Sunday, February 28, 2010
Status: On The Fence
The Anaheim Ducks are no longer Mighty but have restocked fairly well and with a few key signings and trades this summer they could be back in the middle of the pack. The Ducks haven't struggled as bad as many had predicted but haven't torn up the league ether. Anaheim still has a hope of making the playoffs so they most likely wont sell unless the players are UFAs or they can better their squad. They could also go the other way and decide that they don't have enough yet to compete so one more season of restocking the system. The first option however is more likely as they are only 3 points out of 8th place in the West. The Ducks have several big name veteran UFA's that they have to decide whether or not they are going to sell them off for a bounty, including Scott Niedermayer.
The Ducks still need a 2nd line left winger as Jason Blake is there only real left wing and several other wingers have been forced to the left side to compensate. They also could use another 2nd paring defenseman to help shoulder the load left by the Pronger deal. It's unlikely they'll go after any rentals but look for the Ducks to try for a player already under contract thats affordable tradewise.
Potential Trade Candidates:
LW - Kyle Calder - Calder is yet another NHLer who has struggled to adapt to the new NHL and has found himself entrenched in the AHL toiling away for another chance at being a roster player. Calder could be cheap help for anyone looking for a quick cheap fix. His offensive days are long gone but he could fill a role player spot if injury troubles occurred. Teams Interested: New York Rangers.
C - Saku Koivu - Former Montreal Canadian captain Saku Koivu could be available come March 1st should the Ducks decide to sell off some of their assets. Koivu is a valued leader in the hockey community and his heroic comeback from cancer proved his determination and passion for the game. Koivu would be an instant upgrade in leadership and can contribute offensively. Hes rumored to want a package deal with good pal Teemu Selanne. Teams Interested: Montreal, New Jersey and Minnesota.
RW - Teemu Selanne - The Finnish flash should be nearing the end of his playing career judging by his age but age doesn't seam to effect Selanne who has had another good season and to top it off he just won another medal (Bronze) with team Finland at the Olympic games. Teemu is unrestricted at the end of this summer where he'll sit down and make yet another do I retire? or keep going? decision. The Ducks can give Selanne another shot at another cup by trading him and getting a few picks in return but they also may hold onto him for their own run. As mentioned above he is rumored to want to be a part of any Saku Koivu deal as the best friends are extremely close. Teams Interested: Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Minnesota.
RW - Evgeny Artyukhin - The massive Russian has had a hard time staying out of the doghouse every team he's played for and has struggled to find his place in a North American game. Artyukhin is a big body and likes to bang but isn't physically tough when the going gets rough. He could play a minor role on a checking line and do spot duty on the 3rd and even 2nd if necessary. Another Anaheim free agent this summer. Teams Interested: Toronto.
D - Scott Niedermayer - The future Hall Of Famer whose been down every road possible has a big decision on his hands as the deadline nears. No I'm not talking about possibly retiring next season, I'm talking about deciding whether or not to waive his no trade clause for the good of his club if the opportunity arises. Niedermayer is instant leadership and hockey sense. A guy who can and you'd want to play every situation possible. Niedermayer holds a no trade clause and has said in the past he wouldn't want to waive it and uproot his family. He unretired as a Duck and wants to finish his career as a Duck still. Management claims they won't approach him at all about it but if the Ducks do feel they can't contend this spring then they may decide to have the trade talk. Niedermayer could fetch a fortune in prospects and picks, he's also a UFA at the end of this season and would/could most likely resign in Anaheim. It's unlikely they'd ask him to waive his no trade however as they have tremendous respect for Scott. Teams Interested: Vancouver and New Jersey.
D - Nick Boynton - Boynton found himself this season a casualty of the salary cap era. He just didn't fit in the Anaheim numbers game and found himself headed down to the minors. Still a decent hockey player he could bring a physical presence to a team looking for toughness and blueline help. A salary cap hit at 1.5$ Mil he's affordable and expendable down in the AHL. Teams Interested: Dallas, New Jersey and Ottawa.
G - Vesa Toskala - Toskala was the scape goat in Toronto for much of this season when he was healthy and with the arrival of future goalie Jonas Guvtafsson he found himself shipped out to Long Beach. Now with another young "Jonas" ahead of him in the line he looks to be set to move on once again. Still a decent goalie that has been overshadowed by his time in Toronto. He could be moved at the deadline to a team desperate for goaltending help but it's unlikely anyone would want his 4$ million dollar contract when many cheaper goalies are out there. Teams Interested: Nothing Yet.
Status: Buyers (Minor)
The Dallas Stars are going through some financial turmoil at the worst possible time. While most teams look to bulk up for a lengthy playoff run they are looking to shed some unwanted salaries and get some return on potential UFAs such as Marty Turco, Jiri Lehtinen and Steve Ott. The Dallas Stars are only 1 point of 8th in the Western Conference. The Stars will have a tough road ahead with Detroit and Anaheim so close behind them. The Stars besides their financial problems are going through a goaltender shuffle so to speak. The management decided to deal Marty Turco as they wish to take the team in a different direction next year or so they thought and now with Kari Lehtonen his apparent replacement in Dallas they have flipped flopped on it. The Stars have a lot of questions that need to be answered with their UFAs and only have less than a week to do so.
The Stars really need a top six right winger as they have nobody within the organization to fill that role for the playoffs. They could also use a depth signing on the wing to help out in case injuries occur. The Stars also need a backup 5 to 6 defenseman that can add stability to the backend. Dallas also needs to make some key decisions regarding the potential unrestricted free agents and also figure out their goalie situation before they try to move forward past the deadline. If they decide to trade away Marty Turco they'd need to pick up an insurance goalie. The Stars wont make any shocking moves or anything major. Look for them to add but stay in the budget and most likely trade man for man.
Potential Trade Candidates:
LW- Jere Lehtinen - Jere Lehtinen's well known for his ability to shut down opposing lines while still being about to produce points. The point producing is just about gone as well as his ice time in Dallas. The Stars have to make a decision on the Finnish veteran as he is a UFA after this season and whether or not he can help them on their run. If they were to trade him they'd get decent return and clear some salary which they need but they'd be down a key shut down guy. He's a -7 this season so the stats say they can afford to trade him in order to upgrade. Teams Interested: Colorado, Tampa Bay and Buffalo.
LW - Fabian Brunstrom - Brunstrom was a much hyped European free agent that most teams were trying to sign desperately. However once in North America he struggled to find his game and adapt to the new style of play. He's found himself shuttled between the farm teams and Dallas the past two seasons. He still has lots of promise but will take more time to develop properly and Dallas is getting impatient. He's an important bargaining chip for any trade with the Stars as hes easily expendable at this point and due for an undeserved raise at the end of this season as an RFA. Teams Interested: Toronto, Montreal, Columbus, Philly, and New York Rangers.
LW - Steve Ott - The often annoying and pesky Steve Otts contract is up at the end of this season and The Stars have furiously been trying to sign him to a long term but financially affordable contract but Steve appears to be heading to free agency this summer to see what the market value can bring him. Ott is a great penalty killer and a irritating presence whenever he's on the ice. He also can score a timely goal or two, a perfect fit for a playoff team. The Stars will most likely deal him unless they can come to a deal before March 1st. Teams Interested: Vancouver, Ottawa, Washington and, Boston
C - Mike Modano - Longtime Star and former captain Mike Modano is longer an elite player and has been bumped down into a checking role with occasional powerplay time. He serves as a mentor and teacher to Dallas's young prospects and will most likely end up behind the bench once his career is over. The new generation in Dallas has taken over and Modano may become expendable in the hunt for some playoff help. It's highly unlikely the Stars would ever part with their franchise player unless he consents. Teams Interested: Ottawa and Boston.
G - Marty Turco - Leading up to the past month the question for Dallas was can Marty Turco get us to where we have to get or is it time for a new era? Shortly after Kari Lehtonen was acquired by the Stars and even Turco himself thought the end was near. Joe Neiwendyk admitted to putting Turco's name out there but no offers stood out and thats when Turco started standing out himself. The Stars now appear to be satisfied so they say with both goalies even so much they waived Alex Auld and placed him on re-entry waivers a sign Turco could be staying. The logic behind it all doesn't make sense because Marty is an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Stars most likely will not be able to afford both goalies, leading many to believe that a deal is up Neiwendyk's sleeves and is only a matter of time. Teams Interested: Philly, Washington, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Edmonton, and St. Louis.
