The centerpieces of Thursday's blockbuster trade will get a fresh start -- and fantasy owners should take notice.
When the Boston Bruins dealt Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars for Loui Eriksson in a seven-player deal, each team addressed an important positional need. Both players took steps back fantasy-wise in 2012-13, but changes of scenery suddenly present reasons to give them early-round consideration in your drafts this fall.
How the trade impacts Seguin's fantasy value:
The deal allows Seguin to shift back to center -- his natural position -- after playing on the wing during his three seasons with the Bruins. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday that the 21-year-old will be featured on a line with star forward Jamie Benn (193 points in 263 career games), who is switching to wing in 2013-14. Seguin will be featured prominently in his new top-line role with the Stars, and thus will have room to grow offensively after being buried on the third line during the tail end of his time in Boston. His power-play numbers should skyrocket, as he is poised to average more than 2:30 per game in such situations for the first time of his career.
The bottom line is Seguin has already experienced the highs (helping the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011) and lows (scoring one goal in 22 games during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs) of playing at the NHL level. He had an impressive offensive campaign in 2011-12 (67 points, plus-34, 242 shots on goal), proving he has a high fantasy ceiling moving forward. Even during a down year of point production in 2012-13, Seguin played all 48 regular-season games, posting a plus-23 rating (T-7th in NHL) and 161 shots on goal (T-9th).
How the trade impacts Eriksson's fantasy value:
Eriksson, 27, bounced around the Stars' lineup over the course of the shortened season, and that instability caused a dip in point-production (.87 points per game in 2011-12 to .60 in 2012-13). That said, owners should not forget that he was one of only seven NHL players to register 70-plus points in each of the three prior seasons. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli praised Eriksson's shooting ability from either wing, but it's almost certain he will be positioned on the right side due to the expected free agent departures of Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr. Regardless of whether Eriksson teams up with Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the top line or Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the second unit, he should mesh well with Boston's sound group of two-way forwards.
This past regular season, Eriksson was especially valuable on special teams, seeing 3:14 of power-play ice time per game (10 PPP) and out-logging Seguin by a wide margin in total shorthanded time on ice (78:19 to 0:22). Eriksson's success on the penalty kill is likely to make a great first impression on coach Claude Julien, increasing the likelihood of him earning significant power-play minutes for a unit that converted on only 14.8 percent of its regular-season chances in 2012-13 (T-25th in NHL). Fantasy owners can expect Eriksson to test the 200-SOG mark in a full season and improve on his minus-9 rating from last season -- considering Boston tied for the League's fourth-best goal differential in 2012-13 (plus-22).