Did the trade deadline get moved up a week? A lot happened this past weekend to suggest we’re just three days away from the trade deadline, as opposed to the actual 10 days. As with most moves made in the hockey world, no matter the magnitude, the ripple effects hit the fantasy hockey world. Let’s break them down.
Matt D'Agostini to the Devils
I really like this fit for D'Agostini. He's a player who has produced despite limited opportunity, but his skill set left him playing second fiddle to a half-dozen talented wingers in St. Louis, with his only real opportunities coming when the Blues suffered four or five injuries. He had 46 points in 82 games in 2010-11, largely because the team was without Andy McDonald, David Perron and T.J. Oshie. The following season, the team was healthy…or D’Agostini was hurt. This year, with the additions of Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues haven't had any need for D'Agostini.
The Devils don't have that issue. They need scoring depth and he'll fit in nicely. His first game with the team saw him on the fourth line with Tom Kostopoulos and Tim Sestito; not exactly a scoring juggernaut. But he's only a roster injury away (ahem, Ilya Kovalchuk, cough) from a prominent role, much better than the four injuries it would take for the same thing to happen in St. Louis.
Yes, with the Kovalchuk injury, D'Agostini should be snagged.
Tampa Bay Lightning fire coach Guy Boucher
As a fantasy owner, I enjoyed having Boucher run things this year, because the Lightning were scoring a lot of goals and bringing up some talented kids who could really play. In the fantasy hockey world, having a team introduce the likes of Cory Conacher, Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat all in the same season is very impressive. So when a coach is dismissed, the instinct is to look at the newcomers and see if their ice time will be impacted. In Sunday's game, Killorn was up over 19 minutes, Conacher and Johnson saw more than 14 and Palat was around 13. So far, so good. Conacher scored Sunday, too. At this point, the impact on these four is minimal, but the situation bears monitoring.
Brenden Morrow to the Penguins
At first blush, a poolie’s instinct is to “grab Morrow” because “he'll be on Evgeni Malkin’s line.” And that’s a great instinct, as I’m sure he will spend some time there. But Beau Bennett has been playing very well (nine points and plus-6 in his past 14 games) and Morrow is a very capable checking-line player. So I'm not so sure. I'll be watching the transactions carefully to see who the Penguins send down to the minors to make room. If they keep Bennett around, Morrow will patrol the third line with spot duty on the Malkin line with his old buddy James Neal. If Bennett gets demoted, then yes – Morrow becomes fantasy gold.
Joe Morrow to the Stars
Morrow was having a little trouble adapting physically to the pro game while with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American League. The offensively gifted blueliner was probably three years away in Pittsburgh. In Dallas, perhaps that becomes two years. You can read more about Morrow's fantasy hockey value and upside here at my site DobberProspects.
Radek Dvorak signed by the Ducks
While Dvorak has no fantasy value, his presence on the roster has an impact. Rookie right winger Emerson Etem has seen declining ice time each of the last four games, slipping to 11:06 Sunday. He or fellow rookie Peter Holland could be sent down, provided Dvorak clears waivers.
Mats Zuccarello signed by the Rangers
The talented Zuccarello saw the writing on the wall last summer. The NHL could possibly lock out the players and even if they didn’t, the Rangers weren’t going to give him a one-way contract and guarantee him a roster spot. Fast-forward a half year. Zuccarello played a full season in the Kontinental League and the Rangers have struggled to find any scoring depth. They have been forced to employ rookies Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller – each of whom they would rather have given more time in the AHL. Zuccarello will allow for one of them to be sent down, while the other gets knocked out of the top six.
Carl Hagelin could also see decreased ice time and not as many solid offensive opportunities. We saw it happen in the post-season when Kreider joined the team (if you recall, Hagelin’s numbers went into the toilet aft his arrival). So I would be concerned if I owned Hagelin.
Zuccarello should be plucked off the waiver wire. Even if you don't need a winger, you should nab him and trade him – take advantage of the hype surrounding him before he even plays a game.
Looking forward to an interesting 10 days leading up to the deadline. Enjoy!
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.