Reviewing three big trades

Ryan Dadoun
July 2, 2013
Dose: Snatch Schneider
Wednesday's Hockey Dose rolls out some game summaries and plenty of suggestions, including buying in on Cory Schneider, whose luck might be turning

There were a few major trades during the 2013 NHL Entry Draft that have significant fantasy hockey implications.  Below we’ll break down each of these deals to see what they mean for each of the players impacted.

Trade 1: New Jersey Devils acquire Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat).

Schneider – He’s going from a position where he’s competing with Roberto Luongo for playing time to battling Martin Brodeur.  The short-term difference is that the Devils have made it clear that Brodeur is still their number one goaltender going into the 2013-14 campaign.  That might create an awkward situation as Schneider is the better goaltender at this point, but Brodeur is still solid and it’s hard to relegate one of the best netminders of all-time to backup duties.

What will probably happen is that the two will split the goaltending duties pretty evenly.  If Brodeur suffers an injury – which is a serious possibility given his age and recent injury history – then Schneider will play in almost every game during Brodeur’s absence.

In the short-term, how this impacts Schneider’s fantasy value is really reflective of what your expectations were related to the Canucks’ goaltending situation.  If you thought that Luongo would be dealt then this hurts because you were penciling in Schneider for 60-70 starts when in reality he’s far more likely to get 35-50.  Regardless, Schneider is now the heir apparent in New Jersey and he should only have to endure one season of splitting starts with Brodeur before becoming the team’s undisputed starter.

Martin Brodeur – We’ve already touched on the fact that he’s going to have to split starts with Schneider.  This trade hurts his fantasy value because Schneider is certainly a much greater threat to steal starts than Johan Hedberg was, but as long as Brodeur can stay healthy (again, that’s far from certain), the Devils will probably be very reluctant to bench him for long periods of time in what will presumably be his final season as a starter.

Like Schneider, you should pencil Brodeur in for 35-50 starts.  The key difference will be in each netminder’s GAA and save percentage.  Schneider’s should rank among the best in the league, while Brodeur is likely to be between good to average in that regard.

Johan Hedberg – What fantasy value he had is gone.  It seems unlikely that the Devils will be able to trade him and in New Jersey, the best he can hope for is being the team’s insurance policy.  If he decides to go with the latter route, then he might end up with a few starts should one of the other two netminders get injured, but he would be at best a situational pickup in standard leagues – not someone you would consider drafting.

Even if the Devils do trade or use a compliance buyout on him, the best he could hope for is serving as another team’s backup goaltender.

Roberto Luongo – There’s been a lot of speculation that he might refuse to report to training camp, but that seems unlikely.  The bottom line is Vancouver didn’t trade him because they couldn’t get anything close to a decent return.  Luongo must be painfully aware of how his contract handcuffs him and while he might not like that, he is more-or-less stuck.

While it’s possible that he might try to resist staying with the Canucks anyways, it seems more likely that he’ll simply adjust to this new situation.  Assuming he does so, he’ll be the Canucks’ undisputed number one goaltender once more.  Barring an injury, you can count on him starting in at least 60 games this season and if new coach John Tortorella puts an emphasis on conservative, defensive play, then Luongo should be one of the best goaltenders out there from a GAA and save percentage perspective.  For the 2013-14 campaign, Luongo should be the first goaltender drafted out of the ones mentioned in this article.

Eddie Lack – Although nothing is certain yet, Lack will probably be the Canucks’ number two goaltender in 2013-14.  After all, his deal is one-way for the coming season.  Lack is coming off of a rough season where he was limited to just 13 games due to hip surgery, but he is a talented young netminder that has excelled in the AHL in previous campaigns.  That all being said, he will probably only get the occasional start behind Luongo as the Canucks ease him into the NHL.

There’s always a chance that something disastrous will happen with the Luongo situation – for example, if he does end up refusing to play or if it becomes apparent that his heart isn’t in it – but the odds are Lack will have little to no fantasy value next season.

