Saturday, February 28, 2009
*-> Well I'll start with the headliner with Bill Guerin on the move. The Islander's have a deal in place for veteran winger Billy Guerin. Before tonight's game in which Bill Guerin is listed on the roster was pulled off the ice in the pregame warm-up by Garth Snow and the Islanders played a man short all game. This is a major trade sign as not many times does your GM pull you from a game especially during the warm-up. Many sources have reported it's not the Bruin's but IS an Eastern Conference team. Some names mention have been the Washington Capitols, The New Jersey Devils, The Montreal Canadians and the Buffalo Sabre's. I really believe it may be the New Jersey Devil's or the Sabre's. Guerin started his career with the Devil's and they have an amazing chance at winning the cup this year. They are already a veteran laden team already though. The Buffalo Sabre's need that extra veteran presence for the push and they could use leadership, something the club has been missing since Chris Drury. Keep an eye on this one!
*-> In Phoenix a similar situation has arisen as well. Defenseman Derek Morris has been told to stay at home and wait for a trade. Derek Morris who has a no-trade clause has said he'll waive it for a trade and is expected to move by Wednesday as the Coyotes try and cut costs. Morris is also an UFA this summer so a deal makes sense. The Buffalo Sabre's were the leaders in the hunt for Morris has been joined by several other teams this week. The Boston Bruins are considering bolstering their defense. The Calgary Flames are also expected to make a deal for Derek Morris so they can rekindle their powerplay.
*-> The Pronger sweepstakes have started although the Anaheim Ducks are still in a playoff hunt. Chris Pronger has announced he doesn't want to be traded but the Anaheim Duck's want to try and do a quick rebuild. Adding Ryan Whitney to the fray indicates that Chris Pronger may not be in the teams future and if he were to be shopped he would bring in a great haul. Many teams have shown interest and made calls to Anaheim but there still is much doubt to whether or not he'll be traded. St. Louis has reportedly made a big pitch to bring Pronger back to the Blues. The Blues are almost done rebuilding and could afford to loose a pick and prospect to add that grit and experience. CBC reported this rumor also and made a big connection to this deal as Pronger's wife is from St. Louis and we all know how Pronger's wife makes the call. I.E Edmonton. Don't count any other teams out though as the Sabre's and the Bruin's want his services badly. The Bruin's are the headliners and expect to make a huge bid to secure the deal including shopping prospect Joe Corborne and Mark Stuart as bait.
*-> In other Anaheim rumors, defenseman and future hall of famer Scott Niedermayer whose name has been mentioned several times most likely wont be going anywhere. Niedermayer has been told by Anaheim that they will not trade him before or on deadline day and not too worry. The management won't break this agreement out of respect for the vet unless he is 100% willing to accept the trade. The only name that still remains is New Jersey who Niedermayer once played for.
*-> A Florida defenseman is grabbing rumor headlines this week and his first name isn't Jay for once. Nick Boyton has caused a stir after a huge war of words with Florida coach Peter DeBoer. The dispute was over Boyton's decreasing role with the team which Boyton feels he should have a lot more ice time. The result of this was Boyton having some time off from the team at home. The Florida Panthers most likely will try and shop the disgruntled defenseman at the deadline. This however depends all on the number one rumored name out of Florida Mr. Jay Bouwmeester. A deal all depends on whether or not the Panthers get a good enough deal for Bouwmeester. The Cats are expecting a high calibre defenseman, a forward who can help the team out now and a 1st round pick or prospect. The Vancouver Canuck's Alexander Edler and Alex Burrows have come up. The Canucks have a lot of defensemen to spare and Burrows is an UFA this summer that the Canucks expect to leave.
*-> Columbus Blue Jacket's general manager Scott Howson was seen at the Ottawa - Toronto game tonight in a sky box. The further adds to the rumors that ether Ottawa's Antoine Vermette or Toronto's Nik Antropov could be headed to the Blue Jackets. Columbus hasn't been shy about their intentions to sign a playmaking center to compliment franchise player Rick Nash. Both Vermette and Antropov fit that description and could be targets for Columbus this Wednesday.
*-> Philadelphia's hunt for a number one goalie could be ending this Wednesday as the Flyer's are expected to make Atlanta an offer for goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The Flyers who have been unhappy with their goaltender tandem this season feels that Kari could be the guy to put them over the top. James Van Riemsdyk is being dangled as well as a high pick. The Flyers would need to trade a player or two in order to gain more cap space though. Antero Nittymaki would also have to go to the Thrashers in return as Martin Biron has a no-trade.
Friday, February 27, 2009
*-> Montreal has another unhappy player coming out to the media a day after George Laraque and Steve Begin voiced their issues with not playing. Today Mathieu Dandenault has been rumored to want out of Montreal due to bring unhappy with his role. This means he may be another player on the way out. It theoretically would be a good thing for the club as if would clear up 1.7MIL off there cap hit. Speaking of George Laraque he backtracked last night to the media saying he wants to remain in Montreal and likes his role again. Gainey must have told him they have no intention on trading him or had a one on one with him.
*-> According to TSN the Dallas Stars are ready to place super pest Sean Avery on re-entry waivers. The Stars are rumored to be putting Avery on waivers this Monday. The Rangers are expected to claim him pending Tortarellas decision.
*->Sticking with the Habs news, recently acquired Doug Janik was placed on waivers today. He is expected to clear. It seams that Bob Gainey really doesn't care about the recent acquisition and it was strictly a move to give Begin the ice time he deserves. A really classy move by Gainey.
*-> It seams that the Ottawa Senators will be stuck with Martin Gerber for the rest of the season after clearing re-entry waivers this morning.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
*-> Bryan Murray has officially confirmed he will try and shop winger Chris Neil and UFA defenseman Filip Kuba if a deal isn't signed by deadline day. Murray has said Neil has attracted a lot of attention especially from the Red Wings and the Sharks.
*-> Keeping with Ottawa news defenseman Christof Schubert has pretty told Bryan Murray he wants out unless he's going to get ice time on defense. Schubert who has been a healthy skratch most of the season has been juggled between forward and defense. Rumor has it a couple teams are interested but might wait to see if Murray will waive him or Brendan Bell first.
*-> Last of all exiled goalie Martin Gerber will be placed on reentry waivers in the next 48 hours to see if any teams will claim him. There is some interest in Columbus and Calgary to help them out but both teams are expected to try and make a deal for Scott Clemmensson of the New Jersey Devils who was sent down to Lowell of the AHL yesterday. Clemmensson did not have to pas through waivers as he was called up on emergency to replaced Brodeur and Weekes after they were injured.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
*-> The Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to make a deal for a top end center to play with Rick Nash. Rumor has it that they are interested in Antoine Vermette or Tim Connelly. Nik Antropov was also named but the price is way too high for the Jackets to digest. Expect them to make a deal to secure their 1st ever playoff position soon without breaking the future.
So it appears my Leafs and my Sens review still hasn't posted yet. Tonight I'm going to redo it or atleast try and figure it out. I know I'm running out of time cause its deadline day next week but I'm stepping it up starting tonight!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
*-> Alex Tanguay of the Montreal Canadians was told this morning he would not be cleared to play this week as his shoulder is still nagging him. He may return early next week.
