The deadline is here!
Today is going to be focused on NHL trades -- no, really -- and I'll be giving real-time fantasy updates on this handy blog.
The big trades will get treated to a full Numbers Game column, like yesterday's Peter Forsberg and Vaclav Prospal transactions. The less significant deals will get their couple lines worth of commentary right here in this spot.
Some handy things for the deadline:
NHL Trade Deadline Playbook: East
NHL Trade Deadline Playbook: West
These were updated a week ago, so much of the contract and prospect information is still going to be good, though there have obviously been changes recently (signings of Dan Boyle, Barret Jackman, Trent Hunter etc.)
Friday's Backchecking column also has a good number of rumours that were making the rounds with the deadline approaching.
NHL Power Rankings and NHL Player Rankings were also updated, with a new category for those players that haven't played enough games to qualify, so this should be a good starting point for today's Fantasy Puck Blog. As we wait for the deals to come down, I'll start cleaning out the inbox of fantasy e-mails as well.
Anyway, enjoy the day. This should be fun...and if it isn't, the blame rests squarely with Jay Onrait.
Blues deal D Bryce Salvador to the Devils for RW Cam Janssen
Salvador is a solid, stay-at-home defenceman who will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. He leads the Blues with a plus-12 rating and will bring a steady veteran presence to the Devils blueline. He's Janssen is a fearless fighter who has been out for most of the season with a shoulder injury. He's under contract for two more seasons, so he gives the Blues an asset (a limited one, admittedly) to round out their roster.
First fantasy hockey e-mail:
Alright, I am in 2nd, in tight fight. 9 categories, 11 teams.
I am in 3rd in G, 7th in A, 7th in +/-, 1 in PIM, 4th in PPP, 1st in SOG, 1st in W, 1st in GAA and 5th SV %.
I traded Pavel Kubina and Jason Williams for Brent Burns.
I traded Pascal Leclaire and Zach Parise for Vincent Lecavalier and Dan Ellis.
And I just found out Forsberg is back. What you think? Should it put me over the top? Thanks.
GO HABS GO
David Brenner, New York, NY
David, Your first deal was an outright steal, as Burns alone may be worth more than Pavel Kubina. The second deal is solid, provided you can afford to take on a lesser goaltender. Dan Ellis has been sharing time in Nashville, and could end up with that job (since his numbers are superior to Chris Mason) and while Pascal Leclaire has had a great season, the Blue Jackets could be in for a rough finish if they unload a lot of their veterans at the deadline. With those two deals and the addition of Forsberg, you've given yourself a really good shot, in my opinion.
Hey Scott, Heading into the playoffs, I need a third goalie behind Backstrom and Nabakov.
The available candidates are: Garon, Ellis, Mason, Toskala, Price, Ward, Biron, Thomas, DiPietro, Howard, Khabibulin and Theodore.
I would have to drop one of the following players:
Ryan Smyth, Plekanec, Kariya, or Hartnell.
What do you think? I was considering Theodore due to the quality of his team, the lower amount of goals scored by competition, and the returns of Sakic, Stastny along with the signing of Forsberg.
Thanks, Kyle Buffalo, NY
Kyle, Oddly enough, Jose Theodore could very well be the best option available for the reasons you suggest. If you're forced to drop one of those skaters in order to do it, it's a toss-up between Ryan Smyth and Paul Kariya. Smyth has struggled since his injury (zero points in six games), but the Avalanche lineup is going to be re-modeled and you never know what kind of benefits Smyth could get from that. Kariya's last two months (17 points, minus-8 in 25 games) have only been okay and he doesn't provide the PIMs that you get from Scott Hartnell.
Good Morning Scott, I'll keep this short and sweet; Any further word on potential Calgary Trades and signings? Jokinen for Tanguay, and a pot sweetener like a 3rd or 4th line center? Cheers, Eric, Calgary, AB
Eric, Darryl Sutter's proclamation yesterday makes it seem unlikely that Alex Tanguay is going anywhere, but I think that the Panthers would ask for more than just Tanguay and a third-line forward (Matt Lombardi? Dustin Boyd?) in return. I would suspect that the Panthers would push for Mickael Backlund and, since there is no urgency to deal Jokinen, the Panthers can be expected to ask for the moon when dealing a reasonably-priced No. 1 centre.
Maple Leafs deal Wade Belak to Panthers for a fifth-round pick in 2008.
