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Trade Deadline '10 - 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 4th), 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.  We took a look at all the significant players that were dealt over the past two deadlines (about 30 players) and the vast majority of them saw an increase in their production, with an average increase of 28% in their ppg average.  A few examples of guys who paid big dividends for their new teams (and fantasy GMs) down the stretch last year were Erik Cole, Chris Kunitz, Matthew Lombardi, Mathieu Schneider and Scottie Upshall. 

So with that in mind we've got two lists for your consideration... 12 players who could get a boost from a trade and 5 teams where changes could have a big impact... check 'em out after the jump...

Note that we haven't included guys like Kaberle, Vokoun or Kubina as we doubt they'll be traded.

12 Players Who Could Get a Boost From a Trade

Kozlov Slava Kozlov - Let's see... he wants out, the Thrashers want rid of him, he's topped 70 points in three of his prior four seasons... sounds like a good bet to get moved, with his no trade clause being the only potential wrench.  We think Kozlov would be a great add for a number of contenders and, in the right situation, could be the guy on this list who puts up the most points the rest of the way.

Joe Corvo - Like a lot of guys on the Hurricanes, Corvo's having an off year with only 12 points in 33 games but its not only a trade out of Carolina that should provide Corvo with a boost down the stretch, getting healthy should help too.  In his prior four seasons he's averaged 12+29=41, so look for him to bounce back over the last six weeks, be it in Carolina or somewhere else.

Marty Biron -  I think his plan for this year was that he would split the starts with Roloson on Long Island, look good doing it and then get dealt at the trade deadline to a contender.  Well the first two of those didn't really work out as Biron has only made 17 starts this year and only has four wins to show for it.  Now two of those wins did come right before the Olympic break so he may have shown enough to still be a valuable trading chip.  He's typically a good goalie down the stretch and so a deal to a playoff contender could turn him into a top 15 goalie for the final six weeks of the season.

Alexei Ponikarovsky - He's not a big scorer, maxing out at 23 goals and 61 points last year but he's a very useful player that could be a fantasy contributor if he ends up riding shotgun with a stud Cman... such as Malkin, which is one of his many rumoured destinations.

Kariya Paul Kariya - This season's 29 points in 56 games are numbers that Kariya hasn't had since... ever.  Sure, he's 35 but he's averaged .94 ppg over the prior four seasons and this year's slump could have more to do with a diminished role as his ice-time is down and his PP time is under 2:30 /game (was above four mpg last year).

JM Liles - He's had more scratches than a cat-fight this year as he's fallen out of favour with Avs coach Joe Sacco but despite that he's still had 24 points in 41 games.  He's been a very consistent point producer, averaging 11+28=39 over his five full NHL seasons so all this guy needs is more ice-time from a new team and the points will come.  He has two years left on his contract with a $4.2M cap hit, so that could make a trade difficult.

Peter Mueller - Dude needs a change of scenery as he's firmly locked in Dave Tippett's doghouse this year and is having a nightmare season.  But everyone knows he has the talent and we'd gladly take a flier on a 21-year old former top 10 pick who had 54 points as a 19-year old rookie.

Ray Whitney - He's being kind of a hard-ass about his NTC so he might not get moved but a trade to a contender should give him an emotional boost more than anything.  He's already playing on the top line in Carolina with a very good pivot (Eric Staal) and sees a lot of PP time, so its unlikely he'd see a big upgrade on that but Whitney's a consistent and underrated offensive player who's typically close to a point-per-game while doing a lot of his damage on the PP. 

Zidlicky Marek Zidlicky - The Wild are trying to re-sign Zids and we don't blame them as he's having another fine season, currently on pace for 47 points.  He's consistently a threat for 50 points a season and with a move to a team with a little more offensive punch, he could exceed that this year.

Dan Hamhuis - Over the past four seasons he's settled into the mid 20 point range with Nashville but he was a big point producer in junior, had a 50 point season in the AHL and had 38 points in his second NHL season so you know he's got a little more offensive potential than what he's shown lately.  He's seeing virtually no PP time so if he goes to a team that gives him a few more opportunities, he could surprise.  

Cory Stillman - You're probably saying, "WTF, Stillman hasn't retired yet?"... no he hasn't, we just checked... he's with Florida this year and with only 25 points so far, we don't blame you for forgetting about him.  But this guy can still put up points and his .61 ppg this year is his lowest since 2001/02, so we think there's still gas in the tank.  A trade anywhere would be an upgrade as the Panthers are 27th in the league in goals scored and 28th in PP%.

Cory Schneider - The Canucks have been denying that they're willing to move Schneider but with Luongo locked up long-term then we don't see why they wouldn't flip the asset for something more useful in the short-term.  If Schneider gets moved then it will likely be to a rebuilding team so he probably won't put up great numbers this year but those in keepers leagues will have themselves a guy who could be a #1 next year. 

5 Teams Where Changes Could Have a Big Impact

Boston Boston - They're 30th in the league in goals scored this year so you'd have to think they're looking for some scoring touch up front.  If they can find someone then Marc Savard would probably be the biggest benefactor as he's been struggling without a trigger-man to set up.

Buffalo - Could probably use a proven PP QB to take some of the heat off of Tyler Myers.  This would help the PP which is not clicking as Lindy Ruff would like (19th in the league) but it could mean less minutes on the #1 unit for Myers or forwards like Roy, Pominville or Vanek. 

Chicago - Antti Niemi looks to have finally taken over the #1 job from Cristobal Huet but it may be short-lived if the Hawks end up bringing in some outside help.  This is a big one as whoever's playing behind this defense (the best in the league with only 24.4 shots allowed /game) will be one of the top fantasy goalies over the next six weeks. 

Philadelphia Philadelphia - With Ray Emery's hip not getting any better and his return date unknown, they could be in the market for some help in net.  Mike Leighton has filled in admirably so far but they might not be willing to ride him into the playoffs.  Could Biron be brought back?... that would seem to be a decent option unless there's some underlying issues there.

Pittsburgh - Another trade deadline and another need for a scoring winger for Crosby and/or Malkin.  The rumour is that this is where Whitney wants to go but we're not sure that the Penguins can make it happen.  If they find a scoring winger then one of imposter's who is currently occupying one of those spots will get relegated (take your pick amongst Kunitz, Guerin, Fedotenko, etc).