- Sean Allen
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The Ottawa Senators, whose depth has been tested lately, have added some help both up front and on the blue line. Trekking North are Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore, with Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves migrating south.
As much as Carolina will try to spin this as a trade that helps now, it is pretty obvious that they were the "sellers" in this deal. Stillman becomes the Sens' best offensive weapon outside of their big three and Mike Commodore adds the playoff grit and leadership that NHL analysts so like to wax poetic about. From a fantasy perspective, they both get an immediate upgrade. Stillman has been in a funk since November, yet remains owned in 95 percent of ESPN leagues. Those who have been hanging on to him, for one reason or another, can consider themselves lucky and start playing him with confidence. I don't think there is much benefit in trying to sell him, as he should become a No. 1 fantasy winger thanks to the move. The Senators now have the option to tinker with its top line and Stillman could very well end up forming a trio with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. For that reason, I'd also consider upgrading Mike Fisher as he either gets to play with Stillman or Daniel Alfredsson.
Commodore it the real fantasy prize in this deal. He is available in half of ESPN leagues and should be picked up in all of them. Already a valuable contributor to penalty minutes, Commodore should slot in next to Wade Redden on the blue line and see an up-tick in his points and plus/minus. He could very well be a No. 2 defenseman going forward. Go get him now.
Chris Neil might be the biggest loser in the deal on the Senators. He goes from being the No. 2 right winger, with power-play privileges, to being bumped from the top-six forwards. Neil is still valuable for his PIMs, but don't look for his decent point totals to continue. Neil is now equal to Columbus' Jared Boll from a fantasy perspective.
In Raleigh, Patrick Eaves should be a non-factor for the rest of this season, injuries aside. Joe Corvo, on the other hand, becomes the Hurricanes' No. 1 defenseman. That's a significant upgrade considering he was second fiddle to Redden in Ottawa. However, with a plummeting plus/minus, his value should remain consistent as a low-tier No. 2 defenseman. This also means Matt Cullen is no longer worth waiting for, as Corvo should fill his role as power-play quarterback. All hope is gone for Frantisek Kaberle as a bounce-back candidate.
The hole that Stillman leaves behind on the 'Canes top line could be filled by several candidates. To be safe, I am recommending an add of Andrew Ladd in all deeper leagues. A powerful prospect who hasn't really had a chance to break into a regular role, Ladd could be a points machine in a premiere role. However, I have significant doubts about whether Ladd will in fact be promoted as Carolina isn't in a mode to think about next season just yet. Sergei Samsonov, Scott Walker and even AHL star Keith Aucoin are candidates for the role. I do think Ladd will explode if given the opportunity, but I think whoever lines up with Eric Staal and Erik Cole will have better value. In medium-to-shallow leagues, just watch and wait. Then pounce on whoever gets the role.
Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can Email him here.
3hMike Fish and David Purdum