Part three 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.
Ottawa Senators – The Sens already added Mike Comrie to the roster and look fairly set. They may add bit parts to ensure that they are covered off for injuries, such as a third-line forward or a fifth or sixth defenseman. Rearguard Joe Corvo finds himself at the bottom of the depth chart and he deserves a more prominent role, so perhaps the team will move him for a stay-at-home defenseman. From a fantasy standpoint, what you see is what you get.
Philadelphia Flyers – Peter Forsberg is gone and the “everything must go” fire sale is not over yet. Goaltender Robert Esche is an unrestricted free agent this summer and with Michael Leighton and Antero Niittymaki on the roster, he is expendable. His bad back will have to heal quickly if the team is to get any reasonable return. Veteran defenseman Derian Hatcher is likely to be the next to go, but with his high salary for the next two seasons the return will be small. Kyle Calder and Mike York are both UFA’s this summer.
Phoenix Coyotes – The Coyotes traded Mike Comrie and Ladislav Nagy and they re-signed Shane Doan, Mike Zigomanis and Mikael Tellqvist. They will lock up Yanic Perreault soon. Owen Nolan and Curtis Joseph will be the only pending UFA’s left. Nolan being traded would surprise me, but Cujo being moved is a possibility if only because the team is quite happy with Tellqvist’s play and they have David LeNeveu waiting in the wings. The price would have to be right though.
Pittsburgh Penguins – The Pens have the seventh-most points in the entire league and have two or three games in hand on five of the six teams that are ahead of them. They are 16-2-3 in their last 21 games and on one hand you have to think that management would not want to tinker with that kind of chemistry. On the other hand, Pittsburgh could use a veteran stay-at-home defenseman and power forward on the wing. Nils Ekman will return to the lineup from his dislocated elbow in about three weeks, but he is the polar opposite of a power forward. Bill Guerin or Keith Tkachuk would fit the mold perfectly, but the price would be high and Pens management would likely shy away from dealing any piece of their fantastic future. Expect them to grab a No. 6 defenseman.
St. Louis Blues – Bill Guerin will be gone. Martin Rucinsky and Keith Tkachuk will likely be moved as well. Eric Brewer is also a possibility. Let the fire sale begin! Expect a slew of prospects who are on the cusp of stepping into the NHL to be acquired by the Blues – and get into the lineup for the final month. Tkachuk in particular will bring an elite prospect to St. Louis (think: Bobby Ryan, Anaheim or Jiri Hudler, Detroit).
San Jose Sharks – The Sharks will be buyers and there is a rumor out there that the team will try and reunite Joe Thornton with his old buddy from Boston Glen Murray. They are also carrying two starting goaltenders and will move one if they get a nice return in the form of a second-line forward and a top backup goalie. The team could also stand pat since they do have the option of recalling Steve Bernier from the minors if they lose any forwards to injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning – The Lightning would love to address some of the holes that they have on their roster – but their back is up against the salary ceiling. Almost $28 million is tied up in Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Dan Boyle and Filip Kuba. They have about a million dollars in wiggle room and would dearly love to give Brad Richards a scoring linemate. This makes Anson Carter (Columbus) a possibility, or perhaps Kyle Calder (Philadelphia).
Toronto Maple Leafs – The Leafs are in a similar position to where they were last season and so you can expect them to act in the same manner. Last year they acquired Luke Richardson and Aleksander Suglobov and moved Ken Klee. Essentially that is just moving sideways…but adding a prospect. I don’t anticipate the team moving Darcy Tucker or Mats Sundin. They will bow to media pressure and re-sign the former, while to move the latter when they are on the cusp of a playoff position would not go over well either. A rumored trade for former Leaf Gary Roberts is also a possibility, but the team likely will not pay the second-round pick asking price to Florida. Be on the lookout for another sideways move that marginally helps their future.
Vancouver Canucks – With just seven weeks of salary to pay for, the Canucks may be able to finally pick up that scoring winger that they have been searching for. Bill Guerin and Anson Carter are affordable, but Keith Tkachuk is not – unless Vancouver moves some salary in the deal. Kyle Calder is another possibility, as is Richard Zednik if Washington fails to re-sign him.
Washington Capitals – The Caps will likely pack it in for one more season before taking a run next year. Although Dainius Zubrus and Richard Zednik are both potential unrestricted free agents this summer, it is unlikely either will be moved as the team is interested in re-signing them. For the right deal, goaltender Olaf Kolzig could be moved. In all likelihood, this team will be quiet over the next 10 days.