Kevin Brown

In The Crease

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Ryan Whitney on the Move?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


With the NHL trade deadline a little more than a week away, I’d like to discuss a few players who could potentially be changing jerseys. However, rather than focus solely on the impact they can make on their new clubs, let’s talk about the opportunities these moves could create on the rosters these players would leave behind.  

The name on everyone’s mind as the trade deadline approaches is, without question, that of Jarome Iginla, who has reportedly given his blessing to Flames management to explore trade options on his behalf.  For Iginla owners, any change of scenery should be viewed favorably, even if he doesn’t take on a top-line role with his new club.  I think he has more left in the tank than he has shown with Calgary this year and a move to a contender could prove to be rejuvenating for him.  Should Iginla’s familiar spot on the Flames’ power play become vacant, look for Roman Cervenka to be the main beneficiary. The former KHL standout is already in his prime at the age of 27 and despite having only recorded 10 points in 23 games thus far, an opportunity to play with the man advantage could be the spark he needs to jump-start his offensive game.  

The Stars face a difficult decision regarding center Derek Roy, as the pending unrestricted free agent has not yet inked a long-term deal with the club, despite attempts by both sides to reach an agreement.  It seems unlikely the Stars would allow the trade deadline to pass without making a decision one way or the other on his future and if Roy decides he wishes to test the market over the summer, he will likely be dealt prior to April 2nd.  If that were to happen, look for Cody Eakin to reap the benefits and step into his top-six role.  Acquired by the Stars in the Mike Ribeiro trade, Eakin has already acquitted himself well in his rookie season with 17 points in 32 contests, but an expanded role down the stretch could make him roster-worthy in all types of leagues.  

Despite a recent winning streak that has the team thinking playoffs again, there’s certainly no guarantee the Capitals will remain in the post-season race, a fate that would force them to consider trading pending free agent Mike Ribeiro.  The former member of the Canadiens and Stars has been everything the Caps hoped for when they acquired him over the summer so I have a hard time believing his situation could get any better if he were traded to a contender.  As for the situation in Washington, Ribeiro’s departure would free up playing time that could be gobbled up by one or both of Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson. Despite entering the season with the promise of continued improvement, neither player has been particularly impressive this year, though that could change if coach Adam Oates were to present them with an opportunity to show their worth with more ice time.  

One of the more unlikely scenarios in the coming week would have the Devils hitting the skids and quickly becoming sellers at the trade deadline. While I wouldn’t bet my life on it, the recent injury suffered by Ilya Kovalchuk means it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.  If this were to unfold, the team would have no choice but to at least consider trading long-time Devil Patrik Elias, who is slated to become a free agent this summer.  This is admittedly a far-fetched possibility, as Elias is likely planning to finish his career with the organization, but if he were moved I would expect sophomore Adam Henrique to rediscover some of his rookie scoring touch down the stretch.  He has struggled to live up to the standard he set last season after he missed the start of the year due to injury, but he’s becoming more and more dangerous with each passing game.  

It’s no secret the Oilers would love to find a taker for defenseman Ryan Whitney and if Edmonton manages to find a willing trade partner, a change of scenery could do Whitney some good. It seems like it was ages ago that the defenseman twice registered 40 points as a member of the Penguins, reaching a career high of 59 in 2006-07, but with 10 points in 23 games this season he has shown he still possesses offensive ability and could be a decent addition to a team trying to fix a fledgling power play. Should Whitney be forced to pack his bags and hop a flight, there’s a chance the forgotten Corey Potter could resurface as a useful fantasy commodity.  Yes, I’m aware Potter has notched just one measly assist in 18 appearances this year, but the offensive-minded blueliner’s value is entirely tied to his scoring ability and he may still be given an opportunity to escape coach Ralph Krueger’s doghouse.

The New York Islanders have to be pleased with the return they have earned on the signing of Brad Boyes to a one-year deal prior to the season so there’s certainly a possibility he re-ups with the club for another year, but in the event the Isles decide to cash in their investment at the trade deadline, there are a number of potential landing spots for the winger.  In truth, I don’t see any other destination where Boyes would receive the amount of premium ice time he’s currently getting on Long Island, so his fantasy owners should be hoping he stays put. In the event he does get shipped out of town, there are a number of players in the running to step up and grab the ice time he leaves behind.  Joshua Bailey would seem to be one of those players, as he has registered five points in as many games after a dreadfully slow start out of the gates.  Kyle Okposo would also be a fine choice, as his prior body of work playing alongside Matt Moulson and John Tavares led to impressive results, even if he has struggled on the team’s second line this season.  Finally, Michael Grabner has proven to be a dangerous sniper in the past and it’s reasonable to think he could flourish if exposed to the playmaking exploits of the talented Tavares.  The situation bears watching closely, as a trade of Boyes could definitely lead to a production spike for whoever benefits most from his departure.    

    You can follow my Twitter feed at @kbrownroto.     



Kevin Brown is fantasy hockey writer for Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter @kbrownroto.
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