Trade Speculations Starting to Brew

The NHL world is tasting the brewing speculation of trades bound to happen soon; and, the taste is so good that it is….

(takes on the Flyers, Coyotes, Rangers, Panthers, and Flames)…orgasmic. No, let’s not go there with exaggerations.

The season keeps maturing and the trade talking is starting to get louder. We have heard a few bad rumors out there, such as Daniel Alfredsson to the Los Angeles Kings, but I must say that the media has not been so bad yet as far as rumors, except for the intelligently challenged Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.

It is obvious, though, that some teams need changes, and because of those obvious changes, the media has an easier time making sincere speculations. Otherwise, we would have the media going impatient that they would make up ANY kind of rumor. Any kind of rumor such as Chris Chelios using Viagra because he can no longer score………………………… score goals I meant! Of course….

Anyway, the three teams most likely to make a trade, or moves in general, are the Philadelphia Flyers, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Calgary Flames.

As far as the Flyers go, I think they are risking it big time. I don’t believe Petr Forsberg will be traded anytime soon, probably in February. But, the team is leaving this problem in the hands of an Assistant General Manager who apparently is not even comfortable taking over the reigns. Would you, as an owner, really want to leave this situation to someone like that? The Flyers have a good amount of players to trade for pretty good return value, and they are left with two options.

1) Revamp the team by trading current roster players for NHL ready players.
2) Put up a fire sale and build up the future.

These decision are tough to make and I would not even be sure of the choice to make. Revamping the roster with good changes may turn the team around and actually have a good impact rather quickly, but the risk is that if the NHL ready players do not help the team, then the Flyers are stuck with nothing to show for.

To set up a fire sale pretty much means tank the season by acquiring early round draft picks and good prospects. The risk is that the future prospects may turn out to be busts.

It’s not easy, especially when interim General Manager Paul Holmgren did not see this whole situation coming. It just happened all of the sudden and everything landed on his lap. If that would have happened to me, I’d be frustrated and nervous. The future of the organization is all the sudden in your hands, and it becomes your responsibility. At this point, you have to go with your instinct and choose what you think is best. So, after mulling over the situation for the Flyers, here is my plan:

TANK THE SEASON. This team is too disturbed, too frustrated, and too problematic to hope for good quickie fixes with younger players. Besides, not many teams will be willing to trade NHL ready players now. So, use the strengths of the organization, which in this case is scouting. The Flyers have very good scouting and all scouts should be assigned to search for good prospects to trade for. Paul Holmgren should not be dialing numbers as much as people would think. Personally, I would let my number be dialed to listen to offers. Tell the other NHL clubs which players could be traded now, and let them make the offers. If the offers are worth it, pull the trigger. It won’t make a difference if the trade has little impact. At this point, personally, I would send my scouts to work and get ready for a fire sale to occur around the Trade Deadline. Acquire young talent, good draft picks, and get ready for next season.

How does that sound for Flyers fans on here? Please share your opinions.

To be frank, but my names is still Micki, the Phoenix Coyotes are a disaster. Michael Barnett and Wayne Gretzky have no idea how to handle this franchise. While I respect the Great One so very much, it is obvious that he has no impact on the team. I bet most of you have watched the Coyotes, and they play as if they had no coach to begin with. I know that is harsh criticism towards 99, but let’s face reality! To bluntly put this, the Phoenix Coyotes SUCK. They have skilled players, they have decent depth, but they are a pathetic team to watch and the reasons are quite obvious. Barnett has no idea how to improve the team. Actually, he has not had a good idea in quite a long time. So, fire the guy! Probably Wayne Gretzky cannot be touched, but what if the Coyotes FIRE the horrible general manager, give those duties to Gretz, who in my opinion is better fit as a GM, and hire Ken Hitchrooster as the coach. That is when the team would turn around! Gretzky is an intelligent hockey man, he knows the game inside-out, he knows what a team needs in order to win. He can be such a good general manager, yet no signs that a change will be made for staff members.

