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April 7, 2013
Shots On Goal
The Rundown, Week 12

by Ryan Schwepfinger

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In standard head-to-head formats, the playoffs begin now. Three weeks to go; three weeks to glory. Not all leagues are created equal, of course, but regardless of your stakes this week, all fantasy owners are in the transitory phase of responding to the trade deadline.

Overreaction to the deadline is a common disease. Trades are exciting, and inherently, we always want to believe a move to a contender will improve a player's status. Naturally, that is a fallacy, but it is still every fantasy owner's responsibility to assess and react.

Before we get to that, a look at this week's matchup data:

Hot Matchups: Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Colorado (Edmonton, Toronto, Washington, Calgary, Philadelphia, Dallas).

Cold Matchups: Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York Rangers, Vancouver, Montreal, San Jose (New Jersey, Detroit, Pittsburgh).

Hot Offenses: Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Montreal (Boston, Pittsburgh, New York Islanders, Phoenix).

Cold Offenses: Columbus, Colorado, Nashville (Buffalo, Edmonton, Minnesota, Ottawa, Winnipeg).

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  4/8 4/9 4/10 4/11 4/12 4/13 4/14
MTL   WSH   @BUF   @TOR  
VAN PHX   @CGY     @COL  
LAK   @DAL   COL   ANA  
NYR @TOR   TOR     @NYI  
PIT   @CAR   @TBL   @FLA  
BUF   @WPG   MTL   PHI TBL
PHI   @NYI   OTT   @BUF  
WPG   BUF   FLA      
ANA EDM   COL     @LAK  
TBL   OTT   PIT   @WSH @BUF

The Derek Roy trade is exciting in theory, and the predominant feeling is that the move to Vancouver should be a massive upgrade for the former Star. Color me skeptical. His Canuck linemates of Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen might actually be less exciting than any combination of Ray Whitney, Loui Eriksson, or Erik Cole—skaters he had lined up with in Dallas. Secondly, his unit, no matter the linemates, will remain behind the Sedins in the offensive zone start pecking order. Thirdly, it remains to be seen what the Canucks will do when Ryan Kesler returns, which could happen before the end of the regular season. Finally, he did not receive top power play time in his debut for Vancouver. This looks to me like a bit of a fool's gold situation for Roy, and I would be surprised if we see a marked increase in his fantasy production.

The Rick Nash trade sacrificed forward depth for the Rangers, which certainly was a large reason their start did not match the expectations. The Blueshirts did well to replenish that depth last week. For years, Derick Brassard looked like a player who needed a change of scenery, and he has a chance to really break out in New York. His skill has never been in doubt, and I would absolutely take a chance on him. Ryane Clowe fits in well here—for all of the media talk about acquiring a player with zero goals, it was obvious his poor shooting luck would not last. Fantasy leagues tend to value players who can score as well as rack up PIMs and hits, and Clowe should have plenty of chances to do both.

Since last week's discussion of Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, Pittsburgh made another trade in the form of Jussi Jokinen, who I like as a stopgap center between Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. I would not run to acquire Jokinen, but the deal is perhaps most favorable for owners of Dupuis and Kunitz, as the odds of them sustaining their Crosby-fueled numbers are certainly higher with Jokinen than with Tyler Kennedy or Dustin Jeffrey.

The Sabres' firesale of sorts has created some openings. Tyler Myers' struggles are no secret, but the Sabres' trades of Leopold and Regehr have opened a spot for him on the top pairing with Christian Ehrhoff. Myers has taken advantage to the tune of three points in his last five games (two on the power play). While you should not expect a serviceable plus/minus, Myers should be able to pitch in some scoring, especially considering this week's schedule. The forward lines are something of a hodgepodge, especially considering Thomas Vanek's injury, but Steve Ott continues to see big, all-situation minutes, while continuing to rack up hits and PIMs. He is an example of a player who is more valuable in fantasy than in real life.

Tampa's team metrics are disconcerting, but Ben Bishop should be the stable goaltender they need. He will probably start most of their remaining games and is worth an add if you need goaltending help down the stretch. At this stage of the game, for those who need waiver goaltending help, playing time is extremely valuable. It prevents you from having to waste two roster spots on a platoon situation such as Elliott/Allen in St. Louis.

