By Dobber – also posted by Dobber's Affiliates. For the next three weeks, let’s take a look at some of the trade buzz, which players are available, and what you should do in your hockey pool to prepare for these moves that may or may not happen.
Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks are obviously going to be buyers. What will they buy? Not much. Now that they have two healthy goalies, plus a reliable No.3 (Sebastien Caron) as insurance, as well as a solid defense corps (when Scott Niedermayer returns), the team seems pretty set. They have a lot of depth up front, but Anaheim could use a seventh offensive-type forward – someone to step in if there is an injury to someone in the top six. Currently, Mark Hartigan fills that role and would make a cheap pickup if the aforementioned injury comes to pass. One rumor out there is a (prospect) Bobby Ryan for Darcy Tucker swap with the Leafs. It goes without saying that Tucker would be an upgrade to Hartigan…but the Leafs would need to be sellers for this deal to happen.
Atlanta Thrashers – This is another playoff team that will definitely be a buyer. Furthermore, unlike the Ducks, the Thrashers have some gaping holes that they need to address. These holes are the same ones that were there in the summer – a first-line center and a power-play quarterback. Steve Rucchin does not cut it for the former, and Niklas Havelid/Steve McCarthy do not cut it for the latter. They will fill one or both of those needs by the deadline. Whoever they bring in will be gold in hockey pools – and Kovalchuk’s sub-par season will turn around in a big way. They are a part of the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes. The team is also open to signing Brian Leetch (possible) or even Jason Allison (long-shot) to contract. For two months of a season, neither would make a huge dent to the salary cap and as such could be considered low-risk. Jason Blake is a long-shot acquisition, while the team could also look to the Coyotes for Derek Morris or the Bruins for Brad Stuart.
Boston Bruins – The Bruins are sellers. The team has several pieces in place for a solid future, but could always use more blue-chip prospects. Glen Murray will likely be moved, as the Bruins would love to shed his $4 million-plus of salary that is committed to them for the next two seasons after this one. Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart are also involved in heavy trade rumors, with Edmonton coming up as a likely destination in what would be a fairly big package.