentially saved themselves cap space for the current season (not that they needed it since they didn’t acquire anyone with a big salary) and added a fairly nice draft pick down the road. Since Wolski had skated in only nine games for the Rangers this season, the offense was essentially unaffected by this move.
Ottawa Senators – The Senators acquired Matt Gilroy (for Brian Lee) and Ben Bishop (for a 2013 2nd round pick). Matt Gilroy is a gamble for the Senators, but the Senators patience with Brian Lee was running thin. Gilroy is a former Hobey Baker winner who should be working hard for a new contract, but his career-high 18 points in 55 games is still much lower than it could be. The good news is that in two games with Ottawa, Gilroy did manage an assist already. Hopefully the new home will spark similar performance to what he displayed at Boston University.
The other move the Sens made was to acquire Ben Bishop. Ottawa’s starting job is fairly secure in the hands of Craig Anderson, but there have been times where Anderson looks lost in the net and with his most recent kitchen accident, adding another goalie is definitely a good thing. He will have to fight Robin Lehner for starts, but Bishop has had a great attitude over the last two years and if given the opportunity, could post some great numbers.
Philadelphia Flyers – The Flyers acquired Pavel Kubina (for Jon Kalinski, a conditional 2nd round pick, and a 2013 4th round pick), Nicklas Grossman (for a 2012 2nd round pick and a 2013 3rd round pick). With the absence of Chris Pronger, the Flyers had been shopping for defensemen for quite some time. Although it took them four draft picks to get, they got their defensive defenseman in Grossman and an offensive defenseman in Kubina. Grossman has looked a little shaky at times, but he comes with a good reputation for being a reliable defensive player. As he adjusts to the move, his presence should help calm Bryzgalov. Kubina on the other hand has fit in a bit nicer early on, but still has Carle, Timonen, Coburn, and Meszaros to fight for power play time. There are only so many minutes to go around, but Kubina has made it clear that he would like to stay in Philadelphia if possible, and is playing for that next contract, giving him the potential to be a cheap late season addition who could pay dividends.
Tampa Bay Lightning – The Lightning acquired Brian Lee (for Matt Gilroy), Keith Aulie (for Carter Ashton), Mike Commodore (for a conditional 7th round pick), Brandon Segal (for Matt Fornataro), Stephane Piche and a 2012 1st round pick (for essentially Steve Downie). Steve Yzerman essentially went through his “keeper list,” found all of the pending free agents he was not planning on re-signing, and began to shop. In exchange for Gilroy, he received the once promising Brian Lee, who has posted two assists in his first three games for the Bolts. For Carter Ashton, who had a marvelous start to his season in the AHL, Yzerman received Keith Aulie, who has seen less than 10 minutes per game in his first two games in Tampa, but has been said to be a very coachable player willing to learn, which is never a bad thing to have in the locker room.
In the other moves, Yzerman brought in Commodore, who has been paired with Lee, a couple minor leaguers, and a first round pick in the coming draft. Tampa is pushing for a playoff spot, so the success of the Commodore-Lee combination could make or break the postseason hopes for this team.
On offense, Downie’s departure is huge. Purcell is now skating with Stamkos and St. Louis, while Connolly and Malone are staking with JT Wyman, filling in while Lecavalier is out. While the defense has been bolstered, the goaltending is average and the offense is almost entirely on the shoulders of one line in Tampa Bay now. Purcell might be the one player from the Lightning who you want and can actually acquire.
Toronto Maple Leafs – The Leafs acquired Mark Fraser (for Dale Mitchell), Carter Ashton (for Keith Aulie). Brian Burke typically doesn’t make a ton of moves at the trade deadline, but they are often effective moves. This year, both players acquired were minor leaguers, with Ashton being the closest to being NHL-ready. Ashton is a prototypical Burke player, as he adds an element of grit to his game. He showed a ton of offensive upside early in the season, but tapered off in the second half. If he can keep his game consistent, he could be a huge pickup for the Leafs.
Winnipeg Jets – The Jets acquired 2013 2nd and 2013 3rd round picks (for Johnny Oduya). With the Oduya departure, the Jets lose another piece of the Kovalchuk trade, but it was the right move. Although they won’t get to use the picks for another year, Oduya was easily replaceable. The Jets are in the playoff race in the East and with the extra assets from this deal, the future continues to look bright.
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