Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trade Bait?

1) With the deadline less than a week away we felt it time to put our cards on the table and discuss what we have been hearing with regard to potential deadline deals. As we mentioned last week, we don't see a huge mega deal involving multiple big names, but instead will see the usual flurry of adding impending UFA's from non-playoff clubs and shifting of draft picks.

2) As of now discussions are on going. Until a deal is official no GM is bound to pull the trigger no matter how far along negotiations have progressed. Many we are told will wait till the last possible moment to extract as much as possible for their players, hoping to get into a bidding war. It is possible that might happen with some of the better available assets being that there might only be 6-7 legitimate 'sellers by next week. With that in mind we will go through each potentially available player and the teams with the most interest. In no particular order. We'll also rate the chances each player will be on the move

  • Marian Gaborik- The 27 year old (that's all?) Slovakian sniper is a UFA after this season. As we have chronicled before he/his agent were greedy and lost out on millions with not signing earlier with Minny. As he's on injured reserve its unlikely the Wild will get much interest. Chance of a deal: 20%

  • Jay Bouwmeester- As we exclusively reported earlier this month we hear that j-bow-staying-put Sure the Panthers are listening, and if given a 'blow away' package of forwards and picks they'd consider a move, but do NOT expect a simple draft pick for a player type trade here. As we were told, "its 80-20 against a deal right now". The team most likely to get him would be the Blue Jackets. Chance of a deal: 35%

  • Ilya Kovalchuk- Although still only 25, he can become a UFA after next season so he could be had for the right price, but it would be steep. We're told that its more likely that Ilya would be a draft day deal than a deadline deal as the Thrashers are trying to get him extended. It remains to be seen if Kovalchuk wants to stay in Atlanta (assuming they even have a franchise there next season). The Habs have interest. Chance of a deal: 20%

  • Nik Antropov- The big hulking Kazakhstan native is all but assured of being dealt. He is one of the Russian enigma players; Lots of talent, but inconsistent in its application. Still a team needing size/2nd line scoring might benefit. The Canucks have shown interest. Chance of a deal: 80%

  • Keith Tkachuk- What else can we say that we haven't about Keith? If we were a GM we'd pass on him, but you can bet that Tkachuk will again garner plenty of interest. (Buyers-beware!)-ask Don Waddell how much Keith adds to your playoff runs! That said, we're told that although Keith covets going to the Bruins that coveting isn't mutual. He may have to go to his second choice, NY. Keith does have a NTC so he will decide to stay of go. Chance of a deal: 90%

  • Brian Gionta- Having an underwhelming season (for his salary-4 million) and is a UFA after this season so if Lou can improve his club the Rochester NY native could be on the move. LA has called recently, Chance of a deal: 40%

  • Erik Cole- The Oswego, NY native has been part of numerous trade rumours this season. The 29 year old will be a UFA after this year and makes 4 million, and is hardly earning it in Edmonton. That said, we hear several teams have shown interest, with the Bruins, Penguins and Devils on the top of the list. Chance of a Deal: 60%

  • Brendan Witt- The gritty Islander defensive defensemen signed a 2 year 6 million dollar extension earlier this season, but his falling out with new coach Gordon and the team's rebuilding has suddenly made Brendan a hot commodity. Even his contract hasn't dissuaded GM's from inquiring. Several teams, including Witt's drafting team, the Capitals have shown interest. Chance of a deal: 70%

  • Bill Guerin- The NY Islanders captain has a no trade clause and we're told he would allow a deal to a limited number of teams that include his former team in NJ and Boston. He would refuse any deal to the west coast. It also would be interesting if GM Garth Snow would deal with his cross town counterpart Glen Sather as the Ranger's boss wouldn't mind adding Guerin. Chance of a deal 50%

  • John Madden- Even more so that fellow Devil Gionta, Madden's offense has evaporated, making his salary of 3 million seem steep. Like Gionta, Lamarello would deal the smallish center if it helped his current team (not for just a pick). The Flames have shown mild interest Chance of a Deal: 30%

  • Jere Lehtinen: About a month ago it appeared that the 35 year old Finn was destined to be dealt. With the recent surge back into the top 8 its now very unlikely he will be moved even though he will be a UFA after this season. Chance of a Deal: 10%

  • Martin Havlat- The oft injured Czech is having a nice season in the Windy city, but at 6 mil/year its not quite what you'd want. Still, the hawks we're told would like to retain the 27 year old wing, but he'll have to not expect a raise. If offered he'd get quite a bit of interest, but we're told he's not being shopped. Montreal has made overtures. Chances of a deal 25%

  • Olie Jokkinen- Is he the problem? The Panthers unloaded the talented Finn when he failed to lead them into a post season berth. Now the Yotes have apparently blown their chance at the post season making Oliie available. His 5.25 mil cap for next season will make him a tougher sell, but "he is being shopped", we're told. Columbus, Calgary and nashville have inquired. Chance of a Deal: 50%

  • Brandon Dubinsky: The 22 year old center for the BlueShirts showed all kinds of promise last spring playing with Jagr, but has had a very disappointing season in NY this year. He has fallen out of favour with management and he is one of the more attractive assets Sather could deal to improve his team down the stretch. The Oilers have shown interest. Chances of a deal: 40%

