At the end of the 2011-2012 season Roberto Luongo demanded a trade out of Vancouver and made it quite clear he wanted to go back home to Florida. The Panthers initially balked at the idea due to his sizable contract, but the Canucks kept trying to make it work and finally shipped him back to South Florida today for top goaltending prospect Jacob Markstrom and a player yet to be named. Aw, it’s a dream come true for Lu! He goes from a team that was playoff bound to a team that’s bound for golfing and watching the playoffs at the bar. Maybe he just doesn’t want to work that hard? Who knows. What I do know is  now that he’s headed down to Florida it will relegate Tim Thomas to the bench and I can’t be the only one who is pumped to see that. Regardless of being the undisputed starter for the Panthers Lu’s value takes a pretty sizable hit here as the Panthers aren’t much different than they were when he was traded a few years ago. He’ll go back to getting peppered every night by opposing teams and struggling to keep his peripherals in the healthy ranges and wins? Hah, don’t get me started there, you can expect his wins to fall right off the table. This might make Lu very, very happy, but it makes his fantasy owners cry in their beers. If you own Lu or Thomas, go grab Eddie Lack right this moment as he becomes the de-facto starter for the Canucks. Lack is owned in just ~34% of ESPN leagues and 21% of Yahoo Leagues so you can bet he’s going to be one of the hottest wire grabs down the stretch. So go go go! Add add add!

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It’s the trade Blues fans have prayed for, Sabres fans have dreaded and fantasy owners have been dying for; The Sabres traded Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 third-round pick tonight. Clearly the Blues are going all in for the cup this season and this move makes a team that was a serious contender to begin with seem like a near lock for it now. So, what does this do to their respective fantasy values? Miller goes from middle of the pack to top 5 with a huge spike in value. You can expect fantastic peripherals and, finally, loads o’ wins from the former Vezina winner. Jaroslav Halak’s value goes in the exact opposite direction and man, it’s bummersville for him as he joins Jhonas Enroth on the league’s worst team. If you own Halak you shouldn’t drop him, but I’d bench him to see how he handles the onslaught of shots he’s going to face now. Obviously he’s not going to give you many more wins, so if you’re a Halak owner in a H2H league, you need to start looking at the wire and seriously considering who you’re going to be comfortable streaming when Halak’s numbers inevitably tumble down, down, down into the deep, dark waters of mediocrity. Man, that’s some Edgar Allen Poe shiz right there! It’s appropriate, can you imagine what it’s like for Halak? One minute he’s on one of the league’s best teams, poised to be strong for years to come, and the next he’s in nowheresville, New York. Ouch. Anyway, here’s how the rest of the guys in this deal shake out:

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Backup goaltenders are among the most important players to track over the course of the season if you want a real chance at winning your league. Like closers in fantasy baseball or running backs in fantasy football, goalie turnover can be rather high due to injuries, poor performance or trades, so knowing whom to own before they get their shot is key. What’s more, the idea of the “no. 1” goaltender doesn’t mean what it used to in terms of games started. In the past, 70-75 games for a starter was not unheard if your team is lucky enough to have a Tuukka Rask or Corey Crawford between the pipes, but these days it’s much smarter to limit even the elites to around 60 games started. Even with a guy who can start 70ish games, it does more harm than good to roll your starter out that many games during the regular season leaving him too exhausted to perform up to snuff in the playoffs, when it matters most. The need for teams to strike a good balance between riding their work horses in net and giving them a break leaves open a wealth of opportunity for fantasy owners to exploit.

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