So, a trade is most likely to occur. But, who can get traded? I would rule out players like Ed Jovanovski, Owen Nolan, Ladislav Nagy, and Jeremy Roenick. The defense may be tweaked first before any major moves happen. It could be that the Coyotes will once again trade with their best friends, the Philadelphia Flyers. These two clubs have had a good history of making trades, it would be no surprise to see another one coming. Maybe Robert Esche is on his way back to where he started, for possibly Curtis Joseph? No one will trade much to land Robert Esche, because no one really needs the guy. So, could the Flyers just use a quick fixing in goaltending and give a shot at Cujo? Why not? Same with the Coyotes, why not give a go with Esche? It’s tough to take a good educated guess on who is getting traded on the Coyotes. I could see a minor deal coming, yet there is a gut feel that tells me that the much talked about BIG-TRADE-SOON-TO-HAPPEN with the Flyers will involve the Phoenix Coyotes. Main packaged players could involve Ladislav Nagy, Shane Doan, Derek Morris, Nick Boynton, Curtis Joseph, and Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Robert Esche, Nolan Baumgartner, Mike Rathje, Sami Kapanen, and R.J Umberger.

Now, I don’t believe all of those players will be involved, but at least two from each side will be involved if such a trade happens. I would not do it if I were the Flyers GM unless it is a no-brainer. I would do it if I were the Coyotes GM as the current roster is not working. But, it’s the talked big trade that is soon to happen with the Flyers in which the media talks about. My guess is it involves the Coyotes and the Flyers.

The New York Rangers had an odd trip to the West Coast. A great game against the poorly organized team Phoenix Coyotes. After that, an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Kings that was later followed by sending Darius Kasparaitis down to AHL’s Hafford Wolfpack team for conditioning. Now, Kaspar was not the only player that was stinking it up on the Rangers. Almost every Blueshirt deserved to be sent down for conditioning. It was a way to teach the whole team a lesson; it was a message sent. How did the team respond? They played excellent back-to-back hockey against two of the top teams in the West; the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks. The Rangers played the system that Renney ants them to play and the work ethic level was reached, not to mention Kevin Weekes’s solid play in nets, although not so stellar either as he allowed a couple of softies that just beat him.

The defensive pairs were the ones to step up their game. One of the best pairs in the league from last season was pathetic to watch, yet Marek Malik and Michal Rozsival played their best games so far this season against the Ducks and Sharks, especially against the Sharks. The Sandis Ozolinsh-Karel Rachunek pair has been the best since the game in Phoenix and was even solid against LA. Ozolinsh and Rachunek. T
here is no explanation as to how that pair plays well, but they do. Tyutin and Ward keep it solid as well. So, if these pairs turn up playing well against the Buffalo Sabres, what’s going to happen to Darius Kasparaitis? Because let’s not forget that Tomas Pock is also ready to play the season in the NHL and there is no way that the Rangers will lose this guy through waivers.

Will the Rangers trade? In the month of November, there is no way that the Rangers cannot make a trade. They have to. The only ones who could get traded are Michal Rozsival, Karel Rachunek, Tomas Pock, and Darius Kasparaitis. Rozsival’s possibility of getting traded is very slim, however. Tomas Pock won’t give much of a return other than a 4th rounder at best, or a solid prospect in return, but always questionable. Rachunek can be dealt, but how many teams will really show interest? Still, a decent return would be sufficient for the Rangers as they end up clearing some salary and giving the spot to Pock. If not, then Darius Kasparaitis can be offered around the league, and that would free up a lot of space for the Rangers, but the only issue with that is that the Rangers will then lack a quality physical defenseman. Not that you really need one nowadays, but a team should always have a gritty defenseman who can play physical. Aaron Ward can be looked upon at, but why give him all the work when the guy is still working on fitting in? Nonetheless, interesting scenario.

To further make it interesting, the latest reports, mostly from the New York Post, are suggesting that the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks are having frequent talks about a trade. The one rumored is Brent Seabrook for Petr Prucha. Should the Rangers pull such a deal? I would definitely go for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Prucha’s style of game as a Czech. The guy is made out of rubber. He gets hit hard to the point where most players could get a concussion, yet the smallish European gets up quickly and starts skating again and throws a little check. On top of that, he has deadly offensive instincts, which have not really shown up lately, but it’s also because of Brendan Shanahan taking up a lot of space. Now, why would I want to make this trade if Prucha is so cool? Because he is not a one of a kind player. The Rangers have wingers in their farm team to use, such as Nigel Dawes, who plays similar to Prucha. Brent Seabrook on the other hand is such a young talented defenseman who has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman. Seabrook is off to a bad start, but is also on a bad team plagued with injuries.

