Tuesday, March 3, 2009

T Minus One Day to Trade Deadline

One day left till the deadline and... it's still all pending. Let's take a look at what's happened thus far...

- Mathieu Schneider to Montreal for... someone: An important deal by Les Canadiens as they were floundering badly and needed to do something (course, that something also involved switching seemingly indifferent goaltender Carey Price out for Jaroslav Halak).

- Chris Kunitz & top prospect to Pittsburgh for Ryan Whitney: Similar to the Canadiens situation... a move made by the Pens who desperately needed something, in this case to get a wing to play with (now injured) Sidney Crosby. Also a good deal by Anaheim as it both gives them a good young defensemen and lets them seriously consider trading Chris Pronger if the right package gets offered.

- Niclas Havelid to New Jersey for... someone: Not a huge trade, but solidifies the Devil blueline. A good team just got better.

Is that going to be it for trades this year? Not even close... there's an interesting story from Allan Muir at CNNSI titled "Playing Trade Deadline Matchmaker" with his suggestions / predictions. Props to him for already nailing the Havelid deal.

So... with the benefit of having already seen Muir's piece and knowledge of Nicklas Backstrom having signed an extension with Minnesota, here's my thoughts of what teams might look for:

Western Conference

San Jose Sharks - Would benefit tremendously if Muir's idea of Chris Neil from Ottawa came to pass... and would also effectively end the Claude Lemieux experiment (Ian Laperriere would also be very welcome here). Another interesting move would be recently out of favor in Florida and Joe Thornton buddy Nick Boynton coming over from the Panthers to shore up the D. Final thing about the Sharks is there's a new rumor I just heard which would have Ryan Smyth coming from Colorado... likely with Jonothan Cheechoo going the other direction. Personally, I would rather not take on Smyth and his huge long-term deal at the cost of Cheech... much rather get our grit more cheaply.

Chicago Black Hawks - Not sure if it would be at the front or backline, but could use some veteran presence.

Detroit Red Wings - Nah... they're good. Goaltending could be better, but probably no move now would accomplish that.

Calgary Flames - Could benefit greatly from someone else who could put the puck in the net. Maybe it is the Jordan Leopold idea put out by Muir.

Columbus Blue Jackets - This really does seem to be the year for them to make the playoffs. Big need is a top center to play with Nash. Again, will steal Muir's idea... Tim Connolly from Buffalo.

Anaheim Ducks - Sort of in the driver's seat. If either Boston, New Jersey (less likely) or St Louis (really, St Louis) knock their socks off they could trade Chris Pronger, but don't have to.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins - Would of course love Chris Pronger, but if that doesn't work out... perhaps Tomas Kaberle could be had. Tough, though, because it would come down to asking price... don't think that it would be a good move for Boston to move Phil Kessel (as rumored) even to get a Pronger.

Florida Panthers - They hold a big card in soon to be unrestricted free agent Jay Bouwmeester. However, like Columbus they're close to the playoffs and should probably do everything possible to get there. I would expect to see Bouwmeester traded only if they got excellent able to play now talent back. Heard a rumor yesterday of Braydon Coburn coming from Philly, but if I'm the Flyers I don't give up such good young talent for a rental player.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Seems like they gotta be able to find to pull Crosby's buddy Colby Armstrong back from the Panthers.

Washington Capitals - Same as Detroit, would like to have better goaltending, but I don't think a trade is the way it would get done. Better to continue with a combination of hoping either Jose Theodore plays better or a young kid takes the role from him.

There's also some good spare parts out there like Oli Jokkinen and Keith Tkachuk.

Will be fun to watch the whole thing shake out.

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