The NHL trade deadline has passed and while it might not have been as hectic as it has been in previous years, it did present some players with great opportunities. Of course, sometimes it’s an injury to someone ahead of you in the depth charts that opens a door. We have examples of both in this week’s Waiver Wired.
– G – Ottawa Senators
isn’t sure how long he’ll be out after cutting his finger while trying to make frozen chicken, but for the time being, Lehner should be regarded as the team’s starting goaltender. Lehner hasn’t posted impressive numbers in the AHL this season, but he has a lot of potential and so far, he’s risen to the occasion in Ottawa. He’s definitely a gamble, but he’s not a bad one if you’re looking for a short-term goaltending solution.
– C – Buffalo Sabres
If there was a big trade deadline winner, it was Hodgson. He had 16 goals and 33 points in 63 games with Vancouver this season, which looks a lot more impression when you factor in that he was averaging 12:44 minutes per game. He was the victim of a logjam with the Canucks, but he won’t have to deal with the same problems in Buffalo. He logged 16:04 minutes in his Sabres debut and then a season-high 18:11 minutes on Thursday. Although he was quiet offensively in his first two games with Buffalo, we think he could end up with close to a point per game for the remainder of the campaign.
– C/LW – Buffalo Sabres
Ennis got off to a slow start this season and then when he was finally showing signs of turning things around, he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for a month and a half. It took him a bit of time to shake off the rust after he returned, but Ennis has turned a corner with two goals and seven points in his last eight games. He probably won’t maintain that pace, but he should finish the season on a high note. At the time of writing, Buffalo has 18 games left and we wouldn’t be surprised if Ennis gets another 10-15 points before the 2011-12 campaign is over.
– G – Minnesota Wild
The fact that Niklas Backstrom
will miss the next two to four weeks due to a groin strain is unfortunate for the Wild, but the silver lining is they have a great understudy in Harding. Harding had a 2.61 GAA and .917 save percentage in 25 games going into Friday’s contest against Detroit. He did get roughed up by the Red Wings, but one bad start against one of the best teams in the league should not discourage you from rolling the dice on Harding if you need goaltending help. This stretch is critical for the Wild, who need to get hot in order to make the playoffs, but it will also be very important to Harding on a personal level. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and he might search for a gig as a starter rather than stay with the Wild. If he wants to prove he’s a capable number one goaltender, a strong showing now in relief of Backstrom would certainly help his case.
– C – Columbus Blue Jackets
Before the Jeff Carter
trade, Brassard looked like a serious candidate to center the Blue Jackets’ top line. Obviously, things didn’t work out that way and Brassard wasn’t getting anywhere close to top-six minutes from October through December. However, he climbed up in the depth charts as the season went on, averaging 16:51 minutes per contest in January and 17:50 minutes in February. It’s no coincidence that he has seven goals and 18 points in his last 26 games, including 12 points in his past 14 contests. Now that Carter and Antoine Vermette
are gone, Brassard is finally playing alongside Rick Nash
. It won’t last, as Nash will almost certainly be traded before the start of the 2012-13 campaign, but for now, Brassard is definitely worth picking up.
– LW/RW – Colorado Avalanche
Downie had some fantasy value in standard leagues before the Lightning shipped him to Colorado, but the move has certainly helped him. Downie has been on fire with two goals and seven points in his first five games with the Avalanche. Downie is one of those players who gets a decent amount of points, but also spends a ton of time in the sin bin, so he’s worth owning even if he cools down. That being said, we wouldn’t be surprised if he records 10-15 points in Colorado’s final 17 games as he tries to help them make the playoffs.