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Sunday Daily Puck: Trade Season is Here

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner covers hockey for RotoWire, and has been involved in fantasy hockey pools for 15 years. He's a lifetime Toronto Maple Leafs fan, a passion his wife puts up with and his daughter is starting to emulate.

Around the Rink

So, it’s that time of year again. No sooner did the corks hit the ground from our New Year’s champagne than the start of trade season to begin.

Normally, trades in fantasy sports are relatively one-dimensional - the player you want to trade and the player you expect to get in a trade are both constants. You know who they will play with, what their production is like, how much ice time they get – both power play and even strength – everything necessary to make an informed long term decision. Of course all players tend to be in flux but the variance is manageable.

Trade season? Now you’ve added a whole new dimension to the proposition. Now you’re essentially dealing in “fantasy futures”. Take for instance Matt Moulson, who is almost certainly going to be traded at the deadline to a contending team in need of a scoring winger. His value is normally dictated by his output projections, but now, that too is being changed by the fact that he may get dealt to a team like Pittsburgh. What is the value of Moulson on a Kunitz-Crosby line? Astronomical. If you covet Moulson, you’re likely overpaying based on this – and his value will fluctuate based on rumor and uncertainty.

Based on scuttlebutt flying around the league right now, there are a handful of keynote players that at the deadline will likely be moving from their existing team:

1. Thomas Vanek W, NYI – The deal that GM Garth Snow pulled in late October was a head scratcher; it’s widely rumored around the league that his destination of choice next season will be to land in Minnesota as a UFA. He went to school there, his wife is from there, and his offseason home is there, and he has friends on the team. That being said, he’s in New York right now, and they need to get some value from him before he walks, and along with him, the steep price they paid to acquire him.

2. Matt Moulson W, BUF – While New York was looking to upgrade their top line, Buffalo was looking toward the future. What seems to be the first of a number of rebuilding years for the Sabres, Moulson’s value is not in what he brings to the table as a gifted offensive scorer, but the value he’ll bring in as that gifted offensive scorer at the deadline. Because he’s looking at just being a rental, my guess is that he’ll be traded to a fringe team for a first round pick, or a team like Pittsburgh, for a prospect and a first and a conditional pick. Depending on injury and demand, that might be just the start.

3. Ryan Miller G, BUF – The trade of Ryan Miller could be the biggest impact felt at the trade deadline in a long time. Most of the top-tier teams in the league already have excellent goaltending, but two interesting destinations of note are Philadelphia and Washington. Philadelphia has needed quality goaltending for at least a decade – when they’ve received it, they’ve gone deep into the playoffs. Similarly, if Washington had a goalie of Miller’s caliber, they would be a formidable team to face. A dark horse possibility would also include Pittsburgh making a run at him.

4. Sam Gagner W, EDM – Rumor has it that Edmonton promoted Gagne to the top line in order to showcase his talent so he can be shipped off. Early rumored destinations include Winnipeg and Nashville, but it’s still too early for this to occur immediately, unless an incredible offer is tabled. Edmonton needs defense, and Nashville has plenty to offer. Winnipeg could use Gagne, but it’s unclear what would be going back the other way.

Needless to say, we’re still over six weeks – and a full Olympics – away from the trade deadline day, but already, the rumor mill is grinding away. There’s fun times ahead for fantasy GMs everywhere!

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford), 12:30 PM

Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Carolina Hurricanes (Justin Peters), 5:00 PM

Washington Capitals (Philipp Grubauer) at New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:30 PM

Injury News for Teams Playing Sunday

Boston Bruins

Dennis Seidenberg, D - Seidenberg tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee and will be out for the remainder of the season, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports. (12/28/2013)

Chris Kelly, C - Kelly (leg) will not play in either of the team's upcoming road contests, Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reports. (1/15/2014)

Jordan Caron, RW - Caron (back) was a scratch for Saturday's game against the Sharks. (1/12/2014)

Dougie Hamilton, D - Hamilton (concussion) won't travel with the Bruins for the next two games, Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reports. (1/15/2014)

