Ramblings: Deadline notes, Currie analysis, Trade Speculation, Zuccarello fallout and so much more (Feb 25)
Cliff Pu was traded to Florida for future considerations
Tomas Jurco was traded to Carolina for future considerations
With regards to today’s NHL Trade Deadline coverage, this will be the 14th year I am covering it on this site. Please check in throughout the day to see my breakdown of each NHL trade. When things get too nuts, Cliffy and Ian will be around to do a few as well. We’re fast, and we’re thorough. You’ve seen it year after year – and if you haven’t, then you’ll be impressed. We have the full list of trades, player links, and forum links related to that trade, in our Trade Deadline Tracker.
When I saw Josh Currie scored his first goal and Allan Walsh, whom I’m assuming is his agent, tweeted that he had three consecutive 20-goal AHL seasons after working his way up from the ECHL, I wanted to look into him. Much like I’m always looking for the next possible Martin St. Louis – a smaller underrated player who becomes a superstar (so far I’ve dug up Cam Atkinson and Vinnie Hinostroza – obviously still waiting for the next steps if they ever come, but it’s as close as we’ve gotten so far), I’m also always on the lookout for the next possible David Desharnais. And as much as you probably have distaste for Desharnais due to his more recent years, he really was a fantasy boon early on. He was a prolific scorer in junior, was plunked into the ECHL without being drafted or having an NHL contract and worked his way up to the NHL. In his first couple of seasons he was not only very fantasy relevant, but it was also great because you were able to scoop him out from under the noses of your supposedly savvy fellow GMs and he helped you very quickly. The fun part, of course, is the ‘under the nose of your fellow GM’ part.
So what do we have in Currie? Well, he did get 104 points in his final year of the QMJHL…but he was 20 years old when he did that and tons of players have done that over the years. It’s almost expected of you at 20 years old to top 100 points in the Q. The year prior, he did get 30 goals but only managed 46 points. The rest of his PEI team wasn’t loaded with goal scorers, so maybe he could have had more assists with better star power around him, but he’s still a sniper. He’s a late October birth so he actually began those two years at 18 and 19. He went directly to the ECHL when he turned pro and steadily improved his numbers – from 41 points in 70 games to 49 points to a 65 pace. He made the jump to the AHL two months into the latter year, and had season-over-season points-per-game averages of 0.45, 0.54, 0.68 and 0.76 before getting the call to the big show last week at the age of 26. However, what’s interesting is the latter number includes 24 goals (though only 13 assists) in just 49 games. Very different from Desharnais in the following ways:
1. Currie is a sniper
2. Currie’s production is less than Desharnais’ at every level
3. Currie is a winger
On the surface, it appears that his upside is lower than Desharnais was. Clearly Currie is a passenger, whereas Desharnais was more of a driver albeit a low-level one. Put Currie with Kyle Brodziak, he gets 12 goals and 20 points. Put Currie with Connor McDavid? Because Desharnais never had a McDavid-type in winger-form to play with, he couldn’t possibly match Currie’s upside. So can Currie succeed where Ty Rattie, another solid AHL sniper, failed? Will he even get a chance to try? That’s the question. I’ll be watching as – for now – he’s just another one of a hundred players with a 1% chance of truly thriving with a lucky break. But as Jim Carrey once noted:
If Tampa Bay does any trade other than a backup fourth liner or a No. 7 or 8 defenseman, then they are overthinking things. The roster as is should win the Stanley Cup, all that’s left now is pro roster injury protection.
It’s not just the big-name players you should be watching for today. Sure, that’s going to be much more exciting. But these are great players – they’re doing well now, they’ll do well no matter where they go. As far as fantasy is concerned, it’s not even going to move the needle. What we should be looking for, as fantasy owners, are the underused and underrated players who could stumble into a great opportunity. Yes, the odds will be slim in the way that Ty Rattie (or the aforementioned Currie) could get a chance and thrive. And between slim odds of getting decent ice time, and risk of injury (that to me derailed Rattie twice this year), you probably won’t see anything special. But the exciting thing is that you could. Chris Kunitz was once claimed off waivers. Patrick Sharp was traded to Chicago and considered a third-liner. Lots of examples out there. I wonder if Austin Czarnik goes anywhere. Or Nic Petan. Players not only on the cusp, but possibly getting their last shot. Keep in mind that whatever team they go to it will be a team with a shortage of forwards so they’ll get their chance.
Another name to watch for is Daniel Carr, who is embarrassing the AHL right now with 66 points in 47 games which is by far the league lead. Or whoever the Blues trade today. Could Robby Fabbri or Sammy Blais go? Any takers for Jordan Schmaltz as a throw-in?
At midnight, Sunday/Monday, Bob McKenzie reported that Gustav Nyquist was about to be traded to San Jose. I think we can assume that will happen. UPDATE: Deal done, for a 2nd and a conditional 3rd that can become a second if the Sharks re-sign him or make it to the Final. Trade breakdown on this will come in the morning (or is already up if you’re reading this later).
Lots of minor moves as teams gear up for life beyond the deadline. The Islanders have signed Dennis Seidenberg, who had loyally remained with the team without a contract all this time. Depth option at less than half the cap hit. The Bruins have signed winger Lee Stempniak, also for depth. Both players need to get through waivers in order to join the team. The Sabres signed a depth goalie in Adam Wilcox, the Islanders have signed depth goalie Jeremy Smith, and the Panthers have signed depth goalie Chris Driedger. Teams are making sure that they have all the bases covered.
