As any North American hockey fan (or anyone in Canada with a television) knows, Monday was the NHL’s trade deadline. What was once an action-filled day where some of the game’s biggest stars were sent packing is now a relatively uneventful eight hours in which sports networks struggle to find creative ways to fill idle time.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday's NHL games. It's just $2 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts Wednesday at 7:30pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.
Ryan Dadoun has already done a terrific job summarizing which teams came out looking the best and worst after Monday’s festivities, but I would prefer to focus on which players have seen their stock rise or fall the most so let’s dive right into it.
The player I think will benefit the most from changing destinations is James Wisniewski, who should step into a plum assignment with the Ducks. Though he’s currently nursing a sore foot, I expect that he’ll slide into the top power play role previously held by the injured Sami Vatanen once he returns. The well-traveled blueliner has angered more than a few of his previous coaches with his risky offensive style, but Bruce Boudreau should know exactly what he’s capable of and knows to place him in situations where he can succeed. This is a great development for Wisniewski owners.
I initially believed that a move to the Red Wings would result in a downgrade for winger Erik Cole since he had spent the past couple of weeks playing alongside Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn for the depleted Stars, but word that Cole will be given a shot next to Henrik Zetterberg has me re-thinking that stance. Nevertheless, if someone in your league is giddy about the prospect of Cole becoming a stud down the stretch, you have my blessing to trade him away while his value is at its apex.
Sticking with the Red Wings, their acquisition of Marek Zidlicky hasn’t received much attention, but I think it could have some fantasy implications, even if the real-life results are immaterial. Long known for his offensive prowess, Zidlicky should fit right into Detroit’s first power play unit, displacing the likes of Jakub Kindl and Danny DeKeyser in the process. A chance to play with more skilled teammates than he was accustomed to skating with in New Jersey definitely could rejuvenate the veteran defenseman.
If you’re looking for a dirt-cheap swing for the fences, New Jersey’s Eric Gelinas should receive another opportunity for regular playing time thanks to the vacancy created by Zidlicky’s departure. Though he has had trouble remaining in the lineup on a consistent basis this year, the path seems clear for Gelinas to play every game down the stretch and his offensive talents should shine through given the added minutes.
One player whose change of uniforms is likely to have a much smaller impact in fantasy leagues than in the real game is the move of Curtis Glencross to the Capitals. The former Flame’s arrival in Washington might have some of his fantasy owners excited at the potential, but it’s important to remember that his role on his new team will be much less prominent than what he held in Calgary. With just over 12 minutes of ice time and virtually none with the man advantage in Tuesday’s win over the Blue Jackets, it’s easy to see how the Caps plan to deploy Glencross.
Somebody else I think will benefit from his change of scenery is Antoine Vermette, who joined the Blackhawks for the first time in Monday’s win over Carolina. Let me be clear when I say that the fact he played less than 13 minutes without any time on the power play in his Chicago debut is of no concern to me. The talented center was slotted along with Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp on the team’s second line and when you consider the price the Hawks paid for his services, there’s no question they have big plans for their new acquisition.
Moving away from the trade deadline happenings, I continue to be baffled by the unpredictability of goaltending throughout the league. If a goalie-starved fantasy owner had recently made desperation moves to acquire Devan Dubnyk, Karri Ramo and Andrew Hammond, he would be feeling pretty good about himself now, wouldn’t he?
As someone who recently acquired Jonas Hiller in one of my leagues, I’m shocked to see how much leash Ramo has been given, but it’s not as though his play has not warranted it. After Tuesday’s defeat of the Flyers, Ramo has now surrendered just five goals over his last four starts. This stretch is especially impressive when you consider the team is now operating without Norris Trophy frontrunner Mark Giordano, a development that could hinder both Ramo and Hiller the rest of the way.
As if Ramo’s recent surge wasn’t strange enough, the two-week effort submitted by Ottawa’s Hammond has been even more unbelievable. On a team that was on a the periphery of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes a short time ago, the undrafted free agent was thrust into duty after injuries befell Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner and he has responded with a pristine 5-0-1 record, which has included two shutouts, a 1.15 GAA and a .964 save percentage. No big deal. Seriously though, since the Senators have no playoff aspirations, Hammond could definitely remain the starter for the final month and shouldn’t be overlooked in fantasy leagues. If we include the out-of-nowhere month of February put together by Devan Dubnyk, I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s ever worth spending the list price on a premium goaltender.
Bargain Bin Finds
Blake Comeau (17 percent) – Since he was placed on a line with Evgeni Malkin early in the season, Comeau has been consistently productive and only injuries have stood in his way. If not for missed time, he would have a legitimate chance at his first 30-goal campaign.
Kimmo Timonen (9 percent) – It’s anybody’s guess how Timonen’s body will respond to regular ice time after he spent as much time on the sidelines as he did, but he has proven himself to be a difference-maker when healthy. Now joining the deep and talented Blackhawks, he’s worth a flier in deep leagues.
Josh Bailey (7 percent) – Bailey has 24 points in 36 contests since the start of December, which would be good for a 55-point pace over a full year, yet he’s still available in 93 percent of leagues? A plus-10 rating is also a nice bonus.