With the weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline being as active as it was, it was no surprise that deadline day itself was a little anticlimactic. If you are a hockey fan at any level, it’s a good chance you were checking your twitter feed throughout the day or sitting in front of your TV watching one of the major networks with their day long broadcast, or in my case, both, waiting for that next announcement of who was on the move. Sadly, the deadline day deals were sparse at best. That being said, there were a few deals that may have changed the fantasy waters for some of you and your fantasy teams. In this week’s column I am going to review the fantasy players I feel benefited the most from being dealt Monday on deadline day.
NHL Deadline Day Trade Benefactors
James Wisniewski – The Wiz was traded to Anaheim along with a 2015 3rd round pick for William Karlsson, Rene Bourque and a 2015 2nd round pick.
Despite his attempts to stay in Columbus, Wisniewski, who still has two more years left on his current contract, did have a limited no trade clause built in to his contract and was asked for 10 teams he would accept a trade to. The rumor was the Wisniewski listed 10 teams that either didn’t need an offensive defenceman or had little cap space to work with in order to make Columbus’s options that much tougher. Well, Anaheim obviously found a way around it because Wisniewski is on his way west to join the Ducks.
Actually, I think this is a good landing spot for Wisniewski and even though he didn’t want to leave Columbus, I think he will learn to like Anaheim relatively quickly. Although he’s currently battling an injury, the Ducks hope he can join them during their upcoming three game road trip. Wisniewski will step in and fill the void left by Sami Vatanen and help the power play which is currently ranked 21st in the league. He currently has eight goals (seven of them coming with the man advantage) and 21 assists. He’s a shooter and that’s something the Ducks are lacking from the point. He’s a veteran defenceman and that’s something the Ducks were also lacking.
Wisniewski and his fantasy production should see a nice boost in Anaheim, if he can stay healthy.
Chris Stewart – Stewart being traded was a well-known fact for quite a while. He very well could have been dealt a long time ago if Buffalo hadn’t over-valued him as much as they did. In the end, they received a 2nd round pick (in 2017 none the less) for him from the Minnesota Wild.
He’s been the most productive Sabre the past couple months and that’s not saying much considering the offense the Sabres have been putting up. Where he actually plays in a deep Minnesota lineup will be interesting. The rumor I read today was that he was starting on a line with Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek. Those are far better skaters, skill wise, than what he is used to playing with in Buffalo. Hopefully he will bring his grit game and score a lot of dirty goals in Minnesota.
I really like this landing spot for him from both a real life situation and as a fantasy owner.
Sven Baertschi – Traded from Calgary to the Vancouver Canucks organization for a 2nd round pick in 2015.
The former first round pick was once a highly touted prospect in the Flames organization but one had to figure his days in Calgary were numbered as long as Brian Burke was at the helm. Burke was not a fan of Baertschi’s soft style of play and had no problem calling him out publicly on it after arriving in Calgary. Baertschi was shuttled off to Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford and Baertschi’s game, and confidence, seemed to go downhill after that. Baertschi is a RFA at the end of this year and due to waiver restrictions next year, the Flames would have been forced to either play him in Calgary or fear losing him through waivers. I guess we now know where Calgary stood on that front.
Baertschi will probably continue to play in the AHL for the remainder of this year in Utica, but next year he will be playing with the Canucks. A new organization should be just what the doctor ordered for Baertschi. The Canucks don’t have a lot of highly skilled forwards with his speed and offensive ability coming through their pipeline so the opportunity will be there for him.
If Vancouver can get this kid back on track (and I believe they will), this trade is a big win for the Canucks and Baertschi owners. He was swimming with concrete flippers in Calgary’s system.
Brett Connolly – Traded to Boston for 2nd round picks in 2015 and 2016
The Boston Bruins have been searching for a winger to replace Jarome Iginla all season long, and I think they may have just found him. Connolly didn’t come cheap when you consider what he’s done so far in his young career but the Bruins believe the upside offsets the cost. Blessed with good size and an excellent shot, Connolly should fit in nicely with the Bruins going forward. He will probably start out on the third line but it shouldn’t take long for him to work his way into the top six somewhere.
Tampa Bay was able to make this deal because of their wealth of young talented wingers. Connolly found himself struggling to leap over some of the other good young skater in their system and his NHL opportunities with the Lightning were limited due to this. The draft picks will help restock the shelves so to speak.
This trade rewards all those fantasy owners who showed patience with the young sniper.
Olli Jokinen – Traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the St. Louis Blues for Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional 6th round pick in 2016.
Alright, I will admit that this is more of a sentimental choice here rather than one from a fantasy hockey stand point. I really felt bad for Jokinen after he got traded from one of the best teams in the NHL (Nashville) to one of the worst. Jokinen has played over 1200 career NHL games and only has six actual NHL playoff games to his record so he has to be happy to be headed to a playoff bound Blues team.
Jokinen’s skills have obviously deteriorated as he has aged so it’s hard to say how he fits in with an already deep Blues team. If he is going to play, someone from their fourth line of Steve Ott, Marcel Goc and Ryan Reaves will have to get bumped.
I don’t expect much of anything from Jokinen in St. Louis but I am just happy that Olli is going to see playoff time since 2009, even if it’s from the press box. Good on Dave Nonis for making this happen.
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