Los Angeles Kings
Status: Buyers (Major)
The Kids are going to be alright. The Los Angeles Kings after years of rebuilding finally have drafted and assembled a contender that will only get better. With sucessful drafting and development of their prospect they should be set for quite some time. The Kings have more than a hand full of young players that have developed into qaulity NHL players mixed with several experienced core guys to round out the team. The Kings currently find themselves in 5th in the West with little room to move up. LA has lots of cap space to spare and will bulk up in order to challenge for the cup.
The Kings need some veteran help to guide their young down the stretch. Experienced leaders who have been through the grind before and can coach the kids to the cup. LA also needs an experienced or reliable goaltender incase Ersberg or Quick gives in to the pressure of the playoffs. Los Angeles has plenty off offensive firepower but they need to acquire some character forwards and grinders to survive in the "wild West". A 7th defenseman for depth wouldn't be a bad idea ether. LA has lots of prospects in the bank so they may use picks in this years and next years drafts to bring in some additional help.
Potential Trade Candidates:
LW - Alexander Frolov - Alexander Frolov has been incosistent at best this season and for that has ended up in the doghouse for most of the year. His quick fall from the top line now sees him playing on the 3rd line for the Kings. While Dean Lombardi insists he doesn't want to mess with the make up of his team Frolov is unrestricted at the end of this season and his frustrating play may not be worth the stress. He is a key chip on the table if LA was to make a major deal or to add more prospects to their system. Teams Interested: Atlanta, Montreal, New York Rangers, Vancouver, Washington, and Nashville.
D - Randy Jones - Defenseman Randy Jones is unrestricted at the end of the season and could be shipped out to make room on the blueline for another defenseman to help out LA's core. Randy Jones has struggled to fit with the Kings from day 1 and a change of scenery could be best for both parties. Teams Interested: New York Islanders.
Status: Buyers (Minor)
The Phoenix Coyotes shocked the hockey world when they came out flying and instantly challenged in the Western Conference. Many believed the longshot Coyotes would have another long season of struggling and disapointment with a rag tag group of players that many teams had exiled combined with the longtime Coyotes and prospects. This wasn't the case however as the team quickly geled and the previous moves that had pundits scratching their heads last season worked out extremely well for the Desert Dogs. Even with the financial problems, their head coach stepping down, the on going discussion of relocation and a major sale they managed to prevail. Expectations have been low all season long but now the Coyotes are getting prepared for a deep push into the post season... no longer as the underdogs.
The Coyotes could use a top 6 forward who can play the wing. Phoenix has a potent offensive attack and a little extra gunpowder could put them over their opponents. The Dogs need some quality help on the bottom half of the forward lines, specifically a shut down winger or a face off specialist. The Coyotes are pretty set on defense with 8 defensemen so depth shouldn't be an issue there nor should goaltending be a concern ether. If the Coyotes can add a bit more offense, some forward depth and a key checking forward they should be able to go far. The Coyotes wont blow the budget but will try to acquire some affordable help. A long drive into the post season could keep the Coyotes afloat and bring back some fans to Arizona.
Potential Trade Candidates:
C- Peter Mueller - Peter Mueller had a break out rookie season two years ago with 54 points. Last season he only hit 36 and this year he is on pace for 21. With his numbers rapidly dcreasing the Phoenix management is getting impatient and are extremely worried rushing him into the NHL has stunted his development. He still has the talent but he may need a new coach and management to get it out of him. Phoenix is seriously considering dealing him to get the max value out of him while they still can. He's restricted at the end of season so that could help out Phoenix's decesion. Teams Interested: Buffalo, Boston, Montreal, Carolina, Florida, Nashville, New York Rangers and Edmonton.
RW - Viktor Tikhonov - Tikhonov has been a work in progress for the Phoenix Coyotes. He posseses undeniable talent but isn't ready for the NHL quite yet. After being sent down to San Antonio of the AHL he quickly got sick of not playing in the NHL and requested a transfer back to Russia. He's currently playing for Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL and has continued to develop nicely but the Coyotes fear he won't return to North America without gaurentied top 6 ice time or not at all. They may dangle him in a trade as his future with the team is uncertain. Teams Interested: Washington, New York Rangers and Atlanta.
San Jose Sharks
Status: Buyers (minor)
The San Jose Sharks continue to dominate this season and are a favorite for the Cup. The Sharks pulled off a blockbuster of a deal for Dany Heatley in the off season that has had a positive effect on the team and Heatley appears back better than ever after a slump last season. The Sharks have more than enough firepower and Patrick Marleau is on pace for quite possibly a career year. They have several key unrestricted free agents such as Rob Blake and Marleau but the management seams quite content on waiting till the off season to get them resigned and certain they'll resign. The Sharks are in 1st place in the West and 2nd in the NHL but they have a tendency to bust come the post season. Will this time be different?
The San Jose Sharks already bolstered their defense with the addition of Nicklas Wallin so that shouldn't be an issue. The Sharks would love to add an inexpensive top 6 forward to round out their core and also a roleplayer or two to help add much needed depth to their checking lines. In net San Jose should be safe with Evgeni Nabokov and Thomas Griess. The Sharks have the tools to make a deal for a major player but they most likely wont make any roster shaking moves unless an arms race begins in the West. Expect the Sharks to make a move or two but nothing that will touch its core.
Potential Trade Candidates:
D - Jay Leach - San Jose claimed Jay Leach off waivers this season and he has been an 8th defenseman for the most part but now that the San Jose blueline is looking healthy again and the acquistion of Nicklas Wallin means it's most likely back to the AHL for Leach unless they can find a trading partner. Teams Interested: Detroit.
Great Olympics for the Slovaks. I thought they deserved last nights game and found my self cheering for them once again. Jaroslav Halak has been a factor in their rise giving them hope each game with a legitimate goalie. He showcased his talent on a world stage and could push Price out the door. Pavel Demetra was also impressive and the Canucks should be happy and excited with this outburst of offense. The only ones who suffered from the Slovaks rise is the New York Rangers who now own and injured Marian Gaborik.
*-> The Washington Capitals and the St Louis Blues have been talking recently and some are saying its in regards to ether Andy McDonald or Paul Kariya. Another option is Ty Conklyn so help solve the Caps goaltending worries.
*-> Many are saying the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadians have a deal implace for the freeze end tonight at midnight. Many have speculated its in regards to Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule but some are saying Carey Price could be a major piece headed to the Oilers. I've heard a 1st, Cogliano and an unnamed "highend" prospect for Price and Montreals 3rd and or Matt Dagostini. Another rumor concerning this deal is that it is a 3 way deal including Dallas or I've also heard LA involved. Rumors still having Price to Edmonton but the rest is a mere guess. Many are saying that Brunstrom could a be piece of the puzzle if Dallas or Frolov if LA. Ill stay on this.
*-> Another potential deal is with the Boston Bruins as mentioned and it looks more and more like Aaron Ward. Still their are some who are saying its Dan Hamhuis. If not ether of the two I'd say Joe Corvo could be the guy.
*-> The Pittsburgh Penguins have inquired about Raffi Torres This week leadin us to believe a deal could come soon.
*-> Last one for the moment, Florida Panther GM Randy Sexton has said he's had a ton of offers so far and a deal is in the works but its not going to be a firesale quite yet. Many teams have made calls and discussed the possible options. Atleast one has been agreed on. Tomas Vokoun has yet to be asked about waiving his no trade clause Sexton has admitted. More on this in a few hours.
Remember Ice Scoopz is your trade deadline source!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The Thrashers now have no legitimate superstar after GM Don Waddell traded their two best players in the past 3 seasons. The Ilya Kovalchuk era is officially over now with him shipped out to the New Jersey Devils and an unofficial rebuild is under way yet again. The Thrashers however remain 2 spots out of 8th in the East and have been somewhat of a surprise story. The Thrashers are still looking to shop all their potential UFA's for picks and prospects looking to subtract and make due with its young core. However saying that it wouldn't put it past Waddell so try and save his job by making a huge push for a playoff birth.
