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Fantasy Spin: Kovalev, Stillman to familiar territory

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 7:46 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Sergei J. Feldman - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Fantasy Spin: Kovalev, Stillman to familiar territory
There likely has been as much movement in your fantasy rosters in the past few days as there might have been all year, what with the NHL trade deadline looming and all.

Like it or not, the movement isn't going to let up for a few more days.

After being a disappointment for the better part of the 2010-11 season, Ottawa Senators right wing Alex Kovalev has been traded away to his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, for a conditional draft pick.

While Kovalev has long been regarded as one of the League's most talented players, his production has declined in each of the past five seasons. Still, with an overpowering shot and superb skating ability even at age 38, Kovalev can shine when motivated -- which has been the case since the All-Star break.

In 10 games since, the break, Kovalev has 6 goals (14 total) and 9 points (27 total), while averaging two shots a goal per game. Now, Kovalev leaves a team that sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and joins a playoff-bound team in Pittsburgh, where his offensive services will be more than welcome, as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and a host of other forwards remain sidelined.

One other thing to note, Kovalev's best years as a pro were in Pittsburgh, where he played from 1998-2003 and scored at least 20 goals every year while putting up as many as 95 points. A second go-round in Pittsburgh could be just what Kovalev needs to continue his recent hot stretch.

While Kovalev settles into the Steel City, Dan Ellis goes from one warm climate to another after being dealt from Tampa Bay to Anaheim in exchange for Curtis McElhinney in an exchange of backup goalies.

With Dwayne Roloson taking over the No. 1 job between the pipes in Tampa Bay, Jonas Hiller dealing with an injury in Anaheim and recent pickup Ray Emery far from a proven option in Anaheim given his recent absence from the NHL, Ellis gets a chance to showcase his talents for the recently slumping Ducks.

Ellis posted better numbers during his three-year stint with Nashville than the ones we've seen of him in his first year with Tampa Bay (13-7-0, 2.93 GAA,.889 save percentage), but the Ducks are a bit more defensively sound than the Lightning, so the opportunity to reach his career-best 2.34 GAA, .923 save percentage stat line is within reach and therefore worth a shot.

The struggling Florida Panthers also made a deal on Thursday, sending veteran forward Cory Stillman back to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Ryan Carter and a fifth-round draft pick in June. The 37-year-old left wing hasn't produced as much as he'd like this season, but like Kovalev, a change of scenery and a push for the playoffs could rejuvenate Stillman.

By year's end, Stillman's 7 goals could easily reach double figures, while his 16 assists and 81 shots, playing alongside the likes of Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Jeff Skinner or Tuomo Ruutu, could mean more production for your fantasy rosters.
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