*-> Ryan Miller will miss the next two weeks with a high ankle sprain and backup goalie Patrick Lalime will step up. Buffalo also recalled Jonas Enroth from Portland. The Sabres will need that tandem to step up big time down the stretch.
*-> Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars will miss the next game after missing last nights game with the flu. It's a 50 50 chance he'll play.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Total Salary = 48,943,333$
Cap Space = 6,520,417$
The Toronto Maple Leaf's have been in denial the past few seasons while they struggled and now they are finally to admit they have a problem and begin to rebuild. The rebuilding started last season with the firing of John Ferguson Jr and the in term hiring of Cliff Fletcher. Fletcher who promised to clean house come deadline day struggled to make any major deals and single handily pushed long time captain Mats Sundin away from the organization. This year has been different and the right direction has somewhat been set. Brian Burke and Ron Wilson have started the overhaul and ready to begin with the future. While Toronto isn't fully done the rebuilding stages, they should be able to compete next year as long as they have a successful deadline day and successful off season. The Leaf's have a decent core of forwards to work with starting with Matt Stajan who is having is most productive season to date. Jason Blake who has fully recovered from cancer and now is leading the team in scoring and goals. Nik Antropov has turned his season around and has been on fire as of late. Niklas Hagman and Alexei Ponikarovsky have had ok seasons but the Leaf's expect more from the pair. Dominic Moore has shown he can put the puck in the net as well as play a third line checking role and special teams. Rookie Mikhail Grabovski had a tremendous start but slowly fizzled and has shown a volatile temper that causes break downs and bad penalties. Nikolai Kulemin will be able to provide scoring depth in the future but still has to season his game. Tough guy Brad May was brought in to add some character and grit to a team Brian Burke has said to be soft. Jamal Mayers and Andre Deveaux add some muscle while the oft suspended and injured Ryan Hollweg was brought in to help the physical play but now sits in the minors.
On the defensive side of things, the Leafs blueline looks a lot better than it has in recent years with all star Tomas Kaberle who almost every team covets this deadline and offensive minded Pavel Kubina. Kubina leads the backend in goals and in points. Ian White has been a pleasant surprise this season with a team leading +8 and 19 points. Rookie Luke Schenn answered all doubts and has definitely shown he belongs in the big leagues with his stellar play. Jeff Finger has yet to live up to his contract but still steps in and provides two-way play and depth for the Buds. Mike Van Ryn has struggled to stay healthy since arriving from Florida and will help once he gets back. Jonas Frogren has opposing forwards keeping their heads up with his reckless hitting and mean streak in front of the net. Young Anton Stralman still has to find his defensive game but he can step in quarterback the powerplay and carry the puck.
Goaltending has been deteriorating since the start of the season for the Leaf's and they really would like to fix the problem. The Maple Leafs star goalie Vesa Toskala made the difference last season and showed he can log heavy minutes. This season is not the case, Toskala lets in weak goals night after night and his work ethic has been called out by his coach and GM. The Leaf's really have no other choice because veteran Curtis Joseph has struggled each and every time he's been called upon. The future in net doesn't look so great ether with once thought to be the future Justin Pogge. Pogge who has 20 goals against in only 5 games has shown this season he may not be the Leaf's savor not this season for sure and maybe not ever.
D - Mike Van Ryn - out with a lowerbody injury and is expected to miss 3 more weeks.
1. D Dmitri Vorobiev - Lada Togliatti KHL
2. C Mikhail Stefanovich - Quebec Ramparts QMJHL
3. LW Jarome Flaake - Kölner Haie DEL
4. RW Jimmy Hayes - Boston College NCAA
5. C Chris DiDomenico - Drummondville Voltigeurs QMJHL
6. G Justin Pogge - Toronto Marlies AHL
C Nik Antropov
C Dominic Moore
LW Brad May
G Curtis Joseph
LW Mark Bell
LW Bates Battaglia
D Josef Boumedienne
D Derrick Walser
C Kris Newbury
RW Ben Ondrus
Players On The Block:
LW Mark Bell - Mark Bell was bannished to the AHL at the start of this season after a few troublesome incidents. There is nothing more Mark Bell wants to do than to restart his life and get things in order. Bell is only 28 and has been playing quite well in the AHL. Any team looking for a cheap low risk rental player should look at Mark Bell. Bell can put up decent numbers and the motivation for him is extremely high.
D Tomas Kaberle - Kaberle would give any team an upgrade on the backend and a boost not only offensively but also defensively. Kaberle recently played in the all star game where he looked on top of his game. The only downside is the Leaf's asking price and the fact that Kaberle has a no trade clause. Kaberle recently gave the Leaf's a list of 10 teams he was willing to play for and all are Eastern conference teams. The Philadelphia Flyers really would love to have him and are expected to lead the way. Boston and Buffalo are both expected to present the Leaf's with offers. Rumor has it that the Florida Panthers could offer Jay Boumeister for Kaberle but the Leaf's would like more insurance Jay will sign.
C Nik Antropov - The Maple Leaf's have grown tired of Antropov's lack luster player and Brian Burke recently called him out only to have him turn his season around and start to tear. Antropov could step in and provide secondary scoring to a team who needs a little help. When Brian Burke announced Antropov needed a change of scenery there were many teams on the phone but once Burke revealed his price tag many teams hung up. He's asking for a 1st round pick for Antropov and many teams feel it's a way inflated price. The Washington Capitols, Chicago Blackhawks and now the Vancouver Canucks have entered the fray.
G Curtis Joseph - The former Maple Leaf icon Curtis Joseph has struggled since returning home and definately shows his age. Its doubtful he'll play in the NHL next year but to a team who needs a veteran goalie or backup for the playoffs he'd fit in well. The Calgary Flames have expressed interest in bringing Joseph back just incase Kipper gets injured but the Flames would like someone who could give the star more rests and judging by his play this season Joseph can't.
C Dominic Moore - Moore the brother of Steve has shown all the teams who let him go that he is after all a decent player. He's the ideal third line center, he plays the checking role exceptionly well, he can kill penalties extremely well, he puts up decent numbers and can even step in on the 2nd line if he is asked. Did I mention he is extremely affordable? The Leaf's would love to resign him but if his price tag is too high then expect a deal. Many teams in the West would love to get there hands on him including the Minnisota Wild.
LW Brad May - The rugged winger is no stranger to deadline deals and this deadline is no different. Every year teams in the West try to bulk up and Brad May not only adds muscle but valuable expereince. May has won a cup before and can guide a teams young players in the right direction. This may be his last chance at another one so Burke might only opt to send him to a contender.
D Jeff Finger - The Leaf's way overpaid for Jeff Finger and GM Brian Burke must realize that by now. Finger isn't an offensive superstar and isn't even a 4 million dollar defenseman. He is decent and can play the 3 to 4 role or provide depth. If Burke gets the right offer expect him to take it so he can give young defensmen like Stralman and White more time on the blueline.
