The deal that sent Craig Conroy to Calgary yesterday impacts both teams involved. While Conroy won’t be the #1 center on Calgary, (hell, he may not even be the #2 center), Darryl Sutter jumped at the opportunity to re-acquire a strong leader and veteran presence.
Daymond Langkow and Matthew Lombardi have both been superb all season, and Conroy has a very slim chance at stealing away offensive minutes from either of them. One interesting note is that this now opens up a top-six spot for Patrick O’Sullivan in LA. O’Sullivan was recently called up and will most likely finish the season in LA, as the Kings want to give him a chance to shine. Now may be a good time to acquire him in keeper leagues, before he starts putting up points and other GM’s also make note of him.
Lots of names are on the market in the West right now, and guys like Ladislav Nagy, Bryan Smolinski, and Bill Guerin will all have decent impacts wherever they end up. It is very hard to predict player movement, as there are so many teams still in the hunt as potential buyers. Deadline day is very exciting so try and update as many sources as you can. Being the first to find out about a trade gives you the first crack at that player in your league, as well as bragging rights once you win it.
The most intriguing name on the market right now is Nikolai Zherdev. He has world-class talent, but has been a huge flop this season. Zherdev plays a very similar game to Alex Kovalev; both often suffer from bouts of disinterest and lazy play. While teams would line-up to try and acquire Zherdev, he won’t be a premium fantasy player until he can figure out how to be successful consistently at the NHL level. His teammate Rick Nash hasn’t been much better, his 14 goals sit well short of what many expected. Nash was drafted early in many of my leagues, and those GM’s are now paying for it. The only consistent producer on Columbus the past few seasons has been David Vyborny, and he is right on pace this season.
Players to keep an eye on:
Patrick O’Sullivan – as I mentioned above. Now is the time to make a move for him.
Pavel Datsyuk – after a slow start, Datsyuk has been racking up points lately. It looks like he is going to test the UFA market, which will only increase his drive to produce.