Going back to Wednesday morning’s advice not to take off the day of work for the 2013 trade deadline, you really could have done just fine refreshing your favorite hockey news browser (hopefully Rotoworld NHL or Pro Hockey Talk) all day.
While the quantity wasn’t there and the flow of moves wasn’t exactly even, the eventual moves included a few earth-shakers ... at least compared to the duds we’ve had to slink through in recent years.
NHL.com has a thorough list of moves since February 26, so if you want the specifics of each move down to the conditional draft pick and “future considerations,” check that link. I’m going to go ahead and jump into the biggest deals to gauge the fantasy impacts.
GABORIK BECOMES CANNON FODDER
In what I’d wager was the biggest eyebrow-raiser of the deadline (including moves that came before Wednesday like Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh and Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis), the New York Rangers sent Torts-browbeaten sniper Marian Gaborik (plus junk) to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Derick Brassard (and junk).
Technically, the Blue Jackets have players who’ve scored more than Gaborik has in 2013, but you’d be beyond foolish to suggest that he doesn’t immediately become the most dangerous forward on a team that largely seems anonymous (sorry, Vaclav Prospal).
While Gaborik won’t intermittently have teammates like Brad Richards and Rick Nash, he’ll be appreciated for what he can do where before he was barked at for not being some kind of skating soldier.
If he simply slides into Brassard’s spot, then he’ll line up with Prospal and Mark Letestu. I wouldn’t stumble over my own feet to lock down “The Test Tube,” but Prospal was already a fringe guy in deeper leagues so I’d say ponder him depending on your needs. He’s owned in 16 percent of leagues right now.
(You ABSOLUTELY should make sure he actually lines up with Gabby before dropping anyone of even moderate value to make the move, though.)
BRASSARD AND CLOWE PUT ON A SHOW
Many of you probably observed the big debuts of Brassard (one goal and three assists for four points) and Clowe (first two goals of the season plus an assist) and decided to scoop one of them. That’s fine, although if you grabbed both, you might need to consider the possibility that you have impulse problems.
Ultimately, I’m not super-sold on either, although it would be silly to ignore the strengths they present. Before I do that, here are the Rangers’ Brassard/Clowe Era line combos, courtesy of Sportsnet’s Chris Nichols.
Ryane Clowe - Brad Richards - Mats Zuccarello
Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Derick Brassard - Brian Boyle
Clowe and Zuccarello? It would be hard to find two more disparate players on the same (“top”) line; one would expect such disparity in a RPG where you have some mammoth-like creature chumming it up with a jolly dwarf. That aside aside, this setup actually gives the Rangers interesting depth where they were once rather top-heavy ... if Clowe’s two-goal, one-assist night wasn’t a mirage, of course.
Playing with Richards would make a monstrous difference, but let’s not ignore the fact that a) Clowe came into the Rangers roster without a single goal and b) he had disconcerting shoulder problems very recently.
Still, if he can stay healthy and most importantly on Richards’ line, he can contribute. Especially if he’s getting PIM. I’m skeptical-but-intrigued about Clowe, yet I’d hesitate to pull the trigger unless you are just a mess in a fringe spot.
Brassard is the better offensive player - at least skill wise - but as much as I like Hagelin, that line might not get the kind of opportunities you’d hope for night-in and night-out. His mediocre peripherals aren’t promising, either.
If you need a tiebreaker, note that the Rangers have a bruising schedule. Five of their next six contests will take place on the road; overall, they only have four home games vs. eight away matches. The stakes are high, which means John Tortorella might actually (somehow) be more unpleasant.
Somewhere, Marian Gaborik smiles.
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