1) The serious chatter among teams/GM's has really started to intensify the last week or so. There are only a couple of teams that are truly 'out of it', but that hasn't stopped contending teams from inquiring from the organizations that are less likely to make the postseason. Compounding these discussions are that many of the players have a "No Trade Clause" (NTC). Therefore in addition to the two parties having discussions on who/what to exchange, the player(s)/their agents also have to be part of the mix.
2) The ladder is why we have been privy to so many of the more recent trade discussions. Some GM's can be very tight lipped, or as in the case of former Flyer GM Bob Clarke, out-right lie to the media. However agents have no such issue in spreading rumors for the benefit of their clients. In addition to the said trade discussions we also will share some of the nonsense being thrown about. We will throw out what we estimate(from compiling all our various sources) what the chances are of a deadline deal for each. Keep in mind as with all trade discussions until a deal is approved its a very fluid environment. We will try to keep all our readers informed/updated as the February deadline approaches.
- Mats Sundin- The Maple Leaf forward largely because he plays in Toronto, is an UFA after this season, and he's having a good year will be the most talked about FA this season. He does have a NTC and would he agree to waive it? Yes, and no. We're told its more likely now than last year, as it appears the Toronto management mess will only worsen the next few months so Mats may want to get away from a sinking ship. However that 'mess' might also make a trade less likely as the new GM for the fired John Ferguson may have limited power/not want to trade a popular player. Some recent rumours have Mats headed to Philly IF Forsberg doesn't make a comeback. WE are hearing that Mats would prefer to stay in Canada, so don't be surprised to see him land in Vancouver IF he is dealt! Chances of a deadline trade: 50%
- Robert Blake- Like Sundin also has a NTC. Rob will have his pick of where he goes. Some have suggested he'd hold out for a sign and trade. This would make him even more unpalatable! Unlike Sundin(in our opinion) would NOT be a good acquisition. The 38 year old has looked his age at times this year for the Kings. His offensive numbers are respectable, but his +/- is not. The asking price from Lombardi is steep in our opinion; A 1st rounder AND top prospect/current roster player. A Blake rental would not push a team over the hump, but only mortgage the future for nothing! That said, several GM's WILL have interest. Would Rob want to go where the interest is high(East)? Chances of a deadline trade: 90%
- Michael Ryder- The Canadian forward is all but assured of going elsewhere before the deadline. The forward is on pace for his worst offensive season ever. Even when he was a perennial 30 goal scorer there was tension between he and GM Bob Gainey. Now that he is off his game AND a UFA after this season its a 100% chance Ryder will be playing elsewhere after the deadline. Might he be the next Ribeiro who had a career renaissance once he got away from the limelight of the ever watchful/critical Montreal media/fan base? Chances of a deadline trade: 100%
- Olli Jokinen- This is one where our sources could not come up with ANY evidence that he was being offered/mentioned in any recent trade discussion. One asst GM tells us that this "is a clear case of a media created story." This makes sense as the owner himself of the Panthers has been on record stating that Olli is NOT available. Until we hear a credible source tell us differently, we'll be astonished if we hear about such a deal. Chances of a deadline trade: 10%
- Ladislav Nagy- The 28 year old Kings forward somehow convinced Kings GM Dean Lombardi to sign him to a 3.75 mil deal this summer. He's never developed into as formidable an offensive threat as his salary would suggest. His numbers are in line with his past production. 15-20 goals and 40-50 pts. He'd be a decent depth/2nd line forward rental IF the asking priceis modest. He will get interest. GM's have short memories! Chances of a deadline trade: 60%
- Nikolai Khabibulin- The Hawk goalie was untradeable for a few years due to his enormous contract, but now with only a year remaining and the salary cap much higher than 2 years ago, he would be MUCH more palatable to teams looking to upgrade that position and the Hawks would be happy to deal the Russian. Its probably more possible it could happen at the draft in June. Chances of a deadline trade: 30%
- Marion Hossa- This will be a tough call for GM/Coach Waddell to make. As long as the Thrashers are in contention can they afford to deal away their second leading scorer? He's an UFA at season's end, and if an extension isn't negotiated(its in the tense stages now) the Thrash may have no choice but to accept one of the numerous offers for the star Slovak. He could fetch a nice return, but our sources in Atlanta tell us he's 70-30 likely to be resigned. Chances of a deadline trade: 30%
- Alex Tanguay- The Canadian media machine, has largely pushed this, if not created this rumor and many have subsequently picked up the mantra. The question; Is the saying: 'Where there is smoke there is fire' apt here? Well despite Sutter saying he isn't shopping the LW, make no mistake, he WILL be traded either at the deadline or in the off season. Why? The team needs to create some cap space to accommodate the impending extension of Dion Phaneuf. Several Eastern Conference teams have expressed interest. Among them the Rangers and Canadians. However, Tanguay also has a NTC and may not want to go to the circus that is Montreal for Francophone players. Chances of a deadline trade: 60%
- Peter Forsberg- Do GM's/the media not learn? Peter is damaged goods. At least this time no team will have to part with anything other than cash to attain his services, but from what we've heard, he's still not 100% and hasn't played at the NHL level in 9 months. It would be a risky venture that could upset team chemistry. The media reports say the Flyers are/would be interested. It would seem this would seem to NOT be a Flyer weakness. They could use some defensive help, NOT another forward! Its a long shot he'll play again, so we wouldn't hold our breathe! Chances he plays in the NHL: 10%
- J.P. Dumont- The Preditor's contract is up after this season. JP is on a 30 goal pace and would be a sought after commodity IF he were available. The team is hoping to resign him we're told, but if they don't seem close or if the asking price is too steep he would be available. Of course expect the Montreal rumors to start in earnest, but in actuality we'd expect JP to stay in the Western conference. Chances of a deadline trade: 40%
- Patrick Marleau- Another of the far-fetched media created/generated rumors. Not only is the Shark having his worst season of his career, but his extension for 6.3 for another 2 years AFTER this season kicks in that includes a NTC. Who in their right mind would deal for that? Probably not even Mike Milbury! LOL Chances of a deadline trade: 5%
- Wade Redden- An interesting situation. Since signing a big contract that pays him 6 mil/season his overall game has slipped to the point that the Senators may offer him slightly LESS than his current salary to retain him. Will Wade take less to stay where he has enjoyed success? We will know in a few weeks. The Sens would prefer to not lose him for nothing like Chara 2 years ago, but can't afford to pay him 'Chara money'. They may have to accept a package of picks and prospects if they shop him. Chances of a deadline trade: 30%
- Jaromir Jagr- Yes, you read that correctly the Ranger super star might be available IF he doesn't start to produce significantly(He has recently done so). Its unclear IF he is a UFA after this season. We've read conflicting stories of whether the Rangers already declined an option for next year OR what the automatic triggers for that extension might be. However you can be sure IF he is available several teams would love to add his offense for a playoff run. If dealt, it would most likely be to a Western conference team. Chances of a deadline trade: 20%
- Brad Stuart- The 28 year Kings old defensemen may very well join his team mate Blake on the trade bock in the upcoming weeks. His 3.5 mil salary made a move earlier difficult, but he will be an UFA after this season and a team in need of blue line depth(Philadelphia/Pittsburgh/NY(both), etc may have interest in the former 1999 3rd overall pick of the Sharks who's become somewhat of a journeymen recently( 5 teams in the last 4 years) Chances of a deadline trade: 70%