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The Coming Thing: The Sell-Off

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

A degenerate fantasy player since the age of 13.

RotoWire's Staff Keeper Hockey League had its absurdly early trade deadline today, and yours truly, cursed with an underachieving team (thanks in part to one horribly bone-headed keeper decision – not my finest moment), engaged in a big-time sell-off, pulling off three deals in less than 19 hours, the culmination of a rebuilding process that had started nearly two weeks before with my first big trade.

All in all, I unloaded Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla, Shea Weber, Ryan Miller, Alex Tanguay, Johan Franzen and Dustin Brown – a pile of stars, to a greater or lesser degree, but all of them at high prices or the end of contract extensions. There's not a keeper in the lot unless you like Nash at the $34 I paid for him, which is fair, but not really great value.

And the haul?

Ryan Murray, Jacob Markstrom, Brett Connolly, Jakob Silfverberg, Alex Burmistrov and a draft pick.

The upside: 2012 No. 2 pick turns into stud defenseman, top goalie prospect takes control of No. 1 role, young sniper evolves into 30-goal threat, slick Swede turns consistent ice time into production, enigmatic Russian becomes un-enigmatic, draft pick isn't a total waste.

The downside: 2012 No. 2 pick continues to be hurt all the time, top goalie prospect never puts up numbers because he plays for Florida, young sniper's development was ruined by rushing to NHL, slick Swede never finds consistency on offense, enigmatic Russian remains enigmatic, draft pick is a total waste.

Could go either way with this crew. The great thing about stacking a team full of high-upside players like this is that you don't need them all to reach their potential; even a few could send your team sky-high.

What do you think, readers? Did I get enough?

Called Up

Jacob Markstrom, G, FLA – Jose Theodore tore his groin – ouch – and will be out more than a month, which means Markstrom is likely going to take the majority of the starts for the Panthers, who simply aren't going to roll Scott Clemmensen – perhaps the worst goalie in the league – out there every game. Markstrom is the future, and the future is now. He's rocking a .920 save rate with AHL San Antonio after putting up a .927 last year. Florida's D isn't too hot, so don't count on Markstrom to suddenly step in and put up elite goalie numbers, but he should be a passable fantasy netminder for a while, and maybe the rest of the season. Theodore may never play for the Panthers again.

Justin Peters, G, CAR – Thanks to Cam Ward's MCL sprain, Peters is going to get some good run in the NHL, splitting time with Dan Ellis. Though Ellis has played quite well and will likely get the majority of starts, he's had his bouts of inconsistency before, so there will be chances for Peters, who's 22-12-1 with a 2.29 GAA and .921 save mark in 37 AHL games this year. He also impressed in seven NHL games last season, putting up a .931 save rate, so there's legitimate upside here.

Kevin Poulin, G, NYI – Poulin's gotten into just one game since being recalled after the Isles finally dumped Rick DiPietro for good. He stopped 24 of 27 in a losing effort against Carolina, but it's hard to discount him on that alone. The real issue with Poulin is the sharp decline in his numbers in the AHL this year; after putting up a .932 (in just 15 games) and then a .912 (in 49 games) over the last two years, Poulin's sporting a hideous 3.22 GAA and .904 save rate for Bridgeport this year. In his defense, that team is pretty bad. But then, so are the Isles.

Emerson Etem, RW, ANA – Etem's played three games since being recalled. He got 12:58 of ice time in the first game and picked up an assist, but skated less than nine minutes in each of the two contests that have followed. Etem hadn't exactly been killing it in the AHL, either, totaling just two points in five games between stints with the Ducks. We just have to hope he's getting some good pro experience to serve him in the long term after this disappointing rookie season.

Ryan Johansen, C, CBJ – Although he's skated to a minus-4 rating in four games since being recalled, Johansen's been winning faceoffs at a 54 percent clip and is both shooting and hitting at reasonable rates. Of course, it's the points that we're chasing, and he's only got one of those in four games back with the Jackets. However, Johansen had been putting up consistent offense for AHL Springfield, having just ended a seven-game points streak before his recall. His minutes seem to be on the rise – 18 and then 19 in the last two games – so perhaps the new regime in Columbus is willing to give him a legitimate chance to hold a quality lineup spot.

Ondrej Palat, LW, TAM – Palat's had the fortune to play with very good linemates this year, and he's responded with a nice season, totaling 44 points in 49 AHL games. The concern here is that 33 of those points are assists, and they may largely be a byproduct of the nearly-22-year-old Czech's surroundings in the high-powered Syracuse top six. That said, Palat approached 100 points two years ago with Drummondville of the QMJHL and showed playmaking ability in spurts for AHL Norfolk last year. His NHL debut Monday night was a rousing success, as he picked up -- what else? -- an assist and a couple hits in 9:28 of ice time.

Sent Down

Chris Kreider, LW, NYR – Kreider's responded well to his demotion, scoring goals in back-to-back games for just the second time this year with AHL Connecticut. With a meager 14 points in 36 games on the year for the Whale, he's not quite impressing, but the two goals are a positive sign, and those who watched him with Boston College last year – not to mention in the playoffs with the Rangers – know his talent level is extremely high. It's all about the mental side for Kreider right now; how well he learns the game will determine how soon he gets back in blue.

Peter Holland, C, ANA – In a four-game stint with Anaheim, Holland picked up a goal and no assists. He's been an all-or-nothing guy in his three games back with AHL Norfolk, sandwiching a hat trick between two scoreless games. The first-place Ducks simply don't have enough ice time for him, or I think he'd be in Anaheim to stay.

The Future to Come

This week's prospect is … well, why don't we go with Brett Connolly? At 20 years old, Connolly's already had one of the more interesting career paths in the league. Steve Yzerman's first draft pick as GM of the Lightning, sixth overall in 2010, was Connolly, who had been limited to just 16 games for Prince George of the WHL that season due to a hip injury he'd suffered at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Returned to juniors the next season, the winger lit up the Western for 46 goals in 59 games, setting the stage for a jump to the pros.

Unfortunately, things didn't pan out straight away for the talented winger, who was stuck mostly with third-line ice time and delivered a meager 15 points in 68 games with the Lightning. Fortunately, the Bolts saw the error of their ways and have left Connolly with AHL Syracuse this whole season. He's responded with a legitimate development year, rattling off 23 goals and 50 points in 56 games, good for second on the team to his pivot, Tyler Johnson. Connolly's a pure scorer, and he's got a big body that he can use to dig pucks out of corners. There's a reason I traded Rick Nash for him straight up.

If you have any players you’d like me to discuss in next week’s column, please direct all inquiries here, or feel free to discuss them in the comments.