So last Saturday was the deadline for submitting our rosters in my keeper pool.
We’re allowed to keep 15 players, plus two rookies. Knowing I would have to drop some half-decent players, I set to work on making a few trades.
First, I had Marty Turco. Knowing there was a chance he would be signed, I still didn’t know where. The fact that he’s almost 35 and is an old goalie in a market filled with young talent, I didn’t want to waste a roster spot protecting him. I had heard a rumour he might sign in Chicago, and knowing a team that needed a goalie, I sent a trade. So I traded Turco for a fifth round pick (#45 overall).
Then, I saw that someone wasn’t protecting Brad Boyes. Boyes had an off-year last season, getting only 14 goals and 42 points. But I think that’s a quick dip for this guy. At the age of 28, he’s entering his prime years, and those 42 points is not reflective of what he can do. Three seasons ago, he had 43 goals and 65 points. The following season, he had 33 goals and 72 points. The whole Blues team had an off-year last year, but there’s a lot of young guys there. I expect them to rebound, and for Boyes to be a big part of it. So I traded my fourth round pick (#34 overall) for Boyes and a fifth rounder (#43 overall).
Then I saw someone not protecting Kari Lehtonen. Yes, I know, he’s injury-plagued. But he’s the #1 goalie of a Dallas Stars team that is slowly putting the pieces together. They had great young talent in James Neal, Steve Ott, Loui Eriksson and Jaime Benn, plus leadership from guys like Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards. Lehtonen, when healthy, was one of the few bright spots on a brutal Atlanta Thrashers team. I expect him to play 60-65 games this season, and get 30-35 wins and about seven shutouts. Plus, he’s 26 years old, and hasn’t hit his prime yet. So I traded another fourth rounder pick (#38 overall) for Lehtonen and a fifth rounder (#46 overall).
Then I had to drop some players. So I said good-bye to Mathieu Schneider, Rob Blake, Teemu Selanne, Carlo Colaiacovo, David Booth, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Quincey. Schenider and Blake were easy selections, as was Selanne (who may or may not retire). Colaiacovo was expendable, and Quincey I dropped to make room for Lehtonen. Booth and Wheeler I was debating about, but I would rather have Boyes than either of them, so that was another reason I made that trade. Plus, I can always pick up these players again in the draft (the ones not chosen in the expansion draft, that is).
So my team now looks like this:
Forwards (7): Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Michael Cammalleri, Patrice Bergeron, Derek Roy, Brian Gionta, Brad Boyes
Defence (4): Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Joni Pitkanen, Kris Russell
Goalies (4): Steve Mason, Carey Price, Jonas Gustavsson, Kari Lehtonen
Rookies (2): Matt Duchene, Evander Kane
I have a good solid young team, plus seven picks in this year’s draft, including #1, #11 and #13. So I expect my team to be able to compete for years. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the moves I’ve made the last few weeks. It’s improved my team, and I have a draft strategy ready to go.