Sudden Impact: Fantasy Clicks
Bill Guerin: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
It's only been a week, but it's worth having a look at how some of the more notable players traded at the deadline have performed with their new teams thus far.
(Didn't somebody say he'd benefit most from the three-way deal that saw him return to Raleigh?)
(As anticipated, he's been paired with Sidney Crosby and the two have found immediate chemistry together.)
(He got off to a great start with two goals in his first period with the Flames, then did nothing in the next two games before scoring again Tuesday. Sound familiar, Islanders, Panthers and Coyotes fans?)
(He has as many points as Jokinen, the player he was traded for, but don't expect that to last.)
(Playmaker Patrice Bergeron has been tasked with making sure the Recchi acquisition pays dividends.)
(The new guys are scoring in the desert.)
(This guy could rack up PIMS skating in the Ice Capades.)
(He hasn't lost the edge that made him effective as a Blueshirt and as a fantasy player.)
(Avery's impact on the Rangers will dwarf that of Morris.)
(Didn't somebody say Cole would be the one who benefited most from the three-way deal that saw O'Sullivan land in Edmonton?)
(Nice debut; not much since.)
Boston's Milan Lucic started the year like a house on fire (which isn't much of an exaggeration because the kid really is almost the size of a house) particularly when it came to penalty minutes. He's already got several YouTube montages in his honor, most of which show him pounding the pulp out of someone or driving a Toronto Maple Leaf through the glass. But he only has 15 PIMS and one fighting major since Jan. 1 and his offensive production has plummeted, too, with only three goals over that same period. His stalled statistics likely have to do with the "upper body" injuries he's sustained this year and instructions from Boston's coaching staff to curtail the fisticuffs. He's also had less power play time and fewer minutes alongside Marc Savard in the last few weeks. I had several trade offers in my fantasy league for him at our deadline but I declined them all since I have Lucic at a good price and because he's entering his third season, a year most young players break out. I like to call that my Mike Richards mantra.
I can't think of a more depressing time in the fantasy season than just after my league's trade deadline has passed. Staring at the transactions page and message board now is like watching the early years of Seinfeld on re-runs, which is too say it's mildly entertaining but not nearly to the extent it could be. I mean guys in my pool -- especially those without a shot at finishing in the money - are genuinely shaken by the fact their inboxes are no longer filled with trade offers. The only solution is to nix the deadline and trade at will until the season subsides but that's like lowering the rim in playground basketball: After all, we want our fantasy leagues to be as realistic as possible, don't we? (What - we're not actual sports general managers? Since when?)
Mike Richards: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images
I had a debate the other day with a fellow poolie (my big brother) about the Philadelphia center's value moving forward. Priced at $15 in our league, my bro wondered at what point he'd become too expensive to keep (players can be protected at a $5 salary bump.) I argued vehemently on Richards' behalf because I've been a big fan of his since his junior days with the Kitchener Rangers. But the debate was the starting point of a bigger discussion on questionable keepers moving forward, thus this list of young second-tier forwards -- all of whom are 25 or younger and currently fall outside the top 10 in NHL scoring -- who I would keep without hesitation even if I had them at medium-to-high price tags.
1. Jeff Carter: His play this year has been reminiscent of his junior days, when he dominated games with his size, shot and skating ability.
2. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals: At 11th in NHL scoring, he barely qualifies for this list. Playing with Alexander Ovechkin, though, will probably put him inside the top 10 for years to come.
3. Richards: He leads the league in short-handed points with nine and surely short-handed ice time among forwards as well since the Flyers take so many penalties. He's a do-it-all guy who plays with a physical edge and while he'll never attain top-five scoring numbers, he's consistent with only one three-game pointless skid on his game log this year.
4. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: A respected junior hockey writer here in Canada once told me Perry would never make it as an NHL regular, a notion to which I scoffed at before putting said writer on prediction probation from here to eternity. Perry has already set a career high in points (57) in this his fourth full season despite incurring a four-game suspension in January and will break the 100-PIM mark (which sets him apart from others) for the second straight year. Paired with Ryan Getzlaf, his offensive numbers will continue to grow.
5. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals: This guy's only problem thus far has been his ability to stay healthy. He's missed 19 games this year and still has 63 points, which is good enough for the fifth best points-per-game average in the league.
Honorable Mentions: Rick Nash, Columbus; Thomas Vanek, Buffalo; David Krecji, Boston; Derek Roy, Buffalo; Patrick Kane, Chicago; Jonathan Toews, Chicago.
Brian McCabe, D, Florida Panthers: Broken orbital bone; expected to miss at least a week. Good thing the Panthers kept Jay Bouwmeester.
Daniel Briere, C, Philadelphia Flyers: Injured groin; listed as day-to-day. Ugh -- pretty soon this guy is going to be listed as season-to-season.
Todd Bertuzzi, LW, Calgary Flames: Knee surgery: out at least one month. The newest Flame to get a look up front is rookie David Van der Gulik.
Rob Blake, D, San Jose Sharks: Injured foot; listed as day-to-day. The veteran d-man has been solid all year but will likely miss a week for sure.
Evgeni Nabokov, G, San Jose Sharks: Upper body; listed as day-to-day. Nabby has missed the San Jose's last six games and won't return until Saturday at home against the Kings at the earliest.
Gary Roberts announced his retirement from hockey this week after he went unclaimed on waivers. As passionate a hockey player as there has been in the last 20 years, Roberts personified the power forward role in the late 1980s and early 90s with the Calgary Flames, putting up mouth-watering numbers until a serious neck injury forced him out of the game in his prime. He returned in 1997 with Carolina and from there he moved on to Toronto where his inspired play and devotion to physical fitness made him a folk hero of sorts. Over 1,200 games played, 900 points and 2,500 penalty minutes and a Stanley Cup ring with the Flames make the tough-as-nails winger one to remember.