D - Pavel Kubina - The Leaf's still haven't asked Kubina about waiving his no trade clause but a trade is still a possibility. Burke has expressed interest in keeping Kubina since he's had a pretty good season so far leading the blueline in points. Kubina is a powerplay specialist and can create picture perfect passing plays. Many teams would love his services if he was on the market but as of now he's still untouchable. The is a window in the off season that the Leaf's may trade him despite his no trade clause.
LW - Ryan Hollweg - Hollweg has had a rough few seasons and has been a repeat offender for hitting from behind. The Leaf's management got sick of this act quickly and demoted him to the minors and that's where he has stayed since. The Leaf's still have hope he'll straghten up and turn around his game but it might be a while. Hollweg may just need another change in scenery as he's lost his place on the Leaf's roster. A few teams in the West I'm sure would be interested in a grinding hard nosed winger who can agitate with the best.
G - Vesa Toskala - Toskala has been up and down this season after carrying the Leaf's on his back last season. Both his GM and his coach has called him out on the lack of effort he sometimes exorts. He also has looked tired and or injured going down the stretch. The Leaf's have Justin Pogge in waiting but he hasn't looked like the number one goalie they expect him to be. Toskala may have a bye this trade deadline unless the Leaf's feel they can trade for or attract a free agent this summer.
Team Needs/Wants:The Leaf's are pretty much out of the playoff picture and have been open all season long about their intent to sell at the deadline to finish their rebuilding process. The Leaf's arn't really looking for players unless there under contract or young prospects. They want to build on what they have and not subtract from their young core. Hopefully this is the last steps of the rebuilding process and after a good deadline and free agency they should be able to compete next season.
The Final Word:The Leaf's have a good core of young players but their prospect pool has diminished from their sell all future for instant sucess strategy that hasn't quite paid off for them. The Toronto fanbase is getting anxious and would like to see their club in the playoffs for once. Brian Burkes hiring has helped give the Leaf's a much needed boost and finally a smart management group. Burke knows what it takes to build a contender and the Leaf's have already shown a vast improvement. Expect the Leaf's to sell sell sell but only if the price is right.
*-> Kari Lehtonen's name has been thrown about the league as of late as the Thrashers appear to be making room for prospect Ondrej Pavelec next year as they are floating Lehtonen's name out there to see what teams are interested. Lehtonen who was expected to be the next great Finn as floundered in Atlanta the past few seasons and has struggled with injuries during his tenure there. Lehtonen is a restricted free agent next season and instead of resigning him it would probably be easier to shop him now for highest value then to re-sign him. The teams interested are the Flyer's who would have to dump one of their two top goalies (most likely Nittymaki as Biron as a no trade). The Detroit Red Wings have also been linked as Chris Osgood was recently sent to the minors for a conditioning stint and Ty Conklin is not expected to resign next year. The Washington Capitols also have interest in Lehtonen but would have to find a trading partner for incosistant Jose Theodore. Finally the Ottawa Sens maybe looking to the future in net for next year and Kari Lehtonen is affordable at 3MIL$ and probably wouldn't expect that big of a raise since his performance has been flawed of late.
*-> Colby Armstrong could be heading back to Pittsburgh and reunited with Sydney Crosby very soon. Atlanta and Pittsburgh are reportedly working out a deal for Colby Armstrong who got traded to Atlanta is in the Hossa deal. Armstrong is a RFA this summer and Atlanta is disapointed with his performance so far. Pittsburgh is desperatly trying to find a winger for Crosby to somehow help their dying team. Armstrong fits the bill and has great chemistry with Sid the Kid.
*-> All rumors involving Ryan Smyth should be squashed today as he announced to the Denver Post he would not waive his no movement clause for the Colorado Avalanche not matter what. Smyth who is very happy playing in Colorado wouldn't even waive his clause he said for any team out West. This all could just be smoke and mirrors but I believe that Smyth is the kind of guy who really believes in playing for one team and one team only. He was crushed a few deadlines back when he was traded to the Islanders. Everybody remembers his tears and pain that year during his press conference. I think he'll finish out his contract unless the Colorado management tell him hes not wanted.
That's it for now, I'll have another one later and an I.R report later this afternoon. I expect to have the rest of the Northwest Deadline review finished tonight as well. Thanks to everyone who is commenting it is greatly appreciated and keep going the more the better!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
*-> The Washington Caps are reportedly interested in Toronto's Nik Antropov. Toronto is believed to be asking a set price of a 1st round draft pick. Washington would like to dump Nylander in return but he has a no trade clause. Chicago is also interested in Antropov as they really need help up the middle since trading Robert Lang to Montreal.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Ottawa addressed the need for a puck moving defensemen in acquiring Chris Campoli, Campoli who is 24 has 6 goals and 17 assists in 51 one games. Ottawa also adressed their secondary scoring issue with Mike Comrie who played for the Sens in 2007. Comrie has a disapointing 7 goals and 13 assists in 41 games this year. Comrie is also an unrestricted free agent this summer so he may just be a rental player for the stretch.
The Islanders get yet another veteran in Dean McAmmond who has 7 points in 44 games gives the Islanders so extra help with their special teams next season.
Personally I think the Sens could have paid less for Campoli but thats just me, Comrie will help the drive for playoffs quite a bit but I think in the end they'll be close but no. Campoli is a great offensive defenseman who may develop a little bit more but in the end is he first round worthy? No. I see why the Sens had to get this done and it was clearly because McAmmond wanted out. The Islanders finally get a good deal because I have a feeling Comrie is going to bolt at the end of the season back to Hilary Duff and the NYC. He didn't want to stay the 1st time around why the second? Even is he does, is that a 4MIL$ salary they want to pay next season?
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Total Salary = 50,287,056$
Cap Space = 6,412,944$
The Buffalo Sabre's have played decent hockey most of the season with only a few minor setbacks but the team is still looking just average and is under performing. On paper the Sabre's have a really talented team up front but have a mediocre defense on the back end. Lindy Ruff is one of the best coaches in the league and his accountability approach appeared to have stopped working. Not getting much sucess after calling out Jochen Hecht and Maxim Afinogenov at the start of the season. Buffalo needs it's big stars to step up in the stretch so that they can hold onto 8th and the final playoff spot. Derek Roy and Jason Pominville have been impressive to date and have kept the Sabre's alive while Thomas Vanek their top goal scorer sits out for a month with a broken jaw. Drew Stafford is on pace for a career year with 37pts and Ales Kotalik has performed up to par. Tim Connolly the often injured but extremely talented star missed most of the season with an injury but has returned and has carried the weight lost left by Vanek's injury with a point per game. Maxim Afinogenov has been a complete bust this season with only 12 points and the Sabre's have been baffled to what has happened to the once elite winger. The Sabre's have a pretty decent back two lines, with Adam Mair and Patrick Kaleta provide grit and intensity to their lineup. Paul Gaustad adds a bit of offensive punch as well as toughness. The Sabre's resident enforcer Andrew Peters adds that extra protection for their stars. Overall there front line-up could use a bit of a jump and maybe some experience, since most of the veterans are on the blue line. The Sabre's still feel the loss of Briere and Drury so they need that extra jump.
