The trade deadline approacheth

deadlines

It’s exactly four weeks, or 28 days until the most anticipated day of the year for hockey fans — trade deadline day. And for the first time in a long time it will happen on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday.

But how many deals will take place? Will the Oilers make a move in the next month to jumpstart their annual playoff push? It’s all but guaranteed the Oilers will make a move, but don’t expect them to land that coveted left-winger to play with Ales Hemsky. If Tamblowe makes that type of acquisition I would be stunned. Will the Flames tinker to ensure they get out of the first round? I think so.

Please don’t waste our time with an Eklund-like tale of Spezza for Grebeshkov and Cole, or some other fabricated rumour from your co-worker’s sister’s housecleaner that Lecavalier is coming to Edmonton.

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Let’s try to look at it realistically. Most teams don’t want to add any salary past this year, so that takes a lot of players out of the equation. Not all of course, but many. So pending UFAs and RFAs will garner the most interest.

In the East there are five teams out of the race right now. The Leafs, Lightning, Senators, Thrashers and Islanders barring a major push in the next month will be sellers, and here are the players that might attract interest.

Along with their contract status after this season, and what their approximate cap hit would be if acquired on the 4th of March.

Atlanta

Mathieu Schneider | D-man | UFA | $1.125 million

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Niclas Havelid | D-man | UFA | $540,000

Colby Armstrong | Forward | RFA | $240,000

Marty Reasoner | Forward | UFA | $200,000

Eric Perrin | Forward | UFA | $150,000

Schneider has the most appeal and will certainly get moved for something. He can quarterback a PP better than most, is a good puck mover and partnered with the right guy he can be solid 5-on-5.

Armstrong will get lots of interest, but if Atlanta deals him that just shows you why Don Waddell should be gone. Armstrong is a great energy guy and Pittsburgh would love to have him back.

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The rest are bit players at best, and depending on a need might garner some interest.

New York Islanders

Bill Guerin | Forward | UFA | $900,000

Doug Weight | Forward | UFA | $350,000

Mike Comrie | Forward | UFA | $800,000

Richard Park | Forward | UFA | $160,000

Guerin has a no movement clause, so he will only go to a team he thinks has a legitimate shot, but expect him to be moved. Weight told me when he was in Edmonton that he would love to stay in Long Island, but wouldn’t be against a move. Translation he will be moved if they find a taker. Both of those veterans could add something. Guerin has 15 goals to date, while Weight is second on the Islanders in points with 34.

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Comrie won’t get as much interest and the Islanders do need to keep some younger forwards around, plus Hillary Duff probably likes having him in New York. Park could be a serviceable 4th liner if a team was looking for depth.

Ottawa

Filip Kuba | D-man | UFA | $600,000

Jason Smith | D-man | One year left | $2.6 next year, $520,000 this year

Chris Neil | Forward | UFA | $240,000

Dean McCammond | Forward | UFA | $180,000

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Neil is clearly the most attractive at almost every team would love what he brings. The Oilers would love to get an energy guy who can fight but can also play a regular shift. Kuba is as good as gone if the Sens can find a taker, and they would love to unload Jason Smith, but his foot speed and his contract for next year will make it tough.

McCammond can still fly, and if a team floats a mid-to-late round pick in Bryan Murray’s direction I could see him leaving. There has been lots of speculation surrounding Spezza being moved, but I’d be stunned if that happens. He’s 25, has scored 90 points three times already and is a top-five playmaking centre. Murray would be an idiot to move him.

Tampa Bay

Olaf Kolzig | Goalie | UFA | $300,000

Gary Roberts | Forward | UFA | $240,000

Mark Recchi | Forward | UFA | $240,000

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Marek Malik | D-man | UFA | $240,000

Matt Pettinger | Forward | UFA | $220,000

Not a stellar list by any stretch. Roberts still has old man strength and is a great character guy, so I can see someone taking a shot on him. Recchi possibly, but his foot speed has deteriorated badly. Kolzig would be a good insurance policy. And I would be stunned if either Lecavalier or St. Louis is moved.

The Bolts would probably take a bag of pucks for any of the other five guys, just to save a bit of money down the stretch, but the long-term pain in dealing either of the big guns would be tough to take. Right now it is more likely that St. Louis gets moved ahead of Lecavalier, but, again, I think that is a stretch.

