The trade deadline is February 26 and DobberHockey will have the instant fantasy breakdown of all moves that go down. Who does it impact? What will be the impact?
In part one of two, we’ll take a look at some of the Eastern Conference players who are on the block and why a trade will help or hurt them fantasy-wise.
Sometimes, a player needs a change of scenery to get things rolling again. Here are ten situations worth watching in the Eastern Conference. There may be some ‘buying low’ opportunities here:
The Johan Hedberg situation: The veteran is a solid backup and his contract is up this summer. Underneath all the Marian Hossa hype is the fact that Hedberg could be moved as well. If Atlanta fades from the playoff story, look for a move here. This means a big promotion for Ondrej Pavelec and an indication that the youngster will be up full-time next season.
Buffalo – up or down: Talks have resumed with Brian Campbell, but if a deal cannot be reached then expect him to be dealt. Dimitri Kalinin is also a UFA this summer so he could be on the move. However, the Sabres on the cusp and may need to make a move to put them over the top. In all likelihood, the team will use draft picks and prospects as bait, but if a significant deal happens it is possible that one of Dan Paille or Clarke MacArthur go the other way. Those two very promising kids are restricted free agents this summer and I have a feeling that the Sabres are a little tired of those after what happened last summer with Thomas Vanek.
Olli Jokinen on the move? Wherever he goes, he will remain an 85 or 90-point threat. Removing him from the Florida lineup puts Stephen Weiss in as the No.1 center and may get Shawn Matthias back up to the NHL. Pay attention to the ripple effect here.
Habs need two deals, at least: Montreal has made no secret that winger Michael Ryder is being shopped. He is unrestricted this summer and is in the press box as much as not these days. If he is traded, the team will acquire picks or prospects. That said, the Habs are Cup contenders and so not only will they be sellers with Ryder, but they will be buyers as well. Among their prospects, Mikhail Grabovski is set to become a restricted free agent in the summer. If he is used to land an established star, expect him to become a full-time NHLer immediately.
Habs may need yet another deal: I find what Montreal has done with their goaltenders these past two months very curious. I can’t help but think that Carey Price was sent to the AHL to get some games in. Now that he is back up, he is coming off two starts in which he gave up a combined one goal. Has he shown the club that he is capable of being the No.1 guy in the postseason? Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy…and even Steve Penney come to mind when it comes to this team giving young goalies a chance in pressure-packed situations. So, with the team having three NHL-ready goaltenders and Cristobal Huet set to become a UFA this summer – is something going to give here? Make a play on Jaroslav Halak, because I think he will either become the backup to Price, or he will be traded himself.
A clean slate for the Isles next year: With the exception of Rick DiPietro and what the team owes Alexei Yashin, the Islanders have the majority of their roster coming up to free agency. Last season the team made a splash with the Ryan Smyth acquisition. Will they do that again? If so, look for Sean Bergenheim to be this year’s Robert Nilsson. He is coming on free agency in the summer (restricted) and the team already has him in their bad books because of his holdout last year. Miroslav Satan is an unrestricted free agent and coach Ted Nolan isn’t using him enough to warrant keeping him. He could be on the move too.
Jaromir Jagr. ‘Nuff said: Jagr needs 84 points this season to extend his contract. Not likely to happen. That means he is an unrestricted free agent in the summer. The team is starting to take on a new mentality. Instead of “let’s try and find Jagr a centerman”, the new mantra is “let’s try and find Scott Gomez a winger”. Detroit is one of many teams interested in Jags.
All those big, long contracts in Philadelphia: How can the team afford to re-sign Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger this offseason when so much payroll is already spoken for? Mike Richards, Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen and Simon Gagne are $33 million right there. Will the team trade Carter for a rent-a-player? Or if they find a way, would this mean another big contract will be moved? Stay tuned.
Too many quarterbacks in Pittsburgh: Ryan Whitney, Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang are all excellent quarterbacks for the power play. Next year, when Letang grows into the role a little more, three quarterbacks may be too many. So where does Alex Goligoski fit in? He is ready to run a power play at the NHL level. If the Pens make a move to shore up things up on the wing, look for Goligoski to maybe go the other way. If he does, he will immediately be called up to the bigs.
Prospal vs. Tortorella: Vaclav Prospal is an unrestricted free agent this summer and is not getting along well with his coach. You know this trade is gonna happen.
In the above, I tried to steer away from the situations that are covered extensively all over the Internet. We know that the Maple Leafs are going to make at least one big move and we can be fairly certain that the Thrashers are moving Marian Hossa. I’ll leave that analysis for when they actually happen.
In the DobberHockey feature “A Roto-Look Ahead ”, we analyze the schedule for each team over the coming seven days and recommend which teams have the most optimal schedule for fantasy purposes (i.e. most games and easiest schedule), as well as which teams have a terrible week ahead for fantasy pools (i.e. the least games and most difficult schedule). Using that same formula, I studied the entire schedule from February 27 to April 6 when the season ends.
The formula looks at quantity of games overall, quantity of games at home, and the quality of the opponents.
Cheer, if your player is traded to one of these teams:
1 Bruins 21.5
2 Lightning 21.1
3 Sabres 20.2
4 Canucks 19.8
5 Thrashers 19.7
6 Capitals 19.6
7 Wild 19.5
8 Sharks 19.4
9 Panthers 19.3
10 Flyers 19.1
Cringe, if your player is traded to one of these teams:
19 Islanders 17.6
20 Rangers 17.6
21 Blues 17.6
22 Avalanche 17.5
23 Blue Jackets 17.3
24 Flames 17.3
25 Oilers 16.9
26 Predators 16.7
27 Kings 16.4
28 Red Wings 16.2
29 Ducks 15.3
30 Stars 14.2
Boston plays 20 games, while Dallas plays just 15. Boston plays a weak defensive team like Toronto three times, whereas the Stars are stuck facing teams such as Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim in their end-of-season schedule.
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