Buffalo's blueline looks good on paper but really isn't as competitive as it should be for an offensive team. Jaroslav Spacek leads the way with 26 points and provides a nice shot and crisp passes from the point. Veteran Teppo Numminen is starting to show his age offensively and has turned into more of a defensive defenseman who provides leadership and heart. Toni Lydman is struggling to acheive last years totals and the team needs him to step up not only offensively but defensively as well. Craig Rivet adds toughness and grit to the blueline and recently has discovered an offensive touch. Rivet and Henrik Tallinder provide most of the defensive reliability to the team but the squad still could use some help. Andrej Sekera has done well in his 2nd NHL season and looks to have an offensive upside to him that could be developed more. Brian Campbell's departure still haunts the backend and they really need a stud defenseman. They also could use another defenseman with two way capabilities.
In net the Sabre's are safe for a long time with Ryan Miller who has really stepped it up down the stretch and provides everything they want and need from a goalie. Miller who looked shakey at the start of the season looks to be in top form and is almost a shoe in for the US 2010 Olympic team. In behind him the Sabre's have veteran Patrick Lalime who has been fairly reliable tthis since and is reliable to play in stretches to give Miller much needed breaks.
Thomas Vanek - Broken jaw out till mid March.
1. D Mike Weber - Buffalo Sabres
2. G Jhonas Enroth - Portland Pirates
3. D Marc Andre Gragnani - Portland Pirates
4. LW Tim Kennedy - Portland Pirates
5. D T.J Brennan - Montreal Juniors
6. C Paul Byron - Gatineau Olympiques
Players On The Block:
RW Maxim Afinogenov - Maxim has had a few trying seasons with the Sabre's and the once prolific scorer has suffered from Samsonov Syndrome and has dropped off the map. with and emabarassing 12 points this year and frustrating give aways the Sabre's management has officially run out of patience. Although there really isn't a line up for his services I'm sure their are a few teams who would take a risk for the playoffs to add an offensively gifted forward with flair to spare. 3.3MIL$ is hard to swallow though for a player who may or may not show up. Ether way a change of scenary is much needed.
C Tim Connolly - there has been many rumors and its hard to believe that the Sabre's are interested in shopping Tim Connolly but the Sabre's management now have a phobia with loosing star players for nothing as they did with Brian Campbell, Daniel Briere and Chris Drury. Tim Connolly is a free agent this summer and unless he signs for under 3MIL$ by the deadline they could possibly offer him out in a deal to bring in some extra offensive or defensive help. Connolly is attractive to some but he is injury prone so his value is low and as long as the Sabre's star Thomas Vanek is sidelined don't expect a deal.
LW Dylan Hunter - The once highly touted prospect has rapidly dropped down the rankings and the Sabre's could be willing to part with him. Hunter who used to be an offensive threat has now turned into a 3rd liner with a scoring touch. Unable to crack the Sabre's line-up their best option may be to trade him while he still has some value. He's due at the end of the season for a raise higher than 566K$ and the Sabre's might want that space for another young prospect with higher talent.
The Sabre's will definatly be a buyer unless they hit a major bump down the stretch. I believe they will squek in the playoffs under Lindy Ruff's guidance and Ryan Miller's heroics. The Sabre's still need a few more peices to the puzzle and add a little depth. The D could use a highly talented two way defenseman and on forward they could add an extra body that can score or a veteran player whose not afraid to call out his teamates.
Vaclav Prospal - Prospal could be availiable for the deadline if the Tampa Bay Lightning decide to dump some cap space. Prospal is still able to put up the numbers and can be a nice compliment to the Sabre's top line. He also has two way play and can fill in on the top line and benifits from playing increased minutes. The Sabre's have a lot of cap space and would have space for a defenseman too.
Mark Recchi - Mark Recchi could provide some extra depth and leadership for the Sabre's down the stretch. Recchi still has a bit of game left in him and can play a 2nd line role down to a 4th line checking role. Recchi's leadership could be valuable to a team who needs a push and he might be able to kick Afinogenov into playing harder. Recchi is easily affordable and would provide that missing scoring depth and two-way play missing without having to break the bank.
Derek Morris - The Phoenix Coyotes are getting ready to hit seller mode and Derek Morris is most likely availiable because he is an UFA this summer. Derek Morris has shown he has offensive talent but at the same time hes ateady in his own end and his presence would be much appriciated by the Sabre's. He would easily command the first defence pairing with Jaroslav Spacek.
Tomas Kaberle - Rumor has it Kaberle has Buffalo on his list of 10 teams he'd be willing to be traded to and would be exactly what the Sabre's need to go forward and take the next step to be a playoff contender. Kaberle can easily make or break a game with his play defensively and offensively and is under contract for the next couple of years which is good because Jaroslav Specek is up at the end of this season leaving the Sabre's with no real offense. The Sabre's could also put together a decent package for the Leafs with picks and prospects they've developed and acquired over the last few seasons.
Mark Bell - This is a longshot but the Sabre's could use some depth and Mark Bell would be extremely cheap and for next to nothing. The Maple Leafs are dying to get rid of him for anything because his taking up valuable cap space from the minors while becoming a free agent this summer. the Sabre's coule easily get him for less than a 5th round pick and Mark Bell still can provide some secondary scoring is a due a second chance in the NHL.
Keith Tkachuk - Keith Tkachuk is that veteran guy who will make some noise in the dressing room so that Lindy doesn't have to. Tkachuk also adds a bit of grit and an offensive touch around the net. The guy can still score and could help out on the 2nd or 3rd lines. The Sabre's would have to get in line for Tkachuk and most likely over pay but it may be worth it. Darcy Regier may not be too interested in a rental player though.
Jordan Leopold - The Sabre's need offensive help and Leopold could benifit from more ice time and could help them out offensively while still being ok defensively. Leopold is quick and still can play the body adding some depth. Leopold has a easily digested salary and most likely wouldn't be too pricey.
The Final Word :
The Buffalo Sabre's are a good team still recovering from some losses while waiting for the next batch of superstars too develop. The only problem is that if they want to succeed now they might have to sacrifice some of their future for a rental. Darcy Regier would definately like to avoid that situation so look for him to take players with contracts over rentals. The Sabre's need some help on the backend and that should be the priority but they also would like to stock up in case of the match of firepower against the Bruins. Regier might be more willing this time around to trade some of his UFA's at the deadline instead of loosing them for nothing as it haunts them still. They will be buyers for sure at the deadline and expect some moves be it minor or large.
*-> Many rumors are spiraling around the Phoenix Coyotes and a possible firesale they could be having come deadline day unless they are close to a playoff birth. This maybe very true but don't expect many big names to be out there. Ed Jovanovski has a no trade clause so don't expect him gone. Their young core is also untouchable and Doan is the franchise so that leaves the UFA's Derek Morris, Ken Klee, and Steve Reinpreit. Olli Jokinen is the Wildcard. He could be shoped and rumors have it that Montreal is interested in his services. They claim that they are not shoping him but if the right deal was there expect them to accept.
More hits later. Some more on Montreal and my visit!
