Although too late for Hanukkah and too early for Christmas or Kwanzaa, McDonald was still a great gift this season, whatever the holiday reason.
Even though the St. Louis Blues had to buy this present for themselves (probably to cheer up, considering the current losing streak), they still found a heck of a sale in Anaheim. Dead Weight, I mean Doug Weight, was just begging to be traded for the second time in three years. He put together a little streak to get any suitors interested again, and President John Davidson knew it was time to pull the trigger. As J.D. mentioned on KMOX Sunday, it is difficult to trade such a nice, likeable personality in your clubhouse, but acquiring the much younger Andy McDonald shows the Blues have an eye on the future. They were in the right place at the right time, and this move allows their youngsters more time to develop next year and should improve the club’s struggling power play. The new regime has done a great job of staying ahead. At the very least, Dave Checketts’ crew seems to excel at buying low. Take a look at these three moves…
Feb. 27th- Traded Dennis Wideman for Brad Boyes
July 23rd- Traded Carl Soderberg for Hannu Toivonen
Dec. 14th- Traded Doug Weight, Michal Birner and a 2008 seventh-round pick for Andy McDonald
All of these acquisitions were fantasy and real-life disappointments for their respective clubs when the Blues acquired them. Boyes and Toivonen are already showing great improvement with the Blues. Boyes is a near point-per-game player with 28 points in 30 games this season. He has had a Brett Hull-esque 19 goals during that span, whereas he only had 17 goals all of last season. Meanwhile, Toivonen is a solid backup to the oft-injured Legace. Even with recent struggles, Toivonen has shown significant improvement in both GAA and SV%. With only 16 points in 33 games, McDonald looks to be the next reclamation project for the Blues. He is off to a great start with two points in his debut. When you add in other solid trades like the Tkachuk rental and the draft day trade turning one pick into Lars Eller, rookie standout David Perron and more, you can see the Blues have really taken advantage of their opportunities.
The Status Report:
Hannu Toivonen, G, STL
Now, I know I just mentioned that Hannu has climbed back to respectability this season, but I think we are in a small lull period where Toivonen can be had for a cheap price. There are three reasons he is a good target right now. First, he is young. Remember, this kid is still only 23. Second, he just had his worst two outings of the season. This includes an astronomical eight goals allowed on December 9th. That game really disguises the true quality of his numbers because before then, he hadn’t allowed more than three goals all season. Third, Legace just got back… but probably won’t be for long. You know he’s a band-aid boy. So, while Toivonen toils on the bench for a short time, snag him. His owner may be agitated by his recent struggles and lost starting gig. The upside is still there for the future.
Doug Weight, C, ANA
Will his value ever be higher? Many people feel Doug will be revitalized with Anaheim. His point in his debut does little to squelch this enthusiasm. Still, I think Weight is a 50-point player at best, and center is the deepest position in the game. His production was poor during his first rental with the eventual champion Carolina Hurricanes, and I don’t think he’ll do any better with the Ducks. He will be a third liner on an overrated team. Who’s to say Anaheim is even an improvement over St. Louis? The standings don’t really show it. Anaheim has one more lousy point with five more games already played. Find an owner who still thinks Anaheim is the best team in the league and exploit him with Weight.
Brad Boyes, RW, STL
Boyes stayed on the top line beside their new acquisition Sunday. He continued to perform well. I think Boyes is on the top line to stay. St. Louis loves the star they stole and will likely give him every opportunity to succeed. Brad is a key part of the youthful future in St. Louis, and he is receiving top ice time, averaging over 19 minutes per game in December.
BEWARE: Each of the last two years Boyes has experienced significant slumps starting in the second half of December. It may just be coincidence, but Boyes began a four points in 13 games slide on December 17th of 2005. The following year, he began his worst slide to date, three points in 26 games on December 21st of 2006. Even so, I am confident his top role and the new energizing teammate will help him break any midseason slump cycle.
Cactus of the Week: The player you shouldn’t touch right now.
Francois Beauchemin, D, ANA
After a hot start this season, Beauchemin has fallen to the other side of the fantasy spectrum. After starting the season with six points in eight games, he has only produced six more in the last 27.
Last 7 Days: 3GP, 0G, 0A, 0P, -2, 0PIM, 6SOG
He is now in the midst of a five game points drought. With the return of their superstar, Beauchemin has even less opportunity awaiting him. He isn’t playing second fiddle… he’s playing fourth. With Niedermayer, Pronger and Schneider all blocking his path, the near future looks pretty bleak for Francois’ fantasy production.
Fantasy Flashback: Your weekly reminder that fantasy hockey is a rollercoaster.
St. Louis Blues, 2nd Central
We all know the Blues went through a huge turnaround when Coach Andy Murray arrived last season. Did you realize it was this drastic?
2006-07: 30GP, 7-19-4, 18Pts
2007-08: 30GP, 16-12-2, 34Pts
Keep in mind, this is even after a four game losing streak. The Blues still have more than doubled their wins, and nearly doubled their point total from last year. With solid front office decisions, great coaching and a youthful core on the rise, the Blues are finally looking more like a fantasy haven than fantasy hell.