The rule of thumb, generally speaking, is that the more NHL trades that you expect to happen on a certain day, the more underwhelming the day ends up. And nobody wants to see some impact NHL trades go down more than Bruce Garrioch a keeper-league fantasy owner.
This time however, said day (or "weekend", rather) actually turned out quite exciting on the trade front. Some big names were on the move, including addressing some goaltending needs in ways we didn't expect.
Here are the 11 biggest names impacting your fantasy league.
Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets
GM Scott Howson was wowed by Bobrovsky's 0.899 SP and 3.02 GAA enough to go out and get him at all costs (three draft picks, as it were). After all — only Allen York and Curtis Sanford were able to beat those marks with the Jackets.
Naturally, Bob was acquired because of his play in 2010-11, when he posted 0.915 and 2.59 numbers. He is a better goaltender when he sees regular starts, and my mother he is an upgrade over Steve Mason. This is a team with 29 wins last year. Depending on what happens with Rick Nash, this win total could go up a little or down a little. But Bobrovsky will get at least 55 starts and probably 20 to 25 of the wins. That's an upgrade from the 15 starts and 10 wins he would get in Philly, and the regular action that he will see should help his SP and GAA stats.
Brian Dumoulin to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Hockey East's Best Defensive Defenseman for two years running, Dumoulin also has some offensive flair. He may need a half-season of AHL experience, but he is extremely close to being NHL ready. From the DobberHockey Fantasy Prospects Report:*Note: 3YP is his "likely" projected peak three-season average.
Now that Dumoulin is out of Carolina, he joins in a Pittsburgh system that is quite similarly deep. With Kris Letang, Joe Morrow, Simon Despres, Scott Harrington — and now you can add Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot — it is pretty certain that Dumoulin will play a more defensive role.
Cody Eakin to the Dallas Stars
From the Fantasy Prospects Report:*Note: 3YP is his "likely" projected peak three-season average.
Now that he is in Dallas however, he'll be wondering where the playoffs went a full-time NHLer in the fall, barring a colossal stumble in camp. Up the middle, the Stars are about as deep as Phil Kessel's interview answers. Unless they add a player through trade or free agency, Eakin could very well be the second-line center here by season's end, making him a dark horse for 40-plus points immediately.
Jonas Gustavsson to the Winnipeg Jets
Gustavsson was looking like he was a dropsy in all fantasy formats this summer. Thanks to this trade, he's still a dropsy in all fantasy formats this summer. But this time there is a caveat — Ondrej Pavelec is playing coy with the Jets and the KHL. If he leaves them, I get the feeling it will be late in the summer, leaving the Jets with Gustavsson and whoever else they sign. It's a long shot, but the Monster could find himself in another 1A/1B tandem. Still a dropsy, but in the deeper leagues he may be worth keeping on the farm if Pavelec flees.
Anders Lindback to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Unlike the Blue Jackets, the Lightning should top the 40-win mark. And with a clear-cut number one goalie, they'll lean on him for 60-plus starts. In 2011-12 they wanted to do that, but Dwayne Roloson was letting in too many beach balls. It happened right from the start, too — in the second game he allowed five goals. But the team wanted him logging a ton of starts so badly that they put him out there next game. Another five goals went by so they gave him the next game off before throwing him out there again. Seven goals. From there, things didn't improve a whole lot.
Lindback is young and has shown us enough — 38 games and a 0.914 SP, 2.53 in his NHL career. Barring injury, the 6-6 giant will be a 33-win goaltender. Bold words, considering only 11 goaltenders reached that mark last campaign.
Benoit Pouliot to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Why on earth did the Lightning pursue Pouliot? They're seeing something here, so let's dig deeper. Of his 32 points, 30 were at even strength. He picked up his points mostly on the third line, as you can see here:With the Lightning, he'll replace Ryan Shannon in the lineup (who replaced Sean Bergenheim before him). Shannon managed just 12 points last year, Bergenhiem 29 the season before that. Meanwhile, Pouliot has seen his point totals rise steadily each year he's been in the league: 0, 11, 28, 30, 32. He also had 14 points in his last 16 games with Boston. If healthy, he'll beat 40 points for the first time, making him the player whom TB thought that they had with Shannon and Bergenheim.
Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals
Potentially, Ribeiro's production could increase in dramatic fashion, perhaps back up to the point-per-game level that he reached in 2007-08. But when you look at the new attitude of the Washington franchise and their 15th ranked offense, you can't help but wonder if his offense will remain in that area (he averaged 59 points the last three seasons). After all, if the 'system' can hold Alex Ovechkin to 65 points, why would Ribeiro see any more than that? Consider him for 75 games and 65 points, and his presence will help Ovechkin and others see spike.
That being said, I think he's a sell-high asset in keeper leagues — the hype in the minds of many of your fellow GMs exceeds 65 points.
Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes
Staal's ice time of 20:03 per game will probably not increase with the Hurricanes. It's his power-play time that will. With the Penguins last season, he sat sixth amongst forwards in PP ice time:
This is what Carolina's chart looked like:
Seeing LaRose's name on there made you do a double take, didn't it? Jordan will definitely be on the first PP unit, which means his PP ice time will jump to the three-minute mark at the very least. That extra minute will mean another five or six points, and if his injury woes are behind him he should be a 60-point player for the first time.
This is another player I am selling high on. Staal will fall in that 60-65 range — but only if he stays healthy. Meanwhile, in the one league I own him in, the other GM's are talking to me as if he's closer to 70, and an iron man to boot.
Brandon Sutter to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Sutter is everything that Jordan Staal is, but with half the offensive potential. But while a third-line player in Carolina can tally 35 points, he is probably good for 45 in Pittsburgh. That enters the realm of "draftable" in deep keeper leagues. His plus/minus is going to start looking pretty sweet, too.
James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR was unable to build on a breakout 2011 playoff performance last season because of injuries. But he was also hurt by the fact that the likes of Matt Read and Brayden Schenn were fighting for ice time, and the team signed Jaromir Jagr. The former issue may or may not be a problem again, but the latter issue will certainly not be the case. The red carpet has been rolled for this guy — and it ends on the team's first line.
So will he be productive? Hell yes. He's entering his fourth NHL season and he'll be leaned on as an offensive leader.
Will he stay healthy? That's where I hesitate. His hip injury is pretty serious, even if he recovers successfully from it — will we ever know for sure? Just three years in the NHL and his list of injuries, however minor, is as long as Alexander Radulov's bar tab. This is another player with whom I would take advantage of the hype — sell.
Lubomir Visnovsky to the New York Islanders
An aging veteran coming off of a 27-point season moving to a bottom-five team. His value is at a low point, despite being 15 months off of leading NHL defensemen in scoring.
But hey — Mark Streit tallied 47 points last year with this team. Visnovsky will beat that, as long as he stays healthy. I think he could be had for a very cheap price and is worth kicking tires about.
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