Trade Deadline Guide

Posted: 01/10/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

The dog days of the NHL season are upon us. It is also the time when the rumor sites burn bandwidth like its $1.00 per gallon gasoline. For all that noise the gossip girls get it right about 3% of the time. Obviously credibility is irrelevant when it comes to building a successful trade rumor franchise.

Actually the formula is simple. It’s not even a secret anymore. If you want to launch a popular trade rumor website just follow these two rules; (1) The teams with the most active fan bases on the internet, Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Chicago and Montreal always appear to win in the rumored trade, (2) Contenders always acquire the missing piece in each and every trade rumor. For example on any given day a gossip girl is certain Giguere or Vokoun is on his way to Washington.

The most common type of trade occurring at the deadline are pending UFA’s moving from non-playoff teams to playoff teams for picks, prospects and roster players.

ffe155 says:

I would add a third rumor rule: Teams are always able to unload bad contracts and create cap space at the deadline.

Trade deadline buyers are often reluctant to include roster players in swaps. Too often a team merely weakens one area while strengthening another for a net push. Bob Murray’s Pronger trade is a textbook example. By trading Pronger Murray sacrificed the present for a brighter future and weakened the D while only marginally improving at forward.

Anaheim Ducks: GM Bob Murray may need to make the playoffs to keep his job. That puts him in the desperate category. Expect his fellow GM’s to smell blood and take full advantage. Murray has made his moves early in advance of the deadline during his first two seasons as GM. Expect the same this season. Murray has said he’s looking for a #1 D-man but may settle for a solid Top 4 match up stay@homer. He’s also looking to upgrade the 3rd/4th forward lines. Joffrey Lupul and Jason Blake are the big names who are available.

Atlanta Thrashers: No relation BTW. GM Rick Dudley and Coach Craig Ramsay have created one of the NHL’s nice surprises this season. You’d think they’d be buyer but Dudley is acting more like seller trying to ship Niclas Bergfors. Thrashers would like to add some snarl on the back-end and could move Ron Hainsey and Johnny Oduya.

Boston Bruins: Injuries and age have all but closed the Bruins Cup window. They do have the goaltending to steal a game or a series. It could be they have to win the Northeast Division to make the playoffs. Failure will probably cost Coach Claude Julien his job. Bruins are cap squeezed and loaded with hard to move contracts. The question isn’t so much what will GM Pete Chiarelli, rather it’s what can he do?

Buffalo Sabres: GM Darcy Regier has been virtually helpless as the wheels have come off a decent Sabre team of just one year ago. You don’t plan for injuries and you don’t plan for the sophomore jinx to set back your Calder winning #1 D-man. Most likely a seller Sabres will make Tim Connolly, Rob Niedermayer, Craig River and Patrick Lalime available.

Calgary Flames: The C on the Flames jersey must stand for confusion. Interim GM Jay Feaster was given a mandate to assess and report to senior management at the end of the season. Feaster has already announced that he intends to rebuild around Iginla, Kiprusoff, Bouwmeester, Regher and Giordino. This leaves a bunch of overpaid players with trade and movement restrictions in their contracts.  Feaster will earn his keep if he finds takers for Jokinen, Stajan, Staios, Sarich.

Carolina Hurricanes: The gossip girls have Hurricanes as a seller. I don’t believe it. This club is coming together and is heating up. ‘Canes are the reason I suggest the Bruins or Habs must win the Northeast to make the playoffs. Carolina has over $8 million in cap space but operate under a lower self-imposed spending limit. They need help on the wings and have draft picks and prospects to offer.

Chicago Blackhawks: GM Stan Bowman has said he is looking to upgrade the blue line depth. Actually that statement is an indirect compliment to Brent Sopel. Bowman also said Andrew Ladd is the one guy they miss among the group who left the Windy city for cap compliance. Look for the Blackhawks to add a depth D-man who can PK and a solid two-way LW’er. If our Ducks become sellers look for Chicago to come a calling for Andreas Lilja and one of Jason Blake, Matt Belesky or Brandon McMillan. Bowman will need to shed salary to make anything happen on the trade front.

Colorado Avalanche: Despite losing top four D-men Kyle Quincy for the season and Kyle Cumiskey indefinitely, the Avs just keep plugging along. How does a team spending near the cap floor maintain a winning record after losing half of its top 4 D?  Toss in Milan Hedjuk’s wonky groin induced slump, injuries to Chris Stewart and TJ Galiardi and the Avs 22-15-6 record, while winning at home and on the road, is even more impressive. IMO they need more snarl and sandpaper in the lineup. However these Avs seem built for the new, faster NHL. As a result I’m in watch and learn mode toward the Avs. My opinion may not apply to their situation.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are winless and pointless in January having  lost four straight and are 4-6 in their last ten games. This won’t quit, tough to play against team is beginning to fall off the pace. Look for the Blue Jackets to be sellers with Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek  the only untouchables. GM Scott Howson will have all manner of new best friends in the coming weeks.