Belak is a serviceable tough guy and will give the Panthers needed muscle. However, he's an unrestricted free agent at season's end, so the Panthers must hope they are going to push for a playoff spot to make this deal worthwhile. What's the fifth-rounder worth in return? From 2000 to 2005, 16 fifth-rounders have become NHL regulars, with guys like Kevin Bieksa, John-Michael Liles and Kyle Wellwood at the top end of the performers. With Belak gone, the Leafs may need to find a new enforcer, but this is a team that will have many holes to fill so it doesn't have to be priority No. 1.
Sabres deal D Brian Campbell and a seventh-round pick to the Sharks for RW Steve Bernier and a first-round pick. Read the Numbers Game breakdown here.
Lightning deal C Brad Richards and G Johan Holmqvist to the Stars for LW Jussi Jokinen, C Jeff Halpern and G Mike Smith. Read the Numbers Game breakdown here.
Canadiens deal G Cristobal Huet to the Capitals for a second-round pick. Read the Numbers Game breakdown here.
Avalanche deal D Karlis Skrastins to the Panthers for D Ruslan Salei and third-round pick
This deal, coupled with the Adam Foote trade, really boosts the Avalanche blueline. The Avs needed a more reliable defensive presence, particularly with Brett Clark hurt, so Salei is a nice addition and he's under contract for two more years at $6.3-million. Skrastins is an okay third-pair defenceman. While durable, he's a tad overpaid at $2.4-million per season, a contract that will run through next season.
Hurricanes deal LW Andrew Ladd to Blackhawks for LW Tuomo Ruutu. Read the Numbers Game breakdown here.
Blackhawks deal RW Martin Lapointe to Senators for a sixth-round pick
At this stage of his career, Lapointe offers little more than intangibles (seven points, minus-3 in 52 games), but the Sens could probably use some intangibles and Lapointe is a tough guy who will add some grit to the fourth line. A sixth-round pick isn't worth much, but the Blackhawks are probably just as happy to have the rest of Lapointe's $2.4-million salary off the books. He'll be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
Blue Jackets deal D Adam Foote to Avalanche for a first-round pick.
Foote is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Colorado was the only team to which he'd accept a trade. He's having a fine season in Columbus (15 points, plus-3 in 63 games) and will provide a much-needed defensive presence in Colorado. Again, paired with the Salei acquisition, this gives the Avs a much more formidable blueline, and probably enhances the value of Jose Theodore. Colorado's first-round pick is going to be in the middle of the first round. From 2000-2004,
Blue Jackets deal C Sergei Fedorov to Capitals for RW Ted Ruth. Read the Numbers Game breakdown here.
Sharks deal D Rob Davison to Islanders for a seventh-round pick
With injuries to Andy Sutton, Brendan Witt and Chris Campoli, the Islanders needed to improve their blueline depth. San Jose has a surplus of defencemen. Easy deal, no fuss, no muss.
Capitals deal LW Matt Pettinger to Canucks for LW Matt Cooke
Two decent checking wingers and, even though he's scored just two goals this season, Pettinger has more offensive ability (having scored 36 over the previous two seasons). Cooke has more of an edge to his game and he's one of the most aggravating players in the league and that's meant as a compliment. Cooke will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, whereas Pettinger has one more year, at $1.1-million, left on his deal, giving the Capitals better long-term value out of this swap.
Maple Leafs deal D Hal Gill to the Penguins for a second-round pick in 2008 and a fifth-round pick in 2009
Gill has his limitations, but he's a big body that will help the Penguins on the penalty kill. He was second on the Maple Leafs in hits and blocked shots, and those meat-and-potatoes jobs will be his in Pittsburgh. Essentially, Gill fills in for Mark Eaton, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Gill is under contract for $2.1-million next season and his departure should create more room on the Maple Leafs blueline and a player like Andy Wozniewski might be the most suitable replacement.
If we assume that the Penguins' second-round pick falls in the 52-56 range, seven of 25 players drafted in that range in 2000-2004 have turned into NHL players. Not a great rate of success, but some of those players -- Patrick O'Sullivan, David Booth, Duncan Keith, Antoine Vermette and Jason Pominville -- are looking pretty good. As for the fifth-round pick, see the Wade Belak deal above for the relative merits of those longshots.
Blues deal D Christian Backman to the Rangers for a fourth-round pick
Could be an underrated move for the Rangers. Backman is a decent puck-moving defenceman and will have immediate value with Paul Mara injured. He could get some power play time in New York. The deal works for the Blues because 1) they unload Backman's $3.4-million salary for next season, 2) they create room for young defenceman Steve Wagner and 3) the value of the fourth-round pick. From 2000-2004, a dozen fourth-round picks have emerged as NHL regulars, with Lubomir Visnovsky and Ray Emery at the top end of the value scale.
