With the trade deadline mere days away, which players might end up being moved thereby potentially altering their fantasy value?
Here are some names to keep an eye on as it's probably a better than 50/50 bet that most will end up being moved by Wednesday's trade deadline.
Joe Corvo, Hurricanes (4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points, -8 with 10 PIMs in 33 games)
Who on the 'Canes isn't on the market? "I'm getting inquiries on more players than I expected," GM Jim Rutherford said. "That does not mean more players will be traded. But there are more inquiries than I anticipated." Corvo was limited by a deep cut in his leg early on, and that, combined with his team's poor play for a large portion of the year, has caused many in the fantasy game to forget that Corvo scored 14 goals with 38 points just last year. If he's moved to a club that will give him ample power-play time, his value would skyrocket.
Slava Kozlov, Thrashers (8-16-24, -16 with 31 PIMs in 52 games)
At 37-years old, perhaps Father Time has finally caught up with this gifted scorer? At the same time he recorded 76 points last season with an astounding 43 coming with the man-advantage. He hasn't been anywhere near that scoring ace of a year ago as he has less points on the season than he racked up last year on the power-play. He has a no-trade clause in his deal but he has informed the team he is wiling to waive it so that he can get back on the ice (he has been out of the lineup as a healthy scratch frequently of late). Kozlov isn't likely to return to a point-per-game pace, but if he is acquired by a team that would give him time on the PP unit and the chance to skate in the top-6 forwards, he could be a wonderful fantasy addition.
Pavel Kubina, Thrashers (5-29-34, +6 with 48 PIMs in 59 games)
Potentially the most impactful blue liner still on the market (sorry, Mr. Souray -- see more below), Kubina is a second level scoring threat from the backend. In five of the last eight seasons he has scored at least 11 goals, and he clearly possesses enough skill to be an asset on the power-play. However, the team from Atlanta has engaged Kubina in contract talks -- he is set to become an unrestricted free agent -- so perhaps he won't be going anywhere after all.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, Leafs (19-22-41, +5 with 44 PIMs in 61 games)
Clearly GM Brian Burke isn't afraid to make moves (see below), so pretty much everyone on the Leafs better be on their toes. The rumor mill has Ponikarovsky potentially being moved to the Penguins, and if that happens, and if he is placed on one of the top two scoring lines in Pittsburgh, well, you've heard they have a couple of talented centermen right? Ponikarovsky scored 61 points last year, and has 41 this season, so he has certainly proven to be a dependable second level scoring option off the left wing. If you buy into the rumors, you'll want to pay what it will take to get this Russian born winger on your club before he is moved.
Sheldon Souray, Oilers (4-9-13, -19 with 65 PIM in 37 games)
This guy would probably be "the" name on the market if he was healthy, but a broken hand that required surgery has his return to the ice in question (he has been out since Jan. 30 but hopes to return to action by mid-March). Souray has reportedly given the Oilers a list of six teams he would accept a trade to, so we'll have to wait and see how things play out for this talented, yet sometimes fragile, blue line scoring ace who recorded 23 goals and 23 power-play points last season.
Andy Sutton, Islanders (4-8-12, -3 with 73 PIMs in 54 games)
A deal hasn't been worked out despite on-going negotiations over the break with the Isles, so it appears likely that the massive blue liner will be on the move (6-6, 250 lbs.). Sutton doesn't figure to be a boon in the fantasy game no matter where he ends up, but he might try to impress his new employer with his physical gifts meaning he might see a short-term uptick in his penalty minute production.
Keith Tkachuk, Blues (12-16-28, -4 with 46 PIMs in 55 games)
Unfortunately for the Blues, Tkachuck's value is up in the air after he had surgery on his left pinkie last week. He shouldn't be out more than two weeks, but his current lack of health certainly won't increase his potential trade value. Tkachuk would prefer to stay with the Blues, but he always interests teams looking to go deep into the playoffs considering his experience and gritty abilities. He hasn't performed well at all this season with only 12 goals, he recorded at least 25 goals each of the past three years, so perhaps a trade could get his juices flowing again.
