The Boston Bruins have traded Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau, both acquired last year in the deal that sent popular superstar Joe Thornton to San Jose. And if the rumours are true, Marco Sturm will also be dealt before the trade deadline Feb. 27, and the stain of one of the worst trades in franchise history will be completely erased.
You can’t blame the Beantowners for wanting these guys out of sight, out of mind. But managers in fantasy hockey leagues will keep them on the radar.
Primeau has no value but Stuart just might rebound from a horrible year with a good stretch run in Calgary. And if Sturm goes and depending upon he plays with, he could be a serviceable forward for poolies looking for points over the final month of the season.
As the deadline nears, there are as many rumours out there as there are bad suits in Don Cherry’s closet.
Many will never pan out, making it a risky play to grab a guy who may or may not move. With a bit of luck, however, a waiver claim on speculation might pay dividends down the road if that player ends up on a scoring line with a contending team.
Peter Forsberg’s name comes up almost every day, with the Flyers forward packing his new skates for Atlanta, Vancouver or Carolina. It would be worth talking trade with his pool owner because this one looks about as certain as these things get.
Mike Knuble is another Flyer to target. If he goes to a contender, expect the former 30-goal scorer to pick up his pace.
St. Louis is also a hotbed of rumour-mongering. Keith Tkachuk and Eric Brewer of the Blues would see fantasy values increase with a trade.
Rent-a-vets who can contribute leadership and points to a contender are always in demand at the deadline. Names like Gary Roberts, Mike Sillinger, Anson Carter and Bryan Smolinski are among the many said to be on the block.
Some NHL clubs are still trying to figure out if they are sellers and
buyers. Will the Leafs deal Darcy Tucker and the Oilers trade Jason Smith? That might depend on how those teams do in the next two weeks and how their respective playoff prospects look.
If you already own that player traded to a better team, you are in luck. Otherwise, stay tuned.
Keep a finger on the trigger yourself to make a quick deal or free agent acquisition that will give your pool team the same hope as the NHL teams – a shot at the championship.
A couple of pre-deadline trades are making an early impression in fantasy circles. In separate deals last week, the Rangers picked up Pascal Dupuis and Sean Avery.
Dupuis probably won’t surface past the third line, but Avery could be a potent producer, particularly in leagues that reward penalty minutes.
The super-pest had a goal and an assist in his first two games on Broadway playing on a solid second line with Brendan Shanahan and Michael Nylander.
Meanwhile, Brandon Bochenski scored three times in his first two games after the Bruins picked him up in a trade. It’s too soon to call this a trend worth jumping on but with the B’s cleaning house, players like Bochenski and rookie Phil Kessel are getting plenty of playing time now.
Oh, oh. Where have we heard this before?
Just as the NHL season nears the playoffs, Dominik Hasek (wrist) gets injured and leaves his club – and his pool owners – in a fret.
Because the Red Wings are already without Chris Osgood, poolies might want to claim Joey MacDonald, just in case.
Two other netminders returned from injuries on the weekend.
Mathieu Garon (broken finger) was in goal for the Kings for the first time since Jan. 11. He’s worth activating right away, especially with rumours he’s destined for greener pastures before the deadline.
And Pascal Leclaire (knee) is back with the Blue Jackets. He’s played only one game since Dec. 10, but now might reclaim the No. 1 job from Fredrik Norrena. Adjust your lineups accordingly.
Greg Dennis can be reached at cp.pool(at)hotmail.com.
Some suggestions on players to watch or watch out for in your hockey pool this week:
1. RW Mike Knuble, Flyers. With eight points in five games, his trade value has soared.
2. C Michael Cammalleri, Kings. Seven goals, 16 points while team loses 11 of 14.
3. D Karel Rachunek, Rangers. Big Czech has points in six of last eight games.
4. G Sean Burke, Kings. Undefeated in three games. What if Garon gets traded?
5. C Nathan Horton, Panthers. Five points in three games after demanding a trade.
1. C Eric Lindros, Stars. No goals in 24 straight games and, yep, he’s hurt again.
2. C Christopher Higgins, Canadiens. Nary a point in a dozen dirty performances.
3. RW Marek Svatos, Avalanche. Team goal leader last year has two since November.
4. D Ed Jovanovski, Coyotes. No goals, two assists, minus-5 in last 11 games.
5. C Paul Kariya, Predators. Forgive the two assists in five games, but a minus-6?