After a trade, there are subtle impacts that run up and down an NHL roster. In Part 1 Saturday, we took a glance at the fantasy impact of the moves by Eastern Conference teams and now it’s time to analyze the West.
In Anaheim, Ryan Whitney will continue to support the team philosophy that dominating from the blueline is what wins hockey games. If and when they lose Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, the Ducks have another big offensive rearguard to take their place. For now, though, Whitney will take a backseat to the two vets and it will show in his production (one point in five games as a Duck). Another rearguard, James Wisniewski, is more one-dimensional on the offensive side of the puck. He has one point in two games with Anaheim, but in his case changing teams was a good thing – the Blackhawks were too deep at his position.
As with all teams that have four big guns up front the Ducks really want to spread out the offense, so they tried newcomer Erik Christensen on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. That ploy bombed and Christensen was off the big line the next game and posted a minus-3. Minor leaguer Petri Kontiola did well to get out of the Blackhawks’ deep system. He was threatening to return to Europe in the fall, but that may not happen now that he has joined the Ducks organization. That being said, the two-time American League All-Star Game participant is pointless in three games for Anaheim’s affiliate in Iowa.
All the moves in Anaheim probably benefit Andrew Ebbett the most. The undrafted, smallish pivot reminds some of a poor man’s Andy McDonald. He has 18 points in his past 24 contests.
In Calgary, every fantasy owner in the world knew Olli Jokinen would be plunked on Jarome Iginla’s line with Mike Cammalleri. That was supposed to spell the end for Craig Conroy’s point production and Daymond Langkow’s meaningful power play time. Three games in, however, and Conroy is out-producing Jokinen three points to two. But obviously that won’t last.
Dion Phaneuf stands to benefit offensively not only because he can add Jokinen to the list of stars he passes the puck to with the man advantage, but also because Jordan Leopold should compliment him nicely on the blueline. Leopold also gets a boost, since Phaneuf is a big step up from his previous partner, John-Michael Liles.
In Columbus, Manny Malhotra is no longer the first-line center. He had been centering Kristian Huselius and Rick Nash with some degree of success, but the Jackets nabbed Antoine Vermette at the deadline and he will now get a shot there. Vermette had 20 points in his last 26 games for the Sens and tallied an assist in his first game with his new team. Vermette owners see a lot of promise in this move and I agree wholeheartedly.
In Dallas, the Stars snagged Brendan Morrison off waivers and plunked him on the second/third line. It was the same ol’, same ol’ for the 33-year-old, though, as he has gone pointless in three games for his new team. We can see pretty quickly the move didn’t help Morrison owners at all.
In Edmonton, the outlook is promising for Ales Kotalik, who was clearly acquired to join countryman Ales Hemsky on a line. To go from third-liner to first-liner is quite the opportunity. So far it hasn’t produced any points, but coach Craig MacTavish is sticking with the trio (Shawn Horcoff is centering the pair).
Patrick O’Sullivan has seen his ice time drop by about three minutes per game for Edmonton versus his days in Los Angeles. The Oilers may be interested in honing him into a second-line player as opposed to the first line where he spent a lot of time as a King. This could be a sideways move for O’Sullivan owners, but I can’t help but get the feeling it’s a small step back.
In Los Angeles, the Kings freed up a top six spot when they moved out O’Sullivan; both Teddy Purcell and Oscar Moller stand to benefit. Moller has already seen a bump in his ice time, but the points won’t start to really come for a couple years yet. Purcell saw a season-high 17:03 of ice time Saturday and is riding a five-game point streak. His outlook down the stretch and into next season is a very bright one. Where Justin Williams will fit into this lineup next campaign is anyone’s guess, but if he’s healthy, you can be sure he’ll find a way to produce.
In Phoenix, a promising situation for Joakim Lindstrom has turned into a repeat of his Columbus days; too many potential second-liners to compete with. Adding Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha, Scottie Upshall and Matt Lombardi, while only removing Olli Jokinen and Daniel Carcillo from the forward corps has created a crowd. So far, Lindstrom – who had eight points in 11 games prior to the deadline – and Enver Lisin have been the odd men out. Meanwhile, Lombardi, Upshall and Prucha have found a lot of success (and ice time) with the new team. When Brandon Prust returns (concussion), things will be even more muddled.
Between the pipes, promising youngster Josh Tordjman takes over backup duties from Mikael Tellqvist, who was dealt to Buffalo. Tordjman is an undrafted late bloomer who played his way out of the ECHL to make a big splash in the AHL and earned an NHL shot.
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