The Thrashers need a potential superstar to emerge as this franchise is slowly sinking and has been even with Kovalchuk at the start of the season. The Thrashers are especially weak on the left hand side as now that Kovalchuk is gone and Kozlov most likely out the door leaving Evander Kane as their number one guy. They need a player on the right who can help now and let Bryan Little go back to the middle as well.
Potential Trade Candidates:
LW - Slava Kozlov - Vyacheslav Kozlov's era with the Thrashers is just about finished after a length healthy skratch before the Olympic break. Kozlov requested a trade nicely after rumors have him being highly disapointed by Atlanta's trading of fellow countryman Ilya Kovalchuk and the direction of his club. Kozlov does have a no trade but he's willing to waive it if the move is right and many are saying as long as its a playoff bound team and away from Atlanta. Teams Interested: Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Montreal, Nashville and Washington.
C - Todd White - Kanata native Todd White has been battling it out in Atlanta since leaving the Wild. The center posistion has been a crowded one in the ATL and Todd White somehow has produced each season even with ice time reducing. White is a valuable player especially this time of year not only because Todd White can put the puck in the net with third line minutes but also has an incredible defensive game and faceoff skills. Atlanta looking to once again rebuild might decide to deal him finally. Teams Interested: Vancouver and Nashville.
RW - Colby Armstrong - Colby Armstrong is one of the pieces left from the Marian Hossa deal that sent him to Pittsburgh. It's expected Armstrong will be dealt as he's a valuable piece of any teams playoff dreams. A gritty effortless player with tremendous heart and a scoring touch. Armstrong is a UFA at the end of this season so the Thrashers would like to get some return before he too bolts. Teams Interested: Ottawa, Vancouver, Buffalo, and Phoenix.
RW - Maxim Afinoganov - This has been a rebound year for the speedy Russian as last season he finished with a miserable 20 points and work ethic was questioned the entire season. To make matters worse nobody wanted him this season till his buddy Ilya Kovalchuk put in a big pitch for his friend and he was signed to a cheap one year deal. Another ATL UFA this summer the thrashers may have to deal him as they want a return before he joins his fellow countrymen walking out the door. He could be a bargain for any team looking for very cheap offensive help for a playoff run. Teams Interested: Phoenix, Montreal, Washington and Detroit.
D - Pavel Kubina - Pavel Kubina has anchored the Atlanta all season long and has gave them the stability they needed to compete. Kubina has a hefty cap hit at 5 million but he is a UFA at the end of this season so thats a plus for any team just looking for a rental. Kubina also has a no trade clause so only he will decide where and if he goes. Atlanta would love to retain him for next season however. Teams Interested: Ottawa and Boston.
D - Christof Schubert - The defenseman turned winger turned defenseman is a great pickup simply because he is so versatile and can player ether forward or defense. He makes an ideal 7th defenseman and has that gritty element that Western Conference teams love. He's also unrestricted at the end of this season so he too could be another player shopped if the Thrashers decide they can compete without him or decided for another rebuild. Teams Interested: Dallas.
Status: Sellers (Major)
The Carolina Hurricanes have decided to a full out rebuild after this season has been a miserable one for the Raleigh club. GM Jim Rutherford has stated the Canes plan to rebuild around Cam Ward and Eric Staal so everybody else could be avaliable for the right price. The Hurricanes have half a douzen players that could attract interest and gain some valuable prospects and picks for the struggling team to ensure that their rebuild isn't a long one.
The Canes really have no needs at the moment. They know their out of the playoff race and are just looking to full out fire sale most of the roster to make room for youngsters and off season free agents. The Hurricanes however need some bonifide prospects especially some on the wings and in net.
Potential Trade Canadidates:
LW - Ray Whitney - The veteran Ray Whitney has told his club he'd waive his no trade clause as long as it's to a contender and as long as he can get a gaurentied deal under his conditions. Whitney has that scoring touch that many teams are looking for as well as Cup experience and leadership. Ray has been the number one player on the market officially after Ilya Kovalchuk was traded and interest in the winger has only gained especially since a deal between the Canes and the Kings folded over the amount of years in his contract. Rumors have Whitney making this difficult for some teams on purpose as he reportedly wants to be a Penguin. Teams Interested: Los Angeles, Boston, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Calgary and Nashville.
LW - Sergei Samsonov - Samsonov is another speedy Russian success story, except this year he's hit a snag playing on a lowly Carolina team. Last year was a revival of his career after being dealt then waived and not wanted by anybody. The former Calder Trophy winner is talented but his work ethic has been questioned since leaving Boston and some believe that Joe Thornton was the main reason why his numbers were so great. Saying this though, he has been a consistebt playoff performer and had a great run with Edmonton and then Carolina last season. Teams Interested: San Jose.
C - Rod Brind'Amour - Brind'Amour has started finally to show signs of slowing down this season and it's almost to crawl. To say it's been a bad season for Brind'Amour is an understatement, first a healthy scratch for the start of the season, then a demotion to the 4th line and then a stripping of his captaincy to make room for Eric Staal. It's no secret his era in Carolina is coming to an end as well as his career. There still is a demand for Brind'Amour as he's got great leadership abillities and still can play the special teams. The only issue is his age and the fact he's signed at 3$mil for another 2 seasons after this one. Teams Interested: Washington.
C - Stephane Yelle - If teams are looking for an affordable version of Rod Brind'Amour with lesser talent teams should look to Carolina for Yelle. A leader and penalty killer, he's valuable on the back half of any teams forward lines. A UFA at the end of this season. Teams Interested: New Jersey, Buffalo, New York Rangers, Colorado and Vancouver.
RW - Tom Kostopoulus - Another one of Carolina's gritty third/forth liners that could be a good playoff pickup for a team lacking grit. He is signed over the next 2 seasons and hits the 1.1$ mil mark in 2 seasons. Teams Interested: Vancouver and San Jose.
RW - Scott Walker - Walker whose been sidelined most of this season with a shoulder injury is set to come back before the playoff might attract some interest but many teams will be scared off by his injury. Another depth guy who will be a free agent at the end of this season. Teams Interested: Colorado.
D - Joe Corvo - Joe Corvo was on track to be dealt before he went down due to injury. He's back now but hasn't looked the same as before he got hurt. Some people around the league are saying he's still hurt but Carolina rushed him back to get him dealt and some return for him as he's a UFA. Corvo can work the point and can instantly help any team looking for offense from the back end....if he's healthy. Teams Interested: New Jersey, New York Rangers, Boston, Vancouver and Montreal.
D - Aaron Ward - Ward is a gritty defensive defenseman who can help out on the penalty kill and help shut down opposing teams forwards. He's been waived at the start of the season and didn't attract much attention but this time around should gain much more interest. Teams Interested: Boston, Ottawa and New Jersey.
G - Manny Legace - Many people forget including I that Manny Legace is still going in the NHL after being signed as an injury replacement when Cam Ward got injured at the start of the season. Manny Legace is a capable backup and teams with limited cap space should be placing a call to the Canes for his services. Teams Interested: Philly, Washington, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Detroit.
Status: Sellers (Shake Up)
Florida once again has had a mediocre season and is looking in at the teams in the playoff picture. Many key injuries have held the Panthers back this season and many individuals have struggled and underachieved. GM Randy Sexton has hade enough with his club and has vowed to shake up the team, even so much as stating the team will no be the same come next season. Many believe that anybody and everybody is avaliable except for a few young prospects such as Michael Frolik and Dmitry Kulikov. The deadline will be an interesting one for Randy Sexton and the Cats.
Well the biggest need for the Panthers is a shakeup to warn many of it's players that they too can be moved if they don't perform. The Cats could use another body on the left side as well as proven players that can contribute since this isn't quite a rebuild or a firesale. Expect Sexton to only make even moves or unless it's a too good to be true situation or to ship out deadweight.
Potential Trade Candidates:
LW - David Booth - The often injured David Booth has been the subject of many trade rumors this season as it seams the Florida management is sick of waiting for Booth to get healthy. Many believe he may not be the same player as before and Florida might be interested in exploring their options with him. Booth could pan out as a potential steal so the Panthers will look to get max value if they ever decided to deal him. Teams Interested: Edmonton, Calgary, New York Rangers, Ottawa and Buffalo.
