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Neutral Zone Wrap: Trade Deadline Review

Evan Berofsky

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Trade Deadline Day proved to be a letdown, as the real fireworks (e.g. Keith Yandle, Evander Kane/Tyler Myers) had already been set off. But the sheer number of deals completed Monday (24 in all) should undoubtedly qualify as excitement. That is, if you were sitting by your laptop/phone/TV checking every five minutes in anticipation of some blockbuster that was never going to materialize.

Like the real NHL clubs, fantasy teams will be guided by these most recent transactions. If you're in the hunt, then you're looking who can help now. If you're out of playoff contention, then you're probably checking who could be of service next year and beyond. And regardless of the situation, you're wary of who to avoid.

The following contains those involved in trades the last month using all of these categories, but anyone whose benefits/risks are obvious (like the guys in the first line) will not be mentioned:

GOALIE

Today:
Michal Neuvirth, NY Islanders

Being traded on consecutive deadlines could be perceived as a confidence killer but definitely not in this situation. Neuvirth goes from starting on a horrendous team (where he went 6-17-3 with a respectable 2.99 GAA and .918 SV%) to having the chance to steal the No. 1 job from an overworked Jaroslav Halak (33-13, 2.46 GAA, .911 SV%, four shutouts). Even if the Czech netminder doesn't usurp his Slovak teammate, he should still grab his fair share of starts.

(Honorable mention: Chad Johnson, Buffalo)

Tomorrow: Jason Kasdorf, Buffalo

The least publicized piece in the Sabres-Jets bonanza may very well find himself in the big leagues in the next couple years (currently a junior at RPI). With the uncertainty surrounding their goaltending situation (see other two goalie areas), anyone could win Buffalo's starting gig. So why not Kasdorf?

(Honorable mention: David Leggio, Arizona)

Never: Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Collecting unemployment insurance

Ah, the old trade-and-immediately-retire business. Always a crowd pleaser.

(Honorable mention: Anders Lindback, Buffalo)

DEFENSE

Today:
Kimmo Timonen, Chicago

While missing the entire season with blood clots might signal a red flag, there's plenty of opportunity in Chicago -- especially on an underachieving power play (tied for 14th at 18.1 percent). There's a decent chance Timonen (332 of his 571 career points on the man-advantage) will find his way alongside Duncan Keith on the first unit, but even a spot on the second shift will do.

(Honorable mention: Marek Zidlicky, Detroit)

Tomorrow: Simon Despres, Anaheim

Many questioned why Pittsburgh would give up such a talented youngster (two goals, 15 assists, 64 PIM in 59 games), though its motives can in part be justified by a seemingly endless stream of blueline talent. In Anaheim, the 23-year old will slot behind the top four (once Sami Vatanen returns), but Despres' prospects should improve next year when a vacancy or two will surely become available.

(Honorable mention: Roland McKeown, Carolina)

Never: Braydon Coburn, Tampa Bay

Despite the fanfare surrounding the deal with Philly, it doesn't hide the fact Coburn lacks an offensive threat (nine points in 39 games). Sure, he can use his size for various purposes (56 hits, 56 blocked shots) and eat up ice time (regularly skating more than 20 minutes). But if you're looking for a fantasy boost from the back end, then it's best to look elsewhere.

(Honorable mention: Jeff Petry, Montreal)

FORWARD

Today:
Curtis Glencross, Washington

Injuries might have prevented the ex-Flame from achieving better numbers in the past, but that won't matter if he can earn a place on either of Washington's top two lines. Considering neither Andre Burakovsky (scoreless in his last six games) nor Marcus Johansson (one in five) has necessarily impressed when teamed up with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Glencross (at 28 in 53) deserves a shot at the coveted opening.

(Honorable mention: Jaromir Jagr, Florida; Antoine Vermette, Chicago)

Tomorrow: Anthony Duclair, Arizona

Fast, feisty, flawless. And anyone who watched Canada at the WJHC will remember how dominant the Quebec native looked on a line with Max Domi (combining for 18 points and a plus-21 in seven). Now that they've reunited in the desert, the anticipation begins for the tandem to repeat its feats in the NHL.

(Honorable mention: Sven Baertschi, Vancouver; William Karlsson, Columbus)

Never: Olli Jokinen, St. Louis

If you knew Jokinen is the only player to have been traded twice in the last 30 days, then you, uh, probably had to research the same material. The Finn's woes this season have been well documented (to the tune of seven in 54), so it's no surprise to see him occupying this section. But even if the veteran's fate is no better than centering the fourth line or sitting in the press box, at least it's on a legit Cup contender.

(Honorable mention: David Clarkson, Columbus; Dany Heatley, Florida)