Niklas Hagman played his first game with the Flames Monday. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
By now, the sports talk shows, newspaper articles and Internet blogs are starting to die down about the impact of the Sunday trades for Calgary, Toronto and Anaheim. It’s been done to death – three times over. But not from a fantasy standpoint.
Poolies will dissect the impact of a hangnail on a third-line winger’s right pinky, so you can imagine heart palpitations the two Sunday trades caused. Here’s my take on the winners and losers – and why. Listed alphabetically.
Eight Biggest Winners
Jason Blake, Anaheim – Considering Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne (now back in the lineup) are big linemate upgrades to Lee Stempniak and John Mitchell, it stands to reason Blake’s production will improve. In five of the past six seasons, Blake has garnered at least 52 points. He is currently on pace for 37. That will surely change now.
Tyler Bozak, Toronto – The youngster was removed from the Phil Kessel line Saturday and Matt Stajan stepped in and set up Kessel for two goals. With Stajan out of the picture, Bozak should slide right back on the line – and see even more ice time. It seems ludicrous to slap a “first-line center” tag on an undrafted player who is 11 games into his career, but until Mikhail Grabovski returns who else can it be?
J-S Giguere, Toronto – After being relegated to a backup role in Anaheim, ‘Giggy’ finds himself a starter again. To top it off, he is back under the tutelage of goalie coach Francois Allaire. On the flip side, you can’t expect a lot of W’s in his new city, but at least he’ll play more.
Dion Phaneuf, Toronto – Phaneuf is a 60-point defenseman having a brutal season on the heels of a mediocre one. A fresh start can only mean good things. One thing Phaneuf owners didn’t want was status quo. His 31-point pace is unacceptable. That’s getting too close to Brooks Orpik territory.
Matt Stajan, Calgary – Cha-ching! After clicking with Phil Kessel in Toronto, Stajan has upgraded to Jarome Iginla. The Flames tried Olli Jokinen there, but the two stars were absolutely not compatible. Stajan is essentially a younger Daymond Langkow. He’ll get 55 or 60 points most years, with the possibility of an occasional 65 or even 75 points. He’ll finish strong with Iginla.
Viktor Stalberg, Toronto – The Leafs shipped out four forwards and only brought one back. What’s more, of the four forwards that went, three of them were used in offensive situations. Fredrik Sjostrom, the forward they acquired, will not be. Suddenly three spots on the power play have opened up and Stalberg will be first in line for the minutes.
Vesa Toskala, Anaheim – Another case of a fresh start that was needed. This year is a write-off for Toskala, barring an injury to Jonas Hiller. However, if Toskala can show enough promise during his spot starts, he could earn himself another contract in the summer and thus another chance as a starter.
Ian White, Calgary – One of the most underrated offensive defensemen in the league, White will now get the respect he deserves. Coaches almost always lean heavily on the new guys the GM brings in so White will see top power play time instead of second-unit afterthought time.
Eight Biggest Losers
Mikael Backlund, Calgary – He has looked good during this call-up, tallying a point Thursday and another Saturday. With Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman now joining the squad, it’s back to Abbottsford for Backlund.
Dustin Boyd, Calgary – The 23-year-old has done everything he could in limited ice time over the years, showing flashes of his 70-point potential when given the chance. A three-point game Saturday gave his owners a lot of hope, but that was snuffed out when the Flames added three new forwards Sunday. Boyd did play with Stajan and Iginla Monday, but the team was shutout so that combination may not last.
Mark Giordano, Calgary – It could very well be status quo for Giordano. After all, the arrival of White will only eat up the power play time that had been given to Phaneuf. However, Giordano is 30 games into really establishing himself as a solid power play guy. That’s a little tenuous in my books and any major changes to the roster could rattle that comfort zone.
Curtis Glencross, Calgary – That bomb-dropping sound you hear is just Glencross falling down the depth chart.
Jonas Gustavsson, Toronto – Long-term, the deal with Anaheim will help his career. But short-term, instead of another 23 starts this season, he’s looking at 10.
Niklas Hagman, Calgary – Hagman is on pace for a career-high of 48 points, but getting traded in a career-year rarely makes that year even better. As with any player, Hagman could quickly change to a ‘winner’ if he clicks on a line with Iginla.
Phil Kessel, Toronto – Stajan was miscast as a first-line center, but he is a 60-point second-liner and the best Toronto had. Bozak has that potential, but he’s not there yet: That’s the hand Kessel has been dealt. Instead of 25 points down the stretch, expect closer to 20.
Dan Sexton, Anaheim – A decent second half is now going to be a very productive second half for Sexton. The only problem is it will be in the American League. Sexton, who has 18 points in 28 games, was sent down after the Ducks acquired Blake.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.