NHL Skinny: Price is right

Matt Romig
Yahoo! Sports
1st Chair: Ty Conklin
2nd Chair: Marc-Andre Fleury
Skinny: Lost in the Marian Hossa firestorm was the 50-save performance Conklin put forth in a 4-2 win over the Islanders Thursday. With Conklin now leading all goalies with a .933 save percentage (no other goalie is better than .924), it becomes all the more difficult to hand the keys to Fleury. Conklin may have earned himself another start Thursday, but figure the battle starts no later than the weekend when Pittsburgh plays a home-road, back-to-back.
1st Chair: Olaf Kolzig
2nd Chair: Cristobal Huet, Brent Johnson
Skinny: Coach Bruce Boudreau told the Washington Post that the goalie situation is not "quite, exactly resolved at this point." Kolzig didn't seem too fazed by the move, as he went out and stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 4-1 win over Minnesota Tuesday. Huet was having an excellent season in Montreal, so you have to figure the Caps consider him an upgrade, or they thought they had a deal to move Kolzig and it fell through.
1st Chair: Ray Emery
2nd Chair: Martin Gerber
Skinny: Money issues prevented the acquisition of Nikolai Khabibulin and Olaf Kolzig rumors went nowhere, so it's Emery or Gerber down the stretch. Gerber started Tuesday, but remains winless since Jan. 29 after surrendering three goals in a 4-0 defeat at Boston. Emery has been plenty bad with a 3.26 GAA in February. The Ottawa Citizen is calling the Thursday starter debate an "interesting question."
1st Chair: Martin Biron
2nd Chair: Antero Niittymaki
Skinny: Quite a win Monday for Biron, who trailed 3-0 less than six minutes in but held on to backstop a 4-3 shootout victory. Despite his team's recent struggles, Biron has a respectable .906 save percentage in eight February starts. In the numbers game Niittymaki has been slightly better (.913 save pct., 2.59 GAA), but his efforts have translated into just one win in five starts.
1st Chair: Chris Mason
2nd Chair: Dan Ellis
Skinny: The Preds settled into a bit of a rotation as Mason and Ellis have split the last six starts. They even split duties Saturday as Nashville was trounced by Dallas 6-3. According to the Tennessean, Mason will get the start Wednesday. The rotation continues.
1st Chair: Mike Smith
2nd Chair: Karri Ramo
Skinny: Smith pushed Marty Turco enough in Dallas that there were times it resembled a 1, 1a situation, and there was even talk this year that it would be Turco moved to acquire scoring help. But Smith is gone now, and he'll start for the Lightning Wednesday and going forward assuming he's the legit No. 1 the team thinks it has acquired. Ramo turned things around a bit with a .926 save pct. in three February starts.
1st Chair: Patrick Lalime
2nd Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin, Corey Crawford
Skinny: Khabibulin had an MRI Monday on his troublesome back. No significant damage was discovered, but the Chicago Sun-Times says the Blackhawks plan to be without Khabibulin, officially listed as day-to-day, for "the near future." Crawford may get one start when Chicago plays back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday.
1st Chair: Carey Price
2nd Chair: Jaroslav Halak
Skinny: Price stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 4-1 win over Atlanta Tuesday, the puck dropping just hours after the rookie learned he'll be the No. 1 in hockey-mad Montreal entering the playoffs. He's a cool customer. Not much of a safety net here – and maybe that's a good thing – as Price (26 career starts) will be backed up by Halak (16 starts).
1st Chair: Dominik Hasek
2nd Chair: Chris Osgood
Skinny: According to the Detroit Free Press, Hasek has successfully recovered from his hip flexor injury and plans to start Friday and regularly after that. Hasek says he'd like to start "twice a week" until the end of the regular season. That workload would leave a few starts for Osgood, who has won just twice in eight February chances (.873 save pct.).
1st Chair: Niklas Backstrom
2nd Chair: Josh Harding
Skinny: Backstrom has started four of five, with only one winding up in the win column. He's hasn't been terrible, but his .901 February save percentage represents a season-low for any month. Harding's workload has been lighter this month, partially due to an illness that prompted the temporary recall of Nolan Schaefer.

In order for a trade-deadline deal to matter in fantasy leagues, you have to have an impact player going one way and nothing NHL-ready coming back. We saw very little of that Tuesday, so in that respect the deadline was a bit of a dud. Most of the deals involved depth players and backup goalies. There's a name for depth players in fantasy leagues. They're called "free agents." The Brad Richards and Marian Hossa deals were justifiable headline grabbers, but Jussi Jokinen replaces Richards as a top six forward in Tampa Bay and the Thrashers have Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen to fill their gaps. We likely won't see any call-ups make a splash as a result of any of these deals, and that's where the real fun is. Anyway we'll run down the deals that did matter and a few other odds and ends in this week's Skinny …

MID-WEEK UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do ASAP: There's no arguing this fact: The trade deadline had the biggest impact – and we're talking fantasy here, people – on a pair of goalies who as of Sunday were fairly widely available in Yahoo! leagues. Carey Price (available in about 66 percent of leagues) is now the undisputed No. 1 in Montreal after Cristobal Huet was traded to Washington. The Canadiens have obviously had some success with rookie goalies over the years, and maybe it's a stroke of genius that in handing controls to the rookie, Montreal left him with a backup (Jaroslav Halak) who actually has less NHL experience. Price shouldn't have to look over his shoulder unless things go really south. The second substantial upgrade goes to Mike Smith, who is the new No. 1 in Tampa Bay. You'll find him available in about 82 percent of Yahoo! leagues (again, as of Sunday). He's in a slightly stickier spot in that Lightning coach John Tortorella has had his moments with goalies and Tampa likely still wants to see exactly what they've got in Kari Ramo. Still, Smith deserves a roster spot in all fantasy leagues.

