Around the NHL in 80 Minutes

No, not really 80 minutes. But, I liked the title so I used it.

It’s all the latest talk that is going around the NHL….. All for you to read and comment on.Fresh news of the day talks about the Anaheim Mighty Ducks maybe dealing Petr Sykora shortly.

The Czech right-winger, and former Stanley Cup winner, has underachieved as a Mighty Duck this season. But, that’s not the main reason why GM Burke is willing to deal him.

Most likely, every new general manage that takes over team wants to revamp the team and make it his own, from coach to players. It’s what Glen Sather did, what Muckler is trying to do, though keeping key players. Brian Burke is trying to do the same thing.

He traded Fedorov and he will trade Sykora, Ozolinsh, and Giguere. He wants his own team.

Petr Sykora is a very good player. Still 29 years of age, yet carrying a contract weighing $3.116M. Who would be interested in this guy?

My first target….

The Montreal Canadiens. They have been slumping in the last 10 matches going 3-4-3. They lost their scoring with Saku Koivu injured, Radek Bonk out indefinitely with a pulled groin, and Alexei Kovalev being an iffy. Also, Richard Zednik has been a major disappointment thus far.

I think the Canadiens would be the first ones to go after a guy like Petr Sykora. What could the trade become? I say Sandis Ozolinsh and Petr Sykora to the Canadiens for Andrej Markov, Alex Perezhogin, and a C-level prospect or a draft pick.

The salary structure?

The +/- of salaries for both teams is $3.766M, Montreal being the team adding that amount to their payroll.

Montreal needs offense, quite badly. Their leading goal scorer is Michael Ryder with just 11 goals, and in their last 5 games the Habs have just scored 9 goals.

Adding Sykora would spark the offense and may boost Richard Zednik’s performance, and Sandis Ozolinsh, who I believe could perform much greater on another team, would give the team a valuable offensive defenseman.

Other teams that could show interest are the Florida Panthers, who could be ready to pull a big trade, Tampa Bay Lightning, and possibly the New York Islanders.

Panthers could make an easy deal acquring Petr Sykora as they have the cap space, plus cheap talent to trade, such as Juraj Kolnik, maybe even Stephen Weiss, but only if the Ducks would then trade a bit more than just Sykora since Weiss has been playing well as of late.

The Bolts have been the most unimpressive team in the NHL, as I expected. They need changes and there could be a combination of any one of these players from Pavel Kubina to Martin St. Louis. Ouch! Did I just say his name? Yes I did, but it would be a huge trade. The Bolts are in need of goaltending. Eveyrone says the Avalanche, Luongo, the Nucks, and so on…., but what about the Bolts? It’s not just St. Louis not performing as expected, but it is the goaltending. It’s not as good as it should be.

This is where Brian Burke could see the potential to pull a blockbuster where John Grahame and Martin St. Louis could be traded for Sykora and J-S Giguere.

Wild and crazy? Yes. Possibility of happening? Slight, but who expected Joe Thorning getting traded just 20 games into the season?

The Islanders may find a way to acquire Sykora, but it would be harder to think of a deal. Still, you never know what Mad Mike is thinking of this very minute that you are reading.

As mentioned not too long ago, the Panthers may finally be ready to pull the trigger by trading…..

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Ready?

……. here it is…..

Olli Jokinen.

That’s correct. What I have been told is that the Panthers have no interest in trading Roberto Luongo. GM Mike Keenan would still like to negotiate a new contract with Luongo in January. Now, unless Luongo privately demands a trade, then it has to happen, but I could see the Panthers and Luongo agreeing on a new contract in January/February where it would change Luongo’s performance.

Also, the mass media fails to mention two big details about Luongo. First of all, rule changes put a definite effect on some goalies, and Luongo needs to find his confidence in order to find his game fitting in the new NHL.

The second detail, and a more specific one, is that the Panthers changed the goaltending coach. Prior to Phil Myre it was Clint Malarchuk who coached Luongo. There may be something that is not connecting between Myre and Luongo. Different techniques could be a big factor.

But going back to Olli Jokinen, he is not performing as he was in the past two seasons. GM Keenan either waits to deal Luongo, if a new contract cannot be agreed upon, and acquires wingers that could play well with Jokinen, or he deals Jokinen.

