Fantasy Impact: The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded Mark Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth round draft pick.
The Penguins get: a pretty good asset for a decent depth player who himself was never drafted.
The Jackets get: a hard-working third-line center who is responsiblie in his own end and could also contribute 35 to 40 points. He also has a bit of upside, as he showed in early 2010-11. Most importantly, they get a faceoff guy.
Fantasy Players Impacted: It’s not much of a shakeup, but it’s something. And when a team goes through the cold snap that the Jackets have gone through, any shakeup helps. All players. But the key for them is faceoffs. Antoine Vermette and Jeff Carter have been great at the dot. With Carter coming back and Letestu bringing his 55.3% efficiancy to the table, that gives them three pivots who will win more draws than they lose – up from one. This will finally put Derick Brassard out of his misery as a centerman – the guy couldn’t win draws last year and this season he somehow manages to be even worse. He gets moved to the wing and Sami Pahlsson/Derek McKenzie are the depth centers. Winning faceoffs is an underrated trait that GM Scott Howson has identified and now addressed.
The Penguins have just made it clear that Joe Vitale is this year’s Letestu. Vitale stays and is considered an upgrade both offensively and defensively, at least for the money. It also hints at a Sidney Crosby return – soon. And “fantasy impact” doesn’t get any bigger than that.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
3. Dustin Jeffrey
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Derek MacKenzie
2. Cam Atkinson may get sent down to make room