The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 02/28/12 at 02:33 AM ET
It seems as if the much-hyped trade deadline day is becoming less and less exciting every year. The days of the blockbuster trades in which teams are either clear buyers or clear sellers are a thing of the past, thanks to the salary cap and its resulting parity. Fantasy teams will experience little to no effect from the day that was; nonetheless, I’ll break down the day that was (or wasn’t) from a fantasy perspective as far as the most significant names are concerned.
Ben Bishop, G, OTT, and Robin Lehner, G, OTT
Bishop has paid his dues in AHL (24-14-4, 2.26 GAA, .928 SV% with Peoria) and was clearly not happy being a third-string goalie on the Blues’ depth chart. The freakishly tall (6’7”) goalie may get his opportunity with the Senators to be the short-term starter with Craig Anderson likely sidelined for several more weeks, although Bishop was sent to the AHL on Monday. The also highly-touted Lehner played well in backstopping the Sens to a victory on Sunday against the Islanders. Should he struggle, the Senators won’t waste any time in calling up Bishop and immediately placing him in the starter’s chair.
Cody Hodgson, C, BUF
Arguably the biggest name moved on Monday, Hodgson wasn’t about to see the kind of minutes he deserved with Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler standing in front of him on the depth chart. Those minutes shouldn’t be a problem in Buffalo, where he will have a much easier time breaking through onto the top 6. Hodgson was on pace for 20 goals while averaging less than 13 minutes of icetime per game, so imagine what he’d be capable of if he is playing on the Sabres’ second line. If there’s one player you’ll want to add as a result of trade deadline day, it’s the now NHL-ready Hodgson.
Zack Kassian, RW, VAN, and Marc-Andre Gragnani, D, VAN
Canuck fans (like me) are no doubt questioning the move to trade Hodgson, but let’s examine the pieces that were sent Vancouver’s way. The upside on Kassian is that he could one day fit the mold of former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi circa 2002-03: a big body who can score goals at will while providing an answer to players gusty enough to mess with the Sedins. He has proven himself at both the OHL and AHL level (15 goals in 30 games this season), although he may not make an impact this season. Meanwhile, Gragnani is the possible heir apparent to Sami Salo as a power-play pointman, as 7 of his 12 points this season have resulted from the man advantage.
Andrei Kostitsyn, RW, NSH, and Paul Gaustad, C, NSH
The short-term winner of trade deadline day has to be the Nashville Predators, who added two depth forwards in an attempt to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. Kostitsyn is as enigmatic as they come, although a reunion with younger brother Sergei could prove beneficial for both players. Besides, if Sergei can turn into a decent NHLer in Barry Trotz’s system, then maybe he can work something with Andrei. Gaustad should be more predictable as a player who provides toughness and lots of penalty minutes with a third-line level of offense. Don’t get too excited about the fantasy prospects of either player, as Nashville tends to spread out its scoring.
Tom Gilbert, D, MIN
Oilers fans seem ecstatic to part with turnover machine Gilbert while receiving the steadier Nick Schultz in return. However, Minnesota native Gilbert is the d-man that potentially provides a greater fantasy return. Gilbert will probably fight it out with Jared Spurgeon and recently acquired Kurtis Foster for the key power-play minutes. However, Gilbert has cracked 30 points three times in his career and 40 points once, so he may hold the upper hand at this point.
Rick Nash, LW, CBJ
I couldn’t write this article without mentioning the biggest name not to be moved on trade deadline day. However, we can certainly foreshadow what is to come: a summertime Nash deal, thanks to Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson admitting that Nash asked for a trade. With the Blue Jackets merely playing out the string, Nash will probably be going through the motions himself. With 43 points (21g-22a) and a (-23) in 62 games, Nash probably isn’t the top player on your fantasy team this season. Don’t expect that pace to improve, meaning that selling Nash before your own league’s trade deadline might not be a bad idea.
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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.
A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.