Monday, February 16, 2009
While in Montreal I've had the chance to talk to many passionate fans here. Many people here feel Carey Price is the problem and the source of Montreal's recent woes. One taxi driver I spoke to mentioned that everyone here knows that Price and the younger guys like to party. They feel he can't handle the spotlight and the pressure of being a star has gone to his head. When asked about their thoughts on Lecavalier everyone I spoke to was excited and really would love him here.
*-> On the Montreal note, Montreal has acquired Mathieu Schneider as previously predicted. Montreal acquired him from the Atlanta Thrashers for a 2nd in 09 and a 3rd in 2011. A deal pressured by their recent struggles on the blueline.
*-> Pittsburgh coach Michel Therien was fires yesterday by Ray Shero. This move comes after an embarasing loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night. Dan Bylsma will be his replacement.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
*-> Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for a Center for their top line. Columbus has had scouts watching Tampa Bay for the past week. Is it a coincidence that Tampa's Vinny Prospal has been auditioning at center from left wing this week? I think not.
*-> The Edmonton Oilers are in talks with the New York Islanders about bringing back Bill Guerin. The Oilers still believe they can make the playoffs and they feel that Guerin could be the difference.
*-> The New York Rangers really want to add a vetran presance to their club. Sather wants to cure his clubs woes and he wants to bring in a forward who will make the team accountable doe their struggles. Keith Tkachuk would be the best fit. To make room for Tkachuk their trying to shop Petr Prucha and it looks like Pittsburgh feels he could play well with Sydney Crosby. Look for a deal to go down moving Prucha out and a veteran in.
*-> Montreal is looking desperately for some help on their backend. Rumor has it they are in deep talks with the Coyotes for Derek Morris. Well keep an eye on this one as its gaining momentum fast.
Friday, February 13, 2009
*-> Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens was suspended today for 2 games after tripping Edmonton Oilers defenseman Denis Grebeshkov leg first into the boards. Plekanec and Grebeshkov were racing for an icing call and Plekanec took out Grebeshkov's legs and he slide leg first, getting injured on the play. Guy Carboneau believes it was a hockey play and because the player was injured that it was only called. The league saw differently.
*-> Defenseman Chris Pronger who has been the subject of many trade rumors has officially stated he does not want to be traded and will not accept any kind of trade proposal from the Anaheim Ducks so we can most likely rule any big move for Pronger out. He currently is happy in Anaheim and would like to play out the rest of his contract there.
*-> John Paddock has been silenced by Ottawa GM and former friend Bryan Murray and owner Eugene Melnyk after his anti-Murray comments this week. John Paddock came out and said it's Bryans Murray's fault for Ottawa's downfall the last few seasons. The players he has brought in aren't any good he claims and it's all the players Murray has brought in. Since Paddock is still under contract technically by Ottawa they can cease payments because of this incident but instead Ottawa's asking for Paddock to keep his comments to himself. Personally I agree with this, Ottawa has been on a steady downfall since Murray took over. Letting players like Chara and Havlat go for nothing is ridiculous. Yes Havlat for nothing as well, where is Josh Hennessy and Tom Priessing? Murray should be gone at the end of the season, and if he isn't then the Sens are in trouble this off season.
*-> Toronto Maple Leaf's Mike VanRyn will miss another week with a shoulder injury he suffered during the game against Montreal Saturday night.
*-> Lubomir Visnovsky of the Edmonton Oilers will be out for the rest of the season after having surgery this past week after suffering a labrum injury. This hurts the Oilers chances of trading a defenseman to bring in a player for Ales Hemsky to play with.
That's it for now this morning. Ill have more later.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
*-> There has been a recent report out of Edmonton that the Oilers are close to signing Jaromir Jagr. The report claims that now that Visnovsky is out for season that leaves enough room to bring in the veteran winger. The report also claims that Jagr is close friends of Ales Hemsky and Hemsky has been a major influence in trying to bring him to Edmonton. I really don't believe this is true as I recently read an interview with Jagr and he claims he is happy in the KHL and would only consider moving in the summer to a NHL team possibly. Even if he were to leave or get bought opt of his KHL contract he'd have to be cleared on waivers once the Oilers signed him. He would almost certainly be claimed by most teams so I really don't think this report is true at all.
*-> Brian Burke has recently called out Toronto Maple Leaf forward Nik Antropov and suggested that Antropov could use a change of scenery. Unfortunatly for the Leafs Antropov and Brian Burke theres not much interest in the struggling forward although the Chicago Blackhawks have shown a bit of interest. The Blackhawks who have beenn looking for a center since trading Robert Lang to Montreal think that Nik Antropov might be a last option solution come playoffs.
*-> The New Jersey Devils are rumored to be shopping both Kevin Weekes and Scott Clemmenson to make way for Martin Brodeur. After Brodeur's recent injury the Devils need to make some room in the net for the veteran superstar. Although many people would disagree about shopping Clemmenson after his incredible stretch, I doubt the Devils would just sit Martin Brodeur and let the franchise goalie watch from the bench. They could go the route of shopping Kevin Weekes who has barely had a chance to play this season but his value is incredibly low. Clemmenson would bring in a decent reap if he was to be traded and it solves the issue of having him sit after such a good performance. Clemmenson also has an extremely cheap price tag and is affordable for any teams looking for goaltending insurance for the playoffs.
*-> Ottawa's Dean McAmmond is reportedly unhappy with his role on the Ottawa Senators. He recently told the Ottawa media that he would like to be traded if they don't want to play him in an meaniingful role. He also went on to say that if he wasn't in the teams plans then they should go ahead and see what they can get for him. These comments were after being a healthy scratch for a few games last week. These just sound like words from a frustrated player whose team was tanking at the time but Ottawa will most likely move him by the deadline. San Jose scouts were in Ottawa this week so this might be a sign that San Jose is interested in ether McAmmond or Chris Neil.
*->Ray Emery has returned to his KHL Atlant Mystichi after his pay dispute with the clubs. Atlant Mystichi management has agreed to look into the situation and pay Emery any missing amount he has been owed. They have also stated it just was a big misunderstanding.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Total Salary = 53,699,667$
Cap Space = 1,064,699$
The Canadien's had a fairy tale season last season and blew everyones expectations out of the water. They made the playoffs and knocked out Boston in 7 and struggled with Philly's physical play in the next round and were downed. This season the pressure is on to not only repeat but to win a cup as it is Montreal's 100th season so Bob Gainey went out and acquired Alex Tanguay from the Flames and attempted to beef up by adding big George Laraque to the line-up. Montreal had a terrific start to the season but now appear to be on a slippery slope downwards after a series of injuries. Montreal has plenty or should have plenty of firepower up front with enigmatic Alexei Kovalev who when he wants can be a dangerous playmaker and sniper. Kovalev while playing with Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec last season were a dominant force but this season the magic appears to have faded. Andrei Kostitsyn had a slow start but now is starting to tear again. A big blow oacured to the 2nd line when Robert Lang was announced out for season after having his Achille's Tendon slashed during a game. Alex Tanguay should help when he returns from injury to give the Habs two effective offensive lines again. Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins round up the first line with one of the two pleseant rookie surprises this year in Alex Pacioretty and Matt D'Agostini. Montreals bottom two lines are pretty decent but still lack the size they are looking for. Maxime Lapierre has become an effective agitator who can also play in any role and score timely goals. Steve Begin plays every game like it could be his last but injuries and a crowded roster have kept him in the stands most nights. Tom Kostopoulos and George Laraque add a big of intimidation and grit to the Habs but Laraque hasn't been able to stay healthy this season so the effect has yet to take place. Softmores Guillaume Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn have shown signs of taking it up a level but injuries from rugged play have sindelined Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn has problems staying out of the box and his defensive play is lacking.