  • Alex Kovalev- With his recent benching for 2 games the rumours have been fast and furious concerning the 36 year old. Still possesses lots of skill that any offensively starved team would like to add down the stretch. Its possible for less than market value(2nd rounder). There will be several interested teams. Most notably the Rangers where Alex won a Cup in 94'. Also the pens and Jackets have expressed interest. Chance of a deal: 90%

  • Derek Morris- With the 'Yotes implosion suddenly their UFA's including Morris are up for grabs. The 29 year old is hardly setting the league on fire, but the 'Yotes could probably get a 3rd round pick for the soon to be UFA defensemen. The Flyers and Rangers have expressed interest. Chance of a deal: 80%

  • Greg deVries- The 36 year old is starting to show his age, but a team wanting to add defensive depth at the deadline may add the 36 year old vet, but the preds shouldn't expect much more than a mid round pick for him. Chance of a deal: 30%

  • Petr Prucha. The oft mentioned/maligned Czech forward has been part of numerous trade scenarios for the rangers the past 2 seasons. Has been in Renney's dog house almost all season. still, could provide some needed PP depth for a contender. Sather at most cold expect to get a 3rd round pick for him. The Av's have expressed interest in the soon to be RFA. Chance of a Deal: 60%

  • Alexandre Radulov- Remember him? The star Predator forward who defected back to play in the KHL despite having a valid NHL contract. Well the Preds are receiving offers for his rights. Now, if he's dealt we're told its much more likely to take place in June, but his rights could be part of an overall bigger deal. Several teams in the east have show interest. Among them the Maple Leafs and senators. Chance of a deal: 20%

  • Nikolai Khabibulin- Currently nursing a minor injury, but some speculate that he may be traded by the Hawks to an Eastern Team so as to not lose him for nothing and add to their roster for a serious playoff run. He has had the numbers to garner considerable interest. The Flyers have been trying to work out their cap issues to acquire the Russian goalie. A dark horse could be the Washington capitals who privately have been concerned with the ability of Theodore to carry the playoff load. Chance of a deal: 60%

  • Kari Lehtonen- The Thrashers have some big decisions to make other than Kovolchuk. Do they try to resign their impending RFA goalie, or try to deal him. Most folks we talk to say that Wadell is not shopping Kari, but would deal him if he was blown away.(God knows what that idiot Wadell considers a good deal) He has yet to prove anything, but a GM with goalie needs(Flyers) might decide to trade some assets to acquire the 24 year old Finn. Chance of a deal: 20%

  • Mark Recchi- Seems to be a perennial playoff rental. The 41 year old Lightning forward is having a decent season if you look past the -18. As always, he would be a nice addition as a PP specialist/2nd line forward. The 'wrecking ball' is possibly going back to his original team in Pittsburgh. The Bruins remain the dark horse. Chance of a deal: 80%

  • Chris Pronger- The big tough former Norris/hart trophy winner is 'very available' we're told. The problem is his contract which will pay another 6.25 NEXT season, making him a very tough move. As with many marquis players still under contract this kind of deal is more likely to take place in June. Still, several teams have expressed interest including the Rangers and Flyers. In either case considerable salary would have to go the other way. Chance of a deal: 10%

  • Max Afinogenov- The poster child of the word enigma(since Oleg Kvasha left the NHL) Max's career has gone steadily down hill never quite living up to expectations. His groin injury issues will probably prevent any possible deal and Max's days in the NHL are numbered. Chance of a deal: 10%

  • Brendan Morrison- The 33 year old is having a very disappointing season in Anaheim. The Ducks were counting on Brendan to contribute more offensively and hasn't come through. certainly not earning his 2.75 price tag. The Ducks would gladly unload him for anything at the deadline. Even to a rival West team. We are hearing that the Oilers or Stars are interested. Chance of a deal: 80%

  • Doug Weight- Unfortunately for the NY Islanders one of their most tradeable assets suffered a hip injury earlier this month making a trade doubtful, but not impossible. Certainly if a team wanted to add Doug the return would be minimal to NY. Chance of a Deal: 20%

  • Colby Armstrong- The Thrasher forward is having a solid season playing in Atlanta. Part of the Hossa deal to Pittsburgh last season the Pens could use him back and Shero has inquired what it might take to have him reunited back in The Steel City. Chance of a Deal: 50%

  • Steve Eminger- The Woodbridge, Ont native is having a solid season in Tampa after an early star with the Flyers. He is set to be a RFA after the season and if the Bolts get a decent offer Steve might be off to his 4th team in a year. Kind of perplexing considering he has never been a locker room problem(that we have heard) and plays well for a young defensemen. The Flames have shown interest. Chance of a Deal: 40%

  • Chris Neil- The Senator is an agitator extraordinaire, and as a UFA on the Sens, the team has been accepting offers. We have heard that the Sens are askig way too much and might have to accpt less than the 2nd round pick they are requiring. The Flames, Caps and San Jose have expressed interest. Chance of a deal: 90%

3) So that's our list as of the current time. It appears that teams are going to wait until the weekend at the earliest to pull the trigger on a deal. HERE is when Eklund;s silly domino comparison might be apt. once one team pulls a deal a rival GM is going to feel compelled to react. Things are sure to get interesting folks. As always, keep it here for all the latest

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