Craig Anderson has been impressive in goal since joining the Ottawa Senators. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Most of the deals at or near the trade deadline have yet to show results, but it’s still early. Some, however, have already shown promise. Poolies should take note, as these players could be dark horses for your playoff pools or for next season.
The big, skilled winger was struggling to match his solid 45-point showing as a rookie in Boston two years ago due to a deep Bruins roster. In Atlanta, he is now able to take the next step in a top-six role. Nine games in he has four goals and seven points. Wheeler will set a career high in 2011-12 for the Thrashers, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50 to 55 points.
My knee-jerk reaction to this deal, as a Goligoski owner in one of my leagues, was “Oh no! He’s off the future Pittsburgh power play!” After all, when the Penguins stars hit their prime, the members of that PP unit will be gold. After a moment, however, I realized that in Dallas Goligoski would be “the man,” thus making his short-term value skyrocket. Now that I’ve had some time to think about it and watch him post seven points in nine games with his new team, I don’t think the move hurts him long term either. True offensive talent from a defenseman will shine through regardless of the city and Goligoski is of that ilk. I think he can be a 60-point guy next year.
Stewart has already shown us he can be a point-per-game player in Colorado, so it comes as no surprise that he is also one in St. Louis. With 12 points in 12 games, he gives the Blues another threat on the wing - possibly (and probably) their biggest one. Provided he can stay healthy, a 75-point campaign next season is feasible and he’ll pull a couple of other St. Louis forwards along with him.
If Ottawa planned to tank and get the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft, they made a poor decision in acquiring Anderson. The team in front of him is riddled with American Leaguers, yet he’s boasting a 6-3-0 record. His goals-against average is off the charts (1.44) and his save percentage is nearly perfect at .956 with the Sens. He has already shown he can take a modest team and carry it into the post-season, so if the Sens can re-sign him do not underestimate them in 2011-12. This trade may have saved Anderson’s career.
As is his M.O., Boyes is off to a flying start on his new team (six points in six games). More importantly, he hasn’t stunted the development/production of youngsters Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe, as I had originally feared. In fact, Ennis has five points in those six games and Gerbe was indeed a healthy scratch when Boyes first joined the team, but since then has settled back in with two points in four contests. The Sabres are 4-1-1 since acquiring Boyes, which is what matters most to Sabres fans. Look for a strong season out of him in 2011-12.
His six points in seven games are probably a reflection of “new team” syndrome. Many players get an extra adrenalin boost for the first several games on a new team and start posing points early. With Stillman, the effect may be doubled because he is returning to a city where he has had great success. Carolina is 3-3-1 since the trade with Florida, but I would be concerned that Eric Staal is not responding to his new/old linemate. If that doesn’t change, Stillman’s declining production from the past couple of seasons will continue.
The Ducks were winning games like crazy until Jonas Hiller went down, so Ellis was brought in to bring more stability. The team has settled down in front of him and he’s posted a 5-1-1 record. Dropped in most one-year leagues thanks to his horrible play in Tampa, Ellis is probably available and makes for a great pickup.
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