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Trade Deadline - Fantasy Preview

Prepared Everyone, and we mean everyone, is gearing up for the trade deadline and every website, newspaper, church newsletter, etc. has their own list of who might get dealt and who's looking for what… yawn.  But here at Fantasy Hockey Scouts we come at the trade deadline from a different angle, to us its not about what big name is getting dealt or what team's going to make the big deal… its all about what players could see big changes in their value as a result of a trade… and with the trade deadline in your fantasy league rapidly approaching (Yahoo's default trade deadline is March 5th)… information like this could be a wee bit useful.

Shrewd fantasy hockey GMs know that the trade deadline is an excellent opportunity to turn risk into reward as players can receive a big boost in their value based on a new situation.  For example, last season, not only did big names like Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet pay big dividends for their new teams (and fantasy GMs) down the stretch but even less heralded players like Fedorov, Hlavac and Halpern saw large jumps in production after joining their new club.

So with that in mind we've got two lists for you to consider... 10 players who could get a boost from a trade and 5 teams where changes could have a big impact.

10 Players Who Could Get a Boost From a Trade:

Afinogenov Maxim Afinogenov - When he hasn't been hurt (he's close to coming back from a groin injury) he's been a total disaster on the ice this year with only two goals in 34 games.  But don't forget that this guy averaged over a ppg in the first two years coming out of the lockout before falling apart last year... so if he finds motivation (how bout the fact that he's a UFA this summer?) then he could do what Sergei Samsonov did when he went to Carolina last year.

Nik Antropov - He seems to be attracting interest from the big hitters and if Antropoof can land on a talented team with a good setup man then he could really improve on his goals, +/- and PIMs.

Jay Bouwmeester - Who knows what's going through GM Jacques Martin's head and whether he'll grow a pair and actually deal J-Bo instead of watching him walk in the summer... all we know is that there are plenty of better situations for an offensive dman like Bouwmeester.  Florida is 17th in the league in goals scored and 26th in PP%, so most likely Bouwmeester would end up with a team with a lot more firepower to play with than Florida has.

Cole Erik Cole - Brutal year in Edmonton for Cole as he's on pace for a sub 20 goal/35 point season.  Had a hot stretch in January (11 points in nine games) so he's shown that he's still got something in the tank.  He could really use a change on scenery and with new linemates you could easily see him getting back to that 30 goal/60 point pace that he's capable of. 

Dan Ellis - Hasn't been very good this year and lost the #1 job in Nashville to Pekka Rinne but he proved in last year's stretch drive and playoffs that he can carry a team... so he might be a nice insurance policy for a contender with a question mark in net.

Manny Fernandez - Both the Bruins' goalies are UFAs this summer and they have Rask waiting in the wings so it wouldn't surprise us if The Man was used as trade bait.  He's posted great numbers this year (2.24 gaa & .921 sv%) playing behind the best defensive team in the league so he could definitely end up in a much worse situation but he's only seen action in 22 games for Boston this year so he'd be in for a big jump in playing time if he moved to a new team.

Halak Jaroslav Halak - The plan all year may have been for the Habs to deal Halak to get that last piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle but Carey Price's inconsistent play this year may make it impossible for them to give up Halak as he's taken over the #1 duties of late.  GM Bob Gainey showed last year that we should expect the unexpected at the deadline so we'll wait and see if he has anything up his sleeve but Halak's situation could really swing dramatically under a number of scenarios.

Manny Legace - Banished to the AHL after being deemed expendable in St. Louis.  We'd be shocked if he doesn't find a new home on Wednesday as the veteran could help a number of teams and if he ends up on a contender then all it takes is an injury and he becomes the main Man.

Michael Nylander - He's been right around a ppg since the lockout until this year where Washington seems to have decided that he's useless to them.  His contract (two more years at a $4.9M cap hit) will make him hard to deal but it will also mean that a team will be fully committed to him if they acquire him.  Could really provide a nice reward for a fantasy GM who's willing to take the risk.

Preissing Tom Preissing - Only seen action in 22 games so far this year and whether that's due to an illness or the fact that LA doesn't have any use for this guy any more, we don't know... or care.  All we care about is that they've activated him from the IR this past weekend and he's not that far removed from being a very useful fantasy hockey dmen (43 & 38 points the first two years after the lockout).  A trade to the right situation could see this guy go from zero to hero in an instant.

5 Teams Where Changes Could Have a Big Impact:

Buffalo - With Ryan Miller out for an extended period they should be looking for some short-term help in net.  Patrick Lalime is doing his best to hold the fort but we wouldn't trust Lalime to hold his own lunch.  So if you grabbed Lalime when Miller went down, keep your trigger finger ready as you may need to snap up a new replacement soon.

CalgaryFlames Calgary - Really could use a Cman to play on one of their top two lines.  They have Daymond Langkow but he's been relegated to more 2nd line duty this year so maybe they'll go after a #1C and replace the well-used Craig ConroyMatthew Lombardi is another one who's auditioned for that role but he'll probably either be bumped or used as bait if they can find a suitable Cman.

Columbus - Have been looking for a #1C since the franchise was founded and maybe now they'll be serious about getting one.  Once that happens, Manny Malhotra's run as the interim #1C will be over.  The CBJs also could also be in the market for a PP QB as they struggle badly with the man advantage.  Currently some combination of Kris Russell, Fedor Tyutin and Jason Williams is not getting it done so one or all could be upgraded.

MontrealCanadiens Montreal - The Habs have been looking for a #1 center ever since they traded Bobby Smith (ok, that's probably not true but its been a while).  They wanted Mats Sundin but couldn't pull it off and settled for a fill-in like Robert Lang (until he was knocked out for the year) but now might be the time for GM Bob Gainey to make a move.  If he does then guys like Tomas Plekanec and Saku Koivu will be dropped down a notch in the pecking order.

Pittsburgh - Needs someone to play on Crosby's wing, we hope GM Ray Shero doesn't think that Chris Kunitz is the answer cause if he does then he's not a very bright GM.  If they find someone then that should allow guys like Fedotenko and Satan to return to a more suitable position… the 3rd line (aka the Islanders leading scorers).