My look at some forwards who the Canucks may be interested in at the deadline this year - right here.
Rick Nash is a tempting prize, but I'd pass on him if I were the Rangers, for a few reasons:
1) Nash has proven nothing in his career. Sure, he's had some bad teams and linemates to play on and with, but words like inconsistent, lazy, and floater come to mind when I think of him. Perhaps my evaluation is harsh, but when you see what he can do when motivated (Olympics, for example), it sure makes his pedestrian NHL production look even worse.
2) The Rangers have enough talent up front. They have two potential game breaker forwards, some fantastic two-way grinders, and good secondary scoring. They'd be better off adding a depth scorer like David Jones from Colorado, if anything.
3) Cap space is fluid. The Rangers may have it now, but what about when it is time to extend, Stepan, Del Zotto, McDonagh, and so on? The Rangers have a great mix of young talent, stars, and goaltending. I don't see Nash having the kind of impact he'd need to considering what they'd likely have to give up (sounds like Stepan or one of the defensemen, plus a ton of futures).
In a potential Western Conference Final preview, Vancouver is in Detroit tonight. Two very similar teams - lots of depth, good goaltending, great puck possession. Should be a dandy. Datsyuk remains out with a minor knee injury.
Carlo Colaiacovo played last night after missing some time. He missed a game with a wrist injury, and then sat out as a healthy scratch for a few after. The question must be asked - can Carlo ever really be considered a healthy scratch?
Curtis Glencross could be back for the Flames tonight. He was on a tear before the injury, but has likely lost his top line spot to Alex Tanguay.
I like the Vermette trade for both teams. He's a good player, but overpaid. Clears some cap room for the Blue Jackets, and gives Phoenix some much-needed speed and skill up the middle. His contract (three more years at $3.75 per) likely scared a few teams away (but not the NHL-owned Coyotes...).
Colorado’s 'new top line' is continuing to produce. Landeskog, O’Reilly, and Olver combined for a goal against LA last night. Olver is a former NCAA star who has clicked nicely with Colorado’s best two-way forwards. However...
Olver was replaced by the newly-acquired Steve Downie on the line last night, and he slid down to play on the third line.
I don't think Colorado is done trading - one or two of Galiardi/Winnik/Jones could be on the move, too.
Paul Stastny scored twice - can't figure out why his name still keeps popping up in rumors. He's a rock solid two-way center.
Matt Duchene played his second game back after his knee injury, and recorded one assist.
A comprehensive look at New Jersey’s no-name but successful defensive group this season. Some quotes:
“I think that helps fuel some of the lack of confidence in the defense as a whole. There isn't anyone on this group that we could say has been dominant - especially on offense. Sure, some defenders will have good nights or play pretty well overall.”
“In addition, this blueline just doesn't produce a lot of points. You'll get the occasional goal or assist here and there; but no one's really been a regular producer. Prior to Tuesday's game Larsson leads the defensemen in points with 16, where he's tied with 7 defensemen for 76th in the NHL. And he's been injured since the beginning of this month. No defenseman has picked up the pace. What's more concerning is that the blueline also doesn't take a lot of shots. The team leader is Kurtis Foster with 70 and 16 of those came when he was on Anaheim. Mark Fayne had 67 get to the net all as a Devil, but that's still 1.15 shots per game.”
I’d expect Larsson to develop into that guy, but it is a lot to expect a teenager to be your go-to guy on the back end each and every game. I have said this for the past three years, but the Devils really need to add a legitimate puck mover back there, either at the deadline or in the summer.
Bruce Arthur breaks down the Toronto goaltending “situation”….
“So Burke will deliberate whether he needs another goalie, probe which ones are available, gauge the market. It has always been the weak point in his otherwise stellar résumé, really. He trusted Toskala and Gustavsson when he got here; he trusted Reimer and Gustavsson and an aging J-S Giguère the past two seasons; he stuck with Dan Cloutier for a long time in Vancouver, after a parade of guys failed to pan out. Outside of Anaheim, where he inherited Giguère and Ilya Bryzgalov (and, to his credit, signed Jonas Hiller from the Swiss league), Burke’s teams have never finished in the top 10 in goals against.”
