Trade deadline could
prove to be active
February 24, 2017 | 12:30pm ET
The seller's market has grown, and while we likely won't see a ton of blockbusters, David Pagnotta reports there will be enough activity to keep everyone interested.
TORONTO, ON -- We're five days away from the trade deadline. Five.
Here we go! The silly season is about to get sillier, if it hasn't
already after news broke on Thursday over Kevin Shattenkirk turning
down a seven-year, $42 million deal with Tampa Bay that nixed a trade
to the Lightning.
Shattenkirk is going to get traded, as a rental player, by the 3pm ET
deadline on March 1. There's plenty of chatter about the New York
Rangers, but they're a prime target for him in free agency and giving
up a significant package (a first-round pick and a top prospect) for
him now only makes sense if the Rangers feel they can win the Stanley
Cup this season with him in the lineup.
But Shattenkirk isn't the only player we're keeping our eyes on.
Okay, maybe we won't see Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog get shipped
to a new team by the deadline, it's not the end of the world. Though,
some teams have upped their efforts in the last couple of days, so
maybe we will.
Either way, there are enough players out there who could be on the
move and while some of them are expected to be dealt before deadline
day, these next five days are going to be very entertaining.
Martin Hanzal. Patrick Eaves. Patrik Berglund. Radim Vrbata. Patrick
Sharp. Johnny Oduya. Kyle Quincey. Brian Boyle. Jarome Iginla. Brendan
Smith. Thomas Vanek. These guys are getting traded.
Fine, maybe Berglund stays. MAYBE. But the rest are moving.
And there could be others: Alexandre Burrows. Jannik Hansen. Fedor
Tyutin. Michael Del Zotto. David Desharnais. Dmitry Kulikov. Valtteri
Filppula. P.A. Parenteau. Tyler Johnson. Cody Franson. Ben Bishop.
Marc-Andre Fleury. Sami Vatanen. James van Riemsdyk. And so on...
So many possibilities. So many names being discussed. That's just the
tip of the iceberg.
Bottom line: There will be enough activity to keep y'all busy and
entertained. We all certainly want more deals to go down, and trades
on deadline day are always fun, but it'll come. And if we get the one
from left field, it's that much more thrilling.
The seller's market has opened up. Teams like Philadelphia and
Vancouver are more willing to lean in that direction right now than
earlier in the month. Winnipeg is almost there, too. Add them to
Buffalo, Tampa, New Jersey, Detroit, Carolina, Colorado, Arizona and
Dallas, and we've got players on the field.
Let the game's begin... Oh, and you may want to keep reading...
LOTS OF NOISE IN LOS ANGELES
The Los Angeles Kings may end up doing very little over these next few
days leading up to Wednesday's 3pm ET (12pm PT) trade deadline, but it
won't be due to a lack of trying.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi and his staff have been working the lines in an
attempt to spark some offense in L.A. The Kings rank 25th in the NHL
in goals-for per game (twenty-fifth!) and for as good defensively this
team is, they're offensive execution has been failing them.
Lombardi's scouts have been doing their jobs and keeping tabs on
various players. Lombardi was in Toronto last week to check in on the
Maple Leafs, and the Kings' V.P. of Hockey Operations and Player
Personnel was in town earlier this week to see both the Leafs and
their AHL affiliate. The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres have been
scouting the Kings and their AHL club fairly heavily this past month,
and 18 scouts/team reps took in Los Angeles' 4-1 loss to the Boston
Bruins on Thursday night -- a significant number considering the Kings
don't draw nearly that many on a regular basis.
As important as it is for the Kings to find an offensive spark, what
also made them so dangerous in 2012 and 2014 was their ability to roll
three strong lines and one physical shutdown unit up front. If the
Kings fail to bring in a top-six scorer, their attention should be on
building a productive third line.