Anaheim Ducks traded Brian Gibbons to Ottawa for Patrick Sieloff. I’m not sure about that one, other than Ottawa maybe looking for an NHL body for their lineup to give the kids more AHL time…
Goalie A vs. Goalie B
If you could take Goalie A, who has a strong likelihood of getting you 40 wins for the foreseeable future, is in his prime on a great team…or Goalie B, who also has a strong likelihood of getting you 40 wins, is probably a little more talented, has a slight chance of getting you 49 wins, but carries say a 10% chance of missing half the season with an injury. Which one do you choose? The answer is, both goalies are great, I’d be fine with either. And they easily top the rest of the field.
I’ve been taking heat on Twitter and FB over having Frederik Andersen at the top of my goalie list over Andrei Vasilevskiy. It’s the usual problem for writers when people don’t read the full article (or in this case, the intro). Andersen is not over Vas. He is in fact equal. They are in the same Tier and deservedly so. If you can’t see the reasoning I outlined above, you have a right to that opinion. If you want to see mine, I proudly present it every month. But do me the favor of reading the intro too, and know exactly what it is you are criticizing.
This is unbelievable and I feel horrible for Dallas and their fans. But they lost Mats Zuccarello for four to six weeks after suffering a (apparent – at least as I write this) broken arm in the third period Sunday. He took a Connor Murphy shot off the arm. This is after Zuccarello slid seamlessly into the lineup and picked up a goal and an assist.
King Henrik breaks down, discussing Zuccarello:
Jamie Benn also left game, but he left early and is day to day. Dallas, as I noted in the trade breakdown, was a three-forward team when it came to offense and it makes a huge difference when they added a fourth. It changes everything. So many more options now up front at even strength and on the power play. But now, instead of having four stud forwards they are down to two? Brutal!
Rangers’ line combination with Zuccarello gone:
So Vesey has slid into Zuke’s spot and Lias Andersson takes Vesey’s spot. Advantage: Vesey, who picked up two points in the game.
Brett Connolly has seven points in his last nine games, but is still only getting 11 minutes of ice time. He’s already at a career high of 33 points and has tied his high of 15 goals. I’d like to see him get another chance – he got all his chances too early in his career. But now is the time he’s ready. As a big 6-3 player he needed more time than the average player. (And yes, Striker, that fits in with your model! Love that model)
After three games with the Minnesota Wild, Ryan Donato has four points. Now, before you start building that Donato shrine it’s important to note a couple of things. First, he made a similar splash at the end of last season when he arrived in Boston. Second, of his three assists all three of them were secondary assists. Great player, good upside, but before declaring that he has arrived I am preaching caution.
Jake Allen has faced 111 shots over the last three starts and he has stopped 105 of them. Perhaps the fear of losing his job is belatedly starting to kick in. But what he needs is to go three consecutive games without allowing four goals. The last time he did that was early December.
Speaking of Austin Czarnik, who I made note of in the trade speculation above, I was wondering why after he scored in three consecutive games did he only get 10 minutes of ice time on Saturday? It just makes a Dobber Darling become even more of one when the coach holds him back. On Sunday he scored again, and it was the game winner. His ice time was 12:15.
The Senators scratched Mark Stone, Mikkel Boedker and Cody Ceci, each of whom could be dealt before the deadline. With Stone out of the lineup, the top scoring forward on the Sens was Chris Tierney. And yet he still wasn’t on the first PP unit. That trio was Tkachuk, Bobby Ryan and Anthony Duclair. Frankly I prefer the second unit that had Tierney, Logan Brown and Drake Batherson.
Interesting note from the NHL about Saturday’s outdoor game – 13 of the league’s 27 outdoor games have resulted in come-from-behind victories. That’s a shade under half. No lead is safe when the game is outside.
The Coyotes retired Shane Doan’s number on Sunday, as they should. The guy played his entire career with the franchise and finished with 402 goals and 972 points in 1540 games. So close to 1000 points, I can see why he flirted with the idea of playing for another season had there been any takers. Doan’s best fantasy season was 2007-08 when he had 78 points in 80 games, though in 2005-06 he had 30 goals, 66 points and 123 PIM.
Patrik Laine has three goals in his last two games and is now on the top line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele. It gives Laine 28 goals on the season. Last year after 62 games he had 31 goals, so is his season really so bad? Assuming you’re not in a caveman league that still counts plus/minus, that is (ha ha). He could be right back to his usual self in two more good games, that’s all it takes.
Josh Morrissey was injured in the third period. He left the game and did not return.
When Clayton Keller scored Sunday it was his first point in seven games and his first goal since January 20.
Friday marks 18 months since my stem cell transplant. Most of you already know this, but in May of 2017 I was diagnosed with Myelodysplasia and by July it had expedited to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Thankfully a world donor was a 100% match and after a summer in-hospital receiving chemo and radiation, I received the transplant. Today I am happy to report that I feel normal, and I am in disbelief that this can be the case. And of course, grateful. What 18 months means is that I am (or will be on Friday) officially halfway to being deemed cured of cancer. Needless to say, the more difficult half is behind me. At this point, the only thing different in my life versus before is the fact that I need to check into the hospital every few weeks for tests, and I need to gradually re-do all my vaccinations. In fact, things are even better because with the new blood I have more energy, and when I exercise it actually makes a difference – the body processes energy and calories better, to say nothing of an improved immunity. (You can read my initial statement here, my update here – and you can register to donate your stem cells here for Canada and here for the USA. As you can see this does save lives.)
Anyway, this is an enjoyable day for hockey fans and I just thought I would add my good news to that.
See you…all day long as I pound out the trade analysis…
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