Part two of three in taking 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.
Detroit Red Wings – Along with Carolina, Montreal and Anaheim, Detroit is a lead contender in the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes. Regardless of if they land Forsberg, Keith Tkachuk, or Todd Bertuzzi, if any team picks up a big name over the next two weeks it will be Detroit. They are in the hunt for a skilled offensive forward to play on one of the top two lines. If that forward is in the middle, Robert Lang's production will drop. If that forward is a winger, both Dan Cleary and Jason Williams will see their production drop. Otherwise, a big deal such as this one will only help the team as a whole in terms of scoring. Exactly what poolies want to hear. Youngster Jiri Hudler is being used as trade bait.
Edmonton Oilers – The Oilers are going all PR with this one, giving every indication that they will be buyers at the deadline. That's easy to say now, but what matters is what they say when February 27 rolls around. If the team is still ninth and within eight points of a playoff spot, expect them to buy. Any other situation and this will sell. By the same token, if GM Kevin Lowe fails to sign Ryan Smyth by the deadline and the team is in selling mode, the career Oiler will be moved. Edmonton desperately needs a quarterback for the power play and have been rumored to be shopping both Raffi Torres and Joffrey Lupul around. The latter would make a cheap pickup in your keeper league that will pay off handsomely next season.
Florida Panthers – Sellers. GM Jacques Martin has lost his patience and will not sit idly by this time around when there are so many assets available to move. Gary Roberts is likely gone. Ditto for Jozef Stumpel. Other possibilities include Mike Van Ryn, Ed Belfour and Todd Bertuzzi. Even captain Olli Jokinen, although that is somewhat of a long shot. A Bertuzzi deal would require a blue-chip prospect in return, such as a Hudler (Detroit), Brian Little (Atlanta), Benoit Pouliot (Minnesota) or a Rob Schremp (Edmonton). Of the four, Hudler and Pouliot are the only ones not deemed untouchable.
Los Angeles Kings – No surprises here as the Kings have made it quite clear that they are in a full rebuilding mode. So far, they are doing such a good job of it that I really must