Fantasy Analysis: Grebeshkov & Leopold

Anjul VirkContributor IMarch 1, 2010

EDMONTON, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Denis Grebeshkov #37 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Calgary Flames on September 23, 2009 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

Oilers move Grebs

Let the dealing begin for Edmonton.

Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has made his first of what are expected to be many moves, trading blueliner Denis Grebeshkov to the Predators for Nashville’s 2nd round 2010 draft pick.

“Grebs” is 26 years old, and about to enter his prime years. He put up 39 points in 72 games last season, but is definitely not even close to that pace this season, with 19 points in 47 games.

He will basically replace Dan Hamhius on the blueline for the Preds, and although he isn’t even close to Hamhius in terms of overall skill level, he will still provide a solid presence to the 2nd PP unit. His arrival won’t change anything for Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, as that pair will still be leaned on to play huge minutes and log the majority of powerplay time.

The former 1st round pick of the Kings also is a restricted free agent at the end of the year, and could be signed or let go, depending on how he performs the last month of the season. Expect his numbers to improve somewhat going from the league’s worst team to a playoff contender. He is not a bad pickup as a 5th or 6th d-man in your league, with the potential to be a #4 blueliner if he sees consistent ice time in Nashville.

For Edmonton, this will mean more ice time for Tom Gilbert, who has struggled as well this season (who hasn’t for that team?). This will also mean a couple of extra shifts for a guy like Lubomir Visnovsky, which might bump up his point totals by 2 or 3. Grebeshkov’s departure also gives some more ice time to youngsters like Theo Peckham and Taylor Chorney, but neither will make any sort of fantasy impact, and are best left on the waiver wire.

Pens acquire Leopold

The defending Stanley Cup champions are getting ready to make another run.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Jordan Leopold earlier this morning from the Florida Panthers for a 2010 2nd round draft pick.

The 29-year-old Leopold will help solidify the back end for Pittsburgh, but shouldn’t really see any change in his fantasy value. The Pens already have Sergei Gonchar, Alex Goligoski, Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang for their prime minutes, so Leopold will be asked to step in as the d-man on the third pairing.

At one point in his career, Leopold was considered to have a lot of promise in the fantasy world, but those hopes evaporated a long time ago. This season in 61 games, he has only 18 points, and now will play for his fourth team in less than a year. Even though he is now on a squad that features superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, don’t let that fool you into picking him up. There is no fantasy value here, unless something drastic happens to one of the main guys and powerplay time is up for grabs.

As for Florida, the biggest beneficiary is last season’s 1st rounder Dimitry Kulikov. He has been eased into the minutes this season, but has the potential to start seeing about 21-22 minutes the rest of the year, and is a solid grab in keeper leagues. Only 19, Kulikov has the potential to follow in the footsteps of great Russian blueliners like Gonchar, Andrei Markov and Sergei Zubov. He won’t be a major contributor for another few years, but he is definitely worth a roster spot going forward.

This article can also be found on Fantasy Hockey Wire.