Fantasy Impact: Edmonton's Dealings

Written by Darryl Dobbs from

The Edmonton Oilers swung a pair of deals Thursday, picking up a pair of defensemen with some offensive talent.

First, they sent winger Jani Rita and defenseman Cory Cross to Pittsburgh in exchange for Dick Tarnstrom. Afterwards, they sent prospect Tony Salmelainen to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.

Edmonton: Rita had become a spare part, and Cross’ impact upon his arrival last year had worn off this year and he was a number five defenseman at best. What they got in return was an injury-prone offensive specialist, who may fit in with their run and gun style, but I doubt it. He is not a MacTavish player, and I have read in some fantasy columns that this is a good thing for Tarnstrom owners. I’m saying if you’re a Tarnstrom owner and other people are reading those columns, than see what you can get for him from those other people. His immediate impact may be decent, but I think fifteen games in, if he’s not hurt, he’ll be benched. Tony Salmelainen, currently ranked 50th on my fantasy prospect rank, is a decent prospect with offensive potential. I think the Oilers did this deal in case Tarnstrom does what I said he would do just a couple of sentences ago. I think Spacek will flourish in Edmonton.

Pittsburgh: Picked up some size on the point, which they needed, and a solid two-way prospect who is still young enough to do something decent in the NHL. Don’t run out and pick up Rita yet, but if you already own him this trade should be seen as good news.

Chicago: In Salmelainen, they basically got another Yakubov, Hilbert, Vrbata, Vorobiev…just another decent prospect with a lot of upside and equal downside. The above four players still haven’t proven themselves yet, although Vrbata is closest to impressing me.

Fantasy Players Impacted: I think Spacek will benefit the most, followed by Pittsburgh’s Ric Jackman. You know – that guy that keeps getting benched. Now there is one less player ahead of him on the offensive defenseman depth chart.

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