Chicago Blackhawks

Brad Mills, C - Mills (lower body) was waived by the Blackhawks on Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports. (11/15/2013)

Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Khabibulin had successful surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will miss four-to-five months, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports. (1/7/2014)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Brian Lee, D - Lee (knee) is still only doing off-ice workouts. (11/9/2013)

Steven Stamkos, C - Stamkos (leg) skated Friday for the second straight day, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (1/17/2014)

Keith Aulie, D - Aulie (hand) practiced in a red no-contact jersey Thursday morning, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (1/10/2014)

Victor Hedman, D - Hedman (ankle) is now with the Lightning in Carolina and hasn't been ruled out for Sunday's game, though he is unlikely to play, the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson reports. (1/18/2014)

Mattias Ohlund, D - Ohlund (knee) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reports. (10/2/2013)

Carolina Hurricanes

Joni Pitkanen, D - Pitkanen (heel) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (10/1/2013)

Cam Ward, G - Ward (lower body) has not resumed skating yet, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (1/18/2014)

Washington Capitals

Jack Hillen, D - Hillen (leg) was placed on long-term injured reserve by the Capitals on Monday, the Washington Post's Katie Carrera reports. (10/8/2013)

Tomas Kundratek, D - Kundratek has suffered a torn ACL, which will end his season, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports. (11/12/2013)

Michael Latta, C - Latta (lower body) was reassigned to AHL Hershey on Saturday. (1/11/2014)

Evgeny Kuznetsov, C - Kuznetsov suffered a leg injury while playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL last week, Russian Machine Never Breaks reports. (12/30/2013)

New York Rangers

Derek Dorsett, RW - Dorsett will be out for four to six weeks with a broken fibula, according to Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record. (1/3/2014)

Hot

Alexander Ovechkin W, WAS – It’s no real surprise here – Ovechkin continues to do what he’s been born to do, and that’s score. Over the last seven games, he has six points – three goals and three assists. The irony is that, for the Great 8, that’s not even terribly hot for him; he still has another gear that he has found from time to time.

Brad Richards C, NYR – Leading the charge in New York, Richards has recorded an impressive stat sheet over the last two weeks. In eight games, he has four goals and five assists with a +5 and three PPP. It’s no wonder with such offense that the Rangers have gone 6-2 in that time and find themselves sitting in the top three in the Metropolitan division.

Chris Kreider W, NYR – As if it wasn’t enough to have Brad Richards lighting up the score sheet, the Rangers also have Kreider riding a hot streak. In the last eight games, he has two goals and three assists with a +4, two PPP and a category-crushing 26 PIM. From a fantasy perspective, that’s across the board production that anybody would love to have on their team.

Cold

Eric Fehr W, WAS – The big bruising forward has shown little production in 2014 thus far, only netting two goals since the corks flew off the bottles of champagne. In an attempt to get him going, coach Adam Oates tried putting him on the first line, but the results were disappointing. He’s recently earned a demotion down to the fourth line, and we’re not sure when he’ll see any additional playing time.

Zdeno Chara D, BOS – Big Z is missing Dennis Seidenberg, who tore his ACL and MCL on December 28th and will be out the remainder of the season. Since that injury, Chara has only two points and has looked more out of sorts on the ice than he usually does. We don’t expect this poor play to continue for much longer, but it’s difficult to replace the chemistry he had overnight.

Jiri Tlusty W, CAR – After a career year where the young Czech recorded 38 points in 48 games while playing on the top line, his season this year has been drastically different. In the past month and a half, he’s been both marred by injury, and plagued by lack of production – only two points since Dec. 1.

Recommended Pickup

Philipp Grubauer G, WAS – The Capital’s situation in net is a mystery right now. Braden Holtby is struggling, Michael Neuvirth has demanded a trade, and in the midst of all this uncertainty, Grubauer has split the incumbents and played great – for the most part – when he’s had the opportunity to do so. With an ownership rate of 25%, he’s still widely available, and should be a decent add on Sunday against New York.