Uncovering the Wild Side

Jeff Angus

2010-01-17

Guilliame Latendresse

 

There are very few player-for-player transactions in the NHL these days, thanks in large part to the salary cap. Players are hard – if not impossible – to evaluate on strictly a skill basis, as their attached salary figure usually dictates true value. Last month, Montreal and Minnesota swapped maligned offensive players. Guilliame Latendresse, who was having trouble breaking out of the bottom six in Montreal, was sent packing to Minnesota. In exchange, the Wild traded away Benoit Pouliot; a player picked only three spots after Sidney Crosby in 2005. Almost immediately both players started to pay dividends for their new teams. Latendresse went from playing 11 minutes per night with Montreal to over 16 with the Wild. And instead of skating with Maxim Lapierre, he is lining up with Marty Havlat. Are there other players in the league right now who have the same potential to break out if traded? Why yes, there are!

 

Latendresse, even with all of the criticism he received for being lazy and inconsistent, was still a decent offensive player in Montreal. He only averaged 13 minutes during his first three seasons with Montreal, but still managed to score 46 goals in 209 games. Not great, but in limited minutes not awful either. Minutes played (especially on the powerplay) are obviously the key for offensive production, and often that only comes when a player is moved to a team willing to give him that opportunity.

 

Eric Fehr is quietly on pace for a 20 goal, 40 point season. He is averaging only 12 minutes per game, and is only averaging around two shots per game. He is an obvious candidate to be moved at the deadline, for a few reasons. Firstly, Washington has depth at wing, and Fehr will attract some attention from teams looking for an offensive winger with upside. Secondly, he is set to become a restricted free agent and may not fit in to Washington's future plans at a bigger salary. Fehr has an elite shot and has improved leaps and bounds in other areas of the game as well, but he won't be able to reach his full potential playing limited minutes on the second or third line with the Capitals. If Fehr gets moved to a team willing to play him 16-18 minutes per game, I have no doubts that he can be a 30-35 goal scorer as early as next season.

 

Using the Frozen Pools tools available on DobberHockey, it is easy to pull up a variety of fantasy-relevant information. Using the line combination tool, it is easy to see that Boston's Vladimir Sobotka is not playing with high-end players on a consistent basis. Sobotka is a fantastic defensive forward, and has been put in a checking role this season with Boston. However, he possesses a lot of offensive