"We have a trade to announce…" are the only words any hockey fan ever wishes to hear out of Gary Bettman's mouth. There may be no more exciting off-ice situation in the NHL than the draft day trade announcement.
In 2008, the Coyotes acquired All-Star center Olli Jokinen from Florida for Keith Ballard and spare parts. The Flames added Mike Cammalleri from Los Angeles. Washington dealt Steve Eminger to the Flyers for a pick they would use that same day on John Carlson. In 2009, the Flyers added Chris Pronger minutes before the first round kicked off. It seems like there is anticipation and hype every year as the draft approaches, but from everything we have heard from those with strong connections in the hockey world, this could be the busiest draft ever in terms of wheeling and dealing.
There is no shortage of star players available at the draft this year – Mike Ribeiro, Tomas Kaberle, and Sheldon Souray to name a few. There are several premier soon-to-be-free agents whose rights may be up for grabs as well – Ilya Kovalchuk, Anton Volchenkov, Dan Hamhuis, Patrick Marleau, Paul Martin… the list goes on.
I asked the DobberHockey community to share their trade ideas a few days ago (check the topic out here). I borrowed a few of the ideas shared there and added them to some of my own.
To Minnesota: Nathan Horton
To Florida: Brent Burns
(As suggested by Renegade)
Nathan Horton is as good as gone from the Panthers if you are one to read into rumours. The Panthers would love to add a dynamic top-four defenseman like Burns, and Horton would bring size and skill to a very underwhelming forward group in Minnesota. Both players have teased us with some flashes of brilliance (Burns in particular with a monster 2007-08 season). Perhaps a fresh start will be exactly what the doctor ordered for both.
Burns needs to get back on track after a few injury-plagued seasons. He has 45-50 point upside provided he sees enough power play time. In Florida, he would become the best offensive defenseman, while in Minnesota he has to compete with Cam Barker and Marek Zidlicky for ice time. Minnesota isn't blessed with a wealth of offensive talent, but Horton could still see a spike in production because of the scenery change alone. He has the size and skill to be a star, but so far in his career he hasn't shown enough intensity or battle on a consistent basis to get there.
To Columbus: Jason Spezza, Brian Lee
To Ottawa: 4th overall pick, Cody Goloubef, Derrick Brassard