Let's, for a minor second, pretend the Kings will keep their top two
lines in place -- Anze Kopitar with Tyler Toffoli and Adrian Kempe,
and Jeff Carter with Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown. Line juggling is
a hobby of head coach Darryl Sutter, so bear with me. Who poses a
threat on the third line? Marian Gaborik? You'd have to wake him up
first. Nic Dowd and Nick Shore are not third-line centers, not yet
anyway, and Dwight King and Trevor Lewis are better suited on the
fourth line (not the first, Darryl!). Dowd actually had a good first
half of the season playing with Brown, but he's fallen off.
So failing to acquire a top-six winger, likely a left wing, should
result in the Kings utilizing their assets for a player or two on the
third line. Hanzal is the perfect third-line center option on a
legit Stanley Cup contender, and Boyle playing alongside him and Gaborik could be what the doctor ordered.
Now, the only way the Kings give up some key assets (high draft picks
and prospects) for a Hanzal or a
Boyle is if management feels the rest of the roster is good enough to
compete for the Cup this season.
But neither that nor the trade deadline itself are the biggest tidbits
coming out of L.A. these days.
Our pal John Hoven over at
MayorsManor.com revealed some
delicious news to start the week when he reported that the Kings are
seriously contemplating a managerial change. He also touched on the
future of King and the possible, eventual, return of Slava Voynov. You
can listen to his segment on Two Man Advantage with Jonathan Davis on
NHL Network Radio
Lombardi may soon be moving away from the GM role, with Rob Blake, not
Futa, as Hoven reports, in line to take over as early as next season.
It's unclear if Lombardi will move over to another position in the
organization or leave.
I will say that I was surprised to hear Blake could be next in line,
considering how much more qualified Futa is for the role. I'm not
surprised Lombardi's time is running out, those wheels have been in
motion for a while, and after his disastrous off-season, it's that
much less shocking to hear a move could happen this summer. But Blake
over Futa caught me, and a few league folk, off guard. Futa nearly became the GM of the
Toronto Maple Leafs before they hired Lou Lamoriello and he will
become a GM one day. I expected it to be with the Kings, so we will
But that's not the most pressing issue, right now...
In addition to all of this, there is a growing frustration within the
organization over Sutter, who also has one-year left on his deal, plus
an option (club option, I believe). Originally, I thought there was no
chance the team would replace him mid-season, barring a major meltdown
or blowup. Lombardi has all but hooked Sutter to his hip, tenure wise,
and the belief was Sutter would ride out his contract. But according
to two separate well-placed league sources, his future with
the club is not as clear as it once was, as battles with players have
been well documented and
those with others inside the team have mounted.
In fact, the team has been evaluating Sutter's future and both sources
told me letting him go is being considered.
Sutter is a very good coach, let's get that straight -- and Los Angeles' defensive structure and
puck possession are one of the best in the NHL, and as much as he
butts heads with some of his players, two Stanley Cup championships
gives him an upper hand -- but his inability to
adjust offensively has led to the team's struggles this season.
And you can bitch all you want about Jonathan Quick not being in the
lineup and how he provides an extra bit of confidence out there, but
look at Peter Budaj's numbers and zip it. Unless Quick can score 25
goals, his loss this season is negated by Budaj's stellar performance.
The team can't score. They didn't score a whole lot when Quick was in
the lineup, and he's supposed to be coming back soon, anyway. But Anze Kopitar can only do so much when the likes
of King, Lewis, Jordan Nolan and the jettisoned Devin Setoguchi are on
his wings. So please, spare me the "but Quick" B.S. argument.
Gaborik's lackadaisical on-ice play aside -- Sutter can't really be
blamed for that -- the team's poor offensive execution has been a
major concern. Even when you lose 1-0, you still lose. And the Kings
should be in a better position than four points back of a wildcard
Lombardi gets part of the blame, as well. All of his off-season free
agent acquisitions were waived this season. He could have pooled that
money for a top-six winger, but he didn't. But this team, on paper,
should be much better than it is, and that's on the coach. So we'll
keep an eye out.
Regardless of what happens this season, playoffs or not, Sutter axed
now or not, the
off-season is going to be VERY interested in Southern California this
David Pagnotta is the Editor-in-Chief of
The Fourth Period. Follow