July 2, 2015

Michael Clifford

2015-07-02

Kessel is in Pittsburgh, Beleskey goes to Boston, Edmonton is starting to look like a hockey team, and Detroit loads up for a Cup run.

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Be sure to check out all the pieces in the fantasy impact section for all the trade and signing information and analysis. The Dobber team has done a great job on staying current on the goings-on in the NHL over the last week. 

I’ll have more on last night’s/today’s moves as the day progresses. Also, I’ll have my regular thread in the Dobber Forums for any fantasy and non-fantasy hockey question the readers may have. 

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No reason to start anywhere else than in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins traded prospect defenceman Scott Harrington, prospect forward Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling, and a first and third round draft pick next year to Toronto for Phil Kessel, minor leaguer Tyler Biggs, defenceman Tim Erixon, and a second round pick. The Leafs are also retaining 15-percent of Kessel's annual cap hit, which is important for Pittsburgh because of their existing cap issues.

What this does is give Crosby a true sniper to consistently play with for the first time in his career. That's not hyperbole: since 2007, Bill Guerin is Crosby's third-most used winger at five-on-five. Guerin retired five years ago.

It also gives Kessel a true first line centre to consistently play with for the first time in his career (though he did very well with Nazem Kadri in a relatively small sample). That's also important to note here: Tyler Bozak loses Kessel as a line mate, and that pretty much kills Bozak's fantasy value in non-deep formats. Bozak's points per 60 minutes at five-on-five without Kessel on his line over the last five years is 1.19 (over 783 minutes). That's worse than Drew Miller or Nick Spaling. Bozak could struggle to crack 40 points, and be a big minus player (again).

On to more pleasant thoughts, like Kessel playing with Crosby.

I know it's still kind of up in the air as to who exactly Kessel will end up playing with, but I can't imagine Pittsburgh makes a move of this magnitude to not give Crosby an elite winger. So just how well can Kessel do?

Think about it this way: Kessel managed 23 points in his 524:11 career minutes and seconds played with Nazem Kadri. For a full Kessel season (say 1275 minutes), that's 55-56 points. Add 20 power play points, and Kessel is a 75 point player. That's with Kadri. He was a better than a point per game from 2011-2