By now you've all heard that the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks pulled off the biggest trade in the NHL so far this season -- Joe Thornton (C) for Brad Stuart (D), Marco Sturm (LW) and Wayne Primeau (C). Here are the ramifications:
Wayne Primeau: Should still be left on the waiver wire after scoring only 29 points (9G, 20A) last season in his "career" year. A better player in real life than in the fantasy game.
Marco Sturm: Working on a streak of three straight 20 goal, 40 point season from the LW spot. A border-line starter in most leagues, Sturm has 16 points in 23 games this season. Did have nine points on 5G and 4A in 12 games in October. Could still push 25 goals with the new "open" NHL game for the Bruins.
Brad Stuart: The "key" to the real deal, Stuart has yet to live up to the billing that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 1998 draft. Possesses tremendous talent but seems to lack a "feel" for the game at times. Coming off a career best season of 39 points (9G, 30A) in 2003-04 when he also produced 19 power play points. If he teams with Brian Leetch on the PP, he could easily match those PP numbers the rest of the way. Despite his slow start, still on pace for right around 40 points.
Joe Thornton: Joins his cousin Scott on the Sharks an instantly takes over the number No. 1 C spot from Patrick Marleau (who will center the second line). Thornton is an elite NHL player who is currently 11th in the NHL in scoring with 33 points (9G, 24A). It is, however, mystifying that at 6-foot-4, 225 points, he has only 6 PIM after averaging 110 PIM the past four seasons. Should also help to improve the Sharks 27th ranked powerplay (13.9 percent) while continuing to score well over a point-per-game.
One last note on Joe: According to THT, or The Hat Trick, a metric used to compute a players overall fantasy value, Thornton was the 7th best all-around fantasy performer in 2003-04 further supporting the contention that the Sharks landed an elite player (click here to read more about THT).
Ray Flowers, a member of the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR) and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), can be reached with comments and questions at: email@example.com. For more NHL analysis and fantasy hockey insights don't forget to check out some of his other work at http://www.fantasyhockey.com/