Crashing the Net: The Deadline Is Approaching
The NHL trade deadline is April 3rd, which also happens to be my brother's birthday (and for those of you who didn't know, April 1st was mine – yes I'm a fool). We'll touch on a few players that have been moved, a few that could be moved, in addition to taking our normal look around the rink in this piece.
Dan Boyle and Ryan Clowe could both be on their way out in San Jose. Boyle has a limited no trade clause and wants to say in San Jose, but the Sharks could look to deal him to clear some salary. He has only 16 points in 33 games, though 10 of those points have come on the power-play. He can still run the point on the power-play with the best of them. Clowe on the other hand is in the whopper of funks. He has 11 assists an a (-4) rating, terrible numbers for a guy who is supposed to be an offensive force, at least at times. The only think he has done is to rack up penalty minutes (79 in 28 games).
Taylor Hall is scorching. Over the last five games, all of which he has recorded a point in, Hall has lit the lamp six times leading to 10 points. His recent streak has pushed him up to 12 goals and 24 assists in 32 games.
Michal Handzus has been dealt from the Sharks to the Blackhawks. It matters not one bit in the fantasy game other than his ability to take a face-off and play sound defense might mean fewer minutes for Andrew Shaw.
Jaromir Jagr is 41 years old an after being unable to reach an extension with the Stars he was dealt to the Bruins. He's lit the lamp 14 times this season, five more times than Jarome Iginla and 14 more times than Clowe. He can still help out an offense, and his experience would be invaluable late in the year. Jagr should be a presence on the power-play for the Bruins and see a lot of time on the ice. He's know with a more highly skilled squad than he was in Dallas as well, and that can't do anything but help his outlook.
Andrew Ladd hasn't scored a goal in 10 games, but he's still been a very strong fantasy performer with 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games for the Jets.
James Neal will shift to the left wing so that Jarome Iginla can return to his traditional spot on the right wing (the duo will be centered by Evgeni Malkin). Neal says he is fine with the move, and he's played the left side before, but he's taking a step to the other side so that Iginla can feel comfortable in his new digs. That line should find their legs and be fine, but there is more concern with the second line due to Sidney Crosby's absence. Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis will now flank Tyler Kennedy, a winger who has spent time at the center position before. Kennedy has a mere nine points in 35 games this season, though he's at least fired 78 shots on net.
Jason Pominville is likely on the block. He has seen his production dip from 0.89 points a game last season to 0.64 this season, but he could be a nice addition that could help on the power-play. If he lands a top-6 role he could see a return to his offensively effective days of the recent past.
Jay Bouwmeester has been dealt by the Flames to the Blues. Currently the owner of the longest games streak in the NHL for a player who hasn't appeared in the playoffs (750 games). The Blues also added Jordan Leipold from the Sabres giving their defensive corps a big boost. Neither will likely see a significant uptick in their fantasy value though given that Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo will see most of the top power-play time from the point.
The Lightning picked up Adam Hall and a 7th round pick from the Hurricanes as they sent Marc-Andre Bergeron to the 'Canes. Neither guy figures to get a big time fantasy boost from the move, but perhaps MAB will finally get on the ice. Limited to just 12 games as he was often a healthy scratch, there is a chance that the Hurricanes could give him ample time with the man advantage given that they are currently last in the NHL in power-play efficiency. If that were to happen, MAB's value could increase substantially.
The most amazing number for any blue liner the past two weeks? Could it be the +3 rating of Brian Campbell? After all, he is a (-17) skater on the year. Campbell does lead all blue liners over the past two weeks with 27:23 minutes of ice-time, two seconds more than Shea Weber per contest.
John Carlson has recorded four points in his last six games on ice on the power-pkay, and he's also got a goal at even strength. That run of offensive effectiveness has pushed him up to 17 points in 35 games. That pace would put him at 40 points over 82 games. Looking at the back of his hockey card Carlson recorded 37 points as a rookie and 32 points in his second season. Pretty much the same as always from Carlson; solid but unspectacular production.
Christian Ehrhoff has 17 points in 35 games this season for the Sabres and he's up to a +10 rating as well as one of the lone bright spots of the Sabres. Over his last five games Christian has three points and is a +4 skater. He won't be traded, but at least he's finally performing well.
Jared Spurgeon has five goals and eight assists this season. He's also a +6 skater for the Wild. Of late, and by that I'm talking about his last five games, he's been even better as he's scored a goal, has three assists, and is a +4 skater. That run of success is really only about one game though as he had two assists and was a +5 performer on March 25th against the Stars.
P.K. Subban continues to think he's the second coming of Larry Robinson. He's been the most productive blue liner in hockey the past two weeks with three goals, five assists an a +6 rating. He's only slightly ahead of Dion Phaneuf (3g, 3a, +8) for that spot though as his four power-play points make the difference.
Lubomir Visnovsky has one point in his last six games for the Isles. He's never wanted to be there, he's been dealing with issues off the ice, and on the ice his production has been just blah (10 points, +1 skater). Dating back to the start of last season he has nine goals and 37 points in 92 games. Perhaps it's time to realize that the 37 year old just doesn't have the juice that led to 68 points back in 2010.
Ilya Bryzgalov has won his last two starts to improve to 15-14-3, but it's not exactly been all smiles in Philly. Ilya still has a save percentage of just .900, and he's allowed 13 goals in his last four games. At least he's making a lot of saves though, 29 or more in each of his last five outings.
Viktor Fasth recorded a shutout Monday as he blocked all 26 shots the Stars fired at him. With the shutout, his third of the season, he upped his record to 12-3-1 as he lowered his GAA to 2.13. He's been a simply tremendous play this season --- from out of nowhere.
Kari Lehtonen leads the NHL with 231 saves the past 14 days. To put that number into perspective no other keeper in the league has even 200 saves (the next closest is Jacob Markstrom with 199). Amazingly, despite all those saves, Lehtonen has a sickly 3.04 GAA as his mates haven't exactly been doing a good job of keeping the rubber away from him as evidenced by his .917 save percentage during that recent run. Markstrom, to compare, has a strong 1.98 GAA and .943 save percentage for the Panthers.
Evgeni Nabokov was either a very late round grab or a waiver-wire add in almost every league this season, and though his ratios aren't great (2.72 GAA, .905 save percentage), he's actually performed pretty well. Not only is he 17-11-3 on the year backstopping a club that isn't exactly elite, but he's gone 4-1 in his last five starts while allowing eight goals (there was a shutout in there). He's been a solid third keeper this season.
Cory Schneider has gone 6-2 in his last eight outings as he's basically taken over in net for the Canucks. Schneider has posted a 1.55 GAA the past two weeks, even though he has allowed five goals in his last two starts... and they covered just 61 minutes. Think about that. He allowed five goals in 61 minutes but still has a 1.55 GAA the past two weeks. Pretty damn impressive eh? Luongo, for his part, has lost his last two decisions, and he's permitted a total of 14 goals in his last four starts as his save percentage has dipped to .904, well below his career .919 mark.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 5 PM EDT. Ray's analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.