We're getting a lot of new faces in new places, as the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up defenseman Douglas Murray and right wing Jarome Iginla over the past week, while the St. Louis Blues added defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. The Chicago Blackhawks added center Michal Handzus in recent days, and there are a handful of other big names rumored to be on the move. It should get very exciting for fans and fantasy owners in the coming days. Keep an eye on those deals, as guys who have struggled on poor teams will suddenly be valuable in fantasy leagues again, thanks mostly in part to an improvement in the plus/minus category.
Jay Bouwmeester, defenseman, St. Louis Blues
Bouwmeester is the latest member of the Calgary Flames fire sale, going to the contending Blues in a deal over the weekend. Bouwmeester's fantasy value had bottomed out, as he was scoreless with a minus-6 rating in his final five games for the Flames. Bouwmeester should be rejuvenated playing on a playoff-bound team, and he should come alive offensively. Even if he picks up an occasional assist here or there, his fantasy value increases just because of his much better plus/minus rating. Those in pools that discourage penalty minutes (PIM) will like Bouwmeester, as he has just eight minor penalties in 33 games, and just four PIM over his past 14 games.
Brian Elliott, goaltender, St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak (lower body) suffered a lower-body injury in Sunday's game at Minnesota, and head coach Ken Hitchcock told NHL.com that it "looks like it's going to be awhile" before the goaltender can return. Goaltender Jake Allen will be summoned back from Peoria of the AHL, but it will be Elliott who gets a majority of the starts in between the pipes until Halak is healthy enough to return. The Blues are a good team, and Elliott could be a cheap source of wins down the stretch for fantasy owners.
Shawn Matthias, center, Florida Panthers
Matthias was amazing in March, turning up the intensity even more in the final few days of the month. Matthias wrapped up March with 11 goals, 13 points and a plus-3 rating in 16 games. He is definitely worth adding as a No. 3 fantasy center while he is hot. He enters April with a three-game goal-scoring streak, posting five markers (including a power play goal). He is just 25 years old, so fantasy owners in long-term keeper pools will want to take notice too.
Zach Bogosian, defenseman, Winnipeg Jets
Bogosian has been a huge disappointment this season, and it is finally time to pull the plug if you haven't already. Sure, he scored a goal in Monday's game at New York Rangers, but it was just his third of the season, and first in eight games dating back to March 17. His non-scoring was helped by the fact he hadn't been terrible in the plus/minus category, and he had managed 21 PIM since March 16. However, he has a minus-6 rating over his past seven games and no visits to the penalty box in eight of his past nine outings. Bogosian isn't really doing much of anything for fantasy owners, so use the roster space for someone who is producing.
Mark Giordano, defenseman, Calgary Flames
Giordano's name is another bandied about in trade rumors. He could be the next to go in the fire sale being held by general manager Jay Feaster. Giordano appears to be distracted lately, going without a goal in six straight games while turning in a minus-5 rating dating back to March 21. In fact, the Nashville Predators might want to snap him up. Over his past 27 games, Giordano has just two goals, both against the Predators. If and when he is dealt, Giordano might be worth picking up, but see how he fits in with his new team before taking a chance on him again.
Alexander Steen, left wing, St. Louis Blues
Steen has tailed off significantly since the middle of February. He has managed just two goals and seven points over his past 12 games dating back to February 15, which isn't horrible, but is nowhere near the pace he had set in the early part of February. Steen can pick up points in bunches, as he has five multi-point games this season. However, he is also scoreless in 12 of his 26 games, with five of them coming in the past seven outings. He is only worth using as a No. 5 or 6 fantasy forward in pools of 12 or more teams at this point.
About Daniel Dobish
Daniel is a Hot Off the Wire Analyst who joined the KFFL staff in 2010. He is a veteran of the fantasy industry dating back to 1999, with stops at CBSSports.com, The Sports Forecaster, OPENSports.com and RotoExperts.com. His work has also appeared on NFL.com and Yahoo.com. Daniel was named the 2011 Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year, 2011 Fantasy Racing Writer of the Year, and he was nominated for the 2011 Fantasy Hockey Writer of the Year. Daniel lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.