Plenty to consider around deadline
David Pagnotta takes a look at what each NHL team is toying with
as the trade deadline approaches.
TORONTO, ON -- The silly season is definitely upon us. It actually
crept up about four weeks ago, but whatever.
With the trade deadline just under two weeks away (Feb. 27, 3pm ET),
there's plenty of reasons for everyone to be going completely apeshit
crazy. There are rumors flying around left, right and center. And no,
we here at TFP don't help the situation, but for the love of Howe,
it's what we do.
This year is fairly unique, in a sense that there are so many teams
disillusioned still in the playoff race. Usually,
we've seen about two or three fairly significant trades occur around
this time of year. With all due respect to the players traded since
Jan. 1, only the Mike Cammalleri-Rene Bourque and Alexei Ponikarovsky
trades (yeah, even Poni's deal) have been "significant."
Over the next few days, or week, we're going to see a lot of teams
fall into the "seller" category. Two, three or four losses in a row
will ease the minds of a few GMs out there.
Here is a quick, Coles Notes version of what's going on out there, and
what could possibly happen by, or on, Feb. 27.
Disclaimer: Some of this is strictly my opinion based on
conversations I've had with folks around the league. And to make it
easy on you, I'll indicate "IMO" whenever that's the case... so after
you read this, and feel the urge to email or tweet me about how insane
something seems or how much I'm a Toronto homer (even though I'm a
born-and-raised Montrealer), give your head a shake.
Okay, on to the fun:
ANAHEIM - Even when GM Bob Murray called out his team (kudos,
again, Mr. Murray), deep down, everybody knew it would take the world
for him to part with any of his Big 3. While Bobby Ryan still seems to
be the most available, it's highly unlikely such a move will
take place this month.
Instead, I'm looking at guys like Lubomir Visnovsky, Niklas Hagman and
even Jonas Hiller as possible trade targets. George Parros has
attracted some interest, though I believe the Ducks will try to keep
As for Teemu Selanne, it'll come down to HIS decision, and so far he's
given everyone every indication that he wants to stay in Anaheim. He
also hasn't really said a word about it to anyone, publicly, so that
could change in the blink of an eye (IMO).
BOSTON - The Bruins are looking to add a couple of pieces, one
up front and one on the back end.
Boston GM Peter Chiarelli isn't afraid to pull the trigger, and
there's some speculation (that's all it is, right now) that he's
taking a look at Rick Nash, but I'm not sure how realistic that
presently is. They've got the cap space to add someone like Visnovsky
if they really wanted to, or a defenseman like Nicklas Grossman, which
might be what Chiarelli opts to do if he can't make a big splash.
BUFFALO - The Sabres are sort of in limbo. They're sellers, but
they're not. And with Darcy Regier behind the helm, you don't really
know what he's up to.
They've been shopping center Derek Roy for some time, and Paul Gaustad
and Brad Boyes are also available up front, while Robyn Regehr would
consider waiving his no-movement clause for a Cup contender. Roy would
look good in a Chicago uniform (IMO). (Refer to my Twitter feed for my
response on the Patrick Kane/Ryan Miller crap rumor)
Sidenote: Just realized this is going to take me some time to write...
CALGARY - Not too many people expect much out of the Flames and
GM Jay Feaster. A big splash is unlikely, at this stage, while they
don't really have the pieces to obtain a top-tier talent; trading
Mikael Backlund might be counter-productive.
CAROLINA - Once GM Jim Rutherford knows exactly what he's doing
with Tuomo Ruutu, much of the non-action should begin to intensify. If
Ruutu opts to re-sign with the Hurricanes, teams will focus their
efforts elsewhere. If a deal can't be reached, the bidding war is back
on. As many as 12 teams have serious interest in Ruutu.
Ruutu aside, the Hurricanes have players like Jaroslav Spacek, Bryan
Allen and Jussi Jokinen attracting interest. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen
is also out there, though I wouldn't expect to see him moved.
CHICAGO - No, Joel Quenneville isn't getting canned. No, Kane
isn't getting traded. No, Brendan Morrison isn't the No. 2 center
they're looking for. Chicago wants a second-line forward, preferably a
center, and a physical, defensive-minded defenseman. If they can get
their hands on a bottom-six (polite way of saying fourth-liner)
forward -- like bringing back Adam Burish -- GM Stan Bowman will jump
at the chance.
COLORADO - Likely to be in the race by deadline day, the
Avalanche could make a lateral move or two in the next 13 days. David
Jones and Shane O'Brien could be shipped out, while management would
like to add a second-line scorer to the roster. I'd be surprised if
Kyle Quincey moves, unless he's swapped for that second-liner that
isn't going to be a UFA at season's end. As for all the Paul Stastny
talk, while it's possible (IMO), a trade is more likely in the summer.
