The Ottawa Senators watched Daniel Alfredsson walk as an unrestricted free agent, but dealing with that loss was made easier thanks to the acquisition of Bobby Ryan. Of course, Ryan didn’t come cheap. The Senators had to send Stefan Noesen, Jakob Silfverberg, and a first round pick to the Anaheim Ducks to complete the trade.
This is a huge move and we’re going to take a look at how it impacts the players involved from a fantasy perspective.
Ryan – Ryan can succeed anywhere, but this move is still great news for him. For one thing, it will allow him to finally move on from the trade rumors that have surrounded him for years. More than that though, it’s an opportunity for him to play in an expanded role with the Senators. Back in 2010-11, Ryan was averaging 20:11 minutes per game and he consequently had 34 goals and 71 points in 82 games, but last season his playing time fell to just 16:35 minutes per contest. With Ottawa, there’s a good chance that he’ll play consistently with Jason Spezza on the team’s top line. Spezza should be a fantastic setup man for Ryan and the two are sure to get tons of ice time. In particular, he should enjoy a much bigger role with the man advantage in Ottawa. Ryan didn't consistently play on Anaheim's top power-play unit and ended up finishing seventh in power-play ice time per contest with the team last season. That won't be the case with the Senators. Under those circumstances, wouldn’t be shocking if Ryan beat his 2010-11 career highs.
Milan Michalek – It will be interesting to see who rounds out Ottawa’s top line. At the end of the day, they will probably tweak their lines throughout the season, but Michalek is certainly an appealing candidate to play alongside Spezza and Ryan. The two meshed well in 2011-12 and Michalek had 35 goals and 60 points in 77 games. Both Spezza and Michalek missed significant chunks of the 2013 campaign, making it hard to read too much into that campaign, but if Michalek gets ice time with Ryan and Spezza, then it will go a long way towards him enjoying a bounce back season.
Cory Conacher – He had an impressive 11 goals and 29 points in 47 games as a rookie last season while averaging just 13:58 minutes per game. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that his ice time will go up significantly in 2012-13. Between the addition of Bobby Ryan and signing of Clarke MacArthur, there just doesn’t seem to be a top-six spot available for him going into the regular season. He’s certainly worth keeping an eye on though as he might still find a way into a favorable position during training camp or move up in the depth charts due to an injury.
Silfverberg – He’s not an immediate replacement for Bobby Ryan, but he does have a lot of offensive upside. Silfverberg scored 10 goals and 19 points in 48 games as a rookie in 2013. The Ducks see him as a top-six forward and are open to the possibility of him playing on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. That would obviously be a huge opportunity for him and that’s reason enough to keep an eye on him during training camp. The Ducks have plenty of promising young forwards, but out of them he’s the best guy to grab towards the end of standard league fantasy drafts.
Noesen – The 2011 first-round pick scored 25 goals and 53 points in 51 OHL games last season. He’s expected to compete for a roster spot out of training camp and there’s a chance that he’ll even get some playing time as a top-six forward. He’s got a good amount of offensive upside, but he’s not worth rolling the dice on in standard league drafts. Take a wait-and-see approach to Noesen and be prepared to grab him if things are going his way early in the 2013-14 campaign.
Emerson Etem – Between Silfverberg and Noesen, this trade means there’s more young forwards in the system to compete with Etem. It’s really not that big of a change for him, in part because the same trade removed Ryan from the equation, but also because the Ducks already had other talented 22-year-old or younger forwards fighting with Etem for playing time. However, it’s still noteworthy as Silfverberg seems to be ahead of him in the depth charts. Even Noesen isn’t necessarily behind him in the fight for a top-six spot despite the fact that Etem is the one with pro experience. Etem had 16 points in 45 AHL games and 10 points in 38 NHL contests in 2012-13, but he has far more upside than those numbers imply. This trade isn’t a game breaker for Etem, but it does add another layer of uncertainty going into training camp.
Devante Smith-Pelly/Rickard Rakell/Kyle Palmieri – Smith-Pelly, Rakell, and Palmieri are among the other wingers that will be competing for potential roles on Anaheim’s second line next season. Palmieri in particular is worth keeping a close eye on after scoring 10 goals and 21 points in 42 games last season while averaging just 12:20 minutes. How much of a shot each player has partially depends on whether or not Teemu Selanne decides to return for the 2013-14 campaign. Along with Etem, we think the best case scenario is to pass on all of these players during standard drafts and see how things shake out in the early portion of the season. There’s just too many players vying for the same jobs to make them worthy of a preseason gamble.