As the March 4th trade deadline rapidly approaches, which NHL prospects and youngsters are good bets to be dangled in deals, and which will be deemed untouchable?
Available: D Matt Lashoff
Goaltender Tim Thomas' story exactly matches that of the Bruins: seemingly an overnight sensation, the overwhelming success Boston is enjoying both at the NHL and minor league level is thanks to hard, quiet work for several years. Perhaps Boston's deepest area prospect-wise is on defense. From top pairing stud Dennis Wideman to stay-at-home stalwart Mark Stuart to surprisingly surging Matt Hunwick, the Bs are set for several years on the back end.
Caught in the middle is 22 year-old Matt Lashoff. Selected 22nd overall in the 2005 Entry Draft, the strapping 6'2, 205 lbs defender has gotten several opportunities to supplant himself in Beantown. While almost NHL-quality in managing a powerplay, Lashoff's biggest weakness is still playing a regular shift five-on-five. Look for the burgeoning OD to find a new home on deadline day, perhaps in a deal for another big but skilled defender (hint hint).
If The Offer's Right: C Joe Colborne
Especially if the offer involves Chris Pronger. While no team likes to give up on a 6'5 center averaging close to a PPG in his first collegiate season, the Bruins are absolutely rife with forward talent. Colborne, the 16th pick in the 2008 Draft, would give the Ducks an incredible power center one-two. His 27 points in 33 games are fourth on the deep University of Denver squad. If Colborne proves to be a deal-breaker in a trade for Pronger- say, Lashoff, a 1st and he plus salary- it would be awfully tough for the Bs to turn down.
Not So Much: LW Vladimir Sobotka
The volatility of the NHL Draft is never more apparent when a fourth round pick from a draft has more value than the team's first pick, but that's the case when it comes to Vladimir Sobotka. Selected 106th overall in 2005- the same year as Lashoff- the Czech Republic native has gone from a flyer pick to a potential home run. Relatively unknown across the league, Sobotka's most famous traits are sound two-way play and the ability to land wicked checks despite a small frame. However, as 28 points in 26 AHL games alludes to, there's also plenty of skill in the small package.
What makes Sobotka probably untradeable, though, is his sudden chemistry with fellow wunderCzech David Krejci. While he has just four points in 23 games, Sobotka's gritty game is a perfect match for Krejci's skill. It doesn't hurt that they have a secret code in the form of their native language to further fool opponents. The two have become fast friends, and that will play a big part in Boston's plans to re-sign Krejci, who is RFA at the end of this season.
Available: RW Eric Fehr
The clock never truly runs out on 6'4, 210 lbs wingers who can net 50 and 60-goal seasons in junior, and Eric Fehr is the ultimate example. Underwhelming in AHL play, it seems all the big forward needed was a bigger challenge. A bona fide NHL player 89 games into his career, Fehr's ten goals in 2008-09 are more than he had points in previous tastes of action. Solidly in the top ten in scoring on the Caps, Fehr's age and potential make nevertheless make him a first-ask option for teams looking to trade quality defenders, something Washington