With the NHL schedule well into the second half of the season, teams are faced with the decision on what to do with their rosters. Playoff bound teams need to decide whether they will go into the playoffs with their existing roster or if they will try to add one or two pieces to help them make a long run. Teams that are out of the playoffs are looking to get the most they can for players on expiring contracts or even major deals to unload some contracts. Then there are the teams in the middle, unsure of which direction to take. It’s the NHL trade deadline.
The trade deadline is one of the few times that both TSN and Sportsnet go head-to- head for ratings supremacy. They spend an entire day devoted to it, hoping to be the first to break the news on a big trade. They began promoting and hyping their shows more than a month before the deadline date. However, as much as fans and broadcasters anticipate the days leading up and to the trade deadline, it can also end up being a big dud. A number of factors contribute to may contribute to this, including teams being up against the salary cap, the increase in no trade/movement clauses in player’s contracts, and the number of teams still in playoff hunt, compared to the number of sellers. This year there’s an added wrinkle, with the Vegas expansion. Teams are hesitant to make big moves with fear of losing players during, the expansion draft.
There are some teams who have been out of the playoff picture for quite some time, like Arizona and Colorado. Others who are on the cusp like Detroit, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Winnipeg. There will be more sellers as the deadline nears, hopefully leading to more activity. While most fans are looking for the big blockbuster deal, those are rare during the deadline. Those type of trades are usually made during or after draft day, once all the dust has settled. However, all it could take is a minor deal to put a contending team over the top. Buyers will be looking for that diamond in the rough, like a Joel Ward, John Druce, or ChrisKontos, to play the unlikely playoff hero.
What I’ve decided to do is try and predict the destination of players who have been rumored to be traded and match them up with the teams who I think will be the buyers. We’ll see how many (if any) I actually get right after the deadline.
Randy Carlyle teams are known to be gritty and tough. GM Bob Murray has also let it be known he will not be paying a premium for rentals.
Prediction: Steve Ott (Det), PA Parenteau (NJ)
Dark Horse: Shane Doan (Ari), Ryan Miller (Ana)
The Blackhawks have been looking for a winger to play with Jonathan Toews. Bowman has been creative in working within the salary cap.
Prediction: Victor Stalberg (Car), Dennis Seidenberg (NYI)
Dark Horse: Alex Burrows (Van), Johnny Oduya (Dal)
This is the first time the Oilers have been in the playoffs in over 10 years. GM
Peter Chiarelli knows what it takes to go deep into the playoffs.
Prediction: Jay McClement (Car), John Mitchell (Col)
Dark Horse: Martin Hanzal (Ari)
Always a threat to go far in the playoffs. Could get a healthy Jonathan Quick back by end of the season. Could use some scoring depth.
Prediction: Radim Vrbata (Ari)
Dark Horse: Tomas Vanek (Det), Jaroslav Halak (NYI)
David Poile has been the most active GMs in making big trades over the past few years. They may need to acquire a centre to replace the recently demoted Mike Ribeiro.
Prediction: Tomas Vanek (Det), Martin Hanzal (Ari), Fedor Tyutin (Col)
Dark Horse: Matt Duchene (Col), Valtteri Filppula (TB)
One of a few teams that could be both and buyer and seller, as they have the most coveted upcoming UFA in Kevin Shattenkirk. Asking price is high. Big decision on what they do.
Prediction: Drew Stafford (Wpg)
Dark Horse: Radim Vrbata (Ari), Johnny Oduya (Dal)
The Sharks almost won the Cup and are looking to make possibly a final run with some key players, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. GM Doug Wilson has already made some lineup changes and traded Tommy Wingels.
Prediction: Shane Doan (Ari), Ron Hainsey (Car)
Dark Horse: Jarome Iginla (Col), Jannik Hansen (Van), Tomas Vanek (Det)
No team has been in the trade rumor mill more than the Bruins. After finally firing Claude Julien, GM Don Sweeney needs to finally decide whether he’s going to pull the trigger on a big trade or settle for some minor ones.
Prediction: Gabriel Landeskog (Col), Lauri Korpikoski (Dal)
Dark Horse: Patrick Sharp (Dal), Kevin Shattenkirk (StL)
This is one team that may end standing pat during the deadline. Not many holes to fill or a lot of cap space to play with.
Prediction: Ron Hainsey (Car)
Dark Horse: Radim Vrbata (Ari)
GM Marc Bergevin is all-in with the hiring of Claude Julien and key players who may not be around for much longer. Pressure is on to make a big deal.
Prediction: Patrick Sharp (Dal), Johnny Oduya (Dal)
Dark Horse: Matt Duchene (Col), Mark Streit (Phi)
The Rangers haven’t done much in the playoffs. They need to be able to
challenge Pittsburgh/Washington. Is this King Henrik’s last stand?
Prediction: Alex Burrows (Van), Patrick Wiercioch (Col)
Dark Horse: Kevin Shattenkirk (StL)
Boucher has Sens playing well. Owner Eugene Melynk says he’s willing to spend, if it makes sense.
Prediction: Jiri Hudler (Dal), Paul Postma (Wpg)
Dark Horse: Patrick Eaves (Dal), Jannik Hansen (Van)
Favorite to come out the East and repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Rutherford always looking to make a big splash.
Prediction: Rene Bourque (Col), Michael Stone (Ari)
Dark Horse: Radim Vrbata (Ari), Tomas Vanek (Det)
Need to find a way to finally beat Pittsburgh and advance deep into the playoffs. Will they find the right mix finally do this?
Prediction: Patrick Eaves (Dal), Brian Boyle (TB)
Dark Horse: Kevin Shattenkirk (StL)