Blue-line additions?

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun

Which defensemen can help at deadline?

Scott Burnside: Hello, Pierre. We’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about offense and goaltending, but there are a number of teams that will be looking to shore up their blue lines before March 3, and a relatively limited selection of players is out there.

The guy I’m really interested in watching is Dan Hamhuis in Nashville. He doesn’t have the profile of a Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, his blue-chip teammates in Nashville, but he’s a solid young defenseman who would help a Stanley Cup-hungry team like, say, the Washington Capitals. Hamhuis could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and I think it’ll be tough for GM David Poile to fit him in with Weber and Suter already locked up.

And knowing the Predators’ long-term success comes from grooming assets from within, I know Poile will do everything to keep Hamhuis from walking away for nothing on July 1. He also has to be practical about what his team might accomplish this spring; if the Preds manage to hang on to a playoff spot, it likely will be as a seventh or eighth seed, which means the chances of a long playoff run will be modest at best. What say you, my friend?

Pierre LeBrun: The onus is clearly on Poile to try to get Hamhuis signed during the Olympic break, when he plans on speaking to the agents for his unrestricted free agents. But at this point, it doesn’t sound too promising.

“No progress to report on Hamhuis. We are keeping the lines of communication open,” Hamhuis’ agent, Wade Arnott of Newport Sports, told me in an e-mail this week. His salary-cap hit is $2 million (his salary $2.5 million), so not too extravagant for a team at the March 3 deadline. I think Poile will look at trading him if he can’t sign him before then, and he’ll be looking for offense in return.

Another defenseman I’m hearing is available for the right price is James Wisniewski of the Anaheim Ducks. He’s a restricted free agent with salary arbitration rights this summer, and I’m not sure the Ducks are convinced they can afford his raise, which in arbitration could land anywhere between $3.5 million to $5 million based on the market and his numbers. Reports in Chicago newspapers have linked the Blackhawks to their old blueliner, and it certainly would be a good fit when you consider how considerate the Hawks’ front office wants to be with team chemistry. This is a guy who knows almost everyone on the team

5 Responses to Blue-line additions?

  1. cam7777 says:

    How is it that Robidas is only worth 3.3 million, but an arbitration committee is sure to grant Wisniewski at least 3.5 million?  Something doesn't seem quite right there.  I was under the impression that the only team particularly interested in Wisniewski was Chicago, and that was strictly for their own cap purposes (where they would offload Barker's salary for the next two years, and allow Wisniewski to be gobbled up by an offer sheet for compensation picks.

    Poille has said he will do his best to resign Hamhuis, and that it is a high priority for him.  Remember that we've heard this song and dance out of Nashville before.  The bottom line is, they can't afford to move talent out and sacirifice the playoffs, even if they wanted to.  If Hamhuis isn't locked up before the deadline, they will probably have a Steve Sullivan like situation put in place.  That is to say, there is probably a standing offer for Hamhuis, and he will likely agree to sign it barring any offers that blow him away on July 1st.  Since not a whole lot of teams have spending money (especially none of the traditional contenders for FA's), my guess is that he is a Predator next year.

    I know it's the media's job to try and drum up interest in the trade deadline, but these both seemed very forced to me.  I'll eat my words if Hamhuis is traded, or if Wisniewski ends up getting a 4 million dollar contract next year, but I doubt it…

  2. futurebruin says:

    I heard that Zdeno Chara could possibly be had for the right price.  Any idea how much he could fetch Boston?

  3. hockey_lover says:

    He could fetch … a lot. He has had his struggles this season but even still, he's better than most in the league.

    He could likely fetch a package of a 1st rounder, a prospect, and a 2nd liner/2nd pairing dman.  Assuming that team can afford the $7.5m cap hit .. and there AINT too many that can.

  4. reinjosh says:

    the only way that Chara is being moved is if a top 2 dman is coming back
    I just don't see him moving as he is your defense. Without him the core of the defense collapses.

  5. futurebruin says:

    Yea I was watching NESN Sportsdesk the other morning (it's hard to explain what nesn and sportsdesk is but bbruins would know) and their hockey insider is James Murphy.  He was saying that he thinks the Bruins wouldn't be crazy to trade him this year because he's had his struggles this year and he has declined.  He said that Kovie's package would've been alot better had they traded him last year and he was saying that Chara has declined so why wait for him to decline even more.  I don't completely agree but he does raise some good points.

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