The trade deadline is coming.
Some big names are circulating the rumour mills—Mats Sundin, Vincent Lacavalier, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Cheechoo, Adam Foote, Rob Blake, and others.
Teams in the basement are hoping to be able to follow the rebuilding model that the Philadelphia Flyers established last year.
Last year the Flyers finished the season dead-last in the NHL with 56 points. This season the Flyers now sit safely sixth in the Eastern Conference with almost as many points as they finished the season with that year.
How did the Flyers do it?
They traded veteran forward Peter Forsberg for youth and draft picks. They signed Martin Biron and Daniel Briere as free agents. And they acquired Juffrey Lupul and Jason Smith from the Edmonton Oilers.
The Flyers are soaring and so are their fantasy fortunes.
This week, I recommend two Flyers to acquire...
Scott Hartnell (PHI – LW)
In the past week the crashing & banging winger rang up two 3-point performances – one versus a rejuvenated Thrashers squad, and the other was a hat-trick that cracked Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s thick shell.
Hartnell’s defensive style earns him the respect of his coaches, but not fantasy managers. But this week’s numbers are hard to ignore.
With seven points in his last three games, it’s safe to take a flyer (pun intended) on the gritty winger, but beware, concussion problems have been a problem in the past, and so should he go down be prepared with a backup plan.
Joel Perrault (PHO - C)
Joel Perrault has picked up 13 penalty minutes in his last 3 games – the better news is that he’s also picked up 3 points during that stretch.
It had seemed as if the young Coyotes’ centreman had hung up the gloves, but the frustrations of playing hockey in Phoenix must have finally gotten the better of him.
In his last two seasons in the QJMHL Perrault spent nearly 100 minutes in the penalty box each season, but since graduating from junior hockey he learned a more disciplined game.
Perrault was close to having a 100-point and 100-penalty minute season in 2002-2003 for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar but fell just seven penalty minutes short.
After spending the last few seasons bouncing around the Ducks, Blue & Coyotes organization he’s finally being given the opportunity to show he has the ability to put the puck in the net.
Robert Lang (CHI – C)
When the season began Robert Lang was projected to be the mentor for the Blackhawks golden boy Jonathan Toews.
Toews progressed quicker than anyone anticipated and soon started to take power play ice-time away from Lang.
Now with Toews injured, all the power play responsibilities fall back on to the shoulders of veteran Robert Lang.
The return of Martin Havlat has also revitalized Lang, and the two have immediately clicked for a goal in each of the last three games.
Steve Downie (PHI – RW)
It’s difficult for Steve "Superpest" Downie to fly under-the-radar because of all the headlines he’s been given this year. But most fantasy owners haven’t noticed that he’s a fantasy asset. He has picked up 4 points and 18 penalty minutes in only seven games this season.
If you are waiting for Carcillo, Avery or Eager to come off the injured reserve list, wait no longer – there’s a new goon in town!
Steve Downie is showing that he can not only get on the game sheet for penalties, but for points too. A quick peak at the first-round draft-pick’s OHL stats show his stats are no aberration. Last year he had 92 points and 124 penalty minutes in 45 games.
If he can avoid suspensions he will be an asset to any fantasy squad.
Dan Boyle (TB – D)
Some of Tampa’s recent troubles can be blamed on the loss of their defensive quarterback Dan Boyle. A freak accident has kept Boyle out of the lineup almost the entire season.
At the beginning of the year a skate blade sliced three tendons in his wrist. Anxious to get back on the ice, he attempted a comeback in late October but his wrist hadn’t healed properly.
He’s back on the ice skating again and starting to shoot pucks. It’s probably still another three weeks until Boyle’s back in the lineup. But there’s no doubt the Lightning cannot wait to get him back
It’s near impossible to replace the loss of a defenceman who was top 5 in the NHL in points last year, and top 10 in shots on net.