Moves coming quickly
There seems to be a tangible feeling that things are about to explode. Everyone was waiting for Forsberg to move to guage market price, and now that the Forsberg benchmark has been set, the dominoes will start to fall.
Clearly, Tkachuk, Weight and Guerin are the biggest names who will definately be moved. Watch for other contenders to follow Nashville’s lead and overpay for rental help. As for the others, it’s dicey to predict: will the Habs realize they will lose Souray in the summer and that they probably won’t make the playoffs (though I really hope they do)? Will Florida clean house or will Martin continue his futility? Will the Pens stick to the longterm gameplan or will they deal some prospects for veteran help?
Detroit, Anaheim and San Jose will battle for the top notch help to prepare for a gruelling playoff. The west is going to be an incredible battle, with even lower teams looming dangerously. Nashville is set to make a statement, Calgary has made some smart moves and has an incredible defense and Kiprasov, Dallas has added some scoring punch and is starting to get healthier, Minnesota is a strong defensive team and with Gaborik back playing incredible anything is possible. Vancouver may be the weakest team in the west, but the Sedins play better with less room and Luongo has been the second best goalie this year, which is saying a lot considering Brodeur is quite possibly an alien with the way he has been playing.
Where the chips fall is yet to be determined, but…
-Anaheim lands Tkachuk: Tkachuk is Burke’s kind of player, what he hopes Bobby Ryan will become
-Detroit gets Guerin: If for no other reason than to add some firepower to an already high-scoring crew and to prevent competition from landing him
-San Jose adds Souray: After watching the Sharks the past few games, I can see them making a splash, if for no other reason than to shake things up. The Sheldon Souray scenario seems to fit quite well on several fronts, it’s just a matter of whether Montreal is willing to part with him.
As much as I dislike the leafs, I feel the best route would be to fetch a prospect and high pick for Tucker and rebuild for next year, with a healthy group of prospects and some seasoning under Pogge and Steen. Sign a top notch winger in the off season for Sundin, give him carte blanche to pick who he wants to play with. He is too amazing to squander.
I don’t see Carter coming back to the Canucks, but Guerin would be a nice fit. Stumpel would also be a cheap rental who could possibly mesh with Naslund, while providing some size and veteran smarts. Small tweaks is what’s on the menu this deadline for the Canucks, as while they have Luongo there is always the possibility of him singlehandedly winning a series. However, I think they are still a year away, to allow for some important players to mature (Bourdon, Edler, Grabner, Kesler) and to trim some of the fat (Bulis, Chouinard, Santala).
I think we’ll see a few more big moves in the next few days, and then depth moves the final day as teams who are looking to make important moves need time to form chemistry and pick up all available points in the standings. This year will have the tightest race for the final playoff spots yet.