You can’t be blamed if you thought Friday, February 18, and not Monday, February 28, was the NHL trade deadline. Several deals were made, some of which will have a significant impact on fantasy teams. Now that we’ve had a chance to digest this flurry of trade action, let’s dive right in and examine the corresponding adjustments of the important fantasy principals in more detail.
Brian Elliott to Colorado
Don’t get too excited about this trade fantasy-wise. Elliott is simply moving from one struggling team (Ottawa) to another (Colorado), which won’t help his win totals a great deal. In addition, Peter Budaj has eased his way into a 1A goaltending role for the Avalanche, so things won’t be easy for Elliott. Expect the Avs to turn to Elliott right away to see if he can provide the spark that Peter Forsberg could not in being the new player that will help the team in ending its winless streak. Elliott experienced flashes of brilliance in his time with the Senators, so he could eventually wind up as the number one goalie for the Avs. But it’s difficult to think that Elliott’s numbers will improve in Denver, considering that the moods in the two teams’ dressing rooms can’t be that much different.
Craig Anderson to Ottawa
Don’t get too excited about the other side of this trade fantasy-wise either. Rumblings were that Anderson wanted out of Denver and that he wasn’t likely going to re-sign with the Avs in the offseason. But will he re-sign with the Senators? Anderson will be a UFA chasing starting goalie dollars, no doubt citing his 2009-10 numbers (38-25-7, .917 SV%, 7 SO). However, his lack of experience as a starting goalie and the sheer number of shots he faced last season (NHL-leading 2233) could be catching up to him, which means he might fit into a team’s plans only as a 1A goalie. He will start a whole bunch of games for the Senators for the balance of the season, which could help you if you need to fill minimum goalie starts. But the Sens will be hard-pressed just to win a half-dozen games the rest of the way, so Anderson’s non-keeper value will hardly improve with this trade. Whether the Sens attempt to re-sign him or turn to goaltending prospect Robin Lehner next season remains to be seen.
Blake Wheeler to Atlanta
Remember when Wheeler was drafted by the Coyotes, but he wouldn’t sign there because he didn’t think the team was good enough? I wonder how he feels about being in Atlanta. Regardless, Wheeler should see significantly more icetime in Atlanta than the 15 minutes per game that the Bruins were squeezing in for him. As well, don’t be surprised to see Wheeler play some center for the Thrashers, as he has experience at that position and the Thrashers aren’t overly deep up the middle. This move could be a good one for Wheeler, even if his fantasy value will take a hit in the plus/minus department.
Rich Peverley to Boston
Remember when Peverley was acquired off waivers from the Nashville Predators and then promptly went on a massive scoring run? Underrated and perhaps overachieving scorer Peverley was acquired by the Bruins to reinforce the Bruins’ strength up the middle, now that Marc Savard is done for the season. Peverley will likely be placed behind Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on the Bruins’ depth chart, although don’t be shocked if the Bruins move him to the wing. Peverley won’t likely see 19 minutes of icetime like he did in Atlanta, but any reduction in scoring should be offset by an increase in plus/minus (Peverley is -16 this season). Overall, his fantasy value should remain about the same.
Tomas Kaberle to Boston
Those of us in Canada who hear about the Leafs nonstop can officially get on with our lives now that Kaberle has been dealt after 2+ years of rumors. Kaberle should assume first power-play unit duties for the Bruins, dishing out passes to the forwards or perennial hardest shot winner Zdeno Chara. Both d-men’s power-play totals should improve, as the Bruins should build on their 14th-ranked power play (18.1% success rate). Kaberle’s fantasy value will improve even more, now that we don’t have to worry about his negative plus/minus as a Leaf. For what it’s worth, Kaberle paired with Dennis Seidenberg for his Bruins’ debut on Friday, which could reduce Seidenberg’s value if he has to be the stay-at-home d-man with this arrangement, not to mention Seidenberg’s lost power-play minutes. Back in Toronto, Kaberle’s mentee Luke Schenn could be the biggest beneficiary of the Kaberle trade, as he should see increased power-play time. (For the record, Kaberle was held without a point in 19 minutes of icetime in his Bruins debut Friday.)
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