Toronto

Nik Antropov | Forward | UFA | $410,000

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Dominic Moore | Forward | UFA | $180,000

Pavel Kubina | D-man | One year left | $5 million next year, $1 million this year

Jason Blake | Forward | Three years left at $4 million | $800,000 this year)

Tomas Kaberle | D-man | Two years left at $4.25 million | $850,000 this year

Brian Burke wants to make a splash so you know he will make a few moves at the deadline. Moore is cheap and has become a pretty good PK guy, but he wouldn’t get lots in return. I can’t see any team really wanting Antropov, but someone might take a flier. Kaberle has a no-movement clause, but his salary is pretty decent and he would attract lots of interest if the Leafs can convince him to be traded. He and coach Ron Wilson don’t get along.

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The other two are wishful thinking on the Leafs’ part and when you consider they both wear numbers higher than 40, then Burke clearly wants to move them. (In case you missed it Burke said last week that he would like no one to wear a number higher than 40. Stupid, but true.)

There are some other teams in the East who might consider being sellers, but at this point these are the sure bets to be out of the race. The interesting team to watch will be Pittsburgh. Remember they came out of nowhere to get Hossa last year, so don’t be surprised if they try to make a statement either way in the next four weeks.

In the West it’s a little harder to determine who the sellers are. Right now, even the 15th place Blues are only six points out of eighth place, but jumping seven teams to get in would be a stretch.

I think there might be four sellers in a month’s time, and maybe less, but here are my four.

St. Louis

Keith Tkachuk | Forward | UFA | $900,000

Dan Hinote | Forward | UFA | $200,000

Andy McDonald | Forward | UFA | $660,000

Brad Winchester | Forward | UFA | $120,000

Manny Legace | Goalie | UFA | $430,000

Tkachuk has a no-move clause, but the right team could persuade him to lift it. I can’t see the Blues signing him next season, unless he takes a big pay cut.

McDonald is the interesting one. The Blues are trying to extend him right now, but if they can’t by the deadline you wonder if they would move him to ensure they get something for him. Hinote is another pest who can play decent enough and would have some cache on the market. Same for Winchester, who is having a career year in St.Louis, but he is only 27 and dirt cheap right now. I suspect the Blues would like to re-sign him to a two-year deal.

The Blues would almost take anything to rid themselves of Legace, and considering there aren’t many UFA goalies that teams would be willing to deal he might garner some slight interest.

Los Angeles

Denis Gauthier | D-man | UFA | $440,000

Sean O’Donnell | D-man | UFA | $250,000

Kyle Calder | Forward | UFA | $540,000

Derek Armstrong | Forward | UFA | $320,000

The Kings aren’t out of it yet, but with only eleven home games left out of 33 I don’t expect them to stick around. All of the Kings best assets are young and Dean Lombardi is not an idiot, so I would be shocked to see him move any of his young guns.

These four don’t exactly make you tingle with excitement, but Gauthier and O’Donnell are veterans who can play tough, and would be added depth on a blueline. Don’t be surprised to see the Wings or Sharks land one of these guys to protect themselves in case of an injury. Armstrong is near the end of his career and would love one last shot at a cup if the Kings can find a taker, while Calder would be a depth guy at best.

None of these guys would be a difference maker, but they might be an unsung guy for one important game during a Cup run.

Nashville

Steve Sullivan | Forward | UFA | $640,000

Radek Bonk | Forward | UFA | $320,000

Scott Nichol | Forward | UFA | $180,000

Vern Fiddler | Forward | UFA | $150,000

Greg Devries | D-man | UFA | $550,000

Greg Zanon | D-man | UFA | $150,000

The Preds have won a few straight to get them within four points of the final spot, and they desperately want to get to the playoffs so they might not make any moves, but in a month’s time if they’re still six points out with four teams ahead of them then David Poile might have to sell off some assets.

Nichol would be attractive to many teams due to his salary, his tenacity and grit. The Oilers would love a guy like this to bring energy as would many other teams. Bonk is a good draw man and can be a good third- or fourth-line guy. Sullivan is an interesting player. The Preds have got nothing out of him for two years due to injury, so you wonder if they try to at least recoup something. Devries is a willy veteran who could solidify a third pairing. I’m sure lots of teams would take Zanon, who plays 20 minutes a night and is only a -1 in Nashville. Unless the Preds expect him to command a big raise in the off-season I don’t see why they would trade him.

Colorado

Ian Laperriere | Forward | UFA | $230,000

Tyler Arnason | Forward | UFA | $350,000

Jordan Leopold | D-man | UFA | $300,000

Daniel Tjarnqvist | D-man | UFA | $150,000

Andrew Raycroft | Goalie | UFA | $160,000

Laperriere is a great locker room guy and an energy guy, so I’m sure lots of teams would have interest in him. If a team could predict they would play the Oilers, if they make it, in the first round, then picking up Arnason would be worth it. He plays and produces his best against the Oilers.

