With twice the number of deadlines as usual, trades and trade rumours have come early this year. In fact, we’ve already seen a few trades involving some pretty big names (Kovalchuk, Phaneuf, Giguere, Jokinen) with more expected over the next few days/weeks. Here’s a few thoughts from the trades we’ve seen so far, potential fallout and well documented rumours.
- With the Dallas Stars acquiring Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen last night, one has to wonder what the future holds for Marty Turco. There are all sorts of rumours out there, but I’m assuming bringing in Lehtonen means they are done with Turco this season. Regardless of that, goaltending is a huge question mark for the Stars moving forward. Turco, Lehtonen and Alex Auld all are free agents at the end of the season (Turco and Auld are UFAs while Lehtonen is an RFA).
- When the New Jersey Devils traded for superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, they traded a pretty handy defenseman in Johnny Oduya. Frankly, if the Devils are serious about going for the Cup this year, they’ll need a better defense than what they currently have. And something tells me they are serious about winning this year. It’ll be interesting to see if they move on any defensemen in the rumour mill (salary cap numbers aside, players like John Michael Liles and James Wisniewski come to mind).
- New Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier says otherwise, but it will be interesting to see if Jaroslav Halak or Carey Price is traded before the deadline. The bigger question I have for Montreal is whether Gauthier has his own plans or intends to carry out Bob Gainey’s vision. Time will tell, I guess.
- Per Andy Strickland (as of last week), the Carolina Hurricanes were asking for a 1st round draft pick (for this summer’s draft) as well as a good prospect in return for Ray Whitney. I wonder if A- they’ll end up getting what they’re asking for and B- which team is actually willing to give up that much for a 37 year old forward. It’s also been reported players like Matt Cullen and Tuomo Ruutu are of interest to a few teams. Could they be available?
- What are the chances the Edmonton Oilers actually move Sheldon Souray and Ethan Moreau? To be blunt, they’ll be lucky to get anything back for these two players. Getting one or both contracts off their payroll would be a coup for the Oilers, regardless of what they get back (assuming they can dump salary and not trade one bad contract for another). To me, the only Oiler player who’s known to be available that could fetch any return is young forward Andrew Cogliano. There is a market for him (it’s believed the Senators, Rangers and others have shown interest in the past).
- The New York Rangers were busy last week trading Alex Kotalik and Chris Higgins and replacing them with Brandon Prust and Olli Jokinen. One has to wonder if they are done making moves for the season. I look at Brandon Dubinsky as a player who will be traded between now and this time next season. Dubinsky has a two year contract (this season and next) with a cap hit of $1.85 Million, however, the deal was awarded to him in arbitration. It’s clear he expected a lot more from the Rangers and didn’t like the idea of going to arbitration. I’d imagine his relationship with Glen Sather isn’t great (just my speculation).
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have a number of players who could be traded prior to March 3rd. Players like Lee Stempniak, Alex Ponikarovsky (who I still believe will end up in Pittsburgh), Garnett Exelby (not sure if there’s a viable market for a slow defenseman who’s cap hit is $1.3 Million) and potentially Tomas Kaberle. According to Brian Burke, Kaberle won’t be traded, but I’m still listing him as a possibility.
- There are loads of rumours circulating the Washington Capitals and their desire to add a quality defenseman. No idea how accurate the rumours are, but with a number of good defenseman available, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Capitals add another defender. The Capitals have nearly $4 Million (in cap space) to work with, according to NHLNumbers.com.
- Despite the tailspin the Boston Bruins are currently in (hopefully for their sake getting out of), will they make any shake ups to their roster? I’ve heard the Tim Thomas rumours and I don’t believe them at all. Regardless, scoring is an issue for this club. Maybe they miss Phil Kessel more than they thought they would? Maybe they could trade back their lottery pick to the Leafs for Kessel? Obviously that was a joke.
- Will any other playoff bubble teams like Detroit, Dallas, Anaheim, St. Louis, Boston, New York Rangers and Atlanta make any moves before the deadline? I’m assuming they’ll be buyers in hopes of adding the final piece to secure a spot in the playoffs. That probably means there will be 3-5 sellers including the Leafs, Blue Jackets, Hurricanes, Oilers and maybe one other team that will soon bow out of the playoff mix.
So, what do you think will happen between now and March 3rd? I wonder what kind of implications will follow from the Olympics? I’m betting a few important players will return from the games with significant injuries. Anyways, what’s your take? Discuss!
Stay classy, NHL trades and trade rumours.