To which team? Hard to say. The Canadiens could find interest putting Saku Koivu and Jokinen together. The Bruins may be seeking Jokinen, though Samsonov’s injury diminshes that possibility. The Oilers could be seeking to add depth at center. I think pretty much almost any team in the NHL would show interest in Jokinen.

The Boston Bruins are not done dealing, so says the media. I definitely think Glen Murray is going to be traded. He is disappointed in the Joe Thornton trade, and he’d want out. Where to? I truly believe that Panthers must go after this player. He can burry the scoring chances and would be the perfect line mate for Nathan Horton or Olli Jokinen. The Mighty Ducks may pull the trigger and acquire Murray in a deal involving Sykora.

If the Blackhawks wanted Joe Thornton, then they will want Glen Murray.

The Maple Leafs have been quiet in trade rumors.

And all I have to say to that is…..

….. THANK YOU GOD!!!!

The Thrashers are once again slumping and Marc Savard may be used as trade bait, he is a UFA at season’s end.

The Nashville Predators are concerned as David Legwand and Tomas Vokoun may be injured for a meaningfull period of time. GM Poile may be looking at possible trade options.

The Philadelphia Flyers lost two key defensemen, and though both Clarke and Coach Hitch both said they would look from within, the Flyers will be needing a defenseman, at least one. Richard Jackman may be a possible option from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Or, Sandis Ozolinsh may be an option if things get too ugly for the Flyers.

The New York Rangers are keeping critics, journalists, and fans with their eyebrows raised. Though this team is rumored to be acquiring Petr Sykora, or even Todd Bertuzzi (which I find ridiculous), the Rangers are in no need to make any major changes. They are playing well with chemistry and hard work ethic. Petr Sykora could be a possibility, but the Rangers would be better off acquiring an offensive defenseman to fix their power play.

Though I am still questioning the team’s chances of making the playoffs, the Rangers proved a lot of people wrong. The hottest player on the team right now, besides Jaromir Jagr, is Petr Prucha, who has been on a goal scoring streak. This is one of the most lethal forwards I have ever seen. He converts on almost every scoring chance he gets. His shot is the kind to beat a Martin Brodeur (it has). He is virtually unstoppable on breakways. What a solid draft pick for the Rangers, and this guy was Glen Sather’s pick. Slats himself chose to pick this guy, even if he was advised not to.

I must give credit to the Chicago Blackhawks. They have been playing much better hockey as of late. Thumbs up to Coach Yawney.

The Columbus Blue Jackets best move would be to fire GM Doug McLean and his coach. McLean has failed to move this franchise to the next level, and he acquired a player that has been a total bust (Sergei Fedorov).

Blues GM Larry Pleau may actually catch a break. The team is more concerned getting a new owner than firing the general manager that has given them no valuable assets. They are stuck with Keith Tkachuk, who won’t leave St. Louis. They have a very weak farm system. They are no where. They can’t pull a good trade. Weight will most likely get traded at some point before, or at, the Deadline. But what does this team have? Nothing.

If Pleau keeps his job, which is fair enough after he has led the Blues to many playoff years, then he gets a big chance to revamp his roster throughout the off-season.

The San Jose Sharks won’t trade Patrick Marleau. Doug Wilson was interviewed by the Panthers Fox Sports channel last night and said that he looks forward to having one of the league’s best one-two punch lines.

***UPDATE***:

The St. Louis Blues have traded Eric Boguniecki to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Steve Poapst. Good trade for the Penguins as Boguniecki still has the ability to contribute offensively, and be a solid 3rd liner.

The Flyers lose Simon Gagne for about 2 weeks with a groin pull. Look for Forsberg to make a quicker impact soon, and maybe the Flyers may look to make a minor deal for a “filler”.

Well folks, this is all the hockey you can get, and that’s how I’m calling my shots on the latest NHL news.

Now, before I end this I would like to add that there will be a Mid-Season report on all 30 NHL teams. I will contact the same staff I had for the Season Preview, but if any spots are open, I will let you know.

Thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni

Vice-Admin


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