Dallas Stars: Another operated by the NHL in search of an owner doing well on the ice. GM Joe Nieuwendyk requires NHL permission to acquire even complimentary role players like Jamie Langebrunner. Look for the Stars to continue upgrading at the depth positions. The main focus will be signing pending UFA Brad Richards to a long-term contract. The gossip girls will be Richards yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah. Unless Dallas becomes a train wreck Richards won’t be going anywhere during the season. Playoff revenue is too critical to this financially strapped franchise.

Detroit Red Wings: Red Wings don’t need to trade. They need a clean bill of health. How does a cap squeezed team replace Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Mike Modano, Brad Stuart, Chris Osgood and Valteri Filppula on the trade market? Okay they can find a backup goalie, big whoop. Look for GM Ken Holland to hang tough and use this time to assess the Wings organizational depth.

Edmonton Oilers: When it comes to trade gossip the Oilers are like the good girl with a bad girl reputation. They’re always talked about but never really consummate a transaction. Already sellers as once again injuries to key players put a crimp on the Oilers hopes. Will they find a partner this season? Like stockbrokers say, buy on the rumor, sell on the news

Florida Panthers: GM Dale Tallon may have the toughest job in hockey. Panthers are too good for the draft lottery and not good enough to make playoffs. There are no untouchables in this situation. Look for pending UFA’s Cory Stillman and Tomas Vokoun to be highly sought after.

Los Angeles Kings: My pick for the most overrated and over hyped playoff bubble team in the NHL. More pretender than contender need a serious upgrade to the 3rd unit on the blue line. For Kool Aid drinking Kings fans denial is a river in Egypt. Drew Doughty is not playing anywhere near a #1 D-man. Jarret Stoll and Michal Handzus are top nine forwards alternating in top six roles. GM Dean Lombardi has the resources to deal but may also have a cold trigger finger.

Minnesota Wild: GM Chuck Fletcher and the Minnesota Wild have done a e job overcoming injuries. The Wild lost their top two goalies, went out and signed Jose Theodore who holding the fort until Niklas Backstrom returns to the lineup. Look for the Wild to add a pending UFA to replace injured Top 6 forward Guillaume Latendresse. Otherwise the cap squeezed Wild must shed salary to take on salary. Chuck Kobesaw is keeping one bag packed through to the deadline on February 28.

Montreal: GM Pierre Gauthier has been active early acquiring James Wisniewski without giving up a roster player. The Habs have a two million in LTIR generated cap space. Look for Gauthier to use part or all of it on a big, offensive minded pending UFA forward.

Nashville Predators: Certainly the most underrated, unheralded, overlooked and arguably the best blueline in  the NHL. Wings fans torque out like  Bugman from Men In Black or Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at any suggestion they may not have the best blue line in hockey. The Preds have the cap space to add two top 3 forwards but may not have the wallet. This could be the year the prospect of a deep playoff run would justify investing in a proven sniper or two.

New Jersey Devils: Holy jumpin’!!! There hasn’t been a collapse like this since the financial markets of March 2009. Given the changes it’s hard to believe GM Lou Lamoriello is still in charge. Regardless, the sell off has begun and it’s anybody’s guess who stays and who goes. You’d think common sense would prevail but from what I’m reading and hearing from responsible sources commons sense is in short supply at The Rock.

New York Islanders: Another team in seller mode. Every Islander not on an Entry Level contract, earning the league minimum and can pass the medical exam should keep a couple bags packed. This goes for the office staff as well. Somehow the Bronx or Queens Islanders just doesn’t evoke the same imagery. I suppose they could move to Connecticut and rebrand themselves the Cottagers. The Isles have become an accident looking for a place to happen.

New York Rangers: GM Glen Sather is off to an early shipping D-man Mike Rozsival to Phoenix for Wojtek Wolski. Anotehr rehab project for Coach John Tortorella. THN.com’s Rory Boylen chronicles the impressive list of career turnarounds under Torts, including former Ducks Steve Eminger. Slats isn’t done. Not by a long shot. The cap isn’t an issue for the Rangers who already have one six million dollar cap hit in the minors. It won’t be easy. Sens have some IR generated cap room but w

Ottawa Senators: Owner Eugene Melnyk is the NHL’s version of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The only difference in the degree of meddling is that Jones is out front about it. After managing the Panthers, our Ducks and the Senators to the Stanley Cup Final you’d think Murray would have earned more respect. The gossip girls are talking about as a seller. Yet all the comments from Murray indicate the team is adding not subtracting.  Adding won’t be easy for the cap squeezed franchise. Other than overpriced past their prime vets, name the last person who actually wanted to play in Ottawa.

