Fannnntastic: The Deadline Looms

Contributed by resident fantasy fanatic, Tilt’d Toledo

Does anyone else get the (false) impression that this year’s fantasy stretch-drive is practically walkable? I mean, compared to last year’s, that is.

It’s not any different, but it feels like it is. I know the default trade deadline has already passed, but I always set my leagues to accommodate the real NHL deadline. For the fourth season in a row, this has meant the 38th day, counting backwards from the last scheduled regular season game. According to the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 13-12(j), a player may be transferred from one roster to another “at any time up to 3:00 p.m. New York time of the fortieth (40th) day immediately preceding the final day of the Regular Season (the "Trade Deadline").”

Think of this period as NHL Lent, where general managers are forced to give up consuming short-term improvements to their rosters. As sellers such as François Giguere prepare to have their foreheads marked on Ash Wednesday, buyers such as Ray Shero will be celebrating tomorrow’s NHL Mardi Gras. For teams who miss the playoffs, the fast may be broken after 40 days, on Easter Sunday, though most will wait until more teams are eliminated to resume trade talks.

Click to enlargeLast season, the NHL Trade Deadline fell on February 26th, so I set my Yahoo leagues for February 28th. You know, to give everyone a day or two to digest the real-life trading feasts. This season, the deadline returned to March, so naturally I followed suit and set my own leagues for March 5th, at 10:59 PM MT. Since I do not employ a trade pending mechanism, if somebody were to accept a trade on Thursday night, they would have use of the newly acquired player(s) for exactly ten days until the playoffs began. Somehow this seems like less than normal, but upon review of the archives, ‘twas always thus. Maybe it just seems so because the NHL and the PA decided to push back this year’s date to the 39th day before Easter, but that only altered the time between the NHL deadline and ours (from 60 hours to only 36 hours, this year).

Please forgive the poor resolution. I suggest you click on the table to enlarge it.

Click to enlargeWhatever the case, I need to be addressing my team’s concerns rather than writing this little fluff piece, so let’s get to it. Since my last update three weeks ago, my Nepean Hotspurs have dropped from a 5 game lead for the sixth and final playoff spot, to seventh place and 3.5 games out. The play (or lack thereof) of Peter Budaj (0-3, 4.62, .825), and the limited contributions of Tyler Arnason (2G, -7), Darcy Tucker (1G, -5) and Brett Clark (1A, -3), have combined to hurt me more than help me, from the back end of my depth chart. With only two weeks left, I am torn over what tack to take.

Click to enlargeShould I pay the steep price to secure a better goaltender? Should I hope that the Avs stand pat in net, to at least give me the minimum goalie starts? Should I part with a stud blueliner to upgrade my weak RW spots? Whatever I choose, I need to choose quickly, lest my options narrow after the dust settles on Wednesday. Any advice would be welcomed from those who would like to pretend to be my Assistant GM or Head Scout.

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