Pascal Leclaire: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
There were 22 trades in total Wednesday, with 45 players and 21 draft picks changing hands. Few (if any) were of the blockbuster variety, but some could have an impact on your fantasy league. So with a heavy heart over the lack of big-name deals, here's a breakdown on the most significant swaps: 9:56 a.m.: Columbus trades Pascal Leclaire (G) and a second-round draft pick to Ottawa for Antoine Vermette (F).
Wow -- Leclaire owners (if there are any of you left) rejoice -- your guy is no longer stuck behind Steve Mason. Ottawa Senators fans rejoice -- you finally have a legitimate No. 1 starter, something your team has lacked since, well, forever. Memories seem to be short when it comes to assessing Leclaire as his injury woes this season have apparently overshadowed the nine shutouts he posted last year. In Vermette, Columbus must think they've found someone to complement Rick Nash. I suggest they keep looking.
11:39 a.m.: Colorado trades Jordan Leopold (D) for Ryan Wilson (D), Lawrence Nycholat (D) and a second-round draft pick.
Calgary got Leopold -- a former Flame -- to fill a hole left by the injured Mark Giordano after Leopold put up 20 points with the lowly Avalanche this year so his value does rise. But if you are counting on Jordan Leopold to put you over the top you're fantasy league in real trouble.
12:15 p.m.: Toronto claims Martin Gerber (G) off waivers.
The bigger news here is that Gerber was plucked by the Leafs because Vesa Toskala was placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season. (Apparently giving rookie Justin Pogge more starts wasn't an option.) Ironically, Toskala had been quite good lately after struggling all season and had posted a 4-0-2 record in his last six games.
12:37 p.m.: Boston acquires Steve Montador (D) from Anaheim for Petteri Nokelainen (C).
One of many minor deals, but Montador should have found himself into your league at some point this year because of his penalty minutes (125). He's going to a better team in Boston but that won't necessarily translate into more points -- the Bruins got him for his defensive ability.
12:40 p.m.: Phoenix trades Olli Jokinen (C) and a third-round pick to Calgary for Matthew Lombardi (C), Brandon Prust and a first-round draft pick (either this year or in 2010).
OK -- here we go. First, Jokinen was the coveted big body down the middle the Flames (and Montreal Canadiens for that matter) were after. Second, it's not set in stone that Jokinen will join the top line with Jarome Iginla. Iginla, Mike Cammaleri and Craig Conroy have been red hot lately and Jokinen might be a better fit on the second unit. More important, he is reunited with Mike Keenan, under whom he had his best offensive seasons in Florida. And he should be inspired knowing he's going to the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career. I'm a big fan of Lombardi; he is a speedster but he never reached his offensive potential in Calgary. 1:24 p.m.: Boston acquires Mark Recchi (F) and a second-round pick in 2010 from Tampa Bay for Matt Lashoff (D) and Martins Karsums (F).
Logic would dictate Recchi, who is 41, wouldn't be a factor in fantasy pools these days because he's, well, 41. But he just keeps putting up decent point totals -- 43 thus far this year -- making him valuable at the trade deadline. He should continue to score at a decent pace in Boston and that -15 rating he's racked up (or is it down?) with the Bolts will definitely improve.
1:58 p.m.: The New York Islanders trade Bill Guerin (F) to Pittsburgh for a conditional pick.
Pittsburgh's previous pickup of Chris Kunitz (whom they acquired from Anaheim along with Eric Tangradi for Ryan Whitney) has worked out brilliantly with Kunitz netting three goals and five points in three games despite his prospective centerman, Sidney Crosby, being on the shelf. That means Guerin could be paired with Sid the Kid when he returns and that, of course, means big things for the veteran winger.
2:45 p.m. Phoenix trades Daniel Carcillo (F) to Philadelphia for Scottie Upshall (F) and a second-round pick.
Phoenix got another speedy forward to complement the aforementioned Lombardi plus a pick for Carcillo who, of course, is a valuable fantasy player because of his penchant for taking penalties (174 to date). Philly is the second-most penalized team in the NHL this year so it's a touch confusing as to why they'd want Carcillo. Who cares if you own him, though, because his penalty minute pace will only escalate now.
