Buyers and Sellers: Western Conference Edition
In the trade deadline period before the upcoming CBA, the dichotomy between teams who are buying (cashing in) and those who are selling (fire sale-ing) is more obvious than ever.
This article takes a brief look at who teams may go after, but doesn’t always speculate as to who or what might go the other ways, cause unless you’re a Leaf fan, you just apparently don’t know anymore.ANAHEIM:
Reason: Out of playoff race after strong season last year
Most Desired Asset: Keith Carney
Who Might Get Him: Nashville or Toronto
Keith Carney is one of the most reliable stay at home defenseman in the league and was an integral feature in the Ducks going all the way to the Cup finals last season. Teams such as the Predators and even the Maple Leafs will be all over the Ducks with offers for Carney this trade deadline, but he may be just too valuable to the franchise to give away. Expect him to not come cheap.
Status: Buyers (minor level)
Reason: Overperforming, and playoff bound for the first time in centuries
Most Desired Asset: Young talented depth forwards
Where Might They Look: Chicago and NYR
Calgary is a shock playoff arrival in a year where it seems so many teams are doing their best out West to try and miss the playoffs. Calgary isn’t exactly the richest team in the league and are trying to unload salaries such as that of Turek to afford Iginla post-CBA. They may however seek further depth in the wake of the Nieminen move yesterday. Rumours seem to center around the Rangers as trade partners, though by expending Gauthier (if they so wish) the Flames may be open to youthful talent from a number of markets, including Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto and Pittsburgh.
Reason: They’ve deteriorated as a franchise
Most Desired Asset: Alexander Karpovtsev
Who Might Want Him: Nashville, Vancouver, San Jose
Well nearly every other veteran presence on this team is gone now, and Karpo remains the last piece in the firesale puzzle. There are plenty of teams out there looking for a stay at home dman, and Karpovtsev is a much cheaper option than other higher profile deadlinees. Nashville may look to deal with the Blackhawks again (especially considering how cheap they got Sullivan) and San Jose may wish to acquire a veteran dman for a playoff push. Both have the assets to pull off such a trade. Toronto may just go for the bigger fish.
Reason: Perennial Contenders
Most Desired Asset: A backup for the playoffs
Where Might They Look: Who knows, its PL…
The Avs are ready for another run. They’ve got the forwards, they’ve got the D (albeit Blake-less at least for now) and they’ve got a ready-to-rumble Aebischer. But Sauve isn’t the goalie yet to co-star in such a playoff run. In a deadline full of overpaid starters being on the block, the Avs may find it tough to get that experienced backup for cheap. Names such as Tugnutt and Irbe (as ridiculous as they sound) may be reasonable options for the Avs to pursue.
Reason: Because despite what titans thinks, they suck
Most Desired Assets: Geoff Sanderson, Scott Lachance and Andrew Cassels
Who Might Want Them: At the right price, any buyer
Sanderson is getting on a bit, but with a good line he could be a very good playoff acquistion for a team looking to add that little bit extra. San Jose could make a push, they’re looking for a little veteran influence, but perhaps he’s out of their price range. He might look good with the Sedins too, but I doubt Burke pulls the trigger for him. Cassels could go to Detroit, though I would contend they’d be looking more towards Lang or someone like that who’s more of a guarantee. And Lachance, who knows, who cares?
Status: Buyers and Sellers (probably the only ones)
Reason: They’re on the playoff knife-edge but in form
Most Desired Asset: Yet another dman
Where Might They Look: Washington
Dallas is apparently very interested in the Capitals firesale, and in particular Sergei Gonchar. Problem is I don’t know if the Stars have what it takes to get Sergei without giving up Morrow, which is something they WON’T want to do. Gonchar I don’t think is what the Stars really need, but I don’t know the Stars well enough to fully speculate. In terms of selling, Arnott and his salary could be possibly had despite his decent season, and Dallas would love for there to be takers on Turgeon, though there probably won’t be since there hasn’t been yet.
Reason: Perennial contenders
Most Desired Asset: More Strikepower
Who They Might Get: Andrew Cassels, Robert Lang, Doug Weight, Alexei Kovalev
With the goalie mess seemingly sorted itself (8 million dollars later though), the Wings are ready to make yet another Cup run. Certainly not as dominant as in recent times, perhaps the offence though stellar isn’t superhuman this time. Another center or scoring winger would perhaps change that. Will they go after Cassels, probably not, he is a division rival and a little soft. Will they go after Weight, probably not since his pricetag of 8.5 million is probably too much for the Wings now, which leaves Lang as the most affordable/desirable centering option. In more recent news though, Mark Howe has certainly been scouting New York Rangers games, almost certainly in an effort to examine Alexei Kovalev. Kovalev would certainly give the Wings a much more potent offense and is affordable enough that the Wings might just make the deal with the Rangers for him.
Reason: Disappointing season that will most likely see them miss the playoffs
Most Desired Assets: Ryan Smyth and Jason Smith
Who Might Want Them: Montreal (Smyth) and Toronto, New York Islanders, Nashville (Smith).
