The NHL can be a tough egg for a goaltender to crack sometimes – just ask Scott Clemmensen. He replaced Martin Brodeur for the New Jersey Devils after the future hall of famer suffered an injury that kept him sidelined for four months. Clemmensen was spectacular, going 25-13-1, and leading the Devils to first place in the competitive Atlantic division. But when you’re starting in place of arguably the best goaltender in the world, there isn’t much you can do when the star makes his return. Clemmensen was sent down to the Devils’ AHL affiliate last week, and barring any injuries to Brodeur, he will probably remain there. Though he was a great find if you stole him early this year, he’s become virtually worthless. Consider Jaroslav Halak as a replacement, who has stripped a struggling Carey Price of the starter’s job in Montreal.
On the NHL trade deadline front, we witnessed several trades last week. Mathieu Schneider looks re-energized playing on a contending team in Montreal, and is definitely worthy of a pick-up if you are short on defensemen. Chris Kunitz‘s value is also up now that he is a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has points in each of his first 2 games as Penguin, and could be their lesser-talented “Marian Hossa” of last season. Ryan Whitney, who went to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Kunitz, now sits 3rd on the defensive depth chart, behind Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, and as a result will see less powerplay time. He should probably only be started in the deepest of pools.
Rumors continue to run rampant surrounding everyone from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tomas Kaberle to the Minnesota Wild’s superstar Nicklas Backstrom. Though I highly doubt Backstrom goes anywhere, he would certainly command the most of anyone listed in rumors thus far. Keep your eyes peeled and be ready to act on the throng of players that get moved on Wednesday. Players like Olli Jokinen, Mark Recchi, and even goaltender Kari Lehtonen could suddenly become key contributors if moved to the right team.