Deadline Day: A Fantasy Take
(2/28/12) The dust has settled on deadline day, and while the blockbuster moves that trade aficionados were hoping for didn't materialize, a number of small scale deals did go down that impact the fantasy landscape.
Perhaps the biggest news of the day was not who was traded, but who wasn't. Rick Nash, the biggest name reported to be on the block, was not dealt at the deadline. His owners no doubt were hoping Nash would find himself in a new home and suddenly surrounded by potent scorers, but alas, he stays in Columbus as the only show in town. Worse still is the fact that the Jackets gutted the rest of the team, sending out Jeff Carter and Antoine Vermette last week, and then trading Sammy Pahlsson in another minor deal at the deadline.
Nash goes from being a guy who might conceivably be helped more than any player by the passing of the trade deadline to a guy who is hurt as much as anyone. We don't foresee his numbers taking a huge hit though, an off year leaves him without far to fall, but the thing that worries us is that it turns out Nash actually asked for the trade, which signals his heart isn't in Ohio. After the circus he just endured, expect him to plod through the rest of the way with mediocre production and then to be the source of more rumors in the offseason.
One team that did make a bit of a splash is Nashville, as they acquired Andrei Kostitsyn from the Habs for a 2nd and 5th rounder. They also received Paul Gaustad from the Sabres (along with a 4th rounder) in exchange for a first round pick. They picked up Hal Gill and Jarred Smithson last week, and the Predators are clearly trying to make a run for the Cup.
Of the new additions, Kostitsyn is the name to take note of for fantasy owners. The others provide important playoff characteristics in terms of grit and defense, but Kostitsyn is the one worth picking up to see if this lights a spark. He joins his brother Sergei in Nashville, and the pair give the Preds a poor man's version of the Sedin twins. Ok, so we're talking living under the bridge, cardboard box poor man, but the chemistry has to count for something, right? This definitely improves Nashville's offensively challenged top six, and it should be a positive influence not only on the Kostitsyn brothers, but also on the likes of Erat, Hornqvist, and Mike Fisher. And a few extra points might trickle down to Weber and Suter on the blue-line, whilel the new blood should help Rinne finish strong in net.
The other surprise move of the day saw Vancouver trade rookie of the year candidate Cody Hodgson along with defenseman Alex Sulzer to the Sabres in exchange for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. For the Canucks, Kassian is the player getting most of the media attention, and it's understandable because he shores up several of Vancouver's most glaring playoff weaknesses - size, toughness, and grit. He's an interesting project for keeper owners, however, it's Gragnani who is the winner from a fantasy perspective. He could see some looks on Vancouver's #2 PP unit, and he's a good up and coming offensive defenseman - 60 points in 63 AHL games last year. The move means he's worth picking up in leagues with deep rosters, and his keeper value just shot up significantly.
Going the other way, Hodgson lands with the Sabres in possibly a bigger role than he had with the Canucks but with more pressure to perform. He figures to step in as the #2 center in Buffalo, which means more ice-time, but also that he's up against better competition. Considering he's a rookie without a lengthy track record of production and with a history of slow progress, we wonder how Hodgson will hold up in the spotlight. Vancouver's third line was a nice safe place for him to slowly develop, but he'll be thrown into the fire with bigger expectations now. Hodgson was the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft and has show flashes of brilliance this year, and now he'll have the chance to show what he can do a big-time role. Based on the new opportunity and his existing potential he's a good fantasy pick-up if he's out there on your waiver wire.
Of course there were many other moves at the deadline, but these were the most significant for us fantasy owners. For a full run down of all the day's transactions click here...