Ben Bishop is 8-5-0 with a 2.45 GAA and .922 save percentage this season. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
It wasn't the usual trade deadline, that's for sure. With pretty much no deals at all before 1:30, some huge trades went down over the final 90 minutes, many with far-reaching implications. Let's take a look at the 10 players who saw their fantasy hockey value increase the most as a result of the 24 hours leading up to the 3pm ET trade deadline (so the Ryane Clowe deal is included, but the Derek Roy/Jaromir Jagr deals are not).
10. Ville Leino/Nathan Gerbe/Andrej Sekera, Buffalo Sabres
This one is just a hunch - and as your raised Spockian eyebrow indicates, it's a real stretch. But there is a lot of ice time, particularly on the power play, just sitting there waiting to be scooped up thanks to the Jason Pominville trade. Pominville led the Sabres in power play ice time, seeing 3:53 per game. Much of that was manning the blueline - thus my Sekera pick. He'll see some of that. Gerbe and Leino will see some of that as well. And speaking of Gerbe, who plays on the top line now? The Sabres won't break up the Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford line. And Steve Ott is a centerman. So it will be either Leino or Gerbe. Since Leino is injured and will miss at least the next couple of games, this is Gerbe's time to shine.
9. Derick Brassard, New York Rangers
I can't let Brassard's four-point game cloud my judgment here. Three of his four points came on the power play and I have a suspicion the Rangers won't be popping three power play pucks into the net each game. All the same, Brassard was stagnating in Columbus. His game wasn't improving at all. So any kind of change - be it new coach, new team or new linemates - will help.
8. Marian Gaborik, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ditto for Gaborik. He wasn't getting it done anymore in New York. A new coach and a fresh outlook changes everything. He's also going to enjoy being the best player on the team again. Think about it. As soon as Rick Nash arrived in New York, Gaborik's numbers tanked. Now that he's “The Man” again, watch him take off.
7. Matt Hackett, Buffalo Sabres
Hackett was in a situation in Minnesota where backup Josh Harding was signed for three years and fellow prospect Darcy Kuemper was fighting for his place on the depth chart. Sure, Niklas Backstrom is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but Hackett's outlook wasn't assured. In Buffalo, he is only behind Jhonas Enroth, a goaltender who isn't starter material. Ryan Miller has one more year on his contract and could be moved in the summer. Hackett could be the starter next season or by 2014-15. The only other promising goalie in Buffalo's system is Andrey Makarov, who is a good five years away.
6. Ryane Clowe, New York Rangers
Clowe is another player in desperate need of a scenery change. Scoring three points in his Rangers debut made quite the splash in New York (two points at even strength). He had 119 points between 2009-10 and 2010-11, and that 60-point player is who we expect to see. He's already got himself solid linemates in Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello.
5. Jussi Jokinen, Pittsburgh Penguins
Short-term only, but if Jokinen makes a splash early on there could be something to his value for next year as well. Jokinen will play on a line with Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis - which is Sidney Crosby's spot. So he has about 12 games to make a mark and I think he should be good for 10 points with this opportunity. Dupuis, Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow are all unrestricted free agents in the summer, so assuming Beau Bennett makes the jump and the Penguins sign nobody new, Jokinen could get a shot in the top six next year as well. He has the advantage of playing both center and wing.
4. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
The logjam of blue-chip offensive prospects in Tampa Bay eased a little with the trading of Cory Conacher to Ottawa. First to benefit is Johnson, since Alex Killorn is already seeing a ton of ice time. Johnson, like Conacher, has produced during every opportunity he's been given. His last game, Tuesday, saw him on the ice for 16:53 - a career high.
3. Cory Conacher, Ottawa Senators
The league's second-leading rookie scorer has slowed down. A lot. After 12 points in seven games he has 12 points in his past 28. There is a top six spot waiting for him in Ottawa.
2. Martin Erat, Washington Capitals
Erat's value in fantasy hockey increases dramatically no matter where he goes, as long as he's out of Nashville. For years, the Predators have had a system that almost completely prevents a player from reaching the 60-point mark. Washington, despite the offensive woes early on, has no such limitation. So now we will finally get to see what Erat can do when the reins are off.
1. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
Just as Lindback's fantasy value skyrocketed in the summer, so has Bishop's now. Lindback had his chance, but with nagging injuries and inconsistent play, the team has brought in some competition. Would GM Steve Yzerman have done this if Lindback continued to play as he did during his 5-1-0 hot start? Nope. Lindback had his chance to become a top fantasy goalie and he blew it, regardless of how weak Tampa's defense is. Now Bishop will get just as long a look. If he takes advantage, Lindback will be relegated to backup. Just another day in the volatile world of fantasy hockey goaltending.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.
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