MikeCammalleri 

 

Discussing hot topic players from the West who are creating an NHL trade deadline buzz

This year’s March 5, 2014 deadline may seem like it’s still quite the ways away. However, with the looming Sochi Games - NHL break and the condensed schedule before and after, the drop dead trade date will come faster than a cheetah narrowing the gap on its prey. Once the players return from Russia, it will be February 26, which is exactly one week from the deadline. In recent years, many deals have gone down a month earlier than the madness of deadline day or more. This is simply due to GMs  around the league finally beginning to understand that you can get more value before the bidding wars inflate unrealistically on TDD.

 

However, this year could be an exception to this new trend, with Sochi getting in the way. I feel as if though many GMs will be wary to make a move for a Sochi-bound player until they return from the tournament - healthy. They will be stuck with newly acquired players injured overseas with little salary cap remedies available to add a replacement player as well.

 

Therefore, I believe many GMs will shelve wink-wink deals which will be ratified post-Olympics. There may well be a two week flurry of significant moves right up to March 5, as opposed to six weeks of sporadic major ones, followed by a myriad of bottom-six depth moves at the end.

 

This week and next week we’re going to do a tour of the Western Conference teams and discuss hot topic players who may be on the bubble (sellers) or of interest (buyers).

 

Get the full scoop on who is trade bait, and NHL team needs (and contract statuses of players) in the Midseason Guide.

 

ANAHEIM

 

After losing 4-2 to the defending champs on Friday night, DucksNation was dealt a reality check. Yes, they’ve been the best team in the NHL, however when push came to the shove in the battle of the two most productive teams of 2013-14, the Ducks came out on the bottom. Definitely look for them to add another piece come deadline day—ideally in the backend where they are fairly young after Francois Beauchemin. A veteran defenseman such as the experienced Stephane Robidas might be the perfect addition to shore up the Ducks second pairing, moving the impressive Hampus Lindholm to the third pairing so he can apprentice how to get the job done on the big stage against the best. Robidas is  skating again after recovering from a broken leg. So yes it would be a risk, but he’s ahead of schedule and should be back shortly after the deadline. He blocks shots with the best of them, yet is still offensively inclined. Because he’s on an expiring contract, there’s a medium-risk, high reward target.

 

 

CALGARY

 

Brian Burke certainly better have learned his lesson from both his Leafs head honcho era as well as a successor to the Feaster regime. A rock-hard stubborn insistence on keeping intact the Iginla-Kiprusoff-Bouwmeester core despite an annually depreciating product, cost them years in their rebuilding efforts. When Iginla’s value plummeted by the time he was actually dealt and Kiprusoff’s once sky-high value was left to evaporate completely, the infusion of young talent and top picks were not attractive to upper brass as they saw themselves as a team in line for a retool instead of a very apparent need to rebuild. Burke very likely will find appropriate deals for Mike Cammalleri, Dennis Wideman and hopefully Jiri Hudler. This core needs to be stripped bare for a strong upper-end youth infusion.

 

 

CHICAGO

 

The defending Champs need not look far for reinforcements, as last year’s playoff hero, Bryan Bickell has still yet to resurface in a meaningful way after getting paid this offseason. There’ still plenty time for him to get into a groove and would almost serve as a mid-season acquisition in his own right once he gets his game going. Backup netminding was once a concern with the flailing Khabibulin, anything but a ‘Bulin Wall’ these days. However, the rise to relevance of Anttii Raanta during Crawford’s recent lay off, has eased those concerns. Don’t expect the champs to do anything significant. They’ve clearly already got what it takes and proved such in shutting down the hottest team we’ve seen in years, Anaheim.

 

 

COLORADO

 

The Avs are badly in need of experience up front. At this point, barring a Maple Leaf-like collapse down the stretch, Colorado is poised to pull off the surprise season and make the playoffs without ever being in doubt. The addition of stud, No.1 overall pick, Nate ‘The Great’ MacKinnon (#TooSoon?) has given excellent strength to the top six and will only continue to thrive. Unfortunately though, with the retirement of lifer, Milan Hejduk and oft-injured former Av champion, Alex Tanguay always seemingly hurt, veterans will certainly be targeted. Ray Whitney and his expiring contract might be a perfect fit for this squad.

 

 

DALLAS

 

Dallas had their fifteen minutes of fame between November and December when they made a lot of noise after string of phenomenal performances by the Tyler Seguin-Jamie Benn-Valeri Nichushkin line (especially the former two). However, the fact remains they belong nine points out of the playoffs. Even though the postseason is two and a half months away, nine points this late in the season can be quite the hurdle to overcome without a renaissance final 40% of the season. Unfortunately, I believe they will remain on the outside looking in, becoming sellers. The aforementioned Robidas will be shopped as well as greybeard, Ray Whitney, who can offer a nice second power-play presence. I don’t think there will be a market for Erik Cole, with another year at a ridiculous $4.5 million remaining, but Jim Nill should look to take on a lesser bad contract to move Cole’s contract.