Thrashers deal LW Marian Hossa and RW Pascal Dupuis to Penguins for C Erik Christensen, RW Colby Armstrong, C Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick. Read the Numbers Game breakdown here.
Islanders deal LW Chris Simon to Wild for a sixth-round pick
Simon's contributions are hard to measure because you never know when he's going to snap, but he does give the Wild more muscle and he's a better all-around player than their other enforcers. Derek Boogaard is hurt right now, but they also have Todd Fedoruk, so it looks like the Wild are armed for a nuclear battle if they match up against the Ducks. From 2000-2004, 12 sixth-round picks established themselves as NHL regulars, with Marek Zidlicky, Jussi Jokinen and Dennis Seidenberg providing the best value.
Kings deal D Brad Stuart to Red Wings for a second-round pick and fourth-round pick
Stuart will provide immediate relief to a Red Wings blueline that has been hammered by injuries. In the current situation, with Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski (among others) hurt, Stuart should log top-pair and power play minutes. Though he hasn't seemed to progress much since his early years in San Jose, and he's started on the minus path in recent seasons, Stuart will help the Wings immediately. Once Detroit is back to full strength, Stuart can play a top four role and he's a decent fit in that position and he'll be motivated as he hits unrestricted free agency again this summer.
With Stuart leaving, look for Tom Preissing and Jack Johnson to get more quality playing time in Los Angeles. The picks coming back also provide some value. Detroit's second-round pick should be in the 56-60 range. From 2000-2004, eight players drafted in that range have become NHL regulars. Over those same five years, 12 fourth-round picks have become NHL regulars, so there is a decent chance that the Kings come up with an NHL player in return for Stuart, a good deal for a rebuilding squad.
Coyotes deal LW Fredrik Sjostrom, G David LeNeveu and RW Josh Gratton to Rangers for G Al Montoya and LW Marcel Hossa
Sjostrom is an energy winger who has a little finishing ability, but he's just a depth player, though probably a better checker than Hossa, LeNeveu is no longer a top goaltending prospect, but he does give the Rangers some needed organizational depth if they are going to give up on Montoya. Gratton is an eager scrapper, but would seem to be insurance in case anything happens to Rangers heavyweight Colton Orr. Montoya was the sixth overall pick in 2004 and he's not having a great season in the AHL, but he could compete for the backup job in Phoenix next season. Hossa hasn't ever been able to produce consistently in the NHL, scoring 61 points in 223 career games, but he may get a decent look in Phoenix over the last quarter of the season.
Maple Leafs deal LW Chad Kilger to Panthers for a third-round draft pick
Kilger is a solid third-line winger who plays a sound defensive game, which should appeal to Jacques Martin. He's also under contract for next season at a very reasonable $700,000. The third-round pick coming to the Leafs has some value. From 2000 through 2005, at least 25 third-round picks have been established as NHL regulars to some degree, with the likes of Montreal's Tomas Plekanec, Vancouver's Alexander Edler and Detroit's Valtteri Filppula among the best players taken in the third round of those drafts. Also, the Leafs will be able to look at farmhands like Kris Newbury, Jeremy Williams and Ben Ondrus late in the season.
Islanders deal D Marc-Andre Bergeron to Ducks for a third-round pick
Bergeron is a high-risk defenceman, whose wheels and hard shot help the power play, but in Anaheim he's merely an insurance policy because Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and Mathieu Schneider will handle those minutes. Bergeron could have more value next season if Scott Niedermayer does in fact retire, for real. The Islanders are already thin on the blueline, so they must have really wanted Bergeron out of there to be pushing for a playoff spot and still deal him for a draft pick. The deal leaves Bryan Berard to run the power play, with unproven types -- Bruno Gervais, Aaron Johnson and Freddy Meyer all eligible to take more minutes with the man advantage.
Kings deal G Jean-Sebastien Aubin to Ducks for a seventh-round pick
Aubin is a third-string option behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller. Just organizational depth.
Thrashers deal C Alexandre Giroux to Capitals for RW Joe Motzko
Minor-league swap of two players who are productive AHLers but haven't been able to stick in the NHL.
Lightning deal RW Jan Hlavac to Predators for a seventh-round pick
Ducks deal RW Brandon Bochenski to the Predators for future considerations
The Predators needed a top-six forward, particularly with Martin Gelinas getting injured (and Steve Sullivan out all season) but apparently weren't willing to pay a premium to get one and now will hope that one of these bargain wingers will end up contributing some goals.
Ducks deal RW Brandon Segal and a seventh-round pick to the Lightning for D Jay Leach
That's it for today. Time to take a breath and really take stock of what these teams are going to look like going down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and comments can always be left using the 'Your Call" feature.