LW - Cory Stillman - For a goal scorer Cory Stillman hasn't put up very many goals this season with 11, especially after he was signed to carry the offensive load for Florida. Still has struggle but still has managed to carry a +1 which is rare in Florida at the moment and is a plus. Teams looking for a little veteran offensive help could make a call to Sexton the Panthers. He's still signed on a moderate salary of 3.5$ mil for next season. Teams Interested: Vancouver, Buffalo, Anaheim and Calgary.
C - Nathan Horton - Horton's name on this shouldn't come as a surprise as his name just keeps popping up. Rany Sexton has denied trying to shop Horton several times and has even called out Ottawa Sun writer Bruce Garrioch over his reports that Florida was testing the waters. A major shake up could mean Horton out the door as he'd fetch the biggest return out of any Panther on the roster. Could this be that shake-up Sexton spoke of? Teams Interested: Buffalo, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay, Calgary, Montreal, Carolina and Nashville.
C - Kamil Kreps - Kreps has taken a step back this season and no longer looks like a servicable NHLer. Kreps has struggle in all aspects of the game and the Panthers would love to try and get something before they pass on him for next season. He has shown some talent in the past few seasons and could be a depth forward. Teams Interested: Atlanta.
C - Radislav Olesz - One of the players Randy Sexton refered to while discussing his planned shake up for his struggling club was Radislav Olesz. Olesz who has taken longer than planned to develop no longer looks to be the offensive genius that they thought they had drafted but now a lower level second liner. Olesz could have a rebound with another club as the talent is definately there. He is on pace for a career year with 34 points and is only 24 years old. The main downside is that if he does bust the club who acquires him is stuck to a long term increasing contract they may not be able to shake in the future. Teams Interested: Colorad0, St. Louis, Toronto, Phoenix, and New York Islanders.
C - Steven Reinprecht - A late addition to Florida after not looking like he'd make an NHL club this season. Reinprecht is the ideal checking line center as he plays the part well and can fill in if needed on an offensive line if necessary. Teams Interested: Colorado, and Vancouver.
RW - Radek Dvorak - Florida's longtime checking right wingers tenure with the team may be coming to an end with Florida looking to shake-up it's core. Dvorak has been a key fixture in Florida and a main part of their special teams but a change is needed and the big names arn't very likely to go. Teams Interested: Los Angeles.
D - Denis Seidenberg - Another late signing for Florida is Denis Seidenberg whose attracted much interested from around the league during the Olympic Games. He is the odd man out with many of the other blueliners on heavy contracts while his isn't that bad and he's a UFa this summer. A good 5 -6 d-man with all round talent. Teams Interested: Ottawa, New York Rangers, Boston, Buffalo, Dallas and Philly.
D - Bryan McCabe - Speaking of those unmovable heavy contracts, McCabe's is pretty rough as his value over the years has gone down quite a bit and many teams looking for defensive help down want an expensive 4.1$ mil contract over the next 2 seasons for an injury prone player. Sheldon Souray is a more likeable option, still some teams may gamble. Teams Interested: Buffalo.
D - Jordan Leopold - Another end of season UFA defenseman. Jordan Leopold is Florida's cheapest option for teams looking for defensive help and probably their best option. At only 1.7$ mil a season he is easily affordable. As with Seidenberg several teams have already started looking at Leopold and are waiting to present their offers come 12am March 28th. Teams Interested : Ottawa, Dallas, New York Rangers, Boston and New Jersey.
C - Tomas Vokoun - Will he waive his no trade? Yes? No? Yes? Maybe? This has been an ongoing event recently in the Florida media with some saying he's stated he does not wish to leave Florida, while others are saying he hasn't been asked yet but he would. A trade with Vokoun isn't very likely because their young goaltending prospects are still a season away and on top Vokoun is still a pretty good goalie. This is a tough one to call but till we hear it out of Vokouns mouth no-one will know. Teams Interested: Chicago and Washington.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in stage 3 of rebuilding mode and still arn't ready to compete with the major players yet. They have the prospects now but it's waiting time for their development. Steve Stamkos has helped the movement a lot and will be their pivot for years to come. A change of ownership has the Bolts confused and stressing about the financial status of the club. Their at a financial stand still and with only a point out of 8th their still in the race but don't have much cash if any to spend on bringing in help. Talk of even cutting roster and staff budgets has also surfaced and Tampa's franchise star Vincent Lecavalier is once again in the media with his name at the top of the list. To make matters worse assistant coach Wes Walz who is a player favorite was fired after refusing an AHL coaching demotion and now the teams dressingroom is in chaos. Head coach Rick Tocchet is also extremely upset with the firing and the managments handling of the incident. The damage in the dressingroom is still unknown as the Olympic Break has shadowed most of the news but it could prove to be Lawton's biggest mistake. Don't expect the Bolts to make any major moves, just minor hit for hit and some light salary dumping with UFA's unless a sale or management resolves their troubles.
Tampa Bay is really weak on the right side and desperatly need another scoring right wing to take pressure off Martin St.Louis and also offensive pressure off Vinny. They also could use another depth forward incase of injury. The Bolts goaltending situation is cloudy still as they have a major log jam in the system with both Riku Helenius and Karri Ramo taking off to play in the Swedish Elite and KHL. Antero Nittymaki is the number one goalie and has playing extremely well this season given he was a back-up signing and most likely earned himself a contract for next season. Mike Smith continues to struggle in Tampa so a cheap back-up or long term goaltending help might be a pressing concern.
Potential Playoff Candidates:
LW - Alex Tanguay - A potential UFA this summer that could be shopped come the trade deadline is Alex Tanguay. Injuries have slowed his game down quite considerably but still has that offensive touch shown in the past with Colorado and Calgary. Not an overly expensive cap hit but for a rental player he is a risk. Teams Interested: Calgary, Nashville and Vancouver.
C - Jeff Halpern - Halpern has been Tampa's quiet soldier over the past few seasons and has battled through injuries, coaches and roster spots without a complaint. Halpern's contract is up this season and it's most likely time for him to move on so the Bolt may want to try and get a pick or a roster player back so they dont end up empty handed. Halpern has attracted a big of interest and his determination and two way play is a main factor. Teams Interested: San Jose, Colorado, and Buffalo.
C - Vincent Lecavalier - Lecavalier has been the subject of rumors ever since Montreals Centennial season last year. The Canadians made it no secret the wanted Lecavalier and the media was all over it all season long. Some are saying montreal had a deal in place before last seasons deadline for Lecavalier but it fell through because of Tampa Bays demands. Many believe the rumors plagued Vinny last season and could explain his lower than usual numbers but this season continued with a whole new rumor about the superstar. This time the rumors are swirling around his teams financial status and the possibility of him being dealt in order to conserve money. With all these rumors what's true and what's false is hard to determine but what's easy to figure out is that the Tampa Bay Lightning will not part with Vincent Lecavalier without a major return of a combo prospects, picks and young cheap players that can help now. Teams Interested: Montreal and New York Rangers.
RW - Adam Hall - Another of the players on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster who frequents the shuttle between Norfolk and Tampa. Adam Hall is a dependable grinder who is just another plugger for the Lightning. Another cheap option for 4th line help at a low cost on a 1 year deal. Teams Interested: Vancouver.
RW - Mark Parrish - The fall from grace for Mark Parrish was a hard one. Once a 40 to 50 point NHLer who even once put up 60 points with the Islanders is now a fixture in the AHL riding buses. Parrish whose experience and grit could help a young team at a low low cost. Teams Interested: Ottawa.
D - David Hale - David Hale has made it clear this season he is extremely unhappy in Tampa and would like his chance to play. Hale who had been an AHL demotee and constant healthy scratch is still waiting for his chance with the Lightning. He's willing to play hard and work his way out without asking for a trade but he's let Tampa management know sooner the better. Hale is a solid defenseman that fits the 5-6 role perfectly. His cap hit is easily swallowed as well. Teams Interested: New Jersey, Dallas, Buffalo, Boston and Washington.
D - Kurtis Foster - Foster is on pace for a career year and is currently at 28 points which is his old best. The Lightning would love to resign him but with the financial woes looming overhead its doubtful. The Bolts may want to try and move him at the deadline for a good return instead of waiting out the woes this summer. Teams Interested: Anaheim, Philly, Ottawa and Boston.
