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This year's NHL trade deadline offered something different for poolies

Murphy's Law on the NHL trade deadline reads like this: the amount of hype that precedes the annual trade deadline is inversely proportional to actual impact the deals make in fantasy hockey.

In other words, the frenzy fizzles. The hot air and shuffling of bodies doesn't create a lot of new-found production opportunities for poolies. Not usually.

But we contend that this year was quite different - the deals for plumbers like Chad Kilger, Chris Simon, Matt Cooke and Martin Lapointe notwithstanding.

For one, poolies who owned or quickly grabbed Brad Richards were overnight winners. Struggling in Tampa Bay and traded to the Stars, the gifted centre has come alive, thrilling his owners immediately with five assists in his Dallas debut.

Ideally, that's exactly what poolies want on deadline day: average or under-achieving NHL players traded to better environs. Their pool values shoot up, creating a frenzy of its own in a mad dash to the waiver wires.

Here are six of those players who are suddenly in hot demand:

-Steve Bernier, traded from San Jose to Buffalo, scores twice and adds an assist in his debut with the Sabres.

-Andrew Ladd, traded from Carolina to Chicago, fills the power forward role on a line with Jason Williams and Patrick Kane.

-Sergei Fedorov, traded from Columbus to Washington, is rejuvenated with an assignment to the second line with Alexander Semin.

-Colby Armstrong, traded from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, gets a fresh chance to show his considerable potential on one of the Thrashers top lines.

-Ruslan Salei, traded from Florida to Colorado, notches three points and is a plus-4 in his first two games with the Avs.

-Mike Smith, traded from Dallas to Tampa Bay, becomes the Lightning's No. 1 netminder now and in the future.

Meanwhile, pool values also increase for some players who simply stayed put. A traded teammate has given them the opportunity to step forward.

Here are three of those "additions by subtraction":

-Carey Price of the Habs assumes the starting goaltender's job after Montreal traded away Cristobal Huet to the Capitals.

-Sergei Samsonov of the Hurricanes picks up the slack with injuries and the departures of Ladd and Cory Stillman with 21 points in two dozen games with Carolina.

-Toni Lydman of the Sabres seizes the role of power-play quarterback with four assists the day after Brian Campbell was traded to the Sharks.

Injury Update

Marian Hossa (sprained knee) was fortunate to get traded to a playoff contender but his luck ran dry just 13 shifts after joining the Penguins. The good news for poolies is he should only miss a week or two.

Bad luck, meanwhile, seems to be dogging the Avalanche this season. After finally getting all injured players back in the lineup last week, the Avs lost Ryan Smyth (head) and Marek Svatos (knee) indefinitely to injuries over the weekend.

Maybe this will get Wojtek Wolski out of the press box and back on the ice.

The Blackhawks, another team with more than its fair share of injuries this year, have again lost the services of oft-injured Martin Havlat (shoulder).

This doesn't need be asked yet again, but how productive would this guy be if he wasn't always going from good to bad to ugly?

The good is that he has 100 points in only 109 games the past three seasons. The bad is that he has missed 116 games over that time, too.

The ugly is the conclusion that it's time to drop him now and let someone else draft him next year.


Greg Dennis can be reached at theCanadianpress.pool(at)


A look at five players who are hot and a few who are not around the NHL

Some players to watch or watch out for in your hockey pool this week:

Who's Hot

1. W Teemu Selanne, Ducks. Six goals in five games should have poolies jumping back on his bandwagon.

2. W Mike Knuble, Flyers. Always consistent but last week was excellent with three goals and eight points.

3. C Joe Pavelski, Sharks. Sophomore skates with Thornton on power play, scores in three straight games.

4. C Brandon Dubinsky, Rangers. Playing with Jagr and Avery, he responds with three goals and two assists last week.

5. G Vesa Toskala, Maple Leafs. Gives Leafs some playoff hope with four wins and an overtime loss in five games.

Who's Not

1. W Miroslav Satan, Islanders. A four-game week to forget with no points and a dismal minus-7 rating.

2. W Paul Kariya, Blues. Team's leading scorer has no points in six straight, just one assist in past nine.

3. D Dan Hamhuis, Predators. Bad enough a seven-game pointless streak, but a minus-11 is just abysmal.

4. W Sergei Brylin, Devils. That promising 52-point season six years ago must've been a poolie hallucination.

5. C Jiri Hudler, Red Wings. Goal-scoring drought hits the 20-game mark and only one assist in past seven games.


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