It was, by all accounts, a slow trade deadline day. But if you take things back a week or so, some interesting players changed addresses and impacted their fantasy value. Let’s take a look at the bigger ones.
Carter Ashton to Toronto
A two-time 30-goal scorer in the Western League, Ashton was on pace to match that as an American League rookie before tapering off in the second half. The Leafs needed more blue-chip prospects on forward and they had an abundance on defense, so giving up Keith Aulie makes sense. Ashton offers size, grit and the skill of a potential second-liner. I don’t see the Leafs carrying more than two young unproven forwards next season, so Ashton will compete with the likes of Joe Colborne and Nazem Kadri for one or two spots, assuming Matt Frattin sticks for the rest of this season and solidifies a spot for next year.
Ben Bishop to Ottawa
Bishop is NHL-ready for backup duty at the very least. But he was the victim of Brian Elliott’s superhuman antics and had the job pulled out from underneath him in St. Louis. The big (6-foot-7) goaltender was the AHL All-Star Game MVP and at 25 he probably has a leg up on the job over the young Robin Lehner. He’ll need to make his mark quickly, but I think he’ll be backing up Craig Anderson next season. Depending on Anderson’s health, if given enough games to prove himself, Bishop could open some eyes.
Jeff Carter to Los Angeles
Meet the new Carter. Same as the old Carter. After a miserable time with a team in Columbus that couldn’t score in which he managed just 25 points in 39 games, Carter is with a team in Los Angeles that can’t score and he is pointless in two games. On paper, this team is dynamite and a Stanley Cup contender. The reality is that they are not scoring and they play under a new coach who doesn’t exactly preach run-and-gun offense. Carter is, of course, a “buy low” asset. After all – he can’t do any worse (can he?). But if you expect an 80-point rebound season next year, you’re shooting for the moon. In fact, an over/under number for me would be 68.5.
Steve Downie to Colorado
Downie is what he is. That is to say, he’s a second- or third-line player who can post 50 or 60 points and garner a ton of penalty minutes. It is logical to expect a short-term ‘pop’ in his production upon joining his new team, because often that’s the case. But what he’s done since arriving there (seven points in four games) has exceeded expectations. It’s not sustainable over the long term, but his career high of 46 points (2009-10) will absolutely be challenged in 2012-13.
Kurtis Foster to Minnesota
Foster reminds me of Marc-Andre Bergeron in both his consistency (or lack thereof) and his ability to produce a lot of offense. In Tampa Bay, where he managed 42 points, he proved the latter. But despite a ton of opportunity in Edmonton and later New Jersey (he didn’t get much opportunity in Anaheim), he was unable to replicate. He’ll need to make his mark early with the Wild if he’s going to be fantasy relevant again and I wouldn’t bet on it.
TJ Galiardi to San Jose
After a solid rookie campaign that saw him tally 39 points, Galiardi has had a tough time with injuries and consistency these past two seasons. Different linemates, different roles and healthy scratches haven’t helped matters. But he gets a fresh start in San Jose and makes for a solid depth option. He also makes a great complementary winger, capable of keeping up with skilled linemates. For now I consider him a 35-point player on the third line, but the upside is there for him to click with a Joe Thornton or a Joe Pavelski and get as many as 60 points or more.
Tom Gilbert to Minnesota
Gilbert’s all-around game was really coming along in Edmonton and he has already proven that he can get 40 points. He is notorious for his lackluster performance in the first half and then a torrid streak in the second half, so the Wild have picked him up at the right time. I would expect 11 points in the final 20 games, but 30 or 35 in 2012-13.
Marc-Andre Gragnani to Vancouver
Despite being a healthy scratch his first game with Vancouver, Gragnani’s value rises the most out of all the players who were traded this deadline.The 24-year-old had seven points in seven games in the playoffs last spring, but then he got the short end of the stick when the Sabres loaded up on defensemen in the summer. Say what you want about his ability to play effective hockey in Buffalo – the dynamic of the team was changed when they brought in Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff. This isn’t a guarantee he will embrace Vancouver’s system and flourish, but I think he’ll do well. In fact, there was a lot of criticism about Ehrhoff’s overall game upon moving from San Jose to Vancouver, too. Look how well he did. I think Gragnani will do for the Canucks what Ehrhoff did for them the past two seasons.
On Thursday, we’ll take a look at Cody Hodgson, Jack Johnson, Zack Kassian, Andrei Kostitsyn, Kyle Quincey, Antoine Vermette, Wojtek Wolski and Marek Zidlicky.