Montreal's blueline is still extremely small and they still are suffering from the loss of Mark Streit and Sheldon Souray. The fact Montreal is looking for another puck moving defenseman to spark their lifeless powerplay is no secret. Andrei Markov is possibly one of the best puck moving D in the Eastern conference and quite possibly the league. His partner Mike Komisarek is competitive and has a nasty edge that has forwards fearing entering the zone. Roman Hamrlik has recently awakened but he is more know for being solid defensively rather than his offensive upside these days. Little Francois Bouillon provides a bit of physical play and the Habs wish they could say the same for Ryan O'Byrne who has struggled all season long. Patrice Brisebois provides veteran leadership and can fill in when needed. Josh Georges is starting to looking like a 3-4 D but looks defensively unreliable at times and struggles when the going gets tough.
The goaltending should be a shineing light for the Habitants but once Carey Price went down with the lower body injury both goalies seamed to struggle simontaniously. Carey Price has been touted as the next great goalie but this season hes looked average and has problems stealing games for them. Jaroslav Halak played great while Price was injured but since his return has looked shakey. The young tendom might need a veteran to give them some confidence and to push them.
Alex Tanguay - Seperated left shoulder will return late February.
Guillaume Latendresse - Another seperated shoulder is listed as day to day.
Patrice Brisebois - Lower body injury out two weeks.
Mathieu Dandenault - Fractured arm will return by the end of the month it is rumored.
1. D Ryan McDonagh - Wisconsin University
2. D David Fischer - Minnesota University
3. C Ben Maxwell - Hamilton Bulldogs
4. D Alexei Yemelin - Kazan Ak-Bars
5. LW Danny Kristo - USHL
6. D P.K Subban - Belleville Bulls
Players On The Block:
G Jaroslav Halak - The Canadians have been trying to find the perfect trade situation since Carey Price is the chosen one but Halak's affordable price and the stale goaltender market have prevented any deals from going down. The Habs have Marc Denis as insurance so if the situation arises then they might possibly trade him.
G Marc Denis - The same really applies for Marc Denis as well except the Canadians would trade him in a heartbeat if they got an offer for him. Denis has been out of the NHL for a while now and not many teams would want to take a risk on him unless there is dire circumstances. He could fill in nicely though as a third string or back up goalie.
D Pavel Valentenko - The Russian prospect asked for personal time off so he could visit his family but ended up having to stay in Russia and play for the KHL to support his parents. There is a distant chance he may return citing he still wants to play in the NHL one day and this is only because his family was struggling. Montreal would like to unload his rights as they feel this a longshot and his upside isn't worth the headache.
LW Chris Higgins - Higgins has been the subject of tons of rumors in recent trade deadline days and even was apparently part of the deal to Toronto to bring in Mats Sundin that the Swede vetoed. I believe the Habs may use him as bait in any deals they may in the works. Higgins is also an unrestricted free agent next season as well.
The Canadiens would like to add a puck moving defenseman to help out on the powerplay and provide that jump from the backend thats been mssing all season. Once they get their powerplay back on track they can become the dangerous team they were last season. They are also still missing a little grit and someone who can play old time hockey. Last of all Gainey would like to add someone to replace Robert Lang and perforably an elite upgrade who can game break.
C Vincent Lecavalier - The fans were going crazy at the Allstar game for Vinny and the rumors have been spiraling ever since, well even before. Montreal would love to have hometown boy vicent Lecavalier return home. What doesn't Vinny add to any team? He is a franchise player capable of carrying a team on his back, well maybe not the Lightning. There has been much confusion to where the Tampa Bay management stands on trading Lecavalier. One half claims hes untouchable and their unwilling to part with him at this time but the other went on to say that pretty much only Stamkos is untouchable and every player has a price. I really think this could happen if the Habs throw an amazing deal back that could help the lightning skip the rest of the rebuilding stages. Vincent has even said he would like to play for Montreal and it would be on a list of teams he'd agree to be traded to. Bob Gainey should try and will try everything in his power to swing thsi one.
D Tomas Kaberle - Tomas Kaberle to Montreal is a longshot just because their bitter rivals and why would Toronto want to see Kaberle 6 times a year? Not to mention their both in the same division. Then again did Toronto not agree to a deal in principle for it's captain and longtime hero Mats Sundin? Kaberle is exactly what the Habs need, another pucking moving defenseman to give Andrei Markov some support and to qaurterback the powerplay. Kaberle is a master of the stretch pass something the Canadians love to use with their speed and finesse. It could be a perfect fit but highly unlikely.
D Sergei Gonchar - If the Penguins end up slipping out of contention then they may decide to shop Gonchar to the highest bidder. Gonchar still has incredible vision and can compliment any speedy puck moving team. He's getting a bit fragile in his old age but still can play the role the Habs need. His 5MIL$ salary could be a problem and has yet to play a game this season due to injury but speculation is that he'll be returning in time for playoffs.
D Filip Kuba - There has been some talk regarding Kuba to Montreal the past few weeks but once again would the Sens be willing to trade to a division rival. Chances are Kuba won't stay where he lands though as he is unrestricted at the end of the season. Kuba can move the puck well but gets caught in defensive lapses quite often. Montreal would be willing to let some gaffes slide if they can rekindle their powerplay in time for the playoffs.
D Brendan Witt - Witt is the perfect stay at home shut down defenseman, he plays with an edge and is willing to battle each and every shift. Montreal would love to have more of a physical edge incase they have to play a physical team like Philly or their longtime rivals the Bruins. Witt would be perfect and I'm positive the Canadians have Witt as their back-up plan incase they can land an offensive stud.
D Mathieu Schnieder - Schnieder is a former Hab who fits the bill for what the Canadians want. He can see the ice well, and make offensive plays. He has taken a few steps back but can still play the role. Montreal doesn't necessarily need a number 1-2 D they need someone who can be there on the powerplay and someone who can step in when called upon.
RW Ian Laperriere - Laperriere is the definition of a team player, he'll fight, block shots and is not afraid to call teamates out. Born in Quebec so he can handle both the French and English media and would be fan favorite instantly. Laperriere would add that extra element the Canadiens have been missing for a while. Colorado would be willing to part with him if their out of the picture as he is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The Final Word:
Montreal has the potential to be a really good team but they need to get healthy first and stop this slide. As it stands right now their only 4 points ahead of 8th and thats not good enough. The Canadien's and Bob Gainey are pressed for time and must act quickly. Right now their's not many big names out there but thats what Gainey wants is a game breaking big name to replace Lang and elite puck moving defenseman. While the defenseman is possible and that should solve their powerplay problems, the elite forward is going to be hard as the playoff picture is still really tight and only four teams are really ready to be declaired sellers. Montreal is going to go down to the deadline for the superstar their looking for.
