Fantasy Impact: The Penguins acquire Ron Hainsey from the Hurricanes in exchange for Danny Kristo and a second-round pick.
The Penguins get: a capable veteran defenseman who hasn’t been fantasy relevant in years and doesn’t project to be in Pittsburgh. However, Hainsey has paired with Justin Faulk for many years. He offers value as a stabilizing force opposite an offensive defenseman who likes to jump into the play. The Penguins have a few of those, notably Kris Letang and Justin Schultz. The pairing of Schultz and Ian Cole has been a hit all year, while Brian Dumoulin looks like a good fit alongside Letang.
The Penguins don’t explicitly need Hainsey, and it seems likely that the veteran’s minutes will decline from the 22 minutes per game he was skating in Carolina. But the Penguins’ defense is currently banged up and is always in some state of black and blue. Olli Maatta is out until late March, it was just announced today that Trevor Daley had knee surgery that will keep him out for six weeks, and Schultz has missed time with a concussion.
Hainsey is a defenseman that Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is comfortable with from their time together in Carolina. He knows what he is getting, which is why this move was rumoured before it ever happened. The Penguins have a ton of depth on the blue line but no team has enough to survive multiple injuries. This addition will help, especially since Derrick Pouliot has not developed to the point where the Penguins trust him.
The Hurricanes get: something in return for a veteran on an expiring deal. They had to retain half of Hainsey’s deal to make this work but that just enhanced their return and they have cap space to burn. No concerns about retaining money on an expiring deal.
Kristo is a busted prospect who once held promise. He’s big and fast and has scored goals at every level he has played, including three straight seasons with 20+ at the AHL level. He has never gotten an NHL shot and is now 26.
The real prize is the second-round pick, which will help the Hurricanes continue to stock their prospect pipeline. There is nothing ruling out the possibility of bringing Hainsey back in free agency this summer, a trend we have seen from rentals moved by the Arizona Coyotes.
Faulk wouldn’t normally benefit from losing his partner but they have been pairing him with Slavin lately, which is actually an upgrade. The pairing of Slavin and Pesce has been dynamite for a couple of years but it is perhaps time to split them up to help along the dynamic Faulk and Hanifin. Slavin is very dynamic himself and you wonder if on a different team he’d be the #1 fantasy option.
Hainsey leaving behind 22 minutes of ice time should be good for Hanifin who has averaged just 16:53 skating on the third pairing for much of the season. 5-on-5 minutes aren’t particularly productive for most defensemen but the possibility of seeing a three- or four-minute bump should not be ignored. Of course, with the Hurricanes’ offense tanking down to 2.40 goals per game since January 1, there may not be much of a bump in production.
Ryan Murphy will likely get a regular lineup spot but hasn't shown much proficiency.
Cam Ward’s fantasy relevance has been washed away by two months of miserable play. Losing Hainsey is the nail in the coffin.
Players this helps, in order:
Players this hurts, in order:
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