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Fantasy Spin: Trades could spark available forwards

by Pete Jensen

The NHL Trade Deadline had no shortage of marquee names changing area codes. Here's a quick roundup of the fantasy implications:

**Ryan Miller is 3-0-0 with five goals allowed since being traded to the St. Louis Blues and is facing significantly fewer shots per game, as predicted.

**Roberto Luongo has seen his value take a short-term hit after being dealt to the Florida Panthers, who are outside of the Stanley Cup Playoff picture.

Readily available players on the fantasy waiver wire could see a lift in value either directly (by having been traded) or indirectly (as a result of deals around them). (Photo: Getty Images)

**Martin St. Louis, 38, should remain a productive playmaker with the New York Rangers, as Matt Cubeta explains. New Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, back from injury, will likely need time to find offensive rhythm after the departure of his longtime sidekick.

**Jaroslav Halak was traded twice and is expected to be in a less-promising timeshare situation with Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals. He saw a sizable drop in Justin Goldman's rankings.

**Thomas Vanek and Marian Gaborik join teams in need of scoring help upfront. Gaborik goes from a deep Columbus Blue Jackets top-nine forward mix to a situation with the Los Angeles Kings where he can see top-line and power-play minutes with Anze Kopitar. While Vanek won't be playing alongside John Tavares, he was on a line with Tomas Plekanec in his Montreal Canadiens debut, meaning he's likely to remain relevant on the fantasy map.

While the big movers and shakers are bound to alter the fantasy landscape, each of the aforementioned players is owned in 75 to 100 percent of Yahoo leagues. Unless you are swinging trades involving these players, the trends will usually stay in-house for fantasy owners.

But that's where under-the-radar deals come into play. There are readily available players on the waiver wire who could see a lift in value either directly (by being traded) or indirectly (as a result of deals around them). Here are two examples of each:


David Legwand (C, Detroit Red Wings)

David Legwand
Center - DET
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 40
SOG: 109 | +/-: -10
Yahoo Fantasy ownership: 18 percent

Legwand played 16:02 and recorded two shots on goal in his Red Wings debut against the Colorado Avalanche. The 33-year-old averaged nearly three minutes per game on the power play (16 power-play points) with the Nashville Predators prior to being dealt before the deadline, but only saw 20 seconds of ice time with the man-advantage Thursday. That should change, though, as Detroit desperately needs him to get acclimated quickly to its system given how the Red Wings have been decimated by injuries down the middle. Without Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss, there's no other way for the Wings to turn other than to taking their chances with Legwand centering Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen on their top line.

Lee Stempniak (LW/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins)

Lee Stempniak
Right Wing - PIT
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 23
SOG: 144 | +/-: -22
Yahoo Fantasy ownership: 7 percent

We all know the playmakers around Stempniak when he was on the Calgary Flames cannot be compared to those around him in Pittsburgh, so it's somewhat encouraging he was still able to put forth a respectable points-per-game average (0.52) in his three seasons in Alberta. He was productive down the stretch in deep leagues during the 2012-13 season, with points in nine of his final 13 games, and could be useful again after his change of scenery. Stempniak, 31, played on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Taylor Pyatt in his debut but got some shifts with Sidney Crosby on the top line late in the game as well. Having dual eligibility also never hurts fantasy owners this time of year. A few strong games for Stempniak could lead to a sudden 10-to-15 percent value spike, so don't hesitate to take a flyer on him now.


Mikael Granlund (C, Minnesota Wild)

Mikael Granlund
Center - MIN
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 26 | PTS: 32
SOG: 79 | +/-: 0
Yahoo Fantasy ownership: 10 percent

Matt Moulson's arrival in Minnesota all but guarantees Granlund (32 points in 49 games) will have a top-tier left wing by his side at even-strength. Whether he continues to play with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville on the top line or is eventually shifted down with Moulson and Charlie Coyle, there's tremendous upside surrounding Granlund. Moulson, an underrated finisher in this League, provides the team with a hard-working presence in front of the net that could have a ripple effect on the team's secondary scoring. Granlund has fed off positive momentum gained in the Sochi Olympics (one goal, three assists in three games since the break) and can help fantasy owners in a crunch for a productive center.

Radim Vrbata (RW, Phoenix Coyotes)

Radim Vrbata
Right Wing - PHX
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 42
SOG: 211 | +/-: -5
Yahoo Fantasy ownership: 52 percent

Vrbata has been an explosive fantasy right wing option for years, but has had five goal-scoring droughts of five or more games this season. The Coyotes acquired Martin Erat leading up to the deadline, a move that did not make waves but could ultimately benefit Vrbata. In Erat's debut against the Canadiens, Vrbata had a pair of goals and played mostly with Erat, a fellow Czech Republic native, and Kyle Chipchura. When Martin Hanzal returns from injury, there's a good chance Phoenix will form an all-Czech line as they push for the playoffs. This all bodes well for Vrbata, who could begin to pick up the pace in the goal-scoring department to go along with his high shot total (211, ninth in the League).


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