G - Karri Ramo - Ramo bolted no pun intended to Avangard OMSK of the KHL this season after being bitter about his status with the club. He feels he should be out of the system and on the roster after being shuttled back and forth last season. Ramo still maintains he'd like to play in the NHL but only in the NHL not AHL. He still has number one goalie talent and scouts have said he has improved vastly playing for Avangard. A team looking for a young goaltender should look this way. Teams Interested: St. Louis.
Status: Buyers (Minor)
The Capitals are currently are sitting on top of the Eastern Conference and also the entire NHL. They are a good lock at the cup finals after getting knocked out by the Penguins on route to the cup. The Caps have had consistent success and with a few minor tweaks could become an even deadlier powerhouse in the post season. Ovechkin and Co will most likely not make any moves out as they do not wish to disrupt their team chemisty but a few additions is not out of the question especially if it'll avenge last years dreams.
The Caps will make a few additions but nothing really major. The Capitals would love an all round stable defenseman capable of logging heavy minutes and helping out Mike Green on special teams. They also would love another offensive forward preferably a center or on the right side to give them depth. Rumors have them looking for a veteran leader as well to coach their young something they lacked last time around during their run. Finally the Capitals need to address their goaltending situation with Varlamov's recent nagging injury and Theodore's struggles the Caps may need to add another goalie to the mix to stay stable incase Varlamov goes down.
Potential Trade Candidates:
C - Michael Nylander - Currently playing in the SM Liiga in Finland for Jokerit after being exiled by the Washington Capitals. He did not attract any major interest from around the league the first time the Capitals tried to deal him. The Caps are even willing to put him on re-entry waivers just to get most of him off the books for this season. He's still a threat but an aging one who most likely wont be back this season but hasn't ruled out next season as the NHL is where he'd like to finish his career. His salary should block any deals for this season but a team looking to pick Nylander up at only 1.5$ Mil next season may look into it. Teams Interested: Nothing at the moment.
D - Brian Pothier - Brian Pothier has serviced the Capitals well but his time could be coming to an end as he is unrestricted at the end of the season. With the Caps looking to add another defenseman he could be shipped out to make room and get something instead of nothing in the off season. If Washington can upgrade they most likely will go for it if not Pothier will remain their shut down guy. Teams Interested: Buffalo.
G - Jose Theodore - A rollarcoaster career Theodore has had. A Vezina Trophy winner in Montreal to a complete bust in Colorado back to an NHL starter in Washington. This season Theodore has been incosistent and has struggled at times after loosing his starting job to Varlamov. Washington's main concern is their goaltending and Theodore isn't in the plans for the future and is unrestricted this summer. Teams Interested: Chicago.
*-> Slava Kozlov not even a day after announcing he'd accept a deal has garnered much attention around the league. The LA Kings have already made a pitch as its rumored that they are slowing down on the Ray Whitney ordeal. Kozlov has also attracted interest from the Boston Bruins and many are linking former linemate Marc Savard as a main factor. The Wings seam out of the running at the moment as they ponder their cap situation but the Washington Capitals and the Nashville Predators are still strong. The Habs have mild interest but still focused on Frolov which the Kings won't part with till they get a scoring forward in return.
*-> Tomas Vokoun is reportedly now saying he may waive his no trade clause. He stayed last week he hasn't been asked yet and it was said he wouldn't ether way but now media reports are saying its a maybe. Vokoun has attracted some interest from the Caps and the Blackhawks but it both situations the Panthers would have to take another high priced goalie back in return. Therefor why not stick with a good goalie instead of take a risk and a contract.
*-> Shean Donovan has told the Ottawa media he wouldn't be surprised if he was dealt and has heard Murray has been offering him up. Ottawa looking to clear some cap for a defenseman will likely have to deal a player or two off the roster to make room. Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Neil and Chris Kelly are all playing a 4th line role for Ottawa making roughly 2 mil each so any of the 3 with Donovan could be dealt as well.
*-> Alex Auld cleared waivers thursday and was assigned to the Texas Stars. He is expected to be recalled shortly after the deadline.
*-> Andy Sutton of the New York Islanders is expected to be dealt come March 3rd. Sutton is attracting interest in several NHL teams and Garth Snow is expected to sell him to whoever has the highest offer. The Ottawa Senators, the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils are currently looking at him.
*-> The Boston Bruins are reported to be close to a deal with the Preds for Dan Hamhuis on March 1st its being reported. It would involve Michael Ryder and a 2nd I hearing. I've also heard Aaron Ward many many times as previously reported. Ether is possible but not too sure why Ryder would be in Nashvilles package unless they sweetened the deal with the Bruins 1st to clear cap and get a stellar defenseman.
*-> The Flyers are still torn on the Ray Emery Situattion and are inquiring about goalies. The Islanders have been reportedly contacted about both Biron and Roloson. Biron has been linked back to Buffalo as well.
Friday, February 26, 2010
10 - Marty Turco - G - Dallas Stars
9 - Keith Tkachuk - LW - St. Louis Blues
8 - Sheldon Souray - D - Edmonton Oilers
7 -Aaron Ward - D - Carolina Hurricanes
6 - Colby Armstrong - RW - Atlanta Thrashers
5 - Lee Stemniak - RW - Toronto Maple Leafs
4 - Joe Corvo - D - Carolina Hurricanes
3 - Alexei Ponikarovsky - RW - Toronto Maple Leafs
2 - Slava Kozlov - LW - Atlanta Thrashers
1 - Ray Whitney - LW - Carolina Hurricanes
And finally heres my top 5 unexpected / longshot but possible trade candidates I wouldn't really be surprised if they were dealt at the deadline.
5 - Paul Kariya - LW - St. Louis Blues
4 - Carey Price - G - Montreal Canadians
3 - Owen Nolan - RW - Minnesota Wild
2 - Marek Svatos - RW - Colorado Avalanche
1 - Alexander Frolov - LW - Los Angeles Kings
*-> Ryan Shannon of the Ottawa Senators was extended to a 1 year deal with 650K$. Not too sure why the Sens are keeping him around as he often looks out of place but he does have a huge heart and plays with determination.
*-> The Dallas Stars management has stated the trade market for goalies is pretty stale and they are content to stick with Turco till the end of the season. If a trade did come up worth while however they would consider it. This doesn't come as a shock Joey Neiwendyk has been saying this all along. Expect one of the two goalies to be moved and Auld recalled March 1st. the two are going to be way too costly to keep for next season for the financially troubled club and I doubt the Stars will let ether walk for free.
*-> Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs has said many times in the past he's happy in Toronto and won't waive his no trade unless they ask. Brian Burke claims he won't ask ether. So that should end all Kaberle rumors right? Wrong. Now sources close to Tomas Kaberle are saying he told them that he has been asked to waive his no trade and is willing to. How true these sources are we don't know but anything can happen.
*-> Alexei Ponikarovsky should be on his way out by March 3rd. Interest in him have started to pick up and many have already started bidding on the rugged winger. Rumors have Pittsburgh still in the lead with Buffalo, Washington and LA behind. Pittsburgh seams most likely, they've been pushing hard since the Whitney bidding got too high. Expect Burke to drag this one to the wire and start a war once the other big names have gone.
More this afternoon, plus Part 2 of the Deadline Preview with the SouthEast division being reviewed. I've also got a top 10 likely to be traded due tonight as well. I've been pointed out that the last few days of Olympic Game reviews haven't gone through yet so Ill repost again and get them up. I'm having problems with the longer posts with Blogger recently so hopefully this time around will work.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Calgary Flames have had a turbulant season so far with many distractions. Mainly in the lockeroom, reports have suggested that stud defenseman Dion Phaneuf had the dressing room split after an altercation with coach Sutter. This lead to a major trade with the Toronto Maple Leaf's that really didn't make logical sense other than the Flames had to get rid of Phaneuf and fast. Most of the player aquired in the deal are ether RFAs or UFAs next season. However it was a major shakeup which the Flames needed. They also dealt Olli Jokinen to the Rangers in attempt to get rid of the rest of the cancer in the dressingroom. Another deal that left the hockey world puzzled as they too gave Jokinen for a lot less than they could have gotten else where. The deals have led the hockey world to believe something else must be coming. I too feel this way about the Flames as the deals dont add up when you look at the big picture. Right now Calgary is fighting for the last spot with serious threats from below.
