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Neutral Zone Wrap: Deadline winners and losers

by | Rotowire.com
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What was supposed to be hockey's busiest 24 hours turned into the most boring show on Earth. The buildup to February 27th led many to believe a blockbuster trade or two would be completed. Rick Nash was as good as somewhere else. Carolina seemed ready to trade every defenseman on their roster. And the Leafs were poised to add that veteran netminder everyone claimed was necessary for their survival.

But, alas, nothing significant took place. In fact, 16 separate instances of nothing. Frankly, the best moves were carried out during the previous two weeks. The highlight of D-Day turned out to be the Buffalo Sabres' ability to upgrade and sneak a first-round pick for a middle-of-the-road forward (Paul Gaustad). Let's not forget about the Sharks adding some toughness. And who knew the Predators could be so aggressive?

So which Fantasy players benefited from the most recent round of transactions? And which guys will be worse off? Remember, these examples do not necessarily have to be the ones involved in the trades; they merely can be affected by whatever happened around them. Here are a few notables, taken from deals dating back to February 13th:

The Winners

Jeff Carter/Mike Richards, F, Los Angeles

After a lonely eight months apart, the most dangerous duo since Hekyll and Jekyll have been reunited in Hollywood. And since the Wonder Twins left Philly, each of their brief stays proved to be disappointing. While Carter (25 points in 39 games with Columbus) could claim the excuse of skating with the NHL's worst club, Richards (31 in 56) has squandered his chances in the Kings' lineup. Call it a new system, playing second fiddle at center, or maybe he just missed playing with his best friend. Now that they have each other, they're set to make fireworks…hopefully on the ice.

James Reimer, G, Toronto

Everyone in the organization has faith in you, except perhaps yourself. Maybe that's the result of both you (one win in seven with 26 goals allowed) and your team (a dubious 1-9-1 run) sucking the last few weeks. But management obviously didn't feel the urge to grab a solid goaltender that could usurp your top billing. And don't worry, neither Jonas Gustavsson nor anyone else in the system could possibly pass you as No. 1 in the near future. We think.

Jared Spurgeon, D, Minnesota

The little defender who could will be able to think he can more clearly now, as veteran Marek Zidlicky has jumped to Jersey. The 22-year old wasn't necessarily having a poor second year up to now (22 in 61 with 12 PPPs), but he was always in the shadow of the former senior statesman when it came to power-play duty and general responsibilities (as health permitted). Spurgeon has so much to offer offensively, even with other recent additions Kurtis Foster (now on his third club this season) and Tom Gilbert (missed a month thanks to Daniel Carcillo) joining the mix.

Daniel Winnik, F, San Jose

While he has never become the biggest point producer in the shed, Winnik was being pursued by several suitors on Monday. The regular numbers (18 in 63) will not impress the average fantasy participant, but the 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger will supply the frontline grit San Jose has sorely lacked. So expect a few penalty minutes and some shots on goal. And don't be surprised if Winnik hits a point or two sliding into the spot beside Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski on the second line.

Marek Zidlicky, D, New Jersey

The Czech blueliner may be 35, but he has maintained his scoring skills over the years. And yes, Zidlicky still plays a mean power-play (and gets nearly three minutes a night). With weapons such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson, the opportunities are present. And without any other legitimate D threats in Jersey (save for Adam Larsson and Matt Taormina when they're ready), there's no telling how many points he can rack up.

The Losers

Craig Anderson, G, Ottawa

No one will ever let Anderson near a kitchen again after cutting his finger cooking (don't worry, we'll discover the real reason someday). The Ottawa starter's prospects haven't improved, as little is known as to his return. But don't worry about hurrying back, as the Sens acquired St. Louis giant Ben Bishop for a 2nd-round selection. And Anderson's eventual successor, Robin Lehner (two impressive victories, including a shutout at Boston), is looking like the second coming of Patrick Lalime between the pipes.

Matt Carle, D, Philadelphia

Since Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman arrived in mid-February, Carle's minutes - both in regular (down from 23 to 21) and man-advantage (down from two to one) - have dwindled. Kubina has swiped a chunk of the special-team duty, while Grossman's superior defensive abilities have provided him a greater role (and three in five doesn't hurt). This shouldn't come as a shock to seasoned observers, as Carle has always been stuck behind at least two better D-men for the majority of his career.

Tyler Ennis, F, Buffalo

Just when the points started flowing again for Ennis (three-game streak headed into Thursday), the Sabres go out and bring in a young, highly touted center like Cody Hodgson (33 in 63). It appears the two are projected to skate on the same unit, but the ex-Canuck should pick up more of the spoils in all areas. Even dismissing his bad luck with injuries (out a total of 34 games), Ennis still hasn't earned his place this season - and it shows in his shifts (hovering around 15 minutes per contest). Meanwhile, Hodgson begins his Buffalo stint with a clean slate and significantly more leeway.

Andrei Kostitsyn, F, Nashville

The family reunion is heartwarming and all that, but the reality remains the elder Kostitsyn (24 in 53) has to adjust to a totally different style of play in Music City. Despite a stable of speed demons, Montreal implemented a methodical wait-and-see offensive approach (and look where that got them). Nashville, on the other hand, like to run-and-gun and take more chances on the attack. The learning curve is steep enough to except a slow progression from the new acquisition. So if you own this particular Kostitsyn, plan accordingly.