Monday, February 9, 2009
*-> The Minnesota wild will happy to know that defenseman Kurtis Foster is almost ready to go. Foster who suffered a broken leg in a race for the puck will attempt to test out his leg in the AHL till hes ready to go. The Minnesota staff would not comment on how much longer he'll be but it is most likely going to be under 2 weeks.
*-> Tomas Vanek's of the Buffalo Sabres will be out 3 to 4 weeks with a fractured jaw suffered from a shot off the jaw. The Sabre's are going to be missing him severly and are expected to look on the market for a replacement so they may stay in the playoff picture. I guess Don Cherry's hockey gods theory was true after he said the hockey gods would get Buffalo for running up the score last week on Toronto while they had a rookie goalie Justin Pogge in net.
*-> Boston's Michael Ryder will be out for a week with a fractured bone in his cheek after being high sticked by Antoine Vermette in boston's shoot out win agains't Ottawa. This isn't a serious injured its just a precaution while they find out what Ryder has to do in order to return to action like wearing a face sheild or visor.
*-> Chris Neil of the Ottawa Senators will be miss 3 to 4 weeks with a blown knee. Chris Neil who suffered the same injury last season suffered it again in a shoot out win over Buffalo Saturday night. Neil whose stock has risen over the past few weeks has once again dropped with this injury. The Sens are hoping to get him back in action before the deadline so they may attempt to get full value for him.
*-> Jussi Jokinen that is has been traded from the Tampa Bay Lighting after being placed on waivers. He now is a member of the Carolina Hurricanes in a deal that sent Josef Melichar F Wade Brookbank and a 4th round pick to Tampa Bay. Brookbank who was played in 27 games this year only has 1 point and 40 PIM's while Melichar has 4 assists in 15 games. Jussi Jokinen who was brought in to play a 2 way role for the Hurricanes has 6 goals and 10 assists in 46 games this year.
*-> Ray Emery has made headlines again, this time Ray is refusing to return to his KHL club Atlant Mystichi after what is being described as a salary dispute. Apparently Emery was not being paid the full amount of his contract because the Russian club was not converting the exchange rate properly. It seams the KHL is having a big of finacial problems during this recession. Emery who now is looking for work elsewhere has hinted that if he is pick-up by another European team he will look to return to the NHL next season.
*-> Manny Legace has cleared waivers and is expected to head to Peoria of the AHL. The Columbus Blue Jackets are extremely interested in Legace still and are expected to make a move for the goaltender. Rumor has it is that the Blue Jackets are trying to work out a deal in which Legace is put on re-entry waivers so that they may claim him.
*-> Sean Avery of the Dallas Stars seams to be headed back to the New York Rangers. The Dallas Stars took the first step of the process by waiving Sean Avery Saturday and then starting negotiaitions to loan him to the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL. Avery cleared waivers this morning and is expected to finish his rehabilitation prgram this week. Hartford as you may or may not know is the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers. Expect a New York - Dallas deal fairly shortly that would involve Avery being put on re-entry waivers before the deadline.
*-> Andy McDonald of the St.Louis Blues has agreed to a 4 year 18.8MIL$ deal this morning that should end most of the trade rumors about it. McDonald who has been a key member of the Blues since being traded by Anaheim for Doug Weight last season. McDonald who has 18 points in 16 games this season. McDonald has been sidelined by a fractured leg since Nov 16th.
*-> Last rumor for now is that the Montreal Canadiens are trying to shop Alexei Kovalev. Apparently the Habs are growing tired of his disapearing act. Now this is one I read the other day and I promised myself I'd post most rumors that I heard or saw but this one really made me hesitate. I decided to post it anyways just because its my duty to report any rumors posted by hopefully reliable media sources. Bruce Garioch reported this in the Ottawa Sun on Sunday but I really feel it was ridiculous. Why would the Canadien's give him the "C" while Koivu was out? Why would the Habs keep the "A" on his shirt if they wern't happy? Obviously the guy has been struggling but by saying there actively shopping him is ludicris. He was double shifting on Saturday night agains't the Leafs, he was also playing on the penatly kill. I highly doubt they would trade him just sinply for the fact the city is in love with him and also they need him til atleast Tanguay gets back. So there might be some truth to this being that the Habs may be willing to trade him or frustrated with his play, I'd definatly say their not actively shopping him.
*->Germany and Norway are the two last teams to qualify for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Germany who beat Slovenia on Saturday to qualify while Norway beat Denmark 5-2.
Friday, February 6, 2009
*-> Also in Caps news, they have recalled defensemen Karl Alzner from the Hersey Bears to play in Saturday nights game.
*-> The Dallas Stars have recalled Brent Krahn from the Chicago wolves where he was stationed. Krahn has a 4-3-0 record for the Wolves.
*-> Tsn has reported Tomas Holmstrom of the Detroit Red Wings will under go a sports hernia opperation late next week and will most likely be back in 3 to 5 weeks the Red wings hope. Holmstrom has been plagued by injuries this season and the Red wings would really like to see him get healthy for the playoffs.
*-> Last of all a waiver transaction we missed on Thursday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Staffan Kronwall on re-entry waivers and he was claimed by the Washington Capitals today. Kronwall who has been playing in the AHL for the Marlies all season has 42 games played with 7 goals and 18 assists so far to date.
*-> Another big story is that TSN and the New York Times are reporting that the New York Rangers really would love to bring back Sean Avery. Sean Avery is just about complete the NHL's program and would like to restart his career. Acording to the article the New York management has asked its staff and its players if they thought bringing in Avery could really help the club and apparently the reaction was positive. The Dallas Stars would love to get him off the books in any way possible and most liekly would sweeten the deal for the Rangers if they were willing to take him. The Dallas Stars happen to play the Rangers this weekend so expect talks to begin.
*-> Oilers scout Dave Semenko has been seen watching yet another Bruin game, this leads many to believe that as i reported last night a deal will be close to be done for Erik Cole. Expect a deal sometime this week and from what I am hearing it still involves Vladimir Sobotka and some sort of pick. Brad Marchant's name is also being thrown around as the possible target. I doubt this is the case as Semenko has been watching Bruin's games not Providence so it most likely is Sobotka or someone else off the roster. Michael Ryder could be the target as well, as the Oilers could use his finishing abilities.
That's it for now, there's a few more on the line for later, stay tuned..
*-> Jussi Jokinen was placed on waivers this afternoon by the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is expected to clear tomorow at noon and be sent down to the AHL. Although a few teams have expsressed interest like the Dallas Stars, they most likely will wait to see if he enters re-entry waivers later on in the season before pouncing.