 

 

EDMONTON

 

The streak of consecutive No. 1 overall picks came to and end at three last season. However, the new run of consecutive years with a top 5 pick may get stretched to five for Edmonton this year. They’ll definitely surpass Calgary, with the latter destined for the West basement, but with Winnipeg now being given a real kickstart with Paul Maurice, the Jets too will be hard to catch. Anything value they can get back for a non-core piece should seriously be looked at, regardless of remaining term. Yes, that means that even newly inked, Sam Gagner should be at least considered moveable, as well as Andrew Ference and of course the much-maligned, Ales Hemsky.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Nashville is another franchise going nowhere in a hurry. Its time for a cleaning of house here as well. Franchise Legend David Legwand is a nice place to start. Dependable in his own end of the ice, he can chip in at a moderate rate for a contending squad’s third line. Somewhere like Vancouver might be ideal for him as he can win faceoffs, something Vancouver still isn’t settled with in that department. Henrik Sedin, at this point in his career is still being debating on by management, as to whether he should take faceoffs. Legwand is a relative gem in that skillset. Mike Fisher is yet another Jack of all trades that can be used by any squad’s bottom six. Although, his wedlock to country singer, Carrie Underwood, may pose a problem here.

 

(~~ Follow Anthony Lancione on Twitter @Anthisdaman)

 

 

Slumpbusters 
Shaken Not Stirred Part #2 (2014) 

 


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Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Trade options Cole back to Carolina could be a good option. Him and Staal have always had great chemistry together and they're only 3 points out of 8th in the East. granted there's 8 other teams within 7 points of that 1 spot...

He has a 0.74 point-per-game ratio wearing a Canes jersey... and during the "stretch runs" 0.72 ratio in March/April between 06-11 with the Canes. They could certainly use someone banging in front of the net for Staal and Semin...

Also Fiddler (54.8% on the dot), 1:50 on the PK could also be a good asset for the Canes. Him and Manny Malholtra could be a good PK unit as both are great at faceoffs, and he could replace Dwyer for a little bit more scoring omph...

I don't think they can squeeze Lindholm or Rask out of Carolina, but maybe Di Guiseppe and a 2nd or 1st rounder might make sense for a Cole/Fiddler pairing...

Rutherford surely would be calling...

Legwand I could see a lot of teams garnering an interest in... 51.1 on the dot, could play a solid 2nd/3rd line C role and provide some scoring omph for a playoff bound team. Fish won't go anywhere, I think he loves Nashville plus the strong link to Underwood...

Cammy is gone! Pittsburgh, alongside Crosby and Kunitz I think could be a very dangerous ES line... Plus he wouldn't affect the big unit of Malkin,Crosby, Neal, Kunitz and Letang anyway (those guys eat up 75% of all Pens PP chances), but he could bolster the 2nd unit with Sutter, Cammy, Jokinen, Niskanen and Martin.

The Flames did deal Iggy to the Pens last trade deadline so they do have somewhat of a link there (but that was Feaster and not Burke)... But then again Shero and Burke is on the USA Sochi committee, so there could be some talks there...

Col with Stastny is in a tough spot. They risk losing him for nothing if he walks in the summer (an asset like him should fetch at least a 1st round draft pick back + a prospect...), but they sort of (do and don't) need him for a playoff run. They need him for his puck control ability (team-leading 54% on the faceoff dot) and his veteran leadership, but they also don't really need him cause they have a handcuffed McKinnon waiting in the wings.

Gagner's $4.8 mil contract for 2 more years is a tough contract to move given his inconsistent point production, but he does have some hidden talent that if he can end up getting top-line ice-time somewhere, he could be a 65-point producer at a reduced salary. (Leafs!) The Oilers "secretly" cementing him with Hall, RNH, Eberle and Schultz on the top-PP unit and giving him a team-leading 66.3% share of PP time is a shrewd move by management to prop up his stocks for the deadline.

Hemsky is as good as gone too...

Steve Ott could be a good option too. Ducks are a bit hurting on the dot (sub 500), could use Ott for some PK duties to ease Getzlaf into and during the playoffs. Also adds some toughness and grit to the 3rd line. Ott-Bonino-Selanne..

Ah it's that time of the year again and trade speculations. I love it!
January 21, 2014
Votes: +2

CommittedToTheIndian said:

CommittedToTheIndian
Hottest team we've seen in years Hotter than Chicago was last year?

Also, please learn how NOT to use commas: greybeard Ray Whitney, newly inked Sam Gagner, much-maligned Ales Hemsky, and country singer Carrie Underwood. No freakin' comma before any of those names.
January 21, 2014
Votes: -3
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