It was all just a fantasy: Roberto Luongo in a Kings uniform … Olli Jokinen solidifying Ottawa's No. 2 line … A new center for Jarome Iginla, and a wing for Patrick Marleau … That fresh start for Todd Bertuzzi – Sure, a record number of deals went down Thursday at the trade deadline, but few – ok, none – of the blockbuster variety.
Get used to it. With a salary cap in place, the trade deadline becomes a time for fine-tuning, for adding blue-line depth, or a backup goalie. Gone are the days of luxury add-ons. That high-priced forward you don't necessarily need but can't resist buying will have to sit in the showroom. The Skinny takes a look at some deals that did go down and the weekend's other comings and goings:
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
The Colorado Avalanche didn't deal for Jose Theodore with the intent of grooming Peter Budaj as a No. 1 goalie. Sure, it was Budaj that Colorado drafted in the third round of the 2001 draft. Sure, Thursday's trade is another sign that the Avs feel Budaj is better, at least fundamentally, than the departed David Aebischer. Budaj was solid during the Olympics, too, but make no mistake about it: Colorado will view the Theodore trade as a success only if Budaj remains a backup for the rest of his days with the Avalanche.
There's a catch, of course. Theodore is hurt. The former Hart and Vezina winner probably won't play again in the regular season (though Colorado insists salary cap issues won't prevent them from playing him when he's ready), so for the final 16 games – give or take a night off here and there for rest – Budaj is the man. Sign him now if he's available in your league. Budaj won his first two starts after the deal, allowing a lone goal against Chicago and shutting out Calgary. Now neither opponent lights the world on fire offensively, but the bottom line with Budaj is you have a solid fundamental goalie playing behind a sound defense. Rank him ahead of established netminders like Curtis Joseph, Ed Belfour and Olaf Kolzig.
How many shifts does it take to shake off an underachiever's tag. As far as Ottawa is concerned, Tyler Arneson, acquired Thursday in a deadline deal with Chicago, left the label in the Windy City. The Senators thought enough of Arneson to make him an integral part of their playoff run. If coach Bryan Murray is worried about how he'll fit in, he didn't show it Friday when he gave the 26-year-old center a marquee line pairing with Daniel Alfredsson.
As if to officially put his Chicago troubles behind him, Arneson recorded an assist on his second shift in an Ottawa uniform. Are fantasy owners sold yet? Probably not – and for good reason. Center is a deep position, and even with a sharp increase in production, Arneson is unlikely to crack the top 20 (he currently ranks outside the top 50 at the position). His value, for now, is limited to deeper leagues and leagues that don't break out forwards by position. If he can continue to skate with Alfredsson – and the Senators appear ready to keep their top forwards on separate lines – he's a guy to keep an eye on.
Line changes: New arrival Niklas Nordgren started Saturday's game on Pittsburgh's top line with Sidney Crosby, but the left wing failed to log 10 minutes of ice time in either of his first two games with the Pens. … If Daniel Alfredsson sticks on Tyler Arneson's line, Ottawa needs a new line partner for Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. Patrick Eaves got the first shot at securing the job Sunday, and Antoine Vermette remains a candidate. … Luc Robitaille was upset by his demotion to the Kings' fourth line for the start of Saturday's game. … Sharks rookie Steve Bernier has been effective on San Jose's freshly-dubbed "Heavyweight" line, though he spent most of Saturday's game in the penalty box.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
- Jozef Stumpel, C, Fla
Count Stumpel among the many who were happy to see captain Olli Jokinen re-sign with the Panthers. The Stumpel-Jokinen-Martin Gelinas line has been red hot since before the Olympic break. Stumpel had a goal and an assist Saturday to run his streak of consecutive multi-point efforts to four games. Since Jan. 24, a string of 14 games, Stumpel has been one of the most productive center-eligible players in the game, recording six goals, 16 assists and a plus-10 rating.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Curtis Sanford, G, StL – The rebuilding effort in St. Louis has paid immediate dividends, with Sanford as a prime fantasy beneficiary. He has won seven of his past nine starts and boasts a 1.38 goals-against average in five March starts.
Oleg Kvasha, C/LW, Pho – Kvasha made his Phoenix debut Saturday skating on the team's top forward line with Shane Doan and Steve Reinprecht. The former Islander recorded an assist in 13 minutes of ice time to snap a five-game scoreless drought.
Jeff Friesen, LW, Ana – He still needs to get his lungs back and learn a new (yet familiar) system, but Friesen has a shot to rescue a lost season in Anaheim. He scored his fourth goal of the season Sunday skating primarily on a line with Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald.
Ric Jackman, D, Fla – Some foreign numbers have appeared next to Jackman's name in box scores. In two games as a Florida blue-liner, he is a plus-3. Jackman was a minus-20 in 49 games with the Penguins. The Panthers are also looking for him to invigorate what has been a struggling power play.
Robert Nilsson, C, NYI – Keep both Nilsson, the Isles' first-round pick in 2003, and Jeff Tambellini, another first rounder acquired from Los Angeles at the trade deadline, on your radar. The two joined captain Alexei Yashin on a line Friday, with Nilsson scoring the tying goal in an eventual shootout win.
Ryan Whitney, D, Pit – A long-time Skinny favorite, Whitney was a beneficiary of Mark Recchi's trade-deadline departure. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Whitney was in line to take Recchi's spot alongside Sergei Gonchar on the power play. Whitney picked up a power-play assist Sunday and now has seven points in his past six games.
Petr Prucha, RW/C, NYR – Prucha played his first game in more than a month Sunday, assisting on a goal in just over 12 minutes of ice time in a 3-2 loss. As he gets his legs back, Prucha will once again be a guy to turn to for a push in the goals category in fantasy leagues.
Derek Roy, C, Buf – Just one goal on Sunday for Roy, who already has two hat tricks to his credit in March. Buffalo has exploded offensively of late, with Roy, Thomas Vanek (5 goals in 6 games), J.P. Dumont (7 points in 5 games) and Daniel Briere (10 points in past 5) all getting a piece.
Christian Ehrhoff, D, SJ – San Jose didn't land a playmaking defenseman at the trade deadline, perhaps because Ehrhoff has elevated his play of late. Saturday he took 10 shots on goal, the final slapshot resulting in the game-winning goal. The 23-year-old has three goals and seven assists in the past 10 games for the Sharks.
David Aebischer, G, Mon – A starter in Colorado, Aebischer will have to wait out Cristobal Huet's hot streak before getting his shot in Montreal.
Jeff O'Neill, C/RW, Tor – The doghouse door swung open yet again for O'Neill Saturday, and he crawled right in as a healthy scratch against Philadelphia.
Michael Ryder, RW, Mon – Ryder found himself on Montreal's fourth line Saturday, the result of a dry spell that has seen him score just one goal in 10 games.