By KFFL Staff on February 18, 2011
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This is always an exciting time of year to be a writer, but as a Fantasy player, it can be hectic and disappointing. We're heading toward the NHL trade deadline, and sometimes owners can be left with a big hole when a player is rested with his old team, and then takes a day or two to report to his new club. It can turn a four-game week into a one- or two-game week, crushing owners in head-to-head cumulative formats.
Let's take a look at a few prominent Fantasy players who might be on the move before the February 28 NHL trade deadline.
Toronto Maple Leafs D Tomas Kaberle has watched the trade winds pick up to hurricane force lately. There are multiple reports linking Kaberle to the Boston Bruins, in a potential deal that would net a draft pick and F Blake Wheeler. For any deal to occur, Kaberle would need to waive his no-trade clause, something he has not been willing to do in the past. Still, if you're a Kaberle owner, be prepared for him to potentially miss a game or two in Fantasy Week 20 (Feb. 21-27), especially if he goes to the B's. They are on a three-game Western Canada road trip, so it might make for a difficult time getting him to his new club.
A former Maple Leaf, Florida Panthers D Bryan McCabe, is also a player who might be moved at the deadline. The New York Rangers are a team that might be interested in acquiring his services, especially since they could use a nice injection of offense for their sagging blue line play. A move from Florida to New York would be huge for Fantasy owners.
New Jersey Devils C Jason Arnott's name has been mentioned in the trade rumor blogosphere, and he is a veteran player who could help a contender down the stretch. Arnott might also come relatively cheap. Again, the New York Rangers are looking across the Hudson River at him, but don't be surprised if the Devils look to deal him outside of the division.
Carolina Hurricanes D Joni Pitkanen is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and it is not believed the team will be able to re-sign him. That being said, Pitkanen may be moved by general manager Jim Rutherford, who generally has a good sense of reality in terms of economics. Very few times does a guy walk without the team getting something in return.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to be a buyer at the deadline, and they might be pinging Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray to get a price tag on F Alexei Kovalev and/or D Sergei Gonchar. A more realistic target might be F Milan Michalek, whom the Jackets might find more affordable. A move for either of these guys from the sagging Sens to a contender will do wonders for their Fantasy appeal, especially in terms of the plus/minus category.
Vancouver Canucks D Kevin Bieksa (foot) is expected to miss at least three weeks due to a fractured foot. The scrappy Bieksa suffered the injury in Tuesday's game. It's a big blow to Fantasy owners headed down the stretch in their regular season, as Bieksa is among the league leaders in plus/minus rating.
Toronto Maple Leafs G Jean-Sebastien Giguere (lower body injury) reportedly aggravated a lower body injury in Wednesday's win against the Buffalo Sabres. Not only is this bad news for Fantasy owners, who have watched the brittle Giguere go in and out of the lineup, but general manager Brian Burke will have a tough time dealing the netminder at the deadline if he is damaged goods.
New Jersey Devils G Martin Brodeur (knee) might return this weekend, although he isn't rushing things. Backup G Johan Hedberg has been playing very well, as suddenly the Devils are one of the hottest teams in the league after an abysmal first half. It is sound advice for any Fantasy owner, but wait to see Brodeur finish out a whole game before reinserting him into the active lineup.
HOT OR NOT
We're starting to see some trends now, as we get deeper into the season. Here are a few not-so-obvious players at each position that you might want to add or avoid.
Detroit Red Wings RW Todd Bertuzzi has posted four goals and a plus-5 rating over his past three games.
Anaheim Ducks RW Teemu Selanne has taken a drink out of the Fountain of Youth. He has three goals, eight points and a plus-5 rating over his past four games.
Phoenix Coyotes LW Ray Whitney has been on fire recently, especially in the assist category. He has one goal, six helpers and a plus-2 rating in his past four.
New York Rangers G Martin Biron is 0-2-0 in his past three appearances, but that's mostly due to poor offensive support. He has a 1.69 Goals-Against Average (GAA) with a sparkling .942 save percentage during the span. The wins will definitely come if he maintains that rate.
Ottawa Senators D Sergei Gonchar, mentioned in several trade rumors, is scoreless over his past five with a minus-2 rating.
San Jose Sharks Cs Jamal Mayers and Scott Nichol are each scoreless with an even rating in their past six.
Washington Capitals D Mike Green has been battling an inner-ear infection/trauma, which has forced him out of the lineup for the past two games. It's uncertain when he'll be able to return to the ice, so Fantasy owners should play it safe and reserve him immediately.
Tampa Bay Lightning G Dwayne Roloson is very hard to figure out. One week, he is on fire, the next week, he is awful. Since being picked up by the Lightning, his Fantasy appeal has bounced up and down like a yo-yo. Since Feb. 4, we've seen 'Bad Rolly' again. He is 1-2-0 with a 4.15 GAA and .865 save percentage over his past four games. Not good, but don't worry, he'll likely come back around soon enough. That's been the case lately.
More on the injury front, Atlanta Thrashers W Fredrik Modin (upper body) has landed on the Injured Reserve list. Teammate C Alexander Burmistrov (foot) joined him on IR. … Ottawa Senators W Daniel Alfredsson (back) is also on IR, and it's uncertain when he'll return. However, he is one of a handful of players not on the trading block for the Sens. … St. Louis Blues G Jaroslav Halak (hand) is also on IR. That's good news for G Ty Conklin, who gets his chance as the No. 1 guy in the Lou.
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