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In The Crease

Trade deadline sleepers

by Corey Abbott
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

We are almost clear of discussing the aftermath of the NHL trade deadline. Before that happens, I wanted to highlight some of the lesser-talked about acquisitions who could be of interest to fantasy GMs. Players like Keith Yandle, James Wisniewski, Jaromir Jagr, Antoine Vermette and Marek Zidlicky could benefit the most in their new homes. Vermette is still available in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues and Zidlicky is owned in just 30 percent, but the other three aren't as accessible.


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Erik Cole was playing very well with Dallas prior to being traded to Detroit and he's being given a chance to continue that success with the Red Wings. He skated alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader in his debut Wednesday night. Before he was dealt, Cole had 12 goals and eight assists in his previous 22 games.


Tomas Fleischmann struggled to produce last season and he wasn't given much stability in 2014-15. He bounced between lines and sat as a healthy scratch, which led to only seven goals and 21 points in 52 games. In his first game with the Ducks, he played with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg. He earned an assist, two shots and a plus-1 rating.


Simon Despres is also worth keeping an eye on after a strong debut for Anaheim. He posted a plus-3 rating, an assist and a game-high five hits during 20:23 of ice time in a 4-1 win over Arizona. He has 18 points, 64 penalty minutes, 189 hits and 85 blocks in 60 games this year.


Kimmo Timonen is a bit risky because he just made his season debut on Monday. The veteran defenseman has been rehabilitating from blood clots all year. He was paired with Brent Seabrook in his first game with Chicago. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks didn't get a power play in the match, but he's slated to see time with the man advantage.


Chris Stewart began Tuesday's game versus Ottawa with Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek. Fellow Wild newcomer Sean Bergenheim replaced Vanek on the combination later in the match. Stewart contributed an assist and two hits in the match. Five of his 11 goals have come on the power play and he saw time on the second unit during his Minnesota debut. He also adds some toughness to the team down the stretch, as they look to qualify for the playoffs.


Jordan Caron could be someone to watch if he sticks on a line with Matt Duchene and Jarome Iginla.  The Avs are hoping that a fresh start and new opportunities will help Caron get going offensively and he's eager to prove himself.  He didn't do anything, statistically speaking, in his debut against Pittsburgh, but coach Patrick Roy thought he played "really well." 


Michal Neuvirth's arrival on Long Island will provide Jaroslav Halak with some much-needed rest down the stretch. He had a 2.28 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage in nine appearances during the month of February. Neuvirth recorded a mark of 3-4-2 during that span, but with a much stronger team in front of him it will be much easier for him to turn those losses into victories. The Islanders have a pair of back-to-back situations next week, so Neuvirth will probably be in the cage very soon.


Panthers' goalie roulette


The Islanders landed Neuvirth to provide some insurance, but what happened to Florida on Tuesday night against Toronto was completely bizarre. Roberto Luongo hurt his shoulder and exited the game. Al Montoya entered the game in relief, but he sustained a groin injury when the Leafs scored early in the third to tie the match at 2-2. Montoya attempted to stay in the game even though he could barely move. He surrendered three goals on 15 shots, as the Panthers scramble to find another goaltender. Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie volunteered to play in the crease, but the NHL eventually approved goalie coach Rob Tallas as a replacement. The 41-year-old was on the bench for the last part of the game because Luongo, who was seen earlier wearing street clothes, managed to return to the game. He didn't allow a goal on 19 shots in the contest, but Florida lost 3-2.


Montoya will miss at least two weeks with a groin injury and Luongo is hoping to return next Thursday from a shoulder.  That is great news for the Panthers because having Luongo in the crease is Florida's best hope of getting into the playoffs.  In the meantime, the Panthers brought up Dan Ellis from the AHL and Sam Brittain from the ECHL. Ellis will start on Thursday night versus Dallas and Brittain will be his understudy.


More injury news


The Columbus Blue Jackets have been hit hard by injuries this season. The team leads the league with 406 man games lost, according to mangameslost.com. David Clarkson played two-plus games with the Jackets before he was hurt. He will likely miss the rest of the season with a torn oblique muscle. Columbus received some good news, as the club will get Brandon Dubinsky (concussion) back on Friday and Kevin Connauton (lower body) may return this weekend.


Dustin Byfuglien had to leave Wednesday's game versus Ottawa with an upper-body injury. He was hurt during the second period on a seemingly harmless battle with Erik Condra. His absence from the lineup would be a serious blow to the Jets. Byfuglien has been the team MVP this campaign and he's been a stud in fantasy hockey as well. If he misses time then you should target Tyler Myers. Come to think of it, you should be going after Myers more anyway as he has been excellent since joining the Jets and he's owned in just 34 percent of Yahoo leagues.


Mark Giordano is projected to miss four-to-six months after he undergoes surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon. He ranks second on the Flames in scoring with 48 points in 61 games and he averages 25:10 of ice time. That's not an easy hole to fill. More responsibility with fall to T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell to hold the Flames together on the back end.


Boston didn't get good news either on Wednesday when newly acquired Brett Connolly was injured at practice. He sustained a displaced fracture in his right index finger, which will sideline him for six weeks. The Bruins gave up two second-round picks to Tampa Bay for Connolly. He was skating with Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg at the time of his injury.  That means Daniel Paille will return to the line.  

Corey Abbott

Corey Abbott is an Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @CoreAbbott.