*-> The Edmonton Oilers have begun shopping Erik Cole around the league. The Oilers are trying to find an elite player for Ales Hemsky to play with and hope by dangling Erik Cole they'll be able to find a trading partner. The Boston Bruins are apparently interested and Edmonton scouts have been seen watching the Bruin's the past few games. The Bruins have a few young players they could part with but it is highly unlikely the Oilers will be able to land one of the Bruins top line players. Marco Sturm is an option as the Oilers may not make the playoffs so since Sturm is out of the picture till the end of the season it works out. Hes affordable at 3.5$ for another 2 years. It works out for the Bruins because they'll get the support their missing from Sturms absence. Another possible target and has been the subject of the rumors is Bruin's prospect Vladimir Sobotka. The Oilers appear to be interested in Sobotka and a mid range draft pick could seal the deal although it's not the Hemsky partner they desire.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
*-> Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks has been the subject of many trade rumors in recent news. Rumors such as Pronger to Boston or Pronger to Philadelphia but these however I believe are very untrue. For one both teams are very close to the cap. Also Anaheim would most likely not part with Pronger unless they were out of the playoff picture and Francois Beauchamin 100% not resigning or Scott Niedermyer retiring. I'd say unless Anaheim is done nothing will happen.
*-> Talks for Ottawa's Chris Neil has picked up with many teams interested in his toughness and grit. Phoenix has interest and so does Nashville.Calgary also would like Neil but wants to dump a salary in return. Ottawa hopes to resign him though before the deadline as they have entered talks. If not expect him out the door.
*-> Boston apparently is being reported to be extremely satisfied with their lineup going into the playoffs but would like to add something if the price and the fit was right. Don't expect much except maybe a depth D or a playoff vet.
That's it for now I'll have more later.
Boston Bruins - 1st - 82 Points
Total Salary = 54,981,075$
Cap Space = 1,718,925$
The Bruins have been a powerhouse this season and are at the top of the NHL as the best team. One of the few teams in the league who just look overall good at every position. At forward they have one of the best young cores in Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler. With Marc Savard leading the team in points with 62 the team it's safe to say the teams in good hands. Boston also has a tough bottom 2 lines to play against as well with veterans Stephane Yelle, P.J Axelsson and tough guy Scott Thornton. Boston has a fast team with a lot of offense but can also play old time hockey as well. The balance of both skill and grit is one of their main keys to success.
On defense captain Zdeno Chara logs heavy minutes and has opposing forwards keeping their heads up while also providing a booming point shot and offense from the point. Denis Widemans emergence on the point has provided the B's with another talented blueliner who can play in any situation. Aaron Ward has been a defensive relief and has a +/- rating of +15. Rookie Matt Hunwick has been a pleasant surprise with 15 points in 37 games and Mark Stuart has been fairly effective this season. Shane Hnidy and Andrew Ference have nicely stepped in a depth role. If there was one weakness it would be their "D" because if they lost Chara or Wideman they would have a lot of ice time to fill.
As for goaltending the Bruins have somewhat of a log jam situation leading into the playoffs. Tim Thomas as been nothing short of spectacular leading the NHL in most categories. Thomas gives the Bruins a chance to win every time he plays because he has that competitive fire in him that can push him and his team. Manny Fernandez has also been really great and leads the league. the Bruins know Fernandez can step in at anytime and take over the number 1 spot. His only down fall is his 4.3$MIL salary that hangs over the Bruins for a back-up. Prospect Tuuka Rask who was stolen off the Leafs in the Raycroft trade is ready for the show and already makes 3.2$MIL. This is a tough situation as the Bruins may need the cap space too bring in a free agent for the deadline. Did I mention both Fernandez and Thomas are both free agents this summer?
LW - Marco Sturm - Out for the season after having knee surgery.
1. G Tuuka Rask - Providence Bruins
2. D Matt Lashoff - Providence Bruins
3. C Zach Hamill - Provindence Bruins
4. C Brad Marchand - Providence Bruins
5. C Joel Colborne - NCAA
6. C Vladimir Sobotka - Provindence Bruins
Players On The Block:
G Manny Fernandez - The B's have to make a choice moving forward and I believe they'll keep Tim Thomas over Fernandez. If they can clear Manny's salary for a major deal before the deadline I believe they will. They have Thomas and Tuuka Rask is clearly ready in case he falters. A team interested in obtaining a number one goalie for a playoff run is highly unlikely but a team with cap space may take a chance on a number two or risk trying to re-sign him.
LW Marco Sturm - Sturm may be a casualty in the sense hes injured and will miss the season no matter what. He is expendable because the team has been playing so well without him so if hes traded it really doesn't effect the Bruins. Sturm could bring in decent value to a non playoff team as he makes a respectable 3.5$MIL for the next two seasons for a guy who can put up decent numbers and play 1st or 2nd line duties.
LW Peter Schaefer - Schaefer has been playing in the AHL most of this season after being waived. He still is a decent player but has an effort problem he must get over. If Boston can get his 2.1$MIL over the next 2 years off the payroll they would be really happy. Any team that can't afford to give up a high pick or decent player could bite on Schaefer.
Although Boston is pretty happy with what they got they really need another high calibre defenseman to help them in case one of their big two go down with injury. They also could use a veteran player whose been though the grind of winning a cup and can mentor Bostons young stars in the playoffs. The Bruins management would love to also add another high end offensive talent but it really isn't a need in my opinion.
LW Erik Cole - We've all heard the rumors about Erik Cole heading to Boston the last few days but this one really could happen. The Bruins would love to add another scoring threat to it's line-up to keep its high paced offense going. Cole would also be a good fit because won a cup with Carolina and knows what it takes to win.
C Doug Weight - Weight made a huge impact when he got traded to Carolina when they won the cup. Weight is a player who would lead by example and give the young Bruins someone to look up to and take a little weight off Savard and Chara's shoulders. Weight can still play most situations and still find the back of the net. The only problem is he has a hefty 4.3$MIL price tag on his head.
LW Gary Roberts - What can be said about Roberts that isn't said every single deadline day? He is the ultimate warrior? He can score score timely playoff goals? He is one of the toughest players in the game? A great leader? Enough said any team would be stupid to pass up the chance to land him. He would fit right in on the Bruins 3rd line and add a bit of grit and skill to the entire team.
D Chris Pronger - This is a real long shot but if the Ducks fall out of the playoffs and are convinced that Beauchemin and Niedermayer will both resign then maybe just maybe there's a chance. Boston could throw together a package of picks and prospects to land Pronger and add to the size and skill of their blueline. He also has won a cup and would kill two birds with one stone. Just imagine trying to play against both Chara and Pronger!
D Mathieu Schneider - Now hes a more affordable solution for the skill level and the veteran impact on the blueline. Schneider still can play in any situation and is a powerplay quarterback. He can no longer log massive minutes but he could step in and provide solid depth just in case. He does have a massive contract 5.6$MIL but this could be overlooked if the Bruins could trade Manny Fernandez.
D Marek Malik - He is a poor mans offensive defenseman and could give the Bruins that extra insurance in case the worst happens to Chara or Wideman. He would be easily affordable since he really hasn't made an impact since he joined the Lightning and is also a UFA at the end of the season. The best back-up for the B's.
The Final Word:
The Bruins really don't need to change anything but I expect they'll make a minor move to add insurance or veterans in their lineup. In other words Bruins fans aside from Erik Cole or another defenseman don't expect a major deal unless an injury occurs. They have what it takes to compete with the West and should easily beat most Eastern Conference teams so I don't believe any big changes are necessary. The Bruins will be minor buyers only...