|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.