Leopold has been a bust since coming to Colorado, and if they could get anything for him they would. He might garner some interest, because when he is healthy, which is rare, he can still move the puck efficiently. Raycroft might be an insurance policy, albeit a risky one. The Avs would love to move Darcy Tucker, who was carved in the Rocky Mountain News last week as being the worst UFA signing in Avs history. He has one year left at $2.2 million so I doubt there will be any takers, but he might be a surprise come the deadline.

These are the nine teams who look to be out of it come Mar. 4, so they would be the best bets to be sellers. There are some other names that could be moved. What will the Hawks do with their goaltending? Can they afford to move Khabibulin? The Habs have eleven UFAs this summer; will Bob Gainey move one or two of them in order to make a big splash?

And will the Wild move Marian Gaborik? He could be the Marian Hossa of this year. Sure he is an injury waiting to happen, but when healthy he is a difference maker, and it sounds like there is little chance he will return to Minny. He should be cleared to return from his hip surgery in late March. Will a team take a chance on him?

He might become the most talked about player leading up to the deadline, because outside of him it doesn’t look like there is another big-name player that will be dealt. Let’s hope not.


  • APE

    But I'm with you, I wish we would sell the farm and start over. At least we would lose the way Toronto is losing this year. They work hard but have less talent. That is much easier to swallow than this bullsh!t.

  • Wanye Gretz

    Hey everyone I have an idea:

    Maybe it's just me but I think the Oilers should trade some players and think about getting a new head coach. Does anyone have something to say on that topic?

    *drool*

    @ jeanshorts:

    You are taking more shots to the face than a Vivid Film Star on here today. BAHAHAHA

    Internet justice is a mighty weapon!!

  • jeanshorts wrote:

    Does Burkie not realize that the Leafs have “honored” like 28 numbers? The players are kind of running out of options there when it comes to sweaters.

    Honoured jersey's aren't retired in Toronto, so players can still wear them. The only numbers out of commission are #5 Ace Bailey and #6 Bill Barilko. The irony of Burke's statmente regarding numbers was it came on the night they honoured Gilmour's #93!!!

  • Pokie Reddik wrote:

    @ Jason
    So did Jon lose any locker room privlages for his call to axe macT? NO Have some gonads Jason

    Once again you show your complete lack of knowledge. JW doesn't have a press pass and doesn't come in the Oilers room, so now he hasn't had his priviliges (That's how you spell it Einstein) revoked.
    Speaking of gonads, you were the fraud who came on here stating you actually are on the inside and cover the team. Well FRAUD, like I said you are wannabe poser. In case anyone forgot you are the biggest type of loser. Claiming to be something you are not.

    I suggest no one bother responding to any comment from this poser in the future. You've exposed your true colours. Lame…truly lame…I've wasted enough time even acknowledging you today. Have fun living your fantasy life, and hopefully your Mom cooks you a nice dinner and tucks you in with your teddy tonight. LOSER.

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    Honoured jersey’s aren’t retired in Toronto, so players can still wear them. The only numbers out of commission are #5 Ace Bailey and #6 Bill Barilko. The irony of Burke’s statmente regarding numbers was it came on the night they honoured Gilmour’s #93!!!

    This is true, but lets be honest, if you play in Toronto and you want to wear #17, you've got some pretty big shoes to fill.

    But I do like their policy of not retiring numbers, because otherwise they turn into the Montreal Canadians, and soon enough no one on that team will be able to wear a number lower than 34.

  • Cam

    CurtisS wrote:

    Awesome job managment team. Ever since you decided to let our Face of Frachise go and name our new Hemsky face of franchise, this team has be terrrible at best.

    We traded the wrong guy that year. Thats a fact.

    So you think they should have traded Hemsky instead? How does that make any sense?

    I agree that losing Smyth really hurt this team and they are still trying to recover from that, but why woudl you trade Hemsky… he actually signed a long term multi year deal. Smyth didn't… that was the difference.

  • OvenChicken8

    @ OB:
    I do agree that the leadership is questionable except when you look at Moreau. I haven't watched him take a shift off this entire year, sure he takes the odd bad penalty but he is playing with some heart. It's just too bad that the others don't follow his lead. I think it takes more than one leader in the dressing room to keep everyone on the same page.