Though it wouldn’t be a shock to see these two remain in Edmonton, the fact of the matter is, that they are highly valued commodities right now, though in the case of Smyth, the salary might be a slight deterrent. Montreal need that grit, size and skill, and Smyth would be a great fit for them, but will Habs management make the move, hard to say. Smith is the kind of tough, stay at home defenseman and leader that a lot of teams would value heading into the playoffs. He’s the one dman I’m scared the Leafs might actually get that would make them more compeititive. The Isles have said they wouldn’t mind another dman, but Smith might be out of their reaches I think. And as with every mention of a dman at this deadline, Nashville are players, because for them to be serious, they need to solidify up back (especially when your two best dman are so offensive minded).
Reason: More injured than healthy
Who Might They Get: Probably no one
Unfortunately for LA, they’re probably going to have to go into the playoffs (if they can indeed make it) with what they have. A full strength LA team with Deadmarsh, Palffy, Allison, Straka and what have you would certainly be a scary NHL superpower, but the reality is, that seeing that team is now a pipedream with the perchance retirement of Allison and Deadmarsh. LA might sell if it looks like they might miss the playoffs, but there seems like no point. Besides they’ll be too in the thick of things to take such a chance.
Reason: Disappointing campaign after last year’s heroics
Most Desired Asset: Manny Fernandez
Who Might Want Him: New York Rangers
Minnesota won’t be big players at the deadline. And besides the possible small name player (see Darby Hendrickson) unless Fernandez goes, I don’t see them being big players at all. Why the Rangers would want him (he’s certainly no upgrade over Dunham) is beyond me. Could he backup for the Avs, probably, but I doubt Riseborough deals him to a division power.
Reason: First ever playoff run
Most Desired Assets: Alexander Karpovtsev, Jason Smith, Keith Carney, Brendan Witt
Nashville have been one of the surprise packages of the year. The reason: because guys like Hartnell, Legwand, Erat and Orszagh are playing up to expectations. The real reasons: Zidlicky and Vokoun. The Preds are just a stay at home dman (in my opinion) away from being borderline contenders. They could finish as high as 5th, and realistically would give the Cansucks an interest battle to contend with if they did. If they finished 6th though, I’d almost rate them to pull off the upset of the first round out West. This team is ready. Witt might be a bit of a stretch as I don’t think the Caps will trade him if they deal Gonchar, but the other three listed are all viable options for a Nashville franchise with plenty of trade bait.
Reason: Barnett sucks
Most Desired Asset: Chris Gratton
Who Might Want Him: New Jersey Devils
Though the idea of Chris Gratton and Pat Burns tolerating each other for a prolonged period of time does sound intriguing, it could happen. New Jersey needs another gritty center man, and the underachieving Gratton could be a reasonable option. Phoenix makes too many trades to begin with, but this deadline I see them staying fairly dormant, because they probably won’t part with Mara and no one wants to azquire Savage or probably Gratton either.
Status: Play it by ear, I’ll get back to you on March 8th
Reason: They have key dmen out and they’re on the brink of missing the playoffs
Who Might They Get: A dman
Who Might They Trade: Chris Pronger, Doug Weight, Brent Johnson
It seems strange that you could say they might get a dman in one sentence and then say they might trade Pronger in the next. For the record I don’t think Pronger is going anywhere, playoffs or otherwise. He IS the Blues. All the usual suspect dmen already listed may be on the Blues wishlist, but they are thin on collateral to send the other way. Doug Weight’s pricetag makes him difficult to move as well, but Detroit might just be interested enough to make inquiries. Brent Johnson seems to be the out of favour backup that no one wants, not even the Avs.
Reason: Surprise playoff positioning
Most Desired Assets: Experienced Dman or forward
Where Might They Look: Edmonton, Columbus, Chicago
San Jose, like Nashville weren’t really tipped to do anything this season, and with 76 points and only 5 behind the Redwings, they’ve opened up all our eyes. The Sharks won’t be big players at the deadline, their GM has even said it, but if Wilson et al see the right deal, they won’t hesitate. Experience may be the name of the game for San Jose, so expect to see them ask about the veterans in Columbus, as well as Jason Smith and Karpovtsev. May very well go into the playoffs as-is though.
Reason: Because the Canucks think they’re contenders
Most Desired Assets: A second line or another dman
Where Might They Look: Columbus, Edmonton all the usual suspect places
Vancouver I still don’t think have what it takes, especially if they have any illusions of playing Cloutier in the post season. Full strength, they’re a second line player and disposing of Malik away from being a great team. With that said, they may go after the depth dman (Lachance, Bombardir etc) or they might go after the second line player such as Sanderson, KH or even O’Neill if the price was right. Burke hasn’t finished yet before the deadline is over, but I would expect only one move either way, but for it to be a decisive one. For more info contact Great_one today.
Ross Byrnes (Nothingman)
Vice Admin of Wowhockey
PS: When I say “Most desired asset” I mean players that have a realistic chance of being dealt or wanted by other teams.