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  4/8 4/9 4/10 4/11 4/12 4/13 4/14
OTT   @TBL   @PHI @NJD    
EDM @ANA   PHX     CGY  
PHX @VAN   @EDM   @CGY    
CGY @COL   VAN   PHX @EDM  
FLA       @WPG   PIT  
WSH   @MTL   CAR   TBL  
SJS   @CBJ   @DET   @DAL  
CHI   @MIN     DET   @STL
NSH   STL     DAL   DET
BOS CAR   @NJD NYI   @CAR  

While it might take a year to fully develop, the Senators' decision to create an all-rookie line of Cory Conacher, Mika Zibanejad, and Jakob Silfverberg should be exciting for fantasy owners. All three have a chance to make a strong impact down the stretch. At the very least, this should be a fun-to-watch trio.

When the dust settles in Calgary, fantasy owners could see some value emerge. The issue is, how long will that take? Mike Cammalleri is the undisputed horse here now, and he is surprisingly still available in many leagues. Beyond Cammalleri, the Flames have plenty of middling NHL quality forwards who are capable of a multi-point game any given night, but it is hard to isolate any one over the other. Given the likely plus/minus hit that will come with all of them, it is not worth it to try to figure out who will step up best in Jarome Iginla's absence—there are about six or seven options and none stand out. On the blue line, consider T.J. Brodie—someone has to fill the offensive minutes left behind by Bouwmeester. Mark Giordano has quietly played better of late as well, but unless your league counts blocked shots in addition to scoring stats, you can probably do better.

The Martin Erat acquisition was surprising to me—perhaps a tad overzealous on George McPhee's part, given the team's realistic chances of contending and the cost of Filip Forsberg. Nevertheless, Erat has consistently been around the 50-point mark despite playing for the offensive black hole known as the Nashville Predators. The move to Washington alone should help kick start him, but unless he sees regular minutes with Ribeiro or Backstrom as his center (he has not so far), I cannot get too excited. Erat's to-be-determined injury courtesy of Erik Gudbranson last night may make projecting him moot, so keep that in mind. The Sharks did well to upgrade their bottom six, in the form of Raffi Torres. He should make them tougher to play against. Check if Brent Burns is available in your league; he has provided elite forward production while remaining defense-eligible. He should be universally owned; getting to plug Joe Thornton's winger into a defense slot in your lineup is a coup. His scoring statistics as a forward speak for themselves.

The Bruins immediately inserted Jaromir Jagr on the top line with Seguin and Marchand in his debut, but in last night's game, they tested other combinations including an unappealing bottom six-assignment. If for some reason he is unowned in your league, take the chance. He will eventually find his niche in the Boston top six. Patrice Bergeron's injury all but assures the B's want and need Jagr to step into a top unit role.

  Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  4/8 4/9 4/10 4/11 4/12 4/13 4/14
CBJ   SJS     STL @MIN  
STL   @NSH   @MIN @CBJ   CHI
MIN   CHI   STL   CBJ  
CAR @BOS PIT   @WSH   BOS  
COL CGY   @ANA @LAK   VAN  
NYI   PHI   @BOS   NYR  
NJD     BOS   OTT    
DET       SJS @CHI   @NSH
DAL   LAK     @NSH SJS  
TOR NYR   @NYR     MTL  

It's an intriguing situation in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets now have a balanced top nine headlined by Marian Gaborik. His center, Artem Anisimov, is an intriguing name moving forward. It is difficult upgrade any of their existing forwards because the ice time is too balanced and the production is too sparse, similar to Calgary's situation, but this team is headed in a different direction than the Flames, and could be a source of sneaky good value next season.

The Jay Bouwmeester trade has forced me to cautiously back down from last week's encouragement for Jordan Leopold—the former Flame will surely play bigger minutes and is likely to see better production as a Blue. His initial assignment alongside Alex Pietrangelo is encouraging. The Jaroslav Halak injury is concerning from a real-life standpoint, but this offense should continue to be elite down the stretch. Get Bouwmeester while you can, that garish plus/minus we have been accustomed to in Calgary is long gone. This is an example of a massive upgrade from switching teams, and definitely one that is worth the hype.

The trade for Marc-Andre Bergeron was intriguing for those in need of power play production from the blue line, especially when Joni Pitkanen was injured last week. However, the Canes have been spacing out the man advantage minutes between Bergeron, Jamie McBain, and Joe Corvo. It is difficult to recommend any one of the trio, especially when you consider that they are likely to give you little at even strength.

Unlike the Flames' situation, the fire sale in Dallas has left behind few players likely to make an impact this year, but deep leaguers should consider Cody Eakin as the only deadline-resultant upgrade on this roster. Centering Loui Eriksson, his already offensive role stands to increase moving forward.

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<< Previous Article
Trade Deadline (04/04)
<< Previous Column
Shots On Goal (03/31)
Next Column >>
Shots On Goal (04/14)
Next Article >>
Angles and Caroms (04/08)

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