Remember last season’s Calder Trophy race and my chosen leaders on who was to win it? I had Alexander Ovechkin as #1, Dion Phaneuf as #2, and I believe I had Henrik Lundqvist and Brent Seabrook juggling 3rd place with Sidney Crosby in 4th. My argument was that if not for Phaneuf’s awesome play last season, Seabrook would be #2. I watched a few ‘Hawks games last season, and this guy was sharp. He is a natural born solid defenseman who will end up as a top pairing d-man. I am sure of it, I know it! If the Rangers can get this guy for Petr Prucha, it’s a great deal! And, I would not necessarily call it a steal for either teams. It would be a good hockey trade because Chicago gets MUCH needed offensive help, and Martin Havlat playing along with Petr Prucha could cause a major offensive threat. The Rangers would be looking at a solid future on defense around Fedor Tyutin, Marc Staal, and Brent Seabrook. It’s a good deal and I would like to see it happen.

The only problem is that it causes roster issues for the Rangers as far as defensemen go. But, something can be done and I hope the best for both teams. And you know something, I like the Blackhawks this year. I despise the owner, I am not a fan of GM Tallon, but I like the team and at least they made efforts to turn the franchise around. I respect a team that does that. I wish the best for Chicago.

The Florida Panthers are missing Todd Bertuzzi as he will be gone for about two months. They needed a scorer in New Jersey and on Long Island. They surely could have used one when playing the San Jose Sharks, but they played good hockey ever since the trip to the NY-Metro area. They played the Sharks really well giving an A effort, and only the ref had to blow it by making a very weak call on Martin Gelinas nearing the end of regulation. Against the Maple Leafs? Aside from the 3rd period slow down, they outplayed Toronto for most of the game. The Panthers adapted to a more defensive style game ever since missing Todd Bertuzzi, and so far it’s going fairly well.

Question is, will the Florida Panthers make a trade? I have been suggested not to expect a trade anytime soon, unless things get really ugly. On the other hand there is always a little speculation that the Panthers will try and maybe give a shot to a player who is on the block and can be had for cheap. First team in mind to make inquiries to is Philadelphia. Possibly R.J Umberger could be had for rather cheap. For who I cannot say. Umberger can provide scoring depth and he has good character on the ice (notice how I say, on the ice). Salary is rather cheap at just over $1M as well. Thing is, does he complement Jacques Martin’s philosophy? Hard to say, but he is the GM now so he ought to know. If the Panthers feel like they can go a little bit more expensive, they may give a shot at struggling forward Kyle Calder. The Panthers could try and trade Chris Gratton, providing the Flyers a much needed big-sized center, for Kyle Calder. While I have started to like Gratton, this move would be made for salary reasons as Calder’s salary, for one year, nearly reaches $3M. At least the Panthers have players to look at who are up for sale if they ever need a scoring winger.

The Calgary Flames are also in trade talks. They need a center. No, duh. They needed one ever since…..I don’t know, I’d say………….. LAST SEASON!? Come on GM Sutter, how the hell did you miss this one? Not to mention the illogical trade of Steve Reinprecht for Mike Leclerc who is currently unemployed. What a sh….. crap deal that was. So what if Reinprecht gets injured, at least you’d have a skilled center to use when healthy. The Flames are low and someone needs to shoot a big, loud, and nasty fart to release enough methane gas to light up half of Canada and cause a major heat wave. Oh wait, that would not be a good idea with Al Gore being all so seriel about it thinking global warming is coming, along with Manbearpig (inside joke for South Park fans). But seriously, how did GM Sutter go into the season without a real center? Daymond Langkow was a good idea. I thought he could have pulled it off, but he clearly did not fit as a 1st line center, to play with Iginla.

So what is he waiting for!? Maybe he is ready to coach again and get Playfair out? He has got to make a trade before his team loses too many games. Sign Jason Allison at this point. He sucks defensively, sure. He is not a good skater, fine. But he is frikkkkkkkkkkkkin good on offense! Maybe trade for Mike Comrie, or Mike York, if still available.

Calgary Flames must make a move if next week adds more numbers under L than under W.

Thanks for reading as always,

Micki Peroni