Ray Whitney, Hurricanes (19-29-48, -1 with 22 PIMs in 59 games)
Whitney has a no-trade clause in his contract, so only expect him to be moved to a team that has a chance to do some serious damage in the playoffs. "He holds his own cards," GM Jim Rutherford said. "At one time we had a deal made and he decided not to go." That team was reportedly the L.A. Kings, by the way. Whitney has always been too small to succeed, yet he has posted 859 points in 1,051 games so sometimes a tape measure doesn't tell you anything. Whitney might be the top offensive weapon left on the market, and the 37-year old still has plenty to give on the offensive side of the ice. If he goes to a team that has a need, he could also help out a ton on the power-play.
Tomas Vokoun, Panthers (19-21-10, .931 save percentage, 2.36 GAA, 7 shutouts in 51 games)
Will the team actually consider moving their best player, the man who leads the NHL in save percentage? Reports on both sides of the fence have been circulated, so it really appears to be a toss up as to whether or not he stays in Florida. The team has stated they want to cut salary and go young, so perhaps they do move Vokoun. If they do, and don't get a keeper in return, they would turn things over to Scott Clemmensen (5-5-0, 3.53 GAA, .888 SV%), you remember, the guy they signed to a 3-year deal this offseason and has then only played 12 highly ineffective games this year.
Marek Zidlicky, Wild (5-31-36, -2 with 49 PIMs in 60 games)
This is a bit of a surprise. The offensively-gifted Czech blue liner continues to post points with great efficiency (he is four points from a third straight 40-point season), but the Wild will consider moving him if they can't agree to a contract extension before the deadline. "It'd be a priority for us, and a prudent thing for us, to resolve his future status one way or the other by Wednesday," GM Chuck Fletcher said. "Our preference is for him to sign a deal and stay in Minnesota." No matter where Zidlicky plays he will put up points, though a move to a stronger club could help him in the plus/minus category.
There have already been a couple of blockbuster type deals which might mitigate any huge deals prior to this year's NHL trade deadline on Wednesday. Here are a couple of links to the previous deals that have already been completed in case you have forgotten while the NHL has been away for the Olympic break.
Ilya Kovalchuk to Devils.
Olli Jokinen to Rangers.
Leafs Acquire Phaneuf and Giguere.
Finally, don't forget to visit Fanball.com on Wednesday as I will be blogging the entire day breaking down every deal that happens, or rumor that is being discussed. To see just what I'm talking about, here is a link to last years piece: Trade Deadline Diary.
Here are two more minor deals that just occurred with some thoughts on how they change each player's value.
Alex Auld, Rangers (9-6-3, .894 save percentage, 3.00 GAA, 0 shutouts in 21 games)
It wasn't a trade per se, Auld was picked up off waivers from the Stars, but he finds himself the newest member of the N.Y. Rangers. Due $1 million for the year, the Rangers will only be responsible for half his remaining salary with the rest being paid by the Stars (each team will pay about $125,000). The Rangers had need for a solid backup behind Henrik Lundqvist since Stephan Valiquette was waived in December (Chad Johnson was around, but he has a ways to go before he is really ready to compete), and Auld does provide a veteran presence in net. However, Lundqvist figures to play just about every game down the stretch, so don't expect to see Auld often as the Rangers will have to lean on Henrik if they hope to make the playoffs.
Jordan Leopold, Penguins (7-11-18, -7 with 22 PIMs in 61 games)
Acquired from the Panthers for a second round draft pick, this is the fifth time that Leopold has been sent packing. He certainly possesses some skill, after all he was the Hobey Baker Award winner in 2002 (given to the best U.S. college skater), but even though he is going to the offensively gifted Penguins squad he doesn't figure to have much upside unless an injury occurs on the team's blue line.
Here is a list of a few of the men who have been placed on waivers. Any team that picks them up would only be required to pay half of their salary.
Brandon Bochenski, LightningRiley Cote, FlyersDanny Syvert, Flyers
* Fifteen teams play four games this week: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Edmonton, Montreal, Nashville, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver.
* One team plays only two games this week: Columbus.