2:47 p.m.: Toronto sends Nik Antropov (F) to the New York Rangers for a second-round pick and a conditional pick.
As a Leafs fan (your condolences are appreciated, thanks) I'm surprised Antropov couldn't fetch the first-round pick ex-Toronto (interim) GM Cliff Fletcher was looking for. Antropov is a big body with soft hands and good vision who can play in the middle or on the wing. He's streaky though and will probably stay that way in New York.
2:59 p.m.: Phoenix trades Derek Morris (D) to the New York Rangers for Peter Prucha (F), Nigel Dawes (F) and Dmitri Kalinin (D).
The Rangers needed someone who can run the power play from the back end because Wade Redden hasn't worked out on Broadway. Morris has been having a terrible season and has never lived up to the potential that made him a 13th overall pick by Calgary in 1996. Perhaps the new bench boss in New York, John Tortorella, can light a fire under him. On the whole, I love what Phoenix did in adding a bunch of young, speedy forwards with Dawes and Prucha in this deal and Lombardi and Upshall in others. As well, they picked up a pair of draft picks and orchestrated an addition-by-subtraction scenario when they traded away Jokinen whose offensive game and leadership ability apparently dried up in the desert.
3:53 p.m.: In a three-way deal, Edmonton lands Patrick O'Sullivan (F) and a second-round pick, Carolina lands Erik Cole (F) and Los Angeles gets Justin Williams (F).
One of many minor deals, but Montador should have found himself into your league at some point this year because of his penalty minutes (125). He's going to a better At first glance this looks like apples for apples for apples. From a fantasy perspective, it is likely Cole will get the biggest boost from this deal because he returns to Carolina where he put up solid offensive numbers and penalty minute totals. O'Sullivan will fit in nicely with Edmonton's young forwards and that the Kings gave up on him is somewhat surprising. But it's believed they were looking for a veteran scorer and Williams, despite being on the shelf with another injury (this time a broken hand), has a Stanley Cup ring and a pair of 30-goal campaigns on his résumé.
Put away your suitcases Jay Bouwmeester, Marian Gaborik, Tomas Kaberle, Martin St. Louis, Tim Connolly, Ryan Malone and Ryan Smyth -- you're not going anywhere. All were rumoured to be on the move and of the seven I'm most surprised that Smyth wasn't dealt, however I suspect this may have been a case of Colorado expecting too much given the gritty winger is having a solid year with 20 goals and 53 points.
I'm sure Toronto GM Brian Burke (and Leaf Nation for that matter) is ecstatic that unrestricted free agent Bouwmeester wasn't dealt. The Leafs will have plenty of cash and plenty of room under the salary cap to land a big free agent fish this summer, and Burke has always shown an affinity for stud defenseman. Should the Leafs boast a blue line of Kaberle, Bowmeester, future star Luke Schenn, Jeff Finger and Mike Van Ryn in front of a healthy Toskala next season the club's chances for post-season play increases dramatically.
Antoine Vermette: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Why is it that Antoine Vermette was worth a legitimate No. 1 goalie in Pascal Leclaire and a second-round pick, while Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov, both of whom have more points than Vermette, were only worth second rounders? I guess it's because Vermette is signed through another season and both ex-Leafs are unrestricted free agents but still, as previously stated, it seems Ottawa GM Bryan Murray got the better of Columbus GM Scott Howsam on that deal.
Super pest, loud mouth, side show: Sean Avery has been described as all three. More important, though, he can once again be called a New York Ranger after the Blueshirts claimed him on re-entry waivers from Dallas Tuesday, as expected. And make no mistake: Avery will be better in New York than he was in Dallas, although that's not setting the bar very high since he was a complete bust for the Stars after signing a big deal in the summer. But Avery has (or had) fantasy value because he was a big penalty minute guy who chipped in offensively as well (33 points and 154 PIMS last year). There's a fear from Avery owners that his act will be substantially toned down in light of the long suspension he incurred this season for being stupid, but John Tortorella is smart enough to know that Avery is only effective when playing on the edge so expect a sinner, not a saint.