Trade 2: Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Dave Bolland from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 51st overall pick (Carl Dahlstrom), 117th overall pick (later dealt to San Jose - Fredrik Bergvik), and a 2014 fourth-round pick.

Let’s ignore the implications for Chicago for now and tackle that after we’ve addressed the Frolik trade, given that those two deals go hand-in-hand for the Blackhawks…

Bolland – For years the Chicago Blackhawks have limited Bolland primarily to third-line center duties, but Leafs GM Dave Nonis is hoping that Bolland can play in an expanded role next season.  That might mean more playing time with one of the team’s top two lines.  Bolland does have some offensive upside and how much this deal helps him will depend largely on where he fits in.

At the time of writing, Tyler Bozak still hasn’t re-signed and given the acquisition of Bolland, it’s entirely possible that he won’t.  If he doesn’t, Bolland’s chances of centering Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel will go up.  Under those circumstances, Bolland could enjoy a breakout season – but we wouldn’t draft him under the assumption that will happen.  The safer bet would be to pencil him in for 40-50 points for now and keep a close eye on how the Leafs’ lines shake out during training camp.

Mikhail Grabovski – He’s gone from averaging 19:22 minutes in 2010-11 to 17:36 in 2011-12 and finally 15:34 last season.  There was a chance that Bozak would leave and Grabovski would see his responsibilities increase, but it’s going to be a much tougher battle now.  Between the acquisition of Bolland and the rise of Nazem Kadri, it’s not hard to see how Grabovski could be relegated to third-line duties.  If Bozak ends up re-signing on top of that, then Grabovski will probably remain stuck on the third line even if one of the previously mentioned centers (most likely Kadri) shifts to the wing.

Grabovski is certainly worth keeping an eye on because he does have the capability to force himself back into the equation, but we can’t recommend taking him as anything other than a very late round gamble in standard league drafts.

Trade 3: The Winnipeg Jets acquired Michael Frolik from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 74th overall pick (John Hayden) and 134th overall pick (Luke Johnson).

Frolik – He was shaping up to be a top-six forward with the Florida Panthers when his career started, but he slipped in the depth charts when he joined the Chicago Blackhawks.  Frolik only averaged 12:31 minutes of ice time in 2013 with Chicago, largely due to the team’s depth.  Consequently, he had basically no fantasy value.

In Winnipeg, Frolik has a new opportunity to play on a scoring line and he might have some fantasy value as a result.  You could do worse than take a chance on Frolik towards the end of a standard fantasy league draft in the hopes that he pushes the 20-goal and 50-point marks on a top-six line.  Just keep in mind that there’s still a very real possibility that he’ll end up falling back into a more defensive role with Winnipeg too.

Jimmy Hayes/Jeremy Morin/Ben Smith – With Frolik and Bolland gone in Chicago, there’s an opportunity for one or more of those three to step up with the Blackhawks.  None of them are likely to get anything more than bottom-six duties in 2013, but it would still be a step up for the three young forwards.

Of them, the only one that has any potential short-term fantasy value is Morin.  That’s because Morin would help you out in terms of penalty minutes (like more than 1 PIM per game) in addition to chipping in a bit offensively.  Even then though, we can’t recommend drafting him in standard leagues.  They’re all just guys to keep an eye on and potentially grab whenever they get opportunities on more appealing lines or during their hot streaks.

Andrew Shaw – With Bolland gone and Michal Handzus potentially leaving as an unrestricted free agent, there’s an opportunity for Shaw to serve as the team’s second-line center.  Shaw had 15 points and 38 penalty minutes in 48 games last season, and he might surpass the 40-point mark while recording over 60 penalty minutes if he does get regular ice time on a top two line.

He’s far from a safe bet to actually land that role, but he should still have some fantasy value even if he’s principally limited to the third line, so he’s another decent late round gamble.