A number of news items flashed across the wires on Wednesday that fantasy hockey players should be aware of as the Olympics come to a close and the March 3 trade deadline sneaks up on us.
First, the Nashville Predators have chosen their goalie of the future. Both Pekka Rinne and Dan Ellis were set to hit the free agent market this summer, but on Wednesday the Preds announced that they had agreed to terms with Rinne on a two-year, $6.8 million extension. For fantasy owners of Rinne and Ellis, this carries serious implications. With Nashville currently sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference, Rinne will now see the bulk of the ice time for the Preds. Rinne is owned in over 94 percent of ESPN leagues, so the waiver opportunity doesn't exist very often with him.
However, the intrigue surrounding Ellis begins now. Teams like Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia have been rumored to be looking for a new netminder, and Ellis would figure to be fully on the trade market now. Chicago has been linked to Florida's Tomas Vokoun, and considering the Blackhawks are in the same Central Division as the Preds, I doubt Ellis would find his way to Chicago. If Ellis was dealt to Washington, though, his stock could skyrocket with the offense the Capitals put up on a nightly basis. Conisdering Ellis is owned by less than five percent of of fantasy owners on ESPN, he might be worth watching in the coming week.
Another news item worth watching is the situation in net in Dallas, where the Stars acquired Kari Lehtonen from Atlanta before the Olympics. Rumors were that veteran Marty Turco, who has been fairly public with his feelings regarding his playing time, would be on the move, but all that changed on Wednesday. The Stars placed backup Alex Auld on waivers to clear room for Lehtonen. Though Auld isn't much of a fantasy factor, the reality that Turco is staying in Dallas and becoming the number two netminder kills most of his fantasy value.
As the NHL trade deadline approaches, we'll keep you up-to-date with all the player movement that takes place.
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