This little blog takes involves many NHL teams however most of my proposed trades involve either the Leafs or the Canucks as they are the two teams that I know the most about. It is a pretty interesting read and I did do my research as far as caproom and contracts go.
When I take a look at the current standings it is fairly evident who some of the buyers and sellers will be at this years trade deadline. The West is extremely tight with 6 teams within three points of 8th place. In the East, it seems to be fairly obvious who most of the sellers will be. Do not be surprised if you see a lot of Eastern players heading west for their picks and prospects.
In the West there are 2 teams that look as though they would be sellers; the Los Angeles Kings and the St Louis Blues. At this point the Kings already have 14 picks this upcoming draft and a plethora of young talent. They have 4 capable goalie prospects, 4-5 first round defencemen as prospects and a young core at forward. It’s hard to trade away veterans when your entire team is prospects (except Sean ODonell who may be good tradebait). If there were such a thing as too many prospects the Kings are very close to it. This leaves the Blues in the West. With an interesting mix of vets and young talent the Blues have not been able to put it together a playoff contender yet. I personally do not think Kariya or Tkachuk will be traded and after that their tradeable assets diminish significantly leaving maybe Eric Brewer and Andy MacDonald
In the East, Tampa is the first team that may come to mind but they are full of so many untradeable contracts at forward and in need of a lot of help at defence you probably will not see much change in their line up. The same goes for Ottawa; with the exception of a few plumbers at forwards to fill out a contenders roster Ottawa does not have much to offer (please do not say they can trade Spezza because nobody wants him). Atlanta is in an interesting position and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kovalchuk and Schneider are both traded before the deadline. The Islanders will be big sellers at this year’s deadline and don’t be surprised if 2 of Guerin, Comrie, Weight and Sillinger are moved (all expiring contracts). Florida remains in a position to challenge for 8th spot but there are so many rumours that EVERYONE (Bouwmeester and Horton) wants out of there it’s hard to say what will happen. This leaves the Leafs, a lot of talk has been made Antropov, Toskala and one of Kaberle or Kubina packing their bags. I also see either Dominic Moore or Jamal Mayers leaving (I hope it’s not Moore), Ian White will stay as he is not done progressing and is dirt cheap while Stajan may be on his way out as he does not look like the prototypical Burke player.
Originally I had 12 teams that would be the main buyers; teams on the brink of falling out of the playoffs or have a specific need. I took Buffalo, Carolina, Phoenix and Nashville off that list as they have cap room but never seem interested in taking on more money. Detroit has a specific need in goal that I feel must be addressed but they may look at it with the optimism that Osgood went all the way last year. In my opinion, this leaves the Devils (for some defence) in the East and more recently in need of help the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the West, the Vancouver Canucks may still be looking for another top 6 forward or another defence. Even with the Sundin signing the Canucks have caproom and have proved to be very resilient without their leader Luongo (whose injury has actually created even more caproom for a trade). Minnesota has been on a Pittsburgh like slide but will probably make only minor tweaks as it is very hard to find someone mid season to fit their system. The Oilers will look to trade one of their goalies for a stay at home defencemen. This leaves Colorado; they always seem to be busy close to the trade deadline. They have a surprising amount of cap room and with the recent injuries to some of their forwards could use some help up front. On top of their injuries at forward the issue in net seems to be the largest elephant in the room.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN? this will focus on the leafs a bit more
Detroit and Colorado could be the 2 teams looking for a goaltender. Edmonton will not trade within their division so either Garon or Roloson will head to Detroit. Most likely Roloson as he has the experience of a Stanley cup final on his side. Khabibulin will not be leaving Chicago with Huet being as shaky as he has been. I feel there is a chance that Toskala could be traded to Colorado for a second round pick and a prospect. A Budaj, Toskala tandem that pushes both goalies could be very beneficial as both seem to respond well to competition.
If the Leafs trade to Colorado I would doubt they make a trade with anyone in the Northwest division, even though Kubina or Kaberle in a Canucks jersey would be great. Columbus is looking for a centre and a defenseman. You are probably going to see either Doug Weight or Nik Antropov end up there. The reason I feel it will be Antropov is that he comes at half the price (2million vs 4million: prorated). This will save the Jackets some money to go out and find another defenseman. From where? Maybe you can help me out with that.
The Vancouver Canucks will make a trade for either a puck moving defenseman who could help the PP or a top six forward (probably a LW). As mentioned before I think it would great to see Kaberle with the Canucks. I think that he would waive his NTC to go there and Mike Gillis seems to have a thing for ex-Leafs, fans may not like that many Leafs in the line up. He has a very reasonable contract but Gillis may not want to give up what he has to to get him. As for a left winger for the Canucks, Kovalchuk is the best on the market…but let’s be realistic. Somebody is going to overpay big time for him (my guess is Colorado or Pittsburgh). Vancouver is looking for more of a second line leftwinger maybe Andy MacDonald (a centre who can play the wing and whose contract expires). You may be able to get that expiring contract for Mikhail Grabner and a 5th.
If Kaberle does not go to the Canucks which I do not expect he will. I feel that the New Jersey will trade for either Kaberle or Kubina. Kaberle I’m sure will cost too much in picks and prospects for Lamoreillo’s liking so Kubina with a slightly more inflated contract may end up there. The Devils have Gionta, Madden and Holik becoming UFAs and that will make some room for Kubinas contract next year. I do not know who they would ask for probably a 2nd and 4th because his contract is bigger. It will not be Zajac as he is an RFA in 4 months time and they could get him that way (or lose him).
The uncertainty of cap space in two years will not affect the deadline as most contracts that move on the weeks before the deadline are going to expire this summer or next. Please write in your thoughts about my blog. Whether you agree or disagree with me. What do you think certain teams should do?
Two other points: Jeff Carter and Mike Richards make me like watching Flyers hockey (never thought Id say that). Weird, how all of the Penguins money goes to 2 guys that cannot play together. The system in Pitts does not seem to be working and Malkin would be worth a boatload if traded. Franchise players should be able to play together not the same position.