COLUMBUS - Oh boy, where do I begin? Okay, Jeff Carter is 100%
available. Whether the Jackets get a sexy-enough offer remains to be
seen (they want a young talent with first-line potential as a
centerpiece). Derick Brassard is staying (IMO), whereas Sammy Pahlsson,
Steve Mason, Antoine Vermette, R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin are on
the block. In short, GM Scott Howson's a very busy man.
Now, to address these Rick Nash rumors. The Blue Jackets are not
actively shopping him, however, if the right offer comes along, Howson
will seriously consider it. Keep in mind, Nash owns a no-movement
clause and will have final say, if anything pops up. From what I've
been told, this is the first time in club history that they've
tinkered with the idea of Nash not being a part of their organization.
The price tag will be extremely high, though, so don't get too
excited. A young, first-line forward is a must. A second-line forward,
top-two defenseman or top, young goalie is next on the list. And,
depending on the first two pieces, the third item includes a top-tier
prospect or high draft choice. It's a steep price, and not too many
teams are interested in paying it, while the ones that are don't have
the goods to get it done (sorry, Toronto).
DALLAS - The Stars won't make a major acquisition, unless
something falls into their laps. Instead, they're building for next
season and beyond, and trading players like Grossman, Burish, Steve
Ott, Sheldon Souray and Mike Ribeiro is possible.
DETROIT - For the first time in a long time, the Red Wings can
spend and add a few players. Granted, that's not something GM Ken
Holland is known for, but he's rarely had an opportunity to make these
types of acquisitions around this time of year. A guy like Ales Hemsky
could work wonders playing alongside Johan Franzen (IMO), while
Holland will also look at a third or fourth line gritty player and a
strong veteran defenseman.
EDMONTON - Outside of Hemsky, it'll be interesting to see what
the Oilers do. Sam Gagner, believe it or not, is still "available," if
GM Steve Tambellini can get his hands on a stud defenseman. IMO, it
won't happen this season. The really intriguing part of the puzzle
revolves around Nikolai Khabibulin. He has one-year left on his deal
beyond this season, but the whispers are starting to get louder over a
possible trade. His $3.75M cap hit isn't that bad, and a contender
interested in a Cup-winning goalie might pay up. The Bulin Wall
doesn't have a NTC or NMC, so it'll be up to Tambellini and his staff
to make the final call.
The other factor in Edmonton is Ryan Smyth. Like Selanne, Smyth holds
his fate. There's plenty of interest (Rangers like him, for example),
but at the end of the day, if Smyth wants to stay, he'll stay.
FLORIDA - Buyers. It's that simple. With how well this team has
performed this season, missing the playoff could be disastrous from an
inner-market standpoint. If they can get their hands on any player who
can help solidify a playoff berth, they'll try to grab him.
LOS ANGELES - First line goal-scorer, please. That's still atop
GM Dean Lombardi's wish list. If they dangle a big-enough carrot in
front of Columbus, MAYBE they can convince the Blue Jackets to part
with Nash, but that's a big MAYBE. Carter's been talked about within
Kings management, but that might be a last resort move. And Zach
Parise isn't going anywhere, just yet. If they can't get a first-line
star, they'll settle for secondary scoring in the potential form of
Andrei Kostitsyn or Jussi Jokinen.
As for Jack Johnson... we've been saying it for weeks, yet it still
gets misconstrued. The only want JJ gets dealt is if the Kings need to
package him for a first-line star. End of story.
MINNESOTA - Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wants to add a goal-scorer,
but might not have the assets to get a deal done, primarily due to the
competition out there. Goalie Josh Harding is going to test the waters
this summer and could fetch a decent return now, while Marek Zidlicky
seems to be on the outs.
MONTREAL - A couple more losses and the picture will be a
little clearer in Montreal. Unless they get a can't refuse
offer for Travis Moen, he might end up staying. However, Kostitsyn,
Gill, Chris Campoli and Mathieu Darche could all be on the move. The
Habs could surprise some and up their attempts to landing Brassard out
of Columbus, but I don't believe that'll happen at this stage of the
A wildcard for the Canadiens is veteran winger Erik Cole. He has a
no-trade clause and is locked up for three more seasons. If a Cup
contenders come knocking, both Cole and the Habs will have some
serious thinking to do.
NASHVILLE - Forget about Ryan Suter and Shea Weber being moved,
it's not happening. The Predators are a very dangerous bunch and if
they can get their hands on a little more offensive skill, they could
make a lot of noise in the playoffs. Preds GM David Poile is itching
to acquire a proven goal-scorer, and while the pickings are slim, I
expect Nashville to add at least one guy who can help put the puck in
the net and spread the offense around. At the same time, a
sandpaper-like grinder is also on Poile's wish list.
NEW JERSEY - I don't expect much out of GM Lou Lamoriello this
trade deadline season. He added some depth in Ponikarovsky, and the
team should get Travis Zajac back by this time next month. If
anything, the Devils might look at add a shot from the point.
