Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated wrote yesterday that the NHL’s trade deadline lacked star power and only two players, Wojtek Wolski and Fredrik Modin, could comfortably play a top-six role in the current game. At this point I would like to urge Farber to see outside the box as numerous trades created holes likely to be filled with young players expected to step up.
First and foremost, the time when Modin could play on a top two line came and passed. Likely shuffled between the second and third line all season on a bottom feeding Columbus Blue Jackets team does not make a top six forward in my book. In fact, he will start his Los Angeles Kings career on the fourth line.
Nevertheless, one man’s loss in this situation proves to be another man’s gain.
Nikolai Kulemin NOT Viktor Stalberg (as I claimed yesterday) looks to be the immediate beneficiary in Toronto as he will man the left side with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak. Playing on this line boosted the value of Alexei Ponikarovsky before the trade while added ice time should help Kulemin gain a scoring touch.
Wolksi moving to Phoenix seemed like a great opportunity for Peter Mueller to regain his scoring touch, and he did. However, it was T.J. Galiardi who received the opportunity to remain on the left side of Paul Stastny. An opportunity he looks great in with two goals in as many games.
Teddy Purcell took turns watching the Los Angeles Kings in the press box, but will get an opportunity to play with Vincent Lecavalier. The two actually went to the same high school (Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan) and share the same agent (Kent Hughes). On paper both struggling players look like a great fit together so it will be very interesting to see how the situation plays out.
Farber also noted the lack of top four defensemen moved, which also raised concerns from the average hockey fan. A smart fantasy GM would see past the names and realize the opportunities.
Dennis Seidenberg will play alongside Zdeno Chara, leaving Dennis Wideman to fend for himself on the second line. Seidenberg always struck me as a player able to handle whichever role asked of him, in this case top-pairing minutes and lots of powerplay time.
Joe Corvo moved from the top pairing of a decent team to the second pairing on a stacked Capitals offense. Although he will not break out the Mike Green and Jeff Schultz combination, he could take powerplay time away from new partner Tom Poti. When resident pylon John Erskine holds a plus 16 rating you know Corvo will at least gain that peripheral.
As most writers already pointed out, the non-trades actually made more news than anything else. By not making a trade the general manager basically states he feels this current alignment of players will get every opportunity to succeed. This confidence does not mean lineup changes will not occur, clearly.
Manny Malhotra finds himself flanked by two fantasy worthy players in Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. Dave Bolland found himself between Marian Hossa and Troy Brouwer last night on the 1A line of Chicago.
Neither of these teams made any significant moves but instead will take chances on their own players. Monitor the top teams over these next 20 games and note players like Bolland and Malhotra getting a chance to play with star players. Sometimes the right line tweak proves better than any trade.
Just as a reminder, you can always find out the latest line combinations in our Team Lineups section as well as the most recent lineup changes/injuries/trades in our Short Shifts section. Keep checking back here as we continue to monitor exactly how to help your fantasy team down the stretch.