I realize that the Dany Heatley trade happened a few days ago, but it took me a little while to comprehend and analyze all the different situations that the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators could find themselves in come October.
Therefore, on the morning that Heatley is expected to have his Visa ready and report to Sharks’ camp, I will present to you the winners and losers of the summer-ending trade and how the trade will fantastically impact each player.
Winna! Winna! Chicken Dinna!: Dany Heatley
Heatley gets a fresh start with a very successful regular season NHL franchise. He inherits Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi as linemates and a very, very good power play.
Fantastically: Is Thornton a better playmaker than Jason Spezza? Maybe slightly. If Heatley and Thornton can click like he did with Spezza in their heyday, Heatley is guaranteed 50 goals. (Is 60 goals possible?) He could also flirt with 100 points if Thornton can put a few pucks in the net; however, he hasn’t scored 30 goals since 2003.
The Biggest Loser: Jason Spezza
He is not a loser because he has the nerdiest laugh in North America, but because he lost a friend and a perennial 50-goal scorer. On the bright side, he did get married this summer. Good for him.
In return, he is set to line up with Jonathan Cheechoo, which was revealed yesterday. Cheechoo once scored 56 goals with San Jose, but since then has not produced at the same rate. Last season, Cheechoo only registered 12 goals and 29 points.
Fantastically: Spezza is still one of the league’s best passers and playmakers, but without a reliable left winger to dish to, his assist numbers should fall a bit. He still has Daniel Alfredsson/Alexei Kovalev on his other wing, but replacing Heatley with Cheechoo hurts. He scored 30+ goals for the third-straight year last season and will need to repeat that number in order for him to justify his fantasy standing.
Winna! Winna!: Joe Thornton
Possibly the biggest winner of the trade is Thornton, because he finally gets a legitimate goal scorer to pass to. Thornton made Cheechoo into a 50-goal scorer and Patrick Marleau was nice to have last year, but they don't compare to the goal-scoring ability Heatley has.
Thornton has the most points in the NHL since the lockout with 424. Of those, 316 were assists, which is also the most in the league since then. This was all done with mediocre linemates. Now that he has Heatley on his wing, Thornton is surely to add to his tremendous career totals.
Fantastically: Thornton’s point totals have decreased the last four seasons (125, 114, 96, 86). That trend will change this season. With Heatley on his side, Thornton will reach the 100-point plateau once again.
Thornton will come into this season with a chip on his shoulder, having been known as a big-game flop. He needs to prove to critics that he is still among the league’s elite and to fantasy owners that he can still produce with the best in the game.
Push: Ottawa/San Jose
Both teams got what they wanted. Ottawa got rid of Heatley and gained depth. San Jose came through with its promise of changing the environment and gave itself the best shot of making the second round of the playoffs.
Fantastically: Both teams had to act quickly to rework their top-six forward units.
In San Jose
Line One: Devin Setoguchi—Joe Thornton—Dany Heatley
Line Two: Patrick Marleau—Joe Pavelski—Ryan Clowe
Two great lines in San Jose. A big winner that may not get much pub from this trade is Joe Pavelski. Little Joe scored a career-high 59 points last season and is on the cusp of being a fantasy contributor.
With Marleau on his side and a healthy Ryane Clowe, Pavelski is surely to put up 65 points this season. Steal him in the late rounds of your draft and you automatically give yourself a good chance at the cup. If he gets drafted sooner than expected, Clowe is a very nice consolation prize.
Jonathan Cheechoo—Jason Spezza—Daniel Alfredsson
Milan Michalek—Mike Fisher—Alex Kovalev
Ottawa’s top line is still very formidable, even without Heatley. The main thing is if Cheechoo can say healthy and keep up with Spezza and Alfredsson. Ottawa GM Bryan Murray believes that if Cheechoo and Michalek score 50 goals between them, they have won the trade. I agree, and I believe that it is possible.
Mike Fisher is a nice winner simply because he gets to go home to Carrie Underwood. But he also has a regular goal scorer in Kovalev and a potential breakout player in Michalek. You can afford to draft Fisher in the last rounds of your draft and expect 40-50 points.
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