Sunday, March 1, 2009

Trade Breakdown: Pittsburgh and Anaheim

Pittsburgh trades Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.

I know this is a few days late but thought we would chime in with the fantasy implications.

Ryan Whitney: Whitney has struggled this year after coming back from foot surgery and just hasn't been able to fit in with the Penguins after looking like a key building block last year. Currntly on pace for 16 points in 37 games, Whitney is far off his career best point-per-game of 59 in 82 in 2006-2007. Don't look for a spike in those numbers in Anaheim as Chris Pronger may or may not be moved but Scott Neidermayer is staying put. Whitney should see his value jump next year though as he may very well be the top Dman in Anaheim and quarterbacking a talented powerplay. Look for him to have 45-50 points next year and be a solid fantasy Dman for the next few years. Think top 15 Dman.

Chris Kunitz: The 29 year-old Kunitz has the potential for a huge fantasy spike here if he can be the winger that finally clicks with Sidney Crosby. Many talented players have tried (Hossa, Sykora, Satan, Recchi) but none have seemed to find that natural chemistry (Hossa had a decent playoff on Sid's wing but they never seemed to know where eachother was on the ice and it seemed forced, not natural). Kunitz is a talented player that seems to compliment studs like Selanne, Getzlaf and Perry but has strugled to find consistency. If Chris and Sid get on the same page, it could be just what both players need to jump to that next level (for Sid that next level is NHL domination). Kunitz should flirt with a point-per-game down the stretch. Signed for three more years, he could have a career year next year...think 75 points. He is now a legit keeper option.

Eric Tangradi: Tangradi is having a great year in Belleville this year with 38 goals and 88 points in 54 games. At 6'4 and 220, Eric has the size and skill to be an impact player for the Pens down the road. Between Tangradi and Luca Caputi, Pittsburgh finally has some skilled wingers in the system and both could see time flanking Sidney or Geno in the next few years. Tangradi is now a great option as a long-term keeper.

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