NY ISLANDERS - Though they've played much better of late, the
playoffs just don't seem realistic this season. PA Parenteau is their
most tradable asset, and would command the highest return, while Mark
Eaton, Steve Staios, Milan Jurcina and Evgeni Nabokov (regardless of
what GM Garth Snow says publicly) could also be on the move in the
NY RANGERS - The Rangers could be one of the most creative
teams leading into the trade deadline. They have plenty of young,
NHL-proven and NHL-ready talent to dangle, if they so choose, and a
decent amount of cap space to play with. They're looking for some
extra fire power up front and grit on the back end (Pavel Kubina or
Hal Gill, anyone?).
As for these Nash rumors, while the Rangers would love to have him, I
just don't know if they're able to do it. Brandon Dubinsky's name has
been linked, primarily because of his $4.2 million cap hit (he's the
likeliest player with a big-enough salary to fit in a package), while
you'd have to image one of Carl Hagelin or Derek Stepan would have to
be added into the mix, along with another top prospect. It's
potentially a hard pill to swallow, for any team.
OTTAWA - The Senators made their big move, already, by
acquiring Kyle Turris a month ago. Right now, a two-way forward and a
depth defenseman could suffice.
PHILADELPHIA - Another very interesting team to watch. Flyers
GM Paul Holmgren isn't afraid to make a bold move (d'uh), and if that
means trading James van Riemsdyk (who is feeling much better these
days), so be it. Philly definitely wants to add a young star to its
blueline, but they could settle for a veteran like Visnovsky. We're
hearing the Maple Leafs' Luke Schenn isn't entirely high on their
list, which simply means it would take more than him to justify them
parting with JVR.
PHOENIX - They're currently 8th in the West and will likely be
in and around that same position two weeks from today. This means Ray
Whitney isn't doing anywhere. Neither is Shane Doan. Like almost every
playoff team, the Coyotes want some extra goal-scoring, but they'd
settle for a reliable third-line threat.
PITTSBURGH - Could a return of Gill be in the works? Perhaps.
But the Penguins not only want to shore up the blueline, they're
hoping to add someone like Gaustad or Jussi Jokinen up front. I
wouldn't expect a major deal coming out of Pittsburgh, but those are
three potentially significant pieces.
SAN JOSE - Depth. That's what they want. Two-way forward, and
possibly a No. 4 defenseman like Bryan Allen.
ST. LOUIS - Even though they say they're cool with sticking
with what they've got, an extra second or third line forward wouldn't
TAMPA BAY - It's only a matter of time before Steve Yzerman and
the Lightning realize the climb, this season, is just too much.
Dominic Moore, Kubina, Ryan Malone and Brett Clark could bring in some
decent young prospects and draft picks. Malone's locked up for three
more seasons, though, while the other guys can become unrestricted
free agents this July.
TORONTO - Leafs GM Brian Burke wants to make a move and improve
his team's playoff chances. He's been looking for a top-six forward
for some time, and has plenty of pieces to trade. Defensemen are his
biggest asset, with guys like Carl Gunnarson, Cody Franson and Schenn
available as bait. Keith Aulie could also be tossed in the mix, though
the Leafs would prefer to keep him.
Up front, Nikolai Kulemin, Nazim Kadri and Clarke MacArthur are
expendable, but that doesn't mean they'll be traded. van Riemsdyk is
still on Burke's hit list, and I'm led to believe a "hockey" trade is
the most likely scenario in Toronto. The addition of a two-way forward
is also needed, as the Leafs rank 29th on the penalty kill. Someone
like Pahlsson from the Blue Jackets would definitely help their cause,
and brings a winning attitude into the locker room.
VANCOUVER - I wouldn't expect the Canucks to make a major
trade, but adding someone to their third line appears to be a priority
for GM Mike Gillis. Buffalo's Gaustad is of interest, as are
Montreal's Moen and Dallas' Ott.
WASHINGTON - Outside of finding anything to light a fire under
Alex Ovechkin's ass, I'm not entirely sure what the Capitals are
genuinely looking for up front. On the backend, though, the Capitals
wouldn't mind adding some more stability. They're willing to swap out
Jeff Schultz for a veteran presence, while a player like Grossman or
Tyutin could definitely help.
WINNIPEG - The Jets are still molding their team under
first-year GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. They're in a similar situation to
the Avalanche, but if the Jets lose their next two or three games,
they might fall back far enough to consider selling guys like Johnny
Oduya and Kyle Wellwood.
An couple of players to keep an eye on are defensemen Zach Bogosian
and Ron Hainsey. If the Jets dip down the standings, both could be
used in larger deals for a proven scorer up front. Bogosian's value is
much higher than that of Hainsey's, primarily due to his age and
potential level. Hainsey has dramatically improved upon his defensive
game over the last two seasons, and while he still has offensive
capabilities, he hasn't been given the opportunity to exploit them
under the Jets' system.