I think the Leafs have pressure to make the playoffs this year, so a stop gap could be in order. But who would be available? I’ll open this question to all readers, but Leafs fans in particular – are you comfortable with building around James Riemer for the forseeable future? Why or why not?
I watched most of the Ottawa/Washington game last night. My thoughts:
Tomas Vokoun was awful. The team in front of him showed little in the way of anything, but he was a sieve before getting yanked.
Mike Green looks pretty good, all things considered. He created some offense, threw a few nice hits, and managed to avoid injury.
Dmitri Orlov still looks like a rookie at times, but he is going to be a really good defenseman. With Green, Carlson, and Wideman around, I’m not sure how much offensive responsibility will be given to him in the near future, though.
Washington missed Alex Ovechkin (duh), but they continue to miss Backstrom just as much, if not more. Without him, Laich is playing center full time (out of position), and neither Perreault or Johansson can do the things with the puck that Backstrom can.
Not really sure where the Caps go from here – do they try and add at the deadline? Do they sell? Do they do nothing? The core is rotten, and making cosmetic changes isn’t going to do a whole lot.
Ottawa, on the other hand, looked great. Tenacious all game long, and they really supported the puck well.
Two more goals for Erik Karlsson, who is lapping the rest of the defensemen in the league. Turns out Karlsson had one goal, and the other was deflected by an Ottawa forward.
Chris Phillips has a very surprising four goals in his past six games.
Sergei Gonchar looks good – calming, veteran influence with the puck. A huge turnaround from how he looked earlier in the season.
Michalek continues to defy the Band-Aid-Boy constitution, scoring his 26th and 27th goals of the season last night. He embarrassed Dennis Wideman on one of them (video below).
I turned down a Michalek-for-Franzen swap last week in one of my keeper leagues. Once a sceptic, always a sceptic, unfortunately. Thankfully for Ottawa, Bryan Murray was willing to take the risk.
Craig Anderson was great – 33 saves on 35 shots.
I also turned down another trade – sending Chara, Zac Dalpe, and Bryan Little away for Hodgson, Hedman, and Simmonds. My reason for turning it down – Chara has a few elite years left (physical fitness is through the roof, and on a great team), I really like Little, and I am unsure about Hedman’s offensive upside. Hodgson is going to be a star, but it may take him a few years to get the ice time needed. Simmonds is a great, gritty young winger, but I would definitely be buying high on him here.
Brad Marchand the good was on full display last night – two goals, including a beauty on a breakaway. The Blues had been unbeaten in regulation at home for 21 straight games (18-0-3) before losing last night.
Jamie Langenbrunner is out with a broken foot – TJ Hensick has been called up. Vlad Sobotka slid into Langenbrunner's spot with Backes and Oshie. Sobotka has one goal in his last 31 games, which regardless of ice time or line mate excuses, simply isn't good enough. He hits a lot and is versatile, but that doesn't win many fantasy pools.
Bruins prospect Carter Camper made his NHL debut. No points in about six minutes of ice time. The Former Miami University star has 38 points in 54 AHL games – undersized offensive forward.
TSN has mentioned San Jose as a Rick Nash potential destination. Depending on where the Jackets want to go, the Sharks have some interesting assets – Marleau, Pavelski, Clowe, and so on. I don’t see San Jose trading Thornton or Couture, obviously. Thoughts?
Dallas has recalled gritty winger Matt Fraser from the AHL. I mentioned Fraser in my last 15 Prime Cuts piece – he’s having a terrific season, but will need more than a depth role (the one he is likely to fill with Jake Dowell going on the IR) to produce.
NHL.com’s Dave Lozo takes both sides when assessing a potential Rick Nash to New York trade. I really liked this piece – original concept. The last paragraph from each:
“The Rangers are a top team, but Nash would put them over the top by giving them the missing offense that's a necessity in the postseason. The time is now in New York, and the Rangers need to push all their chips into the middle.”
“The Rangers are a top team, but there's no guarantee that a luxury like Nash can put them over the top. The future is bright in New York, whether it's four months from now or four years from now. There's no need for the Rangers to go all-in.”
Benoit Pouliot had seven points in January, but he has only one point in 10 February games.
Michalek dangles around Wideman: