One of the two big fish is officially gone. With Jeff Carter getting traded last night to the Los Angeles Kings, that leaves Rick Nash as the last remaining prime-time target before Monday's trade deadline.
Carter, center and right wing eligible in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues, should see an immediate fantasy boost for the rest of this season, and his owners should definitely be happy about this trade. While the Kings are dead last in goals per game at just 2.05, Carter will end up playing on a better line than he was in Columbus, and despite this season's struggles the Kings clearly have more offensive depth than the Jackets -- Carter should end up playing the right side to either Anze Kopitar or former teammate Mike Richards.
Center - LAK
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 25
SOG: 130 | +/-: -11
SOG: 130 | +/-: -11
As we said in Wednesday's "Center Stage," Carter is a talented goal-scorer that's averaged 38.33 goals over the three seasons prior to this one. He was clearly unhappy in Columbus and his offensive output showed that with just 15 goals, 10 assists and a minus-11 rating in 39 games -- he's better than that. People will continue to question the mental aspects of Carter's game, but he has one of the best snap shots in the NHL and could be in line for a big finish to this campaign.
The Kings have 21 games remaining in the regular season -- don't be surprised if Carter scores over 10 goals down the stretch and puts up 20-plus points with a significant improvement in the plus/minus category. He won't help with penalty minutes, but he should be slotted in on the team's top power-play unit and he also loves to shoot the puck (he averages 3.33 shots per game this season and finished with over 319 shots in each of the last three seasons), so his peripheral fantasy value should also benefit from this trade.
Los Angeles is in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Western Conference and it seems like this trade is a step in the right direction to answer its goal-scoring issues.
TOP 40 FANTASY RIGHT WINGS
These modified re-rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward (including injuries). The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings. (NR means not ranked in previous rankings). Note: Positions are dictated by how they're labeled in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues.
- 1. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins* (same)
- 2. Claude Giroux, Flyers* (same)
- 3. Corey Perry, Ducks (same)
- 4. Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs (same)
- 5. Ilya Kovalchuk, Devils* (same)
- 6. James Neal, Penguins* (same)
- 7. Joffrey Lupul, Maple Leafs* (same)
- 8. Marian Hossa, Blackhawks (+2)
- 9. Marian Gaborik, Rangers (-1)
- 10. Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks* (+2)
- 11. Teemu Selanne, Ducks (+3)
- 12. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks* (+1)
- 13. Jarome Iginla, Flames (-2)
- 14. David Backes, Blues* (-5)
- 15. Johan Franzen, Red Wings* (same)
- 16. Martin St. Louis, Lightning (same)
- 17. Joe Pavelski, Sharks* (same)
- 18. Tyler Seguin, Bruins* (same)
- 19. Rick Nash, Blue Jackets* (+3)
- 20. Radim Vrbata, Coyotes (+3)
- 21. Jason Pominville, Sabres (-2)
- 22. Jordan Eberle, Oilers (-1)
- 23. Jeff Carter, Blue Jackets* (+4)
- 24. Ryan Callahan, Rangers (same)
- 25. Kris Versteeg, Panthers* (-5)
- 26. Dany Heatley, Wild (same)
- 27. Erik Cole, Canadiens* (+1)
- 28. Jeff Skinner, Hurricanes* (+1)
- 29. Alexandre Burrows, Canucks* (+1)
- 30. Ryane Clowe, Sharks* (-5)
- 31. Loui Eriksson, Stars* (same)
- 32. PA Parenteau, Islanders (+1)
- 33. Alexander Semin, Capitals* (-1)
- 34. Wayne Simmonds, Flyers (+6)
- 35. Daniel Alfredsson, Senators (same)
- 36. Milan Michalek, Senators* (same)
- 37. T.J. Oshie, Blues* (-3)
- 38. Jaromir Jagr, Flyers (same)
- 39. Danny Briere, Flyers* (-2)
- 40. Blake Wheeler, Jets (NR)
When Monday arrives, make sure all you fantasy owners are ready to go. A player you might think has no value right now could be headed for a totally different fate depending on where he gets traded. It will be a race to add the obvious players, but it's the subtle moves that could be the difference makers for the stretch run in your fantasy league -- you don't want to be the owner that misses out on adding any of the players that get a boost.
Rick Nash (owned in 95 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- The golden chip of the deadline trade rumors, Nash is clearly the biggest name in play this year. While his stats aren't what they usually are (60 games: 20 G, 22 A, minus-21, 32 PIMs, 14 PPP, 229 SOG), he is still considered one of the League's most dynamic and lethal players. Columbus could very well end up holding onto Nash, but if he does end up getting traded, it will give his fantasy value an immediate increase. Nash has never really played with another elite player and despite finding decent chemistry with solid role players over the years, a move to a contending team would likely give him that playmaker he's never had. He has had three seasons with 30-plus goals and two with over 40, so just imagine what he could do if playing in a better environment with better players around him. Any time he's participated in international play, he was clearly one of Team Canada's most talented players. Again, there's a definite chance Nash stays put, but if he gets dealt, his fantasy owners should rejoice.
Sam Gagner (44 percent) -- Gagner was a likely player to be traded about a month ago, but then February came and he showed the Oilers just what they'd be missing if he was dealt. We all know about his 4-goal, 4-assist performance against the Blackhawks on Feb. 2, but he has stayed hot since that eruption -- Gagner has 5 goals and 5 assists in his previous nine games. The Oilers would be wise to hold onto someone this talented and still so young (22), but there's an outside chance another team will overwhelm them and the Oilers pull the trigger on a Gagner deal.
Brad Boyes (23 percent) -- Boyes is the perfect example of a player that didn't carry much fantasy value prior to the deadline, but then saw his value increase significantly after getting traded. Last season at this time Boyes had just 12 goals in 62 games for the Blues and they decided to ship him off to the Sabres. In 21 games with Buffalo, Boyes found himself helping the Sabres earn a playoff berth with 5 goals and 9 assists to go along with a solid plus-2 rating, 4 power-play points and 46 shots on goal. This season things haven't gone as well for the former 43-goal scorer -- he has just 3 goals and 10 assists in 47 games, and his name has been circulating in trade rumors. If he ends up joining a contending team, look for Boyes' fantasy value to get a boost down the stretch, similar to what he did a year ago.
Ales Hemsky (18 percent) -- Outside of Nash and Carter, Hemsky could be the most talented player on the market -- that is, if the Oilers decide to move him. While his stat line won't impress you (47 games: 5 G, 21 A, minus-14, 27 PIMs, 8 PPP, 79 SOG), most fantasy owners of years past know what he's capable of. Hemsky has an injury history (a red flag for teams interested in him), but he's healthy right now and has the potential to be a point-per-game caliber player in the right situation. He is a pass-first player that's had four 40-plus assist seasons despite battling constant injuries. With Edmonton seeming to build around their new core of young players up front (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle), Hemsky could find himself on a new team by next week. If that's the case, fantasy owners should be jumping all over him. Of all the players that could get traded, Hemsky might be the one that sees the greatest increase in fantasy value on a new team.