Before Mike Green established himself as a superstar, many poolies had touted Ryan Whitney as the best defenseman to own in a keeper league as far as potential went. Now that he is a Duck and Chris Kunitz is a Penguin, here is a look at several players the move impacts and what you can expect.
Ryan Whitney – In his first game as a Duck, he logged more ice time than Scott Niedermayer and posted an even plus/minus when Niedermayer was a minus-4 and Chris Pronger was a minus-1. Clearly, his ice time will be fine even when the two superstars are still playing in Anaheim. However, Whitney is a 55-point defenseman who had 75-point potential on a Pittsburgh power play. As great as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are, they are no Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Whitney’s keeper value drops from a top-three rearguard to a top-15.
Chris Kunitz – This 55-point winger was already blessed with time on a line with Getzlaf and Perry this year and Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald in years past. Suddenly, he’s thrust onto a line with either Malkin or Crosby. The only time I have seen luck like this was when Mike Knuble went from Joe Thornton’s line in Boston to Peter Forsberg’s in Philadelphia. Add 10 more points to Kunitz’s upside and possibly 20 if he really clicks.
Eric Tangradi – He is the heart of this deal for the Penguins. They are tired of using stopgap solutions on the wing to play with their big guns. Colby Armstrong, Andy Hilbert, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis and Miroslav Satan have all tried out for the big line with varying degrees of success. Now the Pens have Tangradi – a skilled, hulking winger – in their system. He joins Luca Caputi as contenders to land a long-term spot on a big line as early as this fall. Tangradi’s fantasy value shoots way up.
Alex Goligoski – It looks like he’ll be staying in Pittsburgh after all. Players with Goligoski’s skill set – a high-end offensive rearguard with Green-like potential – were already in abundance on the Pens roster with Whitney, Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang. Now the logjam eases and Goligoski will be a regular next season. His value certainly went up as a result of this move.
Andrew Ebbett – The Ducks have seen enough. Ebbett is ready to be an NHL regular and probably a top-six player. With Kunitz out of the picture a spot opens up. Ebbett has the potential to be the next Andy McDonald, although that’s probably a little generous. Call him a dark horse for 60 points next season. Value: definitely up.
Pascal Dupuis/Ruslan Fedotenko/Miro Satan – Like Petr Sykora, Kunitz will be a fixture in the top six. That means one less spot for these three wingers. Of the three, Fedotenko has been the most impressive, which means Satan and Dupuis are on the outs. Value: way down.
Janne Pesonen/ Brian Salcido – Anaheim and Pittsburgh made a statement to a couple of their prospects that they don’t have faith in them. The Penguins’ Pesonen may not have been given a fair shot before, but almost assuredly won’t now, either. Ditto for Anaheim offensive rearguard Salcido, there’s just too much competition. The value of these two prospects just went way down.
As you see here, in every deal a good keeper-league owner will need to break down the value of those influenced by the fallout and not just the key players in the deal…
The line of Steve Sullivan, J-P Dumont and Jason Arnott is heating up. They have 16 combined points in the past five Predators contests. Martin Erat is finally heating up as well, with four points in two games on the heels of a nine-game pointless streak. Nashville has nine goals in those two games, so perhaps they’ve turned a corner…
Detroit rookie Ville Leino has nine points in 12 career NHL games. With Johan Franzen, Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kopecky all set for free agency this summer, Leino is a virtual lock for a top nine spot next year. Look for 50 to 55 points in 2009-10 and even better numbers the following campaign.
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