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Now that another NHL trade deadline has passed, it's time to assess the impact this week's deals will have on your fantasy hockey teams. Here's a look at some of the moves.
Calgary created the most buzz with its two big moves aimed at a serious playoff run, and center Olli Jokinen and defenseman Jordan Leopold should improve their fantasy values. "He scores. He moves the puck. He can play against the big guys on the other team," Flames general manager Darryl Sutter told the Calgary Herald about Jokinen. "It's a pretty simple MO what he does." Jokinen had 21 goals, 42 points and a minus-5 in 57 games for the Phoenix Coyotes this season, a disappointing drop-off in production from the 34.6 goals and 74.8 points he had averaged in the previous five seasons for the Florida Panthers. Now we will see whether Jokinen, who has never made it to the playoffs, was a high-end talent wasted on bad teams or whether he was part of the problems in holding back those teams. "Going to a place where there are high expectations and the people expect a 'W' every night, that's what you want," Jokinen told the Herald. "It's very exciting. When I found out, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I don't think I've been playing at the level I can. As an athlete, you want to be pushed."
He'll get plenty of pushing in his second stint with Mike Keenan, who had coached him in Florida. Jokinen likely will start playing between Curtis Glencross and David Moss on the second line, where new Coyote Matthew Lombardi had been playing. But with center Daymond Langkow still out with a bruised hand, Jokinen should earn some opportunities to play between Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri even though Craig Conroy is doing a fine job there.
Leopold had never become the offensive star many had expected from the Minnesota native, but he is on pace to have his most points (26) since his career high of 33 in 2003-04, his second season in the league. He could yet surpass that mark, as he has six goals and 20 points through 64 games. His familiarity with the Flames and power-play potential at least make him a candidate for depth on your fantasy team's defense.
Antoine Vermette, 26, is finally on the move after being part of trade rumors for more than a year. He had nine goals and 19 assists in 62 games with the Senators this season but never seized opportunities to be a consistent top-six forward in Ottawa, so why should playing in Columbus be much different? "Antoine has good speed, good quickness," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson told The Columbus Dispatch. "He plays the game the right way. We know this is not going to be easy the rest of the way. We're in this [playoff race], but there's a lot of work to be done. And he's going to really help us."
Howson told the paper he liked Vermette's faceoff skills and work on the power play and killing penalties. Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock told the Dispatch that Vermette will jump on to the second line between left winger R.J. Umberger and right winger Fredrik Modin. Vermette is certainly in a better situation on a hungry Columbus team and has the ability to revive the scoring pace of his career-high 24 goals and 53 points from last season.
The Penguins added another veteran forward whose best years are behind him by obtaining Bill Guerin, 38, from the New York Islanders. Most speculate that Guerin will play on a line with center Sidney Crosby, who has missed the past four games with a groin injury. "I'd be thrilled. Who wouldn't be?" Guerin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But I'll play anywhere Dan [Bylsma, Pittsburgh's coach] wants to put me."
Guerin had 16 goals and 36 points and was minus-15 in 61 games for the Isles. Disappointing forward Miroslav Satan had comparable stats for the Penguins, as he had 17 goals, 36 points and was plus-3 in 65 games. But the 34-year-old winger cleared waivers and was assigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Of course, Satan lacks Guerin's toughness and important ingredient as a former Stanley Cup winner. "I think we have the players he can play with and support to give him, and, likewise, he's going to do the same for us and give us the veteran presence, the size and the shot to make our other players better," Penguins general manager Ray Shero told the Post-Gazette.
Although Mark Recchi is three years older than Guerin, his addition to the Bruins seems more promising. Recchi has had a decent season (13 goals, 45 points and a minus-15 in 62 games) for a bad Tampa Bay Lightning team and has been productive lately on a line with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
"That's a player who's won two Cups and is a seven-time All-Star," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told The Boston Globe. "He's a left shot, and we were looking for a left shot. He's going to help us on a number of fronts. Claude [Julien, the Bruins' coach] will take care of that. Down low on the power play, we'd like a little more depth with the left shot. Mark's a gritty player, as is Steve [Montador, a rugged defenseman acquired from the Ducks]. He goes into those areas, too, that a lot of the goals come from." The Globe said Recchi was expected to get time on the No. 1 power-play unit, which should lead to some nice results.
By adding much-needed size in Nik Antropov, the Rangers intend on using their 6-foot-6 forward plenty, and he could see a boost with increased ice time. Antropov, 29, had 21 goals and 46 assists and was a minus-13 in 63 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, although the center-winger had been averaging nearly three minutes fewer per game than last season, when he registered career highs with 26 goals and 56 points. "He gives us the versatility to use him in either position," Rangers GM Glen Sather told the New York Post. "He's good around the net, has a big body, can skate. You'd have to ask [coach John Tortorella] where he'd want to use him, but he just gives us more options."
Derek Morris' offensive production has been lackluster (he has averaged 6.5 goals and 27.25 points the past four seasons) since he moved from the Colorado Avalanche to the Coyotes at the trade deadline in 2004. It's difficult to expect much of an increase in New York, although he should find an opportunity to add to his single power-play assist this season. Sather told Newsday that Morris "is a smart player. He's had a history of playing on the power play -- I don't think his production has been as good this year as in the previous years -- and he gives us a little more bite on the back end."
Besides the obvious salary dumps, Phoenix GM Don Maloney told The Arizona Republic he was aiming to change the team's chemistry by bringing in young but experienced players who will help the team focus on speed, skill and energy. "These guys are three-, four-year pros, and these are really the guys we didn't have that have been in the NHL and know how to play," Maloney told the Republic.
These guys are Matthew Lombardi from the Flames, Scottie Upshall from the Flyers and Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha from the Rangers. Together with Coyotes youngsters Kyle Turris, Peter Mueller, Martin Hanzal, Viktor Tikhonov and veteran captain Shane Doan, the new blood could reinvigorate Phoenix into becoming dangerous spoilers in the final weeks of the season. The speedy Lombardi and power-play specialist Prucha, a former 30-goal scorer, are worth monitoring for a possible pickup in fantasy.
Edmonton's acquisitions of Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik might have flown under the radar compared to bigger deals on Wednesday, but the new Oilers will be given opportunities to produce. "We talk a lot about first-shot scorers, and they both have that ability. I do think we have more scoring," Oilers president Craig MacTavish told the Edmonton Journal. O'Sullivan, 24, had 14 goal and 37 points and was plus-1 in 62 games for the Kings. Kotalik, 30, had 13 goals and 32 points and was a minus-7 for the Sabres, but he had eight goals and 10 assists on the power play. "We have a few different weapons with Kotalik, who's a big man and hard to handle down low," Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told the Journal. "Patrick is someone who is very good off the net, off the sideboards on the power play, and he's hungry to show that he can sustain what he started in Los Angeles."
Jim Wilkie is a former NHL editor and writer for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.