A trade, some ommissions from the summer wrap-up and Fantasy Mail.
First off, let's address the trade of the day, the Blues sending RW Lee Stemniak to Toronto for D Carlo Colaiacovo and LW Alex Steen.
Stempniak, 25, is playing his best hockey right now, leading the Blues with 12 points in nine games in November. He's a big, strong second-line-type of winger who had 27 goals and 52 points a couple of years ago and could reasonably be expected to get back to that range.
It's hard to project exactly where Stempniak will fit on the Leafs' lines, but he'll be among the top nine forwards and on the power play.
Stempniak is making $2.5-million this season and $3.5-million next season and his cap hit will be $2.5-million for both seasons.
Colaiacovo has been a package of a whole lot of unrealized potential since he was drafted in the first round in 2001, getting hurt with the kind of frequency that has undermined any of his talent.
Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson ripped the 25-year-old defenceman on Toronto radio Friday, citing his lack of conditioning, but it's entirely reasonable to think that Colaiacovo will get a chance to be a top-four defenceman in St. Louis this season.
If he can stay healthy for more than a week at a time, Colaiacovo might also find himself power play time, since Eric Brewer is the only St. Louis defenceman getting more than two minutes of power play time per game.
Steen is a nice buy-low addition for the Blues, as he's been buried on the fourth line in Toronto, scoring just four points in 20 games this season. Given the injuries up front in St. Louis, Steen has a very real chance to get into the top six forwards in St. Louis and salvage his season somewhat.
Of course, the Blues are among the league's worst minus teams (tied with Colorado and Calgary), so that is going to be a risk, but Steen could benefit from the change of scenery.
Colaiacovo will make $1.4-million this season and next, with a cap hit of $1.283-million, while Steen is making $1.7-million for this season and next, with the same cap hit.
The deal probably helps both teams, with Stempniak likely the best player involved, but the Blues get some younger guys with untapped potential in a year that figures to be a good opportunity for Colaiacovo and Steen to prove whether they will sink or swim as NHL players.
In Friday's Backchecking column, I covered the transactions from last summer, yet I missed a couple, so here seems like as good a place as any to rectify the ommissions.
Capitals sign G Jose Theodore to a two-year, $9.0-million contract (6-3-1, .319 GAA, .889 SVPCT in 12 GP)
After getting spurned by Cristobal Huet, the Caps turned and offered Theodore to a contract even though he had played about four months of decent hockey in the last three seasons.
TSN.ca Rating: 53.60
Canucks acquire C Kyle Wellwood off waivers from Toronto (8-2-10, plus-4 in 19 GP)
Wasn't figuring into Vancouver's plans until a series of injuries meant a quick recall from the AHL and Wellwood responded with eight goals, good enough for second-best on the team.
TSN.ca Rating: 72.74
The new Power Rankings are online, with the Sharks maintaining top spot, ahead of the Bruins and Red Wings.
And now it's time for some fantasy mail...
Hello, I have Shea Weber in my pool. Do you think that it would be a good time to try for a Weber for Lidstrom deal? I doubt there is anyway that Weber can keep up this point/game pace...and it always seems Lidstrom starts off kind of slow. Not saying Weber won't be good all year...but it's Lidstrom! Or do you think this is finally the year that someone knocks him off the points lead for a Dman. Thanks in advance, Dave Poleck
A terrific question, Dave. I have been an unabashed fan of Weber (to the point that I started touting him for the Norris Trophy in the second week of the season), but to get a tried-and-true performer like Lidstrom, it might be worth it. Lidstrom is safer, particularly in the plus-minus category and in terms of durability, so I'd have to say, yes, put the offer out there and see if the Lidstrom owner is tempted. - SC
What the heck is going on with Lecavalier? Last time I checked in he was playing second line with a bunch of no-names. I did my happy dance when Melrose was fired but it seems as if the lineups/production isn't changing. This guy is killing me in my pool as he was my first overall pick (pool is straight points) What do you forsee for Vinny in the future? Yeah or nea? - Adam
Adam, Lecavalier played with Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone on Sunday and that's the kind of line with which he can be expected to score better than a point-per-game. Given his start, a 100-point season is going to be hard to achieve, but I don't think 85 is out of the question. - SC
Dear Scott, I picked Derek Roy in the 3rd round of my 13 team pool ahead of Henrik Sedin. I was hoping that Roy was going to improve on his 81 pt season from last year. He seems to be getting lots of ice time. Other teammates are playing well (ie: Vanek). What's wrong with Roy? Should I consider trading him off or continue waiting to hope and see if he will start playing better? Also, what do you think of the underachieving Scott Gomez and Chris Drury? - Thanks, Calvin, Vancouver, BC
Calvin, Even if I had questions about Roy duplicating last year's 81 points, I'm surprised that he is off to such a slow start. If you trade him now, you're dealing him at a low point in his value, so I'd be inclined to hold him and wait for the Sabres to come out of their current tailspin. If they start winning, I suspect Roy will be a part of that. As for the Rangers, they don't have enough skilled players to complement Gomez and Drury, who are both good players that require strong complementary players in order to put up big numbers. Gomez is hurt right now, so until he gets back, it's hard to project his totals, but over a full season, I think he's a 65-to-70-point guy, while Drury is playing better lately, but he's still a 60-point scorer at best.
