The long held-up deal has finally gone through and the Flames have sent Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to New York for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. The deal rescues the Rangers from a bad contract, as Jokinen’s deal is up this year, and gives Calgary what amounts to a hope and a prayer.
The Flames get: an underacheiving forward who hasn’t done anything in years. I should be more specific, since that describes both players. Okay, in Higgins they acquire a player who showed 70-point promise, a strong two-way game and leadership ability. Groin and ankle injuries derailed his career path, and last year’s hand injury didn’t help. The two-time 50-point player is still only 26 so perhaps Sutter can get something out of him. In Kotalik they have a flashy player who gets very streaky and has shown that when relied upon he can deliver 60-plus points. To start this season he had 17 points in 19 games for the Rangers before hitting another slump.
The Rangers get: a skilled center who has lost his way and a tough guy. Jokinen is only a couple of years removed from being considered one of the best few centermen in the game. It’s obvious that he will be given a shot on a line with Marian Gaborik and if that works out, you could see 30 points down the stretch for him. He is still only 31 years old.In Prust they get a tough guy, but with Voros, Avery and Brashear the team already had enough PIMs. One of these players could be on the move.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Knocked off the top line, Brandon Dubinsky is back to being a 50-point player. He can only hope that Jokinen has the same success with Gaborik as he did with Iginla (i.e. none). Taking some competition up the middle away can only help Matt Stajan and Daymond Langkow, while adding an extra winger will hurt the Calgary wingers.
Players this helps, in order:
4. Stajan (everything’s coming up Millhouse)