Same Faces, New Places

Jeff Angus




Several big names changed addresses this past summer. Ilya Kovalchuk signed a deal with the Devil (twice), Paul Martin stayed within the Atlantic Division by going to Pittsburgh, and Dan Hamhuis spurned both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to sign with his home province Vancouver Canucks. In addition to these three players, many more packed their respective bags this past summer. I figured it was time for a (very) early season update on how some of these new players are fairing with their new teams.


The Great

Paul Martin – Pittsburgh

Penguins fans have quickly found out what those in New Jersey knew for many years – Paul Martin is an elite NHL defenseman. He is big and mobile, strong defensively, and he makes a terrific first pass out of the zone. He also has the ability to log minutes in all situations, play the shut down role, and also jump into the rush to create offense.


It doesn't surprise me that both Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski are both playing well (and importantly for poolies producing a lot). Martin has a calming influence on whoever he plays with, and his ability to eat up a lot of minutes makes things a bit easier for the other defensemen on the roster. He doesn't have a big shot but he still will produce 45-50 points this season just because he is such a smart, cerebral player.


The Good

Dennis Wideman – Florida

Wideman's stats with Florida aren't mind-blowing (one goal and one assist through four games), but he is logging close to 25 minutes per night and he currently boasts a plus-4 rating. Wideman is a smooth-skating defenseman prone to mistakes and turnovers in his own zone. He was either feast (50 points, plus-32 in 2008-09) or famine (30 points, minus-14 last season) in Boston, but I expect him to be a solid defenseman once again for Florida.


He is arguably their most important defenseman because of how he creates offense and plays transitional hockey. The Panthers won't score a lot this season but I'd bet Wideman will be a big part of whatever offense is generated. He is better than many think and could probably be acquired for below value right now in many fantasy leagues out there.


Matt Cullen – Minnesota

Cullen has eight points in five games for the Wild, and his versatility is coming in handy for the team already. He plays the point with M