Commentary

Open Ice: Trades have brought welcome (or unwelcome) changes

Updated: March 9, 2009, 2:31 PM ET
By Sean Allen | Special to ESPN.com

Trying to analyze the winners and losers at the NHL trade deadline isn't easy. As you saw in this space last week, we tried to tee up who might be moving and what effect these moves would have on fantasy values, but only four of 11 players highlighted last week have a new address now. Even reaction the day of the deadline or shortly after it wasn't all that meaningful. Hard evidence is what we really need, and we have it now that teams have played a couple of games since Thursday's flurry of activity. So, armed with recent box scores, let's have another look at whom you might want to pick up based on the deadline's 22 deals.

Winners

Erik Cole
AP Photo/Gerry BroomeA few key trade-deadline deals seem to have rejuvenated the Canes' Erik Cole.
Erik Cole, RW, Hurricanes: As mentioned in Sunday's fantasy hockey blog, Cole is right at home playing on the first line in Carolina; his goal in his Hurricanes debut Friday was followed up by a four-assist night Saturday. And he is still available in 30 percent of ESPN leagues.

Bill Guerin, RW, Penguins: Guerin posted an assist in his Penguins debut, then showed us with three points in his second game the kind of production we can expect as the season winds down. His shoot-first mentality is going to net him many goals playing on a line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Even if the lines were rearranged, Guerin likely would then be able to play alongside Evgeni Malkin.

Teddy Purcell, RW, Kings: Patrick O'Sullivan's departure has allowed this prospect into the Kings' top six. Purcell, the AHL's Rookie of the Year last season, still has a lot of development ahead of him but is already contributing now that he is seeing significant ice time. In fact, he has a point in four straight games.

Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins: Woe was Bergeron before the arrival of Mark Recchi. Bergeron, a talented centerman, had to watch as Marc Savard enjoyed Phil Kessel on his right wing, and David Krejci had Michael Ryder on his. Now Bergeron can have his own right winger with a scoring touch. Recchi had a pair of goals in his second game as a Bruin, and Bergeron assisted on both.

Petr Prucha, RW, Coyotes: A regular healthy scratch this year with the Rangers, Prucha's 28-goal rookie season seemed long forgotten. The coaching change in New York had already woken him up, and now he becomes first-line material with a move to the desert. Skating with fellow trade acquisition Matthew Lombardi, Prucha received at least 16 minutes of ice time in his first two games as a Coyote.

Losers

Craig Conroy, C, Flames: A week ago, Conroy was in a very enviable situation, parked between Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri on a regular basis. Too bad so sad for Conroy, though, as Olli Jokinen stepped in and found perfect chemistry with Calgary's skilled wingers. Conroy does have a few points already in the Jokinen era in Calgary, but with David Moss and Curtis Glencross as linemates, we can't expect that to continue.

Andrew Cogliano, C, and Dustin Penner, RW, Oilers: The arrival of both O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik has knocked Cogliano and Penner to the third line in Edmonton. Together with Fernando Pisani, you could call them the "reject line" if you were meaner than I. Both have had their moments this season, but outside of the top six in Edmonton, we shouldn't expect much going forward.

Jason Blake
Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesCoincidence that Jason Blake hasn't scored the past two games?
Jason Blake, LW, Maple Leafs: Blake had really been coming on lately, with 13 points in 12 games leading up to the trade deadline, but he hasn't found the score sheet in two games since Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore were shipped out. Blake is not great when the spotlight is on him, and he remains Toronto's best offensive weapon. Given the added pressure and the lack of quality linemates, expect him to slow down. He is still an asset if you need to pad your shots-on-goal category, though.

Daniel Carcillo, LW, Flyers: Some might look at the move as positive or at least lateral for Carcillo, but there are a couple of problems. One is that the Flyers already have Riley Cote and Arron Asham to drop the gloves, which should eat into Carcillo's fighting opportunities. Two, and more important, Carcillo was starting to see serious ice time in Phoenix with the top line. In Philadelphia, he is fourth-line material and will be lucky to get 10 minutes per night.

Sunny days ahead

Paul Gaustad, C, Sabres: Events last week perhaps negated Gaustad's recent output (seven points in eight games). The re-signing of Tim Connolly, return of Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov, trading of Kotalik and acquisition of Dominic Moore put the line combinations in Buffalo into disarray. However, Gaustad has emerged as a staple on Buffalo's second power-play unit and remains a decent fantasy play, especially thanks to his healthy number of penalty minutes.

Chris Campoli, D, Senators: Since he is owned in only 4 percent of ESPN leagues, we can only assume you thought we were kidding about Ottawa's being a great home for him. We weren't joking. Campoli has seven points in seven games as a Sen and is right at home on the first power-play unit.

Pavel Kubina, D, Maple Leafs: With Tomas Kaberle out of the lineup, Kubina has been prolific. He has five goals and nine assists in his past 14 games, only two of which Kaberle has been healthy and playing in. With news that Kaberle is out another 10 to 14 days because of a hand injury, Kubina can continue to be viewed as one of the top options on defense.

Storms a-brewin'

Blake Wheeler, RW, Bruins: His ice time has been sliding of late anyway, so the arrival of Mark Recchi certainly didn't bode well for the rookie. Sure enough, Wheeler was a healthy scratch Saturday. He was back in the lineup for the Bruins again Sunday, but considering he has just five points in 13 games, his newfound marginal playing time makes him tough to use in your league.

Sean Allen is a fantasy baseball and hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

Sean Allen is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He was the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hockey Writer of the Year. You can tweet him @seanard.

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