Philadelphia Flyers: Sadly Ian Lappierre who is challenged by post concussion syndrome, has probably played his last game in the NHL. GM Paul Holmgren does have some LTIR generated cap space as a result. Flyers don’t have much in the cupboard or draft picks to offer. Holmgren is likely to acquire a depth forward or two. The real question is will the Flyers find a way to acquire a big contract like J.S. Giguere or Tomas Vokoun? If so, James Van Reimsdyk or Ville Leino should keep a bag packed.

Phoenix Coyotes: Holy cats the Phoenix Coyotes took on salary in the Wolski for Rozsival trade. The worst thing you can say about teh new ‘Yote is that he’s overpaid. He is a good player who’ll replace Michalek. This move also makes it obvious former Duck Kurt Sauer is done for this season and maybe longer. Next on GM Dan Maloney’s shopping list? A first or second line center. Florida’s Stephen Weis might be the answer.

Pittsburgh Penguins: GM Ray Shero is checking all of the After Christmas through President’s Day sales for aging and preferably pending UFA wingers. Names the gossip girls are floating include Montreal’s Alex Kovolov, Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne, Calgary’s Jerome Iginla.

San Jose Sharks: GM Doug Wilson has a little over a million in cap space. Without changing the roster he could take on a four million dollar salary at the deadline. It’s no secret the Sharks need an upgrade of their second pairing D. Any number are available and Wilson has the assets to land one. Don’t fall for the names like Bieksa, Beauchemin the gossip girls are touting though. One possibility that makes sense is Devin Stegouchi to Carolina for Joni Pitkanen. I don’t like the phrase ‘head case’ but it would be a puzzle for puzzle deal.

St. Louis Blues: Another team on the NHL’s financially troubled list the Blues have been creative while trying to upgrade. The Blues are dumpster diving in the KHL buyout bin. These players must pass through waivers and the Blues lost Marek Svatos who were claimed by Nashville. They are now hoping to clear Kyle Wellwood. With forwards David Perron, Andy McDonald and TJ Oshie out indefinitely St. Louis is looking for inexpensive help upfront.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Rookie GM Steve Yzerman is certainly off to impressive start. Plucking Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders without giving up a roster player was certainly a plum. UFA PP specialist Marc-Andre Bergeron was recently signed. Last summer the rumor was power forward Ryan Malone for Tomnas Kaberle. What’s next for the Bolts will be surprise. Look for a puck moving pending UFA D-man, McCabe and Kaberle are the leading candidates, to be headed to Tampa Bay.

Toronto Maple Leafs: In the latest twist on spin showman Brian Burke insists he’s a buyer not a seller as the deadline approaches. Never a dull day in Hogtown. Burke overpaid for his UFA acquisitions and will have difficulty moving Beauchemin, Komisarik and Colby Armstrong. Recent speculation has the Leafs packaging Giguere and Kablerle for that so far elusive big bodied #1 center. The only problem is finding a trading partner dumb enough to actually trade a #1 big bodied center for two aging pending UFA vets. Reality won’t discourage Hogtown Homers from wasting bandwidth with Kabs & Giggy for Getzlaf type of silliness.

Vancouver Canucks: Everybody expects the Nucks to move Kevin Bieksa to make room for Sami Salo when he returns from IR. While the Presient’s Trophy leading Nucks might be peaking too early; they may also finally be living up to long held expectations. GM Mike Gillis isn’t about to fix what ain’t broke. Expect Sami Salo to be moved in a salary dump but not else.

Washington Capitals: Whenever a goalie or a puck moving D-man’s name pops up in a trade rumor the Washington Capitals are certain to mentioned as a possible destination. I don’t believe any of it. GM George McPhee has gushed like a smitten adolescent when discussing Semyon Varlamov. The Caps also recently added veteran Scott Hannan from Colorado, sending the Avs Thomas Fleishman in return. I suspect they may be done.  Coach Bruce Boudreau has been working on improving team defense all season. Unless a no brainer trade for a solid match up stay@home D-man falls in McPhee’s lap, don’t fall for gossip girl whispers.

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Comments
  1. ffe155 says:

    BC,

    I would add a third rumor rule: Teams are always able to unload bad contracts and create cap space at the deadline.

  2. BackCheck says:

    Spot on ffe115. Scroll up and you’ll see I added your comment into the post. Thanks for contributing 🙂

  3. czhokej says:

    Good reading, but I cannot keep up.

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