Scott, I've got a fantasy team with Marc Savard, Eric Staal, Corey Perry, Alex Tanguay, Henrik Zetterberg, Dustin Brown, Jason Spezza, Jeff Carter, Paul Kariya as forwards, Jay Bouwmeester, Pavel Kubina, Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky, Filip Kuba as defensemen. Sounds great, right? My goaltenders are Miikka Kiprusoff and Marty Turco, both of whom are way underperforming. I'm in a 12-team roto league that awards points for +/-, A, G, GAA, PIM, PPG, SHG, SOG, SV%, and W, and I'm getting killed in two of the three goaltender statistics. I've been ranked 2nd, 3rd, or 4th overall for weeks now but don't have much room to move up unless my goaltending improves. Do I wait it out like I have been (hoping for them to return to form) or unload some offensive talent for a goaltender? Thanks, Devin
Devin, I feel your pain with Kiprusoff and I'm deciding to ride with him for a while longer, hoping that he will get better in the next month or so. In the case of Turco, I thought that he's be a good buy-low option, but that was before the Morrow injury, which puts the Stars' season in question -- certainly lowering their ceiling -- and should affect Turco's win totals. I might shop Turco and Kariya in the hopes that you could get a more proven commodity in goal, but if you're in contention with poor goaltending, you may want to give it another few weeks at least to see if you can climb simply by virtue of improved goaltending. It's effectively the same strategy I'm using in the Experts League, where Kipper and Budaj (and Gerber and Brent Johnson) haven't exactly lived up to expectations. - SC
Hi Scott, First, what's the deal with Daniel Carcillo? During the preseason, you were touting him as a PIM force with the potential to snag a half decent scoring line - well for an enforcer. To this point, he only has 37 PIM, 1 G 0 A and is a -5. What do you attribute his dismal numbers fso far and what do you see in the future for him?
Second, I am in a keeper league and I've been made an excellent offer for my boy Ryan Getzlaf - Marc Savard and Derek Roy for Getzlaf. I'm kind of a softy on Getzlaf and I see a superstar future for this kid - especially in fantasyland. Is it worth parting with him for this great tandem of players? Your thoughts please. Thanks for the insight, Andrew
Andrew, I knew that it was going to be nearly impossible for Carcillo to match last year's penalty minute totals, since the Coyotes had been preaching to him about self control, but I still figured he was going to be good for 30 points and 275 PIM. When he couldn't score to start the season, suddenly his fantasy value was minimal, but I still think he's going to have a chance to contribute this season. Certainly, getting his first goal helps, and he has 13 shots on goal over the last four games and played with Enver Lisin and Olli Jokinen the other night against Philadelphia, so this seems as good an opportunity as any for him to get going.
As for Getzlaf, I share your view that he's a cornerstone player (both in fantasy and in the NHL). If you can keep a lot of players, which would make both Savard and Roy keepers, then it might be worthwhile. If you can't keep both though, then I'd pass. - SC
Hi Scott, In my Rotisserie keeper league, my goalies are Nabby and Brodeur, a pretty good tandem, except Marty is out for the year, and Nabby has been hurt too.
I got a little worried because my main competition this year has Luongo (my voodoo doll worked on his leg) and Price, so I went and traded Kovalchuk to get Lundqvist. However, I have a problem of having three stud keeper goalies and I can max protect just two of them.
Obviously I want to trade Nabby, because I don't think he's the best of the three, even though the sharks are a solid team.
I've been trying to get Backstrom (wash) because I have Ovechkin or Heatley (because I have Spezza). Do you think that's fair value? Thanks, Nicola
Nicola, You're probably in a tough spot since the other owners in your league are going to be aware of your excess at the position. However, if you are offering Nabokov, I don't think Backstrom is unreasonable. Heatley would definitely require a sweetener. - SC
Hey Scott, Here's my situation, 12 team league, Rotiserrie scoring style, G,A,+/-,PIM,PP,SOG, W, GAA,Save Pct, SO. I have three players I am not sure what to do with: Lidstrom, Cheechoo, and Huet. Lidstrom is putting up plenty of assists but that is about it. 2 Goals, +5, 35 shots. Doesn't seem to be up to his normal production. Is he worth a trade or should I ride him out? Cheechoo an obvious disappointment, and if I remember right he did this last year and had a better second half. I could probably get something decent on the waiver wire (Lupul) or keep him on the bench till he turns it around. What do you think? Huet I have held onto in hopes Khabibulin would be traded so he would get more starts but that doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon. I can't very well trade him for much and there isn't much on the waiver wire, mainly backups. So I just cut my losses and pick up a different position or just hang on to him? Thanks for the help. - Bryan
Bryan, I would hold onto Lidstrom because he's just such a consistent producer, but if you can pair him up with one of your other problem cases and get good value in return, then go ahead. Cheechoo is a tough one right now. He has great potential when he lines up with Thornton, but that's not the case this year and right now he's skating with Marcel Goc and Mike Grier, so you might want to consider a replacement, though I'd probably want someone better than Joffrey Lupul if I was going to give up on Cheechoo altogether. In the case of Huet, you're probably stuck with him in the hopes that a Khabibulin trade does happen. - SC
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org