Up front Buffalo's acquisition of Sharks forward Steve Bernier has some intrigue. The 16th overall pick in 2003 hasn't been much of a fantasy factor over the years, save his promising run as a member of San Jose's Heavyweight Line (Bernier-Patrick Marleau-Milan Michalek). Sounds like he'll get a shot with the Sabres. According to the Buffalo News, Bernier will start on the No. 1 line alongside Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek. He'll be inserted on the No. 2 power-play unit as well. Of course coach Lindy Ruff said, "We'll see how it goes," so consider this an audition. If Bernier can establish consistency, something that was lacking in California, he'll make a solid No. 2 right wing pickup for the stretch run.

Forget what I said about: Ryan Carter remains an exciting prospect, but last week's stock-rising center is now on injured reserve. A fractured wrist pretty much ends his fantasy relevance this season.

One-timers: Dallas left wing Loui Erickson has five goals in three games to almost double his season output. … Jaroslav Spacek has nine points in his last 10 games and is now Buffalo's top gun from the blueline. … Avs left wing Ryan Smyth had his first multi-point game since mid-December Tuesday. … Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has six shots and six penalty minutes in two games since returning to action. … Peter Harrold scored his first NHL goal for the Kings Feb. 23. He had 43 points in 49 games in the AHL this season.

BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Jeff Carter, C, Phi – The Flyers need more from Carter now that Mike Richards is sidelined for the better part of a month with a hamstring tear. Carter played 26 minutes and picked up a goal in six shots in the Flyers' much-needed 4-3 win Monday.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Peter Forsberg , C, Col – Had to love all the "Flip Floppa" headlines out there. The upside is that Forsberg signed and, according to the Denver Post, could play as early as Saturday. The downside is that nobody, Forsberg included, has any idea how his foot will respond to the rigors of an NHL stretch drive. Still, it's just too intriguing to not give him a shot, huh?

Jussi Jokinen , LW, TB – He'll start Wednesday on a line with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. If you're going to get traded, this is the type of situation you want to land in. Though maybe better known as a shootout specialist with the Stars, he also racked up 31 power-play points as a rookie.

Bryan Little, C, Atl – Recalled after the trade deadline, Little logged about 14 minutes of ice time and saw some power-play duty in a 5-1 loss to Montreal. Pieces are coming back from Pittsburgh, of course, but this might be the time for the Thrash to just plug Little in and see what they've got.

Tuomo Ruutu, LW, Car – In his debut with the Hurricanes, Ruutu saw about 15 minutes of second-line ice time and picked up an assist and two penalty minutes. That's about what you can expect here, a point every-other game and a little agitation mixed in. At the left wing position, that can be relevant.

Jason Williams, RW, Chi – In three games since returning from a sports hernia, Williams has a goal, an assist, two penalty minutes and is a plus-2. No movement at the trade deadline, so he'll have a shot at building on that solid start (19 points in 20 games).

Sergei Fedorov, C, Was – Much is being made of a Fedorov-Alexander Ovechkin pairing, but for now coach Bruce Boudreau, according to the Washington Post, is saying he won't break up Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. That could leave Fedorov centering Alexander Semin, which has promise. Then again, having Rick Nash on your roster is promising, too.

Patrick O'Sullivan, C, LA – He's a part of one of the league's hotter lines right now, and the results have been eye-opening: 10 points in seven games and clicking with Alexander Frolov and Michael Cammalleri.

Alexander Edler , D, Van – The last five games have seen Edler record four goals, an assist and six penalty minutes. He's a plus-4 in the span.

Darcy Tucker, RW, Tor – Last week's bargain bin player remains on the upswing. Tucker had two goals and an assist in that feel-good Maple Leafs win that followed Mats Sundin NTC announcement. Tucker now has eight goals in his last nine games.

Marc-Andre Bergeron, D, Ana – Debated giving him a short-term upgrade with Chris Pronger possibly missing two games with a jaw injury, but long-term he's now just a depth guy on an Anaheim team now loaded with responsible defensemen.

Yahoo! Friends and Family League
I lucked into Carey Price before the trade deadline, so my chances of making up the 3.5 points I need to catch leader Rotowire-Maingot just got a little better. No deadline transactions in this league, but recent moves involve Patrick Lalime, Brent Seabrook, Joe Sakic, Ryan Malone and Ryan Suter.