The Flames need help and quick, period. What they really need is another talented forward to anchor the second line instead of having a rag tag group of forwards aquired from Toronto and New York but they need to find a winger that will complement Jarome Iginla to reignite him while Rene Bourque is out. The Flames could also use a depth defenseman incase of injury. Miika Kiprusoff can carry the work load but if he ever goes down the post season is a right off so a cheap expierenced backup could come in handy.
Possible Trade Candidates:
RW - Ales Kotalik - Ales Kotalik was acquired in the Jokinen deal and it was rumored he was the one to stall the deal with his no trade clause. He still owns that no trade clause so it's very doubtful he'll accept another deal unless it was part of a deal with the player as rumored to be repackaged to somewhere else if he were to accept a deal to Calgary. Confusing but could be likely but I'm going to take a guess and say it would have happened already but still possible. Teams interested: Nashville.
Status: Buyers (Very Minor)
The Avs came into this season with low expectations, expectations so low many thought it would be another rebuilding year in Denver. Boy was everyone wrong as the Avalance got quick and unexpected development from many of their youngsters such as Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly, Brandon Yip and more. The team clicked and now they find themselves in a playoff spot as a favorite not an underdog anymore. This doesn't mean they'll be spenders however. I wouldn't expect a deal unless it doesn't comprise any of their young talent or their core and only involves players they've been trying to move.
The way Colorado has been playing they really don't need much. They could use an experienced goaltender whos seen post season action incase the tandem of Peter Budaj and Craig Anderson stumble. They also would like a seasoned veteran forward to help their young core when the going gets rough. Any additional help would be welcome as long as its cheap and doesn't ruin team chemistry. Another top 6 guy and a gritty winger could put them over the top in the "wild" West.
Possible Trade Candidates:
RW -Marek Svatos - Svatos has the talent to be a 30 goal guy which the Colorado Avalance have seen in the past, key word being past. It might be he just needs a change of scenery to get going. He is a UFA next season an currently is a -11 and an only has 10 points so the Aves might use the deadline as a chance to move the struggling Slovak. His cap hit at 2.5 Mil$ combined with his incosistency should scare away many suitors but some teams that still have faith in the former sniper whose only 27 might take a risk. Teams Interested: Nashville, Phoenix, Boston and Tampa Bay.
D - John-Michael Liles - Another bust of sorts out of Colorado. Liles was Colorado's goto guy on the point for the past several seasons but mid last season the wheels fell off and has looked more like a 7th defenseman than anything. He struggles to get back to back starts and his cap of 4.1$mil this season then 4.4$ mil the next two is starting to look like a really awful signing by the Aves. He has shown talent in the past and once again a change of address might be needed to get him going again but it's doubtful any teams would take him and his contract off the Avalanches hands. Teams Interested: New York Isles, and New Jersey.
D - Ruslan Salei - Ruslan Salei has only aseen action in two games this year due to injury but has returned just in time for the Olympics with team Belarus. He's looked a bit rough the first few games but near the end of Belarus's run he started to look like a dependable d-man again. He is Unrestricted at the end of this season and the Avalanche have looked really good with out him so they may decide to shop him to clear some salary and get a little something back. Teams Interested: Washington, Montreal and New Jersey.
D - Tom Priessing - Priessing was supposed to be Colorado's powerplay guy when they acquired him in a trade as they dealt Ryan Smyth, instead he looks to be a cap hit. With a salary of 2.7$mil for another year it's going to be hard to move the once powerplay qaurterback to a new destination. If placed on re-entry it might be a totally different story. Teams Interested: Ottawa, and Boston.
Status: Sellers (Firesale)
The Story:The Oilers are clearly ready to tear down shop and rebuild this offseason...properly. The Oil had a major setback to their season hopes with an early season ending injury to goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and followed up by a season ending injury to sniper Ales Hemsky. The rookies Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner couldn't follow up to previous seasons and the lack of offensive depth on the farm led to a quick downward spiral. The only plus side to the story is that Dustin Penner has finally started showing his potential and has been the Oilers best forward.
Needs :They clearly need offensive help but will be looking for any draft picks they can get or young players that can contribute. They also would like to shed any deadweight they can and possibly even pay other teams with cap space to take salary cap burdens off their hands. The Oilers have a good young core of defensemen already so look for forwards to be added and subtracted mainly. Also this season clearly proved that Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers arn't goalies to build around so they may try to add a young goalie to backup Khabibulin.
C- Shawn Horcoff - Hes a -29 in +/- this season with an embarrassing 23 points so far for a 7mil a season player. While he hasn't been in the rumor mill really at all this season it could very well happen March 3rd. That is if teams get over the fact he's a huge cap hit and has struggled all season long. At 6.5 Mil$ next season its a huge gamble. The only way I see him going is if a team on the rebuild with lots of cap space gets a really really good deal on him and decides he's still got few years of 60pts in him. Very doubtful and a long shot, looks like the Oil have handcuffed themselves with that deal. Teams rumored: Any Takers?
C - Mike Comrie - He's a player that I think might attract some interest around the league. He's been hurt for most of the season and could be a cheap solution to a squad looking to bolster their offensive depth. He's still able to contribute and has a cheap price tag with no strings attached as he's a UFA next season. Teams rumored : Colorado, Minnesota, Nashville and Vancouver
C - Andrew Cogliano - Cogs as he's so often referred to, has been mentioned all season long. he even was a main part of the Dany Heatley offer that was accepted by the Ottawa Senators but denied by Dany Heatley's camp. The Oilers have been using him as a bargaining chip all season long. He still is young and could have a break out with a change of scenery. Teams rumored: Montreal, Atlanta and New York Rangers.
LW - Ethan Moreau - The captain of the struggling Oilers is almost certainly going to be shopped at the deadline to any team looking to add grit, heart and leadership. Moreau is ideal for any young team looking to move forward. The only downside is that he signed for the next season at 1.75$ Mil. Teams rumored: Toronto, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Washington, and Colorado.
D - Steve Staios - Another veteran Oiler who management will try and shop to a team looking for leadership and depth on the back end for a playoff push. Unlike Moreau not too many teams will come knocking on the door as Staios has a 2.8 mil$ cap hit this year then a 2.2 mil$ cap hit next year. It'll be hard to swallow but some teams will be able to handle the load. Teams rumored: New York Islanders, New Jersey, and Washington.
D - Sheldon Souray - Sheldon Souray would have been the biggest return for the Edmonton Oilers except for the fact he carries a no trade clause which hewon't waive unless it's to 1 of the 6 teams he has agreed to goto. We have learned that his intention is to stay close to his family who lives in California. The 6 teams are rumored to be Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, New York, Dallas and Phoenix. Souray also has a hefty contract he bares as well at 5.5$mil this season and 4.5$mil the following 2. He also is coming off a wrist injury that has him out til mid March. Teams rumored: Los Angeles, New Jersey, Washington, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philly and Vancouver.
D - Lubomir Vishnovsky - One of the best offensive defensemen thats possibly avaliable come March 3rd he too however has a massive contract hanging over his head at 7$mil a season before it declines 3 seasons later. The Oilers may chose to build around him as he's one of the few Oilers that still produces. Teams rumored: Ottawa, New York Islanders and Washington.
Status: Sellers (Minor)
The Wild are still technically in the playoff hunt with only 5 points out but it's hard to make a major push when they look at the teams above them pushing to make the playoffs in Dallas, Anaheim and Detroit. I personally think they'll only make moves that wont hurt their future and also wont hurt any kind of playoff drive. I highly doubt they'll get involved in any kind of arms race as they don't quite have the tools to really contend this spring.
Minny will be looking to add offense to continue to break Minnesota's defensive style and start a new system to build upon. The Wild need forwards who can put the puck in the net to make it simple. They also need a 3 - 4 defenseman, an all round defenseman who can contribute as well. The Wild will also look to unload some UFA's and RFA's they don't plan to resign.
