Break Over, Deadline Looms
The Olympic break is over, and the trade deadline is March 9th. Here are some available commodities and rumors – from a fantasy perspective of course.
Anaheim – On the cusp. They will likely be buyers, but any changes they make will be minor. GM Brian Burke has a plan, and that plan does not involve anything radical (now that Sykora and Fedorov are gone). What it involves is staying the course and building this team around Scott Niedermeyer, Joffrey Lupul, Andy McDonald, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf. If the Ducks fall out of the race, Burke may be tempted to unload J.S. Giguere. He would get a ton of quality prospects in return, and with Bobby Ryan already in the pipeline, it will only help this team’s future.
Atlanta – Waddell’s guarantee means I have a guarantee – the Thrashers will be big-time buyers. It would not surprise me if prized prospect defenseman Braydon Coburn is used to secure a proven defenseman. Patrick Stefan or Jim Slater could also be used to secure proven secondary scoring and veteran leadership. Prospects and picks could also be used.
Boston – I think Boston has a long-term plan in mind and they are going to stick to it. If they make the playoffs along the way, than so be it, but they will do nothing in the front office to help if it deviates from their plan. The plan seems to be to build the team around Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Brad Stuart, and Marco Sturm. What they have in the farm system are a bunch of long shots (defenseman Mark Stuart excepted) with Peter Kalus, and Tyler Redenbach at the forefront. The Bruins may use Sergei Samsonov and/or Glen Murray to get a farm system that they can be proud of.
Buffalo – One of the best teams in terms of offensive prospects in the NHL. Their entire NHL team seems to be made up of twenty-something offensive sparkplugs. They have a handful more playing in their farm system. They have tons of depth at all positions and could easily make a move to bring on some veteran experience without hurting their future. I am curious to see what they get in return for Martin Biron, because I can’t see them keeping two elite goaltenders, plus a third goalie who may well be just as elite if given the chance, when there are so many teams out there dying to just have one. Whoever they get for Biron, watch him, because I have a feeling it will be a star prospect. Like a Robbie Schremp or a Marc-Antoine Pouliot from Edmonton, or a Luc Bourdon from Vancouver.
Calgary – Jordan Leopold is quite feasibly gone. Yes, he is a (potentially) top notch defenseman, but the Flames know how close they are to a Cup, and they know what they lack is scoring. Kristian Huselius resolved some of those problems, but even a likely turnaround from Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow will not be enough. They need one more 65 point player. Leopold will get one for them. They are interested in Olli Jokinen, as well as Jason Allison. Sergei Samsonov or Glen Murray would also be what the doctor ordered.
Carolina – Done dealing. With the exception of tweaking their fourth line, the ‘Canes will focus on recreating the chemistry that they had before Doug Weight’s arrival disrupted it. Watch for Jack Johnson to be signed to a tryout contract just in time to help out a couple of games before the playoffs begin.
Chicago – Sellers, big time. Tyler Arnason is gone. Martin Lapointe is likely gone. Mark Bell is a slight possibility, if only for what he could get them in return. All of their other young players (Vorobiev, Vrbata, Bourque) will get more ice time and more opportunity as a result.
Colorado – What do you give someone that has a little bit of everything? Now that David Aebischer is playing better, and Pierre Turgeon is on the mend, Colorado only needs a little more help in every category. They are most definitely buyers, but what can they trade? The prospect well is nearly dry. Wojtek Wolski, Brad Richardson, Ryan Stoa, and Paul Stastny are about all there is. Would they trade one of those guys?
Columbus – Sellers. Injuries have made this season a disappointing one, but I wasn’t expecting them to compete this year regardless. David Vyborny is promising trade bait, as is Jan Hrdina. Luke Richardson is expendable. They need more offense, and they will be going after prospects that have that kind of potential. Prospects they may be targeting: Jeff Tambellini, Paul Stastny, Carsen Germyn…they also want draft picks and lots of ‘em.
Dallas – This team might be all set. In goal they are set – both starter and backup. Janne Niinimaa is back now, so their defense is set. Up front, they are firing on all cylinders. BUT, the Stars need to remember – there won’t be any shootouts in the playoffs. They need to clinch the win in regulation or overtime. They’ll be on the lookout for a second line player to play on their third line and provide depth – a buffer against any injuries. David Vyborny comes to mind, but there are lots of these types of players available out there. They have a few solid prospects that they could give up in exchange. Guys like Vojtek Polak, Johan Fransson, and Junior Lessard to name a few. Loui Eriksson is likely untouchable.
Detroit – The current top team in the NHL can taste another Cup. They will be buyers. Jiri Hudler is an upper echelon prospect that Detroit would be willing to part with in an effort to land a top notch gem in any position. A player like Olli Jokinen, or a package like Geoff Sanderson and Derek Morris, would warrant this kind of prospect. So would any huge deal with St. Louis involving Keith Tkachuk, who most assuredly would waive his no trade clause to land in Detroit.
Edmonton – Cap or no cap, the Oilers need this playoff revenue. They are clinging to a playoff spot, and they know damn well that Anaheim and San Jose will be throwing everything they can at them. Edmonton is aware that their main weakness is goaltending, and their secondary weakness is a second line. However, getting a top-notch goaltender would go a long ways towards securing that playoff spot, and that is exactly what they are going to do. A prospect like Marc-Antoine Pouliot would get them a star goaltender, but Buffalo would be looking for a prospect defenseman since they already have an abundance of offensive forwards in their system. Curtis Joseph would be a better fit.
Florida – The Panthers are sellers and I would be surprised if Olli Jokinen did not get traded. I would also be surprised if Roberto Luongo DID get traded. I think they’ll hang onto him. They know where their meal ticket is. A Jokinen for Havlat deal would make sense, as it would fill Ottawa’s need, plus Florida’s need to replace a star with a star. Chris Gratton and Jozef Stumpel will be gone to teams that need secondary scoring help. Dallas might be a good fit there.
Los Angeles – They will begin winning again now that their injured troops are back in the lineup. They will stick with Labarbara and Garon as their goaltenders unless they can somehow pry Luongo from Florida. A deal like that, however, would cost them huge – as in Garon, plus a young stud like Cammalleri, plus a prospect like Tambellini, plus picks…plus plus plus! I don’t see it happening, and I don’t see the Kings adding nothing more than a number four defenseman to the squad.
Minnesota – They currently sit tenth, but the teams in eighth, ninth, and eleventh all have more games left than they do. I think in the end the Wild will be sellers, with Dwayne Roloson on his way out. A team like Edmonton needs a goalie, and it would be just like the Oilers to take a Roloson for a cheap price than a Biron for an expensive one. Randy Robitaille and Todd White are expendable. The Wild are also not happy with the play of Alexandre Daigle, so he could be dealt.
back next Sunday for Part II
Don’t forget to check out Dobber’s take on the deadline deals on March 9th – as they happen at www.dobberhockey.com