Following perhaps the most uneventful trade deadline day in a decade, fantasy owners are left to wonder what impact (if any) will the 16 trades have on the remainder of the fantasy season. As last season proved, some of those low-profile deals can have a huge impact on the stretch, if you can snatch up the one or two players who most benefit from a change of address. Last season, Lee Stempniak infamously went on an incredible scoring run following his unheralded trade to the Coyotes. Not a single player in the top 100 of NHL scorers was dealt in the 24 hours leading up to the trade deadline (Boyes and Penner were the closest). That leaves plenty of options to consider who has the best chance of being this year's version of Mr. Stempniak. Here are the players to keep a close eye on over the next few weeks to see if they can repeat Lee's March run of 2010:
1. Niclas Bergfors (FLA) - Bergfors was a key piece of the Kovalchuk deal just a year ago, and actually outscored Kovalchuk after the move in 2010. Since the coaching change and arrival of a batch of new faces over the summer, Bergfors has struggled to put up points and even stay in the lineup in Atlanta. It's way too early to give up on this 1st round draft pick. It seems what he's really needing to jump start his career is playing time and decent center to feed him the puck. The first half of that equation should come immediately. He had been averaging just 10-12 minutes a game with the Thrashers. He should see significantly more than that with the Panthers, and with the extra minutes, you should expect to see some extra points on the way. The biggest problem may be finding some talent to help boost his totals. Should he get a look along side Stephen Weiss early on, Bergfors could be this year's Stempniak.
2. Dustin Penner (LA) - Any other year, Penner's move would have slid to page 2 of the trade news. With all the bigger names moving earlier in February, Penner stands out with potential for growth. He has shown in the past that he can be a scoring threat. So far this season, he's managed just 39 points in 62 games; however, he is on pace for 27 goals. His move to LA just might spur him on to crack the 30 goal plateau for the 2nd straight season. He leaves the young Oilers bunch for a group of teammates primed to make some noise down the stretch and in the playoffs. He may immediately see some time with the flashy playmaker Anze Kopitar, which is an upgrade over his former line mates in Edmonton. While we shouldn't expect a point-per-game pace from Penner, it's reasonable to expect his goal scoring pace to increase in his return to SoCal.
3. Chris Campoli (D-CHI) - Campoli is not a model of consistency in terms of fantasy hockey scoring; however, he does have a history of hot stretches. As we enter into the stretch run and playoff action, hot streaks are what you care about. That makes Campoli a name worth considering. Three years ago, Campoli came to the Senators at the deadline and followed that up with 13 points in 25 games, including 5 goals. So, perhaps he'll be motivated by the move. He should slide into occasional action on the Hawks power play right away. Don't be surprised to see him perform at a higher tick in his new home.
A few other guys moved at the deadline with potential to become fantasy factors down the stretch:
- Brad Boyes (BUF) - Boyes was starting to turn things around in St. Louis (24 points in his last 30 games), which may be the reason for Buffalo's interest. He has natural goal-scoring abilities, but it's been a while since he showed it.
- Dennis Wideman (WAS) - Like Campoli, he's inconsistent, but can go on incredible scoring stretches. Depending on how long Mike Green remains sidelined, Wideman could get significant minutes on the highly talented Washington power play over the next few weeks.
- Marco Sturm (WAS) - While it wasn't technically a trade, Sturm arrived in Washington via the waiver wire. He's an Alexander Semin injury away from short-term duty on one of the top lines with the Caps. Not a long-term fantasy solution by any means, but there is potential for a good week or two of fantasy numbers down the stretch.