Possible Trade Candidates:
C - Andy Hilbert - The Wild have had Andy Hilbert down in the minors playing for Houston all season long and haven't had a real need for him this season. He's a UFA next season so the Wild may try their luck in finding a buyer interested. The key words here are luck and find as it's doubtful they'll get anyone biting. Teams interested: Pittsburgh
RW - Owen Nolan - The aging veteran is surely looking for a shot at the Stanley Cup to end his career with. Not much time is left for the rugged winger and he could be dealt at the deadline to a contender. He still can put up numbers plus he's a great dressing room leader. Teams Interested : Buffalo, Colorado, San Jose, Washington and Nashville.
LW - Derek Boogaard - Boogaard really isn't the most attractive seller at the deadline especially in the Eastern conference but to the Western teams in the playoffs he could come in handy. He is a UFa at seasons end so if the Wild can get anything for him it could be a good thing. He'll likely resign with the Wild as the fans love him but you never know. Teams interested: San Jose.
D - Marek Zidlicky - Management still would love to resign Zidlicky and currently have been meeting with him throughout the Olympic break to try and get a deal worked out. It's very doubtful at this point the Wild will trade him as their reported to be very very close. If he does hit the market theres a few teams keeping an eye open for him. Teams interested: Vancouver, Washington, Ottawa, Montreal and Philly.
D - Shane Hnidy - Another free agent defenseman that the Wild could opt to shop instead of retaining. Hnidy's style fits well with the Wild and is a good complement to their top 4 D but he is expendable and could bring in a late draft pick or longshot prospect if dealt. Teams Interested: Boston and Montreal.
The Vancouver Canucks have had high hopes for this season from day one. After Vancouver won the Winter Games bid expectations have been through the roof, not only for Team Canada but for the Canucks as well. The Canucks are looking good so far sitting in 3rd in the Western conference but the ultimate goal is the Cup which they have a good chance at, which would add to all the celebrations in Vancouver already.
The Canucks need a checking line, their back half of forwards is brutal and is uncapable of shutting down opposing teams top lines and struggles against most teams 4th lines. A good checking can win you the cup as we all saw in Detroit and in Pittsburgh. Expect the Canucks to try and bolster up their checking lines as well as add an all round defenseman that can help out in case in injury which is sure to happen as their blueline's made of glass. Another impact forward also would not be out of the question, especially if Canada wins gold and the city is still high from the Olympic fever.
Possible Trade Candidates:
C - Kyle Wellwood - Kyle Wellwood had an above average season last year for himself and found himself with a home on the Vancouver Canucks but it appears after having a way below season struggling on the third line he'll have to find himself a new home. Not quite a checking center something the Canucks have longed for. He is a UFA so expect the Canucks to try for anything on March 1st that they can get back. Teams interested: New York Rangers.
LW - Matt Pettinger - Another one of Vancouvers many veteran players stationed down in Manitoba toiling away for the Moose. Pettinger could be attractive for teams looking for a checking winger for dirt cheap. Teams Interested: Phoenix.
D - Mathieu Schnieder - The aging veteran doesn't want to give up his NHL hopes yet. Schnieder who started the season off slow with multiple injuries struggled to find a spot on the Vancouver blue line. Starting to show his age the Canucks waived him and demoted him to Manitoba where he contemplated retirement before deciding he'd try one last time to make it back to the big leagues. Schnieder could be attractive to a team strictly looking for a powerplay quarterback and some veteran leadership. His 1.5$Mil for this season isn't too bad but for most tight spending teams it could scare them away. The good news however is Vancouver is willing to place him on re-entry waivers just to get him off the books. Teams interested: Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, and Buffalo.
D - Lawrence Nycholat - Lawrence Nycholats career has been a bus ride from one AHL city to an NHL city back to the AHL over and over again. He struggles to find a steady job and only seams to fit in anywhere as an emergency sub. The Canucks will push to get anything for him but it is doubtfull he'll be moved. Teams Interested: Your guess?
RW - Pavol Demitra - A lot of people expected big things out of Demitra when he signed with Vancouver but his injury rap sheet is longer than his statistical one. He is a UFA next season and he's aging fast these days. Although he has being playing extremely well for his country Slovakia at the Olympic games. His value is at it's highest this season and now could be the chance to get something instead of nothing July 1st. Teams Interested: Nashville.
G - Cory Schnieder - Schnieder is panning out to be a number one goalie in the future, just not in Vancouver's future with Roberto Loungo signed for the rest of his career. He'll get backup duty at most but it's more than likely he'll be dangled at the deadline to teams looking for goaltending help. Although Andrew Raycroft is a UFA next season so that might mean they'll hold onto Schnieder till free agency and see whose left out there. Teams Interested: New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Detroit, St. Louis, and Columbus.
Thanks everybody for posting comments keep it up and more people will follow. Those who are new there is a Forum on the sidebar and their are comment fields below each of my posts as well for your use. Feel free to say anything you'd like and post as much as you want, the more the better. Tell your friends! On to the news..
*-> Rene Bourque of the Calgary Flames has signed a 6 year deal worth 3.3$mil a season with the Calgary Flames. He's having a career year with the Flames with 41 points in 52 games played. This should end any speculation he could be out the door at the deadline.
*-> Another signing today Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild has signed a 3 year deal with the Wild worth on average 1.4$mil a season. The next expected signing out of Minny should be Marek Zidlicky who the Wild are desperatly trying to sign him. According to reports a deals almost done and their just short by a couple thousand dollars.
*-> Alexander Medvedev the President of the KHL met with Gary Bettman last night. It was a private closed doors meeting and was rumored to be about a player transfer agreement for the start of next season. This could be the case but I doubt the Russians would follow as soon as any of their stars take off they waive the agreement and start to poach.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
*-> Nashville has chosen their goalie of the future. The Preds have signed Pekka Rinne to a 2 year deal worth 6.8$ mil a season. This should lead to Dan Ellis ether embracing the backup role which is unlikely or Nashville dealing him. Although the Preds could retain him for the playoffs and let him walk in the summer. A team with cap issues might be interested in Ellis such as Detroit, Philly, Ottawa or LA.
*-> Alex Auld of the Dallas Stars has been placed on waivers today. He is expected to clear but any of the above teams might take a risk on a free reliable backup for a playoff run. Ottawa and Detroit are the 2 that have come up. Ottawa has a cap issue so its unlikely they'll make a move on net when they need a d. I think a team like LA or even Nashville that could use some veteran pressence.In Nashvilles case a backup if they decide to trade Ellis. This also means that Dallas may settle with the Lehtonen, Turco deal for now. I still think they'll make deal to move Turco.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
*-> Another no go it looks. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are both most likely not going anywhere as the Ducks have made the decesion to stay in the playoff hunt it sources close to the team have revealed.
More in a bit. 1 1 tie going into the second for the Belarus vs Switzerland game. Go Belarus!
*-> Ottawa scouts were seen taking in the Germany vs Belarus game many are reporting. This leads many to believe that Ottawa is indeed watching Denis Seidenberg. Although it might be premature to say as many scouts have been watching most games.
*-> The Slava Kozlov rumors to Detroit won't go away. I've seen reports from several different sources. I've also seen the Kings and the Washington Caps. The Wings are stuck for cap space and arnt likely to move a body off the roster although many are saying Kris Draper could be on his way out. I see Slava more likely ether staying in Atlanta whose still in the hunt or to the Caps who is a much more attractive destination. The Ovechkin factor also would be a plus for Kozlov. Keep in mind however that Kozlov holds a no movement clause so he decides if he's going anywhere not the Thrashers.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Switzerland vs Belarus
While Switzerland looks to be the better team on paper they had a rollarcoaster tournament this time around. The Swiss lost to the States in a fairly even contest but then just about upset the Canadians till they lost in the shootout. Their final game they just about lost to the Norwegians till they won in a shootout. They've had games in all three categories Good, Better and Worse so their a tough call to predict. for the Swiss to win it's going to take another strong effort from Jonas Hiller who had a pretty impressive tournament so far. The veterans and NHLers on the Swiss side have to play a sound game overall and provide the offense while playing the typical Swiss defensive style at the same time. It sounds tough but Belarus doesn't have many guns and shadowing Sergei Kostitsyn should be a focus as he's their leading scoring and major source of offense.
