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Posted - 03/11/2009 :  11:56:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With the NHL trade deadline come and gone and only around 15 games left for many teams in the NHL season, it is still important to take note of what players can help you as you race towards the finish line.

The deadline itself produced some interesting scenarios worth noting.

The Carolina Hurricane’s wooed home an old flame, trading for power forward Erik Cole, who never did mesh on the top line in Edmonton. Inserted back onto the number one line for the Canes with Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu, the Hurricanes immediately went out and pounded the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Rangers by a combined score of 18-4. The Cole-Staal-Ruutu combo accounted for a whopping 20 points (11g-9a) in that three game span, all Carolina wins.

Mark Recchi found himself a new home in Boston, playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron. Recchi will see some boosted value in Boston, especially in respect to the +/- category. What should be even more exciting to poolies is the recent play of Patrice Bergeron. Reports out of Boston are that Bergeron is playing like he was in 2006-07, when he scored 22 goals and 48 assists (70 points) at just 21 years of age. It appears that Bergeron’s head is clear, and let’s hope he isn’t on the wrong end of any big hits going forward. Bergeron, 23, should still be considered one of the games bright young stars.

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope the acquisitions of big bodies Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz make the team harder to play against. The question poolies have though, is about chemistry. So far so good, as both Guerin and Kunitz have produced positively in Pittsburgh. Both wingers are currently playing on a line with Sidney Crosby, but it remains to see how long that will last. Regardless, both players should see better fantasy production, perhaps in several categories. Expect +/- and PIM numbers to increase for both players, with a good chance of a nice boost in offensive production.

Other musings....

Mr. Irrelevant: For those of you who like to look further ahead, keep an eye on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. This is starting to sound like a broken record, but once again the Red Wings scouting staff appears to have found an absolute gem in the late rounds of the Entry Draft. Ericsson was the 291st player taken (9th round) in the 2002 draft, the last player selected in that draft! In football terms, the last player taken in a draft is called Mr. Irrelevant, to which he is awarded a tongue-in-cheek trophy called the ‘Lowsman Trophy’, as opposed to the ‘Heisman Trophy’. At 6-5, 210 lbs, Ericsson is already drawing comparisons to Nicklas Lidstrom – likely an unfair comparison but impressive nonetheless.

Check out what some Wings are saying about Ericsson:

Coach Mike Babcock: "I think he has a chance to have a real impact in the league. He's a bona fide NHL defenseman. Experience is a great thing, but so is talent, so is size. I've been very impressed with him."

Nicklas Lidstrom: "His big body is tough to beat one-on-one and he's strong in the corners. He can skate with the puck, too, and shoot it. He's got a lot of potential and he's showing that."

Niklas Kronwall: "He skates just as good as anybody, if not better than a lot of guys. Having a guy with that size, who can still skate and move the puck, you don't find those guys too often."

Babcock has also said that he predicts that Ericsson will make the Red Wings team on a full time basis next year and thinks that he believes that Ericsson will “play in Detroit for 15 years”.

The bottomline is that Jonathan Ericsson should be on your long-term radar. He may not flourish offensively next season, but it is only a matter of time before he is a mainstay on your fantasy rosters.

Mr. Irrelevant? Don’t tell Jonathan Ericsson that.


3-game Suspension: Some of you may have seen this before, but for those of you who haven’t, there’s this Canucks fan named “Parksy” who has been doing a podcast for every Canucks game this year. One of his schticks is that he takes a shot after every Canucks goal. Well, apparently his wife has given him a 3-game suspension as he was unable to get out of bed the following morning after a recent Canucks win over the Sharks. The videos really are amusing if you are a fan of the Trailer Park Boys type comedy. Regardless, “Parksy” has created quite the cult following among Canucks fans, and has even spawned a copycat fill-in while the drunken podcaster sits in the penalty box. Here’s the last podcast that got him in trouble. Enjoy.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8o3HEh4ehQ

Ray Irwin writes for www.SchoolYourPool.com, the most complete fantasy hockey advice website on the internet. Featuring player and prospect rankings and interviews, daily starting goalies, buy low/sell high, injury reports, goalie carousel, and lots more...come on over to www.schoolyourpool.com and Get Educated!

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