Trade Deadline Teams to Watch

Posted: 02/01/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

Twenty-eight days to the deadline and five sellers are identified. The Islanders, Oilers, Devils, Senators and Leafs*. The obvious non-playoff teams are always tagged as a seller.

The gossip girls had pegged Calgary, Florida and Buffalo as sellers but winning in January has put each back into the playoff contention. Still Buffalo GM Darcy Regier made it loud and clear that he’s got some under-performing vets for sale. Tim Connolly, Mike Grier, Craig Rivet along with former Ducks Rob Niedermayer and Steve Montador should be keeping a bag packed.

Two of the obvious five sellers, the Islanders and Devils, have already started. New York shipped former Duck James Wisniewski to Montreal and Goaltender Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay. Devils reunited captain Jamie Langenbrunner with his first team, Dallas Stars.

Those are the obvious ones though. You can read about them everywhere. The intriguing part of the trade deadline is always the surprise moves. A team willing to trade a core player and teams who pluck an under-performer off a competitor.

Two Western teams I’m watching are the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues.

News out of Minneapolis-St. Paul has always suggested that GM Chuck Fletcher could be a short-timer. He talked of trading No. 1 D-man Brent Burns last summer. Martin Havlat hasn’t lived up to expectations. Pending UFA twenty goal scorers Andrew Brunette, Anti Miettinen and Chuck Kobesaw will generate some interest. D-man Cam Barker was thought to have been moved out of Chicago due to cap reasons but he hasn’t lived up to the billing in Minnesota either.  If the Wild fall off the pace, will Fletcher withstand the pressure to blow it up?

Like the inconsistent Brent Burns, the Blues Erik Johnson has yet to convince everyone he’s the franchise player they envisioned when they took him 1st overall in the 2006 Entry Draft. Following his EL contract the Blues signed Johnson to a “prove it to us” two-year contract for $2.6 million per year.

Blues are operating on short money and have big contracts with vets former Duck Andy McDonald, Brad Boyes and underrated D-man Eric Brewer.

Two Eastern teams worth keeping on eye on are the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes. Rangers were flying under my radar until Stan Fischler appeared on Josh Brewsters Ducks Calls a few weeks ago.

I like Brewster but does anybody else forget to tune in?

The Rags have climbed the charts into the sixth seed. The team has bought into John Tortorella’s no-nonsense approach. They’re also getting healthy as Vinny Prospal, Ryan Callahan, Ruslan Fedotenko and Erik Christensen are skating again.

GM Glen Sather would like to add PP QB but needs to move salary to take on any of the big names, like Sergei Gonchar or Sheldon Souray. The thing is, this is the Rangers, they can always send a guy to the ‘A’ to make cap room if necessary.

With a reported $9 million in cap space the ‘Canes are positioned to make a splash. Currently outside the second season in ninth place, Carolina usually rallies in the second half.

The gossip girls have been talking up Carolina as a seller. Names like Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason have been most prominent. Don’t believe it unless it’s a blockbuster. The ‘Canes need an upgrade on the wings.

I’m surprised Ducks GM Bob Murray hasn’t done anything yet. In his first two years he was active well ahead of the deadline. Maybe he hasn’t decided if our Ducks are buying or selling. A legitimate top four D-man could make a real difference. Ironically, Murray and Carlyle each a former NHL D-men themselves haven’t had great success rebuilding the blue line.

A quick tour of Ducks chat boards reveals some interesting D names.

Brent Seabrook: He’s played alongside Duncan Keith so long now, he scares me. Francois Beauchemin has fallen flat without Niedermayer or Pronger rescuing him. Is Brent a guy ready to step out on his own or is he a guy who’s shortcomings are masked by a great partner?

Dion Phaneuf: Way too much money for way too little return. For a guy who is supposed to be a franchise D-man the Leafs are no better than they were a year ago. Fact is, he hasn’t improved the Leafs at all. Dion has all the tools but the results just aren’t there.

Chris Philips: Pending UFA. Great stretch run addition if he costs no more than a 2nd entry round pick and either a depth D-man or depth forward.

Robin Regher: Not sure Calgary would trade him to a Western Conference team and the price has to be right. Good addition for any team looking for a physical matchup D-man. Regher’s downside is that he can’t handle the puck to save his own life.

*Yeah, I know Burkey says the Leafs aren’t selling, they’re buying. Yeah okay. Leafs are selling Giguere, Kaberle, Beauchemin, Komisarek and maybe Kadri but Burkey calls it buying. Who and/or what we don’t quite know yet but Leafs are buyers. Forget the fact that after two years of trying Leafs haven’t sold Kaberle or even traded in their used Kab for a new one.

It isn’t easy for GM’s to make deals right now. A lot of teams just don’t have the cap space to add. The sellers aren’t looking to take on bad contracts.

  1. ffe155 says:

    Lots of talk about the Ducks looking for help on D. How about looking for some help winning draws?

    Ducks are 26th in the league in FO win % at 48%. Getz – 46.4%, Marchant – 46.4%, Ryan – 42.1%, Chipchura – 45.4%, McMillian 38%. Only Saku – 51.7% and Lapierre – 52.9% are winning more than half their draws.

    Worse on the PK – Saku is just under 50% at 49.7%, but then it drops off greatly. RC’s second option – Marchant is 40% compared to 49% for last season.

    It’s tough to play ES and PK when you lose possession right off the draw. Puts immediate pressure on the D.

  2. BackCheck says:

    Centers and FO technique aside, those stats reveal something else ffe155. Speed on the wings. Saku’s stats are better in part due to the speed of his wingers Selanne & Blake. Maxim Lapierre has 52.9 FOW much of it from Montreal but he also either Marchant or Sexton on his wing.

    Koivu & T-bone FO% is also hurt because they PK on the NHL’s 3rd most penalized team.

    Little things I’ve noticed on the draws, particularly Bobby Ryan is (1) we don’t get our hands low enough on the stick, (2) Our centers wait for the puck to hit the ice rather than react when the puck leaves the Ref’s hand,(3) wingers aren’t picking up or winning battles for the loose pucks.

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