As for Belarus they had a weak start to the tournament getting badly outplayed and lost to the Finns while in the nest they almost staged the impossible and upset the Swedes. Germany who was expected to beat them however came up short and lost to the Belorussians mainly in part to a 4 point night from Sergei Kostitsyn and 2 goals from Aleksey Kalyuzhny. The Belorussians are going to have to get more offense from guys who were expected to contribute more this tournament such as Konstantin Koltsov and Ruslan Salei. Team Belarus needs to stay out of the box and keep working their man advantage and build upon their momentum of upsetting Germany. Sergei Kostitsyn has to be his best and not disappear something that he's known for in the NHL, for his club to take this one.
I think that Belarus might take this one as Belarus has slowly been getting better with each game while the Swiss you never know which team is going to show up. the one who almost beat Canada or the one who almost lost to the lowly Norwegians. Belarus beat the Germans who I believe has more offensive firepower than the Swiss while playing the same style tight defense. The Belorussians also have more offense to unload as well so if it turns into a shot for shot it might be tough for the Swiss to keep up.
Whoever wins this one has to face the United States in which the Swiss have already lost to. Belarus wouldn't have a chance unless for a major upset. The Swiss are more likely to upset the States but it would be very tough.
Czech Republic vs Latvia
The Czechs so far have been great and in my mind could be the team to upset in the semi's. The Czechs played a really great game against their enemies the Slovaks beating them and then beating their opponents the Latvians fairly soundly. The only loss comes from playing against the Russians took advantage of the many penalties that game. The Czech Republic has played a lot stronger than predicted by most media sources and have the overall talent to compete with the "Big" 3. To win this one they just have to stay focused as this should be an easy game for them. all the Czech have to do is take the game to the Latvians and they cant go wrong. Even a goal for goal battle would end up in the Czechs favor still. Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias have to lead this team into not taking Latvia too lightly and keep their boys out of the box, something that has plagued the Czech Republic and really is the only downfall so far.
Latvia has done exactly what was predicted of them struggle. The Latvians started this tournament off with a big 8-2 loss to the Russians while keeping it sort of close to the Czechs in the next. in the last game they were shut out by Jaroslav Halak and the Slovakians so it hasn't been a great run so far. In this tournament they keep speaking of the Miracle on Ice anniversary and well it'll take a miracle on ice to win this one. Latvia's going to have to give it their all, and play this game perfectly. No penalties and capitalize on every chance they get including the man advantage the Czechs weakness. It'll be almost impossible but every players going to have to play to their full potential and get a big game out of Martins Karsums and the struggling Janis Sprukts.
Winner: Czech Republic
How can you argue against a previous win against the Latvians? It's going to be extremely hard for the Latvians to upset and it will be a major upset if they do somehow do it. I cant see Jagr and Co letting this one slide as they will most likely make it to the medal round in my mind.
The winner of this gets to play Finland and I think it bods well for the Czechs because Finland isn't much greater than they are. In fact the Czechs have looked way better against tougher opponents than the Finns. After that the Czech will run into the States an overrated team in my mind and if they can solve Ryan Miller it could be silver or gold time not Miller time.
Slovakia vs Norway
The Slovaks have been this years dark horse, a team that if playing well can beat some of the bigger fish in this Games. The Slovaks started the Games off with a tough but close loss to the Czechs a team they can beat and have beat in the past. They then had a major upset over the powerhouse Russians which shocked the hockey world. Their final game they roasted the Latvians and got a much deserved shut out. To win this one the Slovaks have to put offensive pressure on Norway and use big Zdeno Chara to shut their only line down completely. The Slovaks just have to play a hard game not think about the past or the future. This one is at their mercy.
Norway has had a rough tournament as predicted, they'd be lucky to finish above last in most peoples minds. they got trounced by every team they player (Canada and the US) and almost upset the Swiss but I doubt they can repeat that again against a better squad like the Slovakians but however if they were to do that this would be the game to upset a major team. Pal Grotnes would have to absolutely stand on his head this game. He's not known for being a elite goalie or even a great or good goalie but he does have heart. The Norwegians would have to shut down the offense of the Slovakians and hope to God that they can muster up that go ahead goal and hold it. Its a long shot that's for sure.
The Slovakians are the better club by far and thumped the Latvians who are a better lower level team than Norway. The Norwegians have almost no offence while the Slovakians have shown quite bit. They have been getting better since the Russian game and it shows with confidence. This should be an easy one, probably the easiest of this round.
The future is very bleak for Norway but the Slovaks could do it. It would take quite a feat but they do have the heart and the hot goaltender in Jaroslav Halak. Halak's been the best goalie of this tournament in my mind. Yes I said. I know Henrik Lundqvist has 2 shut outs but he's played against 2 weak offenses and then Finland while Halak has played against the mega power Russian and the way underrated Czechs. If the Slovak defense can keep shutting em down beating Sweden may be a possibility. A really small one but if your a betting man it may be worth taking a flyer on this one and one on a safe bet.
Canada vs Germany
Canada has had 2 weak games and has started to worry some with their inconsistent play. they should be the number one tournament but once again struggled. The trounced Norway as they should have but let the Swiss once again take them to the limits and barely got out of their with a win. They then were beaten by the US and Ryan Miller. It looks like Canada's offense depends on which goalie they face. If its a lower tier goalie their alright but when they face better goalies the offense struggles. There was no excuse for the Swiss game at all. Canada needs their veterans to play harder. Play like this is their last chance at a gold and they've never one it before. If their not going to play then make room for the youngins. Canada needs to dump Brodeur sadly enough, the changing of the guard has happened and Roberto Loungo has been the better goalie so far and will be the better option in nets. The Canadians also have to play a physical but penalty free game against the Germans. If they keep it clean and unload on the Germans it should be an easy win. Greiss is good but not steal a game from Canada good like Hiller and Miller. Finally bringing Iglina back from 8 minutes again should help their chances, hes an elite scorer and a character guy. He'd be a force alongside Thornton and Heatley.
The Germans have been playing way below expectations and have been shut out 2 times so far. first by the Swedes who Thomas Greiss stopped it from becoming embarrassing then by the Finns who did embarrass them. They then were stunned by the Belorussians. Nothing has gone as planned and it's going to be tough to regain confidence in this one. The Germans would have to get Greiss to play the best hockey of his career against the Canadian offense. The German D would have to play a tight ultra conservative defensive game while the top line of Goc, Sturm and Hecht carry a huge burden of an offensive load. They'd have to show up and try to steal a goal or two to help their club sqweak one out. If the Germans can capitalize on Canadian giveaways and penalties it would help their chances greatly.
Canada shouldn't lose this one but it could be possible as they got burnt by the Swiss 4 years ago. The Canadians just have too much firepower to go against and an elite goalie in nets. Plus this anger of the loss to the US should help motivate the Canadians to win. Germany hasn't been good at all and if that one line was continued to be shut down it should be a walk in the park.
Obviously Canada is one of the top 3 that everyone predicted to win the tournament but they haven't played like contenders at all. A win over Norway is nothing while a struggled win over the Swiss is everything. I still think however the Canucks can pull this one off. They face the Russians in the next round if they win and I believe they can beat them but it'll be close. The winner of that should be the winner of the tourney. German has no hope in beating the Russians at all.
Finland, United States, Sweden and Russia have all made it to the next round with a bye being the top 3 teams in the tournament. I personally like Russia's and Sweden's chances the best. The Swedes have played really well so far and have a hot goalie. They also have lots of chemistry something a lot of teams still dont at this point. They Russians have been mediocre for a powerhouse and I expected a lot more. They do have incredible offense and an unrated back end. The goalies both have been sluggish so far and they Russians need them to clique. The Swedes are a safe choice as they have most likely Slovakia. The Russians have a road block in Canada so I'd stay away from betting. The US is a contender but they might fall to a bigger fish, I think the US can beat Finland but not the Czechs. The US would struggle against a decent goalie. I don't think they'd touch the Russians or the Swedes. Canada would most likely win a second bout judging by the offense and the fact Ryan Miller cant stay hot forever. as for Finland anythings possible but I don't think they have the youth to win it.
Sleeper: Czech Rep
If the Czechs pay well go for it. They've been consistent all tournament and have looked good in the process.
Slovakia has been really good and they have a really unrated roster. If they can upset Russia who else?
Safe Bet: Sweden
Its going to be tough to knock the Swedes out of this. They want a second gold badly, I think they can take the Canadians, and the Russians.