By CHRIS NICHOLS -- SLAM! Sports
Can you remember the last time the trade deadline in the NHL has been so much fun?
We've been going to bed and waking up with new deals every day, it seems. Teams in the East are getting stronger and stronger and several of the big names in those trades have made their debuts with their new teams. You can check out the various editions of Ask Slam! to find out the fantasy spin on each trade as it went down, but we'll start off this week's Scoop with a review of how some of the big names looked as their started life with their new teams.
Petr Nedved lined up with former teammate and sometimes linemate Radek Dvorak (Four points in his past four games and playing well) in Edmonton last night, with Raffi Torres as the other wing on that line. The trio came up with a key goal midway through the third period to give Edmonton a tie with St. Louis.
Alex Zhamnov (3G, 4A, +5 in 6GP) has fit like a glove with Tony Amonte (2G, 4A, +4 in 6GP) in Philly... The Wings had decided that Henrik Zetterberg would be a center for the foreseeable future (With Lang, Datsyuk and Kris Draper up the middle), meaning the sought-after Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Hull reunion wouldn't happen just yet. But a funny thing happened on the way to that plan: Kris Draper is gone for a month thanks to a freak injury and Pavel Datsyuk will also miss a few weeks (See injury section below). So, Detroit lines are going to be a little different for the foreseeable future.
Brian Leetch collected a very nice total of three assists on Thursday night in his Toronto debut. He and Bryan McCabe manned the point on the power play and McCabe scored twice and added an assist. The Leafs are going to love having Brian Leetch there because he can deliver the lethal power play that Toronto will need to score goals in the playoffs. With a relatively healthy Ed Belfour and the forwards also pretty healthy, Toronto is a team to watch in the East.
Sergei Gonchar and Michael Nylander both played their first games for Boston last night and both looked like they will be able to deliver the goods for the Bruins. Gonchar and Jiri Slegr were on the point of the Boston power play, meaning Slegr holds his fantasy value for now. Gonchar (Goal) and Slegr (Two assists) were both big factors in the game, but Slegr actually left late in the game with an ankle injury. We'll have to see how serious it is. Nylander snuck in some time with Joe Thornton and Glen Murray on the first power play unit, although that won't necessarily last. For the most part Nylander is going to be the impact second line forward the B's need with Sergei Samsonov hurt.
Alex Kovalev hasn't played for Montreal yet, but he likely will tonight against Phoenix. He may play with Saku Koivu and Richard Zednik on the top line and you can bet on Kovy get a lot of power play time.
EGG LINE COOKING
Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez have been on a tear for weeks now and Patrik Elias has been leading the way for what's now become known as the EGG line. Gionta has 11 points in his past 11GP; Gomez (17 assists in his pasts 11GP) had a five-point effort against Florida this week, which was his second five-point game in the past two weeks; Elias has 17 points in his last 8GP.
Tuomo Ruutu (6G, 6A, 13 PIM's and 33 SOG in his past 11GP) is a much-improved player in recent weeks... David Legwand's fantasy value has taken a nosedive since the arrival of Steve Sullivan, but Legwand still managed two points against the Pittsburgh Ovechkins Thursday night... Andrei Markov's fantasy value has been rising for weeks now and the arrival of Alex Kovalev only helps Markov... David Vyborny has 12 points in his past 8GP (Five points against COL)
Paul Mara of Phoenix has been a power play fiend lately, scoring seven points in his last 8GP (6 on the PP)... Don't look now, but Marek Zidlicky has already racked up 44 points this season; including 30 on the power play...
STARS ON FIRE
Bill Guerin has goals in three straight games and in his past 13GP has 9G, 9A, is +9 with 19 PIM's and 51 SOG... Jarome Iginla's production (16G in his past 18GP) has been fantastic and he is carrying his team offensively as the playoff race in the West intensifies... Ilya Kovalchuk has seven goals in his past seven games and the race for the Richard Trophy looks to be a great one.
Ryan Smyth (12 points in his past 8GP) continues to look great as the Oilers make a desperate push for the playoffs... Vincent Lecavalier (22 points since the start of February) is living up to his promise to have a great second half... Teammate Brad Richards is riding a nine-game point streak (17 points) and is one of many Tampa players that are scoring at will these days.
Chris Simon has four goals and 13 PIM's in his past five games and is hands-down the Fantasy Goon of the Year because of his consistent offensive contributions...Alex Tanguay is a freak of nature, adding another five-point game against Vancouver (His second in the past few years) to his already awesome season... Scott Sullivan has 16 points in 9GP wearing the Nashville uniform; nine of those points coming on the PP...
Brian Rafalski's leg injury was not bad at all and he only missed one game, returning to have a three-assist, +4 game against Florida Wednesday... Peter Forsberg continues to be day-to-day with his groin, although this has already stretched out to several weeks... Eric Daze returns to the lineup tonight, but with little talent left in Chicago and a shaky injury history anyway, there are probably better options available... The Hawks lost Kyle Calder to a broken leg Wednesday night.
Markus Naslund has points in three straight games since coming back from his injury... Kris Draper will be gone for a month with a partially torn rotator cuff, a result of a fluke run-in with Curtis Joseph in practice... Speaking of which, both Curtis Joseph and Derian Hatcher should make their return sometime next week. Joseph's return has been targeted as Monday, where he'll likely back up Legace. Cujo could start Thursday in Columbus or Saturday against Dallas...Martin Straka is back with the Kings and is someone to keep in mind in deeper leagues.
Gary Roberts is back in the Toronto lineup since recovering from his groin injury and he hopes that Yoga in the summer will help take care of this lingering problem... Ed Belfour is back in net for Toronto, although his back may leave him day-to-day for the rest of his career... Pavel Datsyuk was hurt in Detroit's last game and is now out 10-14 days with a sprained ankle... Steve Reinprecht will be a game-time decision for tonight.
Lubomir Visnovsky is nowhere near returning and if you're in a single-season league, you should probably cut bait... Eric Lindros may have been able to play as early as this weekend, but then he injured his shoulder and a return is up in the air now... Dwayne Roloson is back in net for Minnesota after dealing with his father's death and then getting sick himself.
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