Trade Deadline Looms II
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.
Montreal – Currently clinging to a playoffs spot and now that there is no goaltending controversy, they will hang on. The Jose Theodore trade rumors are obviously dead. Rumors persist about a deal of some sort with Chicago for any one of Martin Lapointe, Tyler Arnason, or even Mark Bell. Mike Ribeiro and Sheldon Souray are the only names that seem to emerge as ‘available’. The Habs could use some more experience, and a top four defenseman.
Nashville – Not as comfortably in a playoff spot as they once were. They have won just four of their last eleven. Yanic Perreault is hurt, and Mike Sillinger has disrupted team chemistry a little. The Preds are lacking experience, and could move Scott Upshall to attain some. There is also a rumor that blue chip prospect Alexander Radulov will join the team in time for the playoffs, when his QMJHL season ends.
New Jersey – A playoff spot seems secure, but is not. That being said, everything they need they already have, given that Alexander Mogilny and Dan McGillis are in the minors. They could move Mogilny to a team that needs scoring help and experience, but that would give them either a prospect or fourth line help in return.
NY Islanders – If they beat Washington Monday, and New Jersey on Tuesday, the Islanders will be buyers. Mattias Weinhandl has already been waived, but more changes are on the way. They have some interest in Denis Gauthier and/or Derek Morris of Phoenix. Mike Comrie would also be a good fit. Add them to the list of Martin Lapointe suitors, too. If they lose one or both of those games, they will likely sell. Mark Parrish, Oleg Kvasha, and Sean Bergenheim could be had.
NY Rangers – Buyers, but do not expect any big moves. This team finally has chemistry, and they are looking at a likely home ice advantage come playoffs. They may go after a big stay-at-home defender, with Tom Poti being the only decent asset they would part with. Prospect Hugh Jessiman may also be available, but that is a long shot.
Ottawa – Todd Bertuzzi will never happen, so get that rumor out of your head. Olli Jokinen is a possibility, but it is more remote than it was last week as they will not be parting with Martin Havlat. Antoine Vermette is a consistent name that you hear in the rumor mill, and wherever he goes, if he goes, he could bust out offensively next year. The Sens may be looking at a smaller deal for the likes of Scott Young or Petr Cajanek from St. Louis. A real blockbuster would see Shane Doan join the Senators for a package that would include Vermette.
Philadelphia – This team seems to have everything. Even injuries can’t seem to slow them down. That said, Bobby Clarke likes his deals, so he will not sit still. The biggest rumor making the rounds is the reacquisition of Mark Recchi. Alex Picard and Stefan Ruzicka would be the only prospects that they would part with, and more depth and experience is what they would be looking for on the back end.
Phoenix – Sellers, and they will be the busiest team in the NHL on Thursday. Any one of Shane Doan, Mike Comrie, Denis Gauthier, Derek Morris, Geoff Sanderson, and even Mike Ricci could be dealt. The Coyotes will be looking for some blue chip prospects, and they will get one for Curtis Joseph, who will most assuredly be gone.
Pittsburgh – Mark Recchi is as good as gone. John Leclair has been playing well of late – just in time to make himself expendable. The Pens will add to their stable of young talent come Thursday. The best player they could acquire right now would be Antoine Vermette.
St. Louis – The fire sale will continue, but Keith Tkachuk will not be a part of it. He will not be asked to waive his no-trade clause unless someone knocks their socks off with an offer. With the loss of Erik Cole, Carolina may come knocking, but St. Louis won’t answer. Unless Ottawa offers them a Martin Havlat, I guarantee you Tkachuk is staying put. Cajanek may not be, ditto for Young. Dean McAmmond and Dallas Drake are likely gone, but they will only garner draft picks are longshot prospects.
San Jose – This team may get in ahead of Edmonton, but it will be tough. All the same, I think they may be buyers. Not big ones, but buyers nonetheless. They need an experienced second line right winger. With the recent signing of Vesa Toskala, and the great play of Nolan Schaeffer, Dimitri Nabokov may be available. If the Islanders become sellers, Mark Parrish could be had in exchange for prospects and/or picks.
Tampa Bay – Not as comfortable as they would like to be. Could use some depth on defense, as well as a second line right winger. Ruslan Fedotenko and prospects Nikita Alexeev and Alexander Polushin could be had.
Toronto – Sorry Leaf fans, but if Toronto is smart they will be sellers. Bryan McCabe will likely be gone, and Jason Allison is also a strong possibility. A package that includes Allison and Jordan Leopold could be in the works with Calgary. Any teams that are interested in Ed Belfour could also get him for a cheap price – all they need to do is take his contract. Ken Klee could also go to a team in need of an experienced number five defenseman.
Vancouver – They may acquire Patrick Lalime from the Blues. He would be the perfect backup to Alex Auld, in case Auld falters at any point. Injury troubles on the back end would also warrant a small trade to acquire a depth defenseman. A faceoff specialist for the fourth line would also be nice. Todd Bertuzzi won’t be going anywhere. It wouldn’t make sense to do something so drastic this late in the season, but rumors persist about a blockbuster with Ottawa, Philadelphia, Montreal and now Carolina has joined the game with the injury to Cole.
Washington – Jeff Friesen will be traded, and may be worth a look in fantasy pools as he will be cheap, and has some offensive potential that may be sparked on a new team. Brendan Witt is as good as gone. The Caps will be looking to build a young nucleus around Alexander Ovechkin.
Don’t forget to check out Dobber’s take on the deadline deals on March 9th – as they happen at www.dobberhockey.com