Rick Nash, F, Columbus

All the stories surround your departure and you end up staying put. What a tease. Oh, and guess what? A few key forward pieces (Carter, Antoine Vermette, Sami Pahlsson) have been removed and shipped elsewhere. Good luck with that and your $7.5-million salary! Well, at least you attempted to save the franchise from future stagnation by requesting a trade. And hey, there's always 2012-13 and beyond.

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Player News
Ryan Murphy
Return Date Still Uncertain For Canes' Murphy
Ryan Murphy, D, CAR
3/6/2015
News: Coach Bill Peters said Thursday that Ryan Murphy (leg) is still facing an uncertain return date.
Analysis: The Hurricanes were expected to have a clearer idea of Ryan Murphy's timetable by this point in the week, but it appears they weren't able to gain the clarity they were looking for. Peters did mention that the Hurricanes won't rush Murphy back into action until they're confident he can play on a regular basis, so the blueliner may need to log multiple days of practices in a row before he's activated from IR.

Teuvo Teravainen
Chicago's Teravainen Likely To Be Scratched Friday
Teuvo Teravainen, LW, CHI
3/6/2015
News: Teuvo Teravainen is expected to serve as a healthy scratch Friday against the Oilers, Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reports.
Analysis: It sounds like coach Joel Quenneville is itching to get a look at the recently acquired Andrew Desjardins, so he'll slot into the lineup for his Blackhawks debut while Teuvo Teravainen heads to the press box. Teravainen was expected to be the main ice time beneficiary in the wake of Patrick Kane's long-term injury, but he hasn't played more than 14 minutes in the three games since his call-up.

Michael Latta
Caps' Latta Out Thursday
Michael Latta, C, WAS
3/6/2015
News: Michael Latta (upper body) will not play Thursday against the Wild.
Analysis: The Capitals are still listing Michael Latta as day-to-day with the injury, but since he failed to participate in the team's morning skate, he'll be held out of the lineup Thursday. Brooks Laich will rejoin the lineup to replace Latta.

Tuukka Rask
Bruins Expected To Roll With Rask On Thursday
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
3/6/2015
News: Tuukka Rask is in line to start Thursday's game against the Flames, the Calgary Sun reports.
Analysis: With the Bruins clinging to the No. 2 wild card seed in the Eastern Conference, Tuukka Rask figures to remain busy going forward, though it's worth noting that the team has back-to-back contests this weekend, against the Flyers on Saturday and the Red Wings on Sunday.

Corey Crawford
Hawks Turn To Crawford On Friday
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
3/6/2015
News: Corey Crawford is slated to start Friday's game against the Oilers, ESPN Chicago reports.
Analysis: Corey Crawford, who has won his last two starts, will take aim Friday at an Oilers squad that remains in last place in the Western Conference, with 46 points in 64 games to date.

Tim Erixon
Leafs' Erixon Iffy For Thursday
Tim Erixon, D, TOR
3/6/2015
News: Tim Erixon (illness) is questionable to play Thursday against the Lightning, TSN's Jonas Siegel reports.
Analysis: Tim Erixon, who was claimed on waivers from Chicago on Sunday, suited up for his first game in a Toronto uniform on Tuesday, seeing 15:52 worth of ice time in the process.

Alex Burrows
Canucks' Burrows Slated To Play Thursday
Alex Burrows, LW, VAN
3/6/2015
News: Alex Burrows (groin) was a full participant at the Canucks' morning skate and looks in line to play Thursday against the Coyotes, Jeff Paterson of TSN 1040 reports.
Analysis: Alex Burrows resumed skating with the team Monday after first suffering the groin injury about two weeks ago. He skated as a member of the Canucks' second line and saw duty on the top power-play unit during Thursday's morning skate, a likely indicator that the team considers him fit to play. The winger has been about a half-point-per-game contributor when he's been healthy enough to suit up this season, notching 12 goals and 13 assists in 52 games.

Tyler Seguin
Stars' Seguin Progressing Well
Tyler Seguin, C, DAL
3/6/2015
News: Tyler Seguin (knee) is making progress toward a return to action, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: While a specific timetable for his return to action has yet to be outlined, the center appears to be ahead of schedule on that front. "Tyler is really closing in on 'day-to-day' for us," coach Lindy Ruff said of Tyler Seguin, who was on the ice with his teammates Thursday. "So I would say probably within a week, or sooner. It depends on how he responds to some heavy workouts here today and tomorrow."

Zack Kassian
Canucks' Kassian Back In Thursday
Zack Kassian, RW, VAN
3/6/2015
News: Zack Kassian (illness) will return to the lineup Thursday against the Coyotes, Jeff Paterson of TSN 1040 reports.
Analysis: Zack Kassian was forced to skip Tuesday's game against the Sharks after coming down with a stomach flu. He received an IV to treat the illness, which apparently was enough to aid his recovery. The winger assumed his usual spot on the top line with the Sedin twins, an arrangement that should make him an attractive, cost-effective play in daily formats, particularly against an Arizona squad that ranks 30th in goals allowed.

Sergei Bobrovsky
Blue Jackets' Bobrovsky Set To Start Friday
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, CLB
3/6/2015
News: Sergei Bobrovsky will start Friday's game against New Jersey, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Analysis: Sergei Bobrovsky, who allowed four goals on 32 shots in his return to action in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Caps, will look to help the Blue Jackets change their luck on Friday, as the team is in the midst of an 0-6-1 slide.

 
 
 
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