  • Dany Sabourin's Wasted Life

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Pokie Reddik wrote:
    @ Jason
    So did Jon lose any locker room privlages for his call to axe macT? NO Have some gonads Jason
    Once again you show your complete lack of knowledge. JW doesn’t have a press pass and doesn’t come in the Oilers room, so now he hasn’t had his priviliges (That’s how you spell it Einstein) revoked.
    Speaking of gonads, you were the fraud who came on here stating you actually are on the inside and cover the team. Well FRAUD, like I said you are wannabe poser. In case anyone forgot you are the biggest type of loser. Claiming to be something you are not.
    I suggest no one bother responding to any comment from this poser in the future. You’ve exposed your true colours. Lame…truly lame…I’ve wasted enough time even acknowledging you today. Have fun living your fantasy life, and hopefully your Mom cooks you a nice dinner and tucks you in with your teddy tonight. LOSER.

    Not to lighten the force of the kick you just delivered to Pokie's head (and he deserved it), but it is "privileges." Don't worry, I don't think Einstein won many spelling bees anyways.

  • Gord

    OvenChicken8 wrote:

    I think it takes more than one leader in the dressing room to keep everyone on the same page.

    I agree. I think Moreau gets way too much ice time for a player of his calibre, but no one can deny that he gives full effort each shift. The bottom line is that the current Oiler line up isn't talented enough to carry three or four floaters each night and pull out wins. When all 19 players on the ice are playing like they care every shift, the Oilers have looked dominant. Unfortunately, I can count on one hand how many games I have seen like that this year.

  • Cam

    CurtisS wrote:

    @ Cam:
    Nope, I said they traded the wrong player. Maybe I should of said players.

    Sorry Chris – I misunderstood what you stated there then. I agree that trading Ryan was a bad move, and all we need to do is look at the Oilers record since they did that for the proof.

    At this point I just want to let that go on and carry on, though. I don't think they should trade Moreau or Pisani away since both of those guys can be counted to leave 100% on the ice any given night.

    My untouchables are:
    Hemsky
    Visnovsky
    Souray
    Cogliano

  • Colin

    Chaz wrote:

    @ RyanD:
    Agreed. I never understood why the Oil didn’t re-sign Sykora. He even wanted to stay here, although I’m not sure about his wife…

    I thought he was a bachelor.

  • Greg MC

    I miss Ryan a lot, but he just isn't worth the coin that he was demanding, mostly due to his age. The contract that was on the table from the Oil would have been an overpayment itself, with way too long a term.

  • GP coach

    I am afraid that little will happen with the Oil until fans and corporate sponsors are asked to do the annual re-new by the Oiler corporate minions and they decline to pony up the millions for season tickets and corporate participation. Until the waiting list vanishes and empty seats begin to appear I don't think there is any motivation to make changes. The stench of this teams play rising up to the bosses head offices is not going to have the anticipated effect. I thinks it's niave to think they care what the fans think. It's like the Ballard era in TO in this sense. He openly stated he wouldn't pay for players because he didn't have to. That great franchise has not recovered since he took over. Ballard has been dead for what…20 yrs? His legacy has endured for 40 yrs. The fan support in this province is next to fanatical. The organization's reputation has taken alot of shots in the last few years and I'm afraid the unravelling process has begun. The slowing of the economy may bring all of this to a head sooner than we think. Forking over hundreds of dollars for an evening of watching a shabby hockey product may soon be unthinkable for all but a few plutocrats. I hope it doesn't happen that way but to me it's more concerning than whether or not the coach should be canned. All of this yammering at each other over who should be fired and or traded is basically b.s. There is a much bigger picture out there.

  • mjsh

    Interesting that you say Lapierre might be available, I posted last night wondering that very question. That is a guy that would light some fires under this team, if any fires can be lit. I remember Ottawa getting Martin Lapointe for that very reason and look where Ottawa is today. In my opinion, there is plenty of talent on this Oilers team, just not enough heart. Unfortunately, heart transplants are not available.

    If Mac T. was smart, he would look for another job when his contract ends. Find a team willing to work. Having said that, I hope he stays. In spite of all the bashing that goes on here, I see him as a very capable leader.

  • As had been pointed out above, I have no special access or privileges with the team. I'm just a fan; a guy who likes hockey and writing. Wanye and Bingofuel were nice enough to invite me over to here, and voila, you get to read my stuff. I try to be objective, but at the end of the day I'm just a fan.

    Incidentally, there would be changes in both the tone and topic of my posts if I were a beat reporter. It's not so much that you can't be critical of the team, but I think you need to pick your spots and the consequences are way higher for guys who actually make their living covering this team.

    Anyways, Jason, I noticed Alexei Ponikarovsky didn't make your list. Is he on the market by any chance?

  • Travis Dakin

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    consequences are way higher for guys who actually make their living covering this team.

    Are you sure? Over here you might get the thrashing of a lifetime from Traktor…