Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pretenders or Contenders?

1) Well, its coming into the home stretch when teams will have to decide if they are going to be "buyers" or "sellers" as the 2/27/12 Trade deadline approaches. Traditionally teams that feel they are not legitimate playoff contenders are the sellers, trying to get something to attempt to re-tool for next season and beyond. Meanwhile teams "in it" and gearing up for a playoff push/run into the post season are the "buyers" to bolster their rosters for the grueling 2-3 months ahead. Some teams may self delude themselves OR have to be careful not to alienate their fan base and appear they are throwing in the towel in February. We believe that would be a calculated mistake. (See Florida and Bouwmeester 2 years ago).

2) History is a great teacher of realistic expectations. Therefore any team without a chance to attain 92+ points should cut bait and sell what assets they can/should. For instance Tampa Bay. They are 8 points from 1st place Florida. With several face to face matchups left its conceivable they could overtake them, BUT in reality its a 100:1 shot. The loser point as well as having to climb over Fla AND DC make a playoff appearance for the Bolts unrealistic. They should be sellers. So we will now attempt to make our list of teams that should clearly be sellers, buyers and the couple who actually have a realistic shot: With each listed team we will write whom they should look to deal, etc.

3) First the teams we fell are NOT going to make the post season under any circumstance:

  • Carolina: Tuoma Rutuu, Jaroslav Spacek. Not gonna get much more than a 4th rounder at most for Spacek, but Rutuu is another story. Rutherford could parlay that into a 2nd rounder and or a prospect.

  • Montreal: Chris Campoli and Hal Gil if healthy could get back something decent. Travis Moen will also be in demand with his size and playoff experience. Hey Gauthier, dangle Gomez for free! ;)

  • Buffalo: Paul Gaustad will be the player most asked about. Also Brad Boyes, Jochen Hecht, might also be dealt

  • NY Islanders: Evgeny Nabokov is the player everyone will be expecting to be dealt. He's having a good season so Snow should be able to get back a decent pick. Additionally PA Parenteau as an impending UFA having a point/game season could get the Isles a decent return if they feel they won't be able to resign him. Frans Neilson would also get a teams interest as a good penalty killer/defensive forward. Additionally Steve Staos and Mark Eaton would get back a modest return for a team looking for defensive depth

  • Tampa Bay: Have a bevy of depth/character players available, including Dominic Moore, Ryan Shannon, Adam Hall. Pavel Kubina might also interest a team looking to add a defenseman. Maybe Stevie Y could convince a fellow GM to take on Vinny L's contract? Hey Gomez for Lecalvier? Probably not ;)

  • Columbus: They should be very busy. In addition to maintaining our Nash trade scenario, we look toward Howson dealing Huselius, Pahlsson and Prospal for mid round picks/lower prospects. He might even get back something decent for Radek Martinek if he can stay healthy. Goalie Steve Mason is also on the block Fedor Tyuton could also be leaving Ohio?

  • Edmonton: While all eyes are on Sam Gagne, and his recent offensive surge will elevate his value, we also expect teams to ask about Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky. The former though has a NTC and its unknown if he wants to move once again? Certainly Andy Sutton will get back a nice return

  • Anaheim: While the rumors will persist we doubt the Ducks will blow up the ir roster and instead deal impending UFA s like Jason Blake, and Niclas Hagman. While Finn vets Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu have NTC's it will be interesting to see if they waive them to try to win a Cup?

4) Next the teams that should look towards 2012-13 even though they have a mathematical shot at the playoffs:

  • Winnipeg: Not a huge number of tradable assets to unload. Johnny Oduya, Kyle Wellwood and Jim Slater might get interest they won't bring back anything more than a mid round pick. Nic Antropov could get a tad more from a team looking to add a top 4 forward.

  • Colorado: No shortage of possible UFA's to deal with Jones, McClement, Winnick, Hunwick available but unlikely to fetch all that much. Shane O'Brian on the other hand could garner enough interest to get back a decent return to warrant dealing the defenseman. If someone came sniffing for Giguere or Paul Stastny Greg Sherman would be wise to listen

  • Calgary: Jay Feaster should totally retool his roster and not think they have a chance. As such ALL players over 28 should be available. Including Jokinen (no trade clause), Stepniak, Sarich, Hannon, However players like Jarome Iginla, and Mike Cammellari should be approached to drop their NTC. You would think they would want a shot at a Cup? It aint gonna happen in Cow Town any time soon!

5) That's 11 teams who we feel should be clear cut sellers. Only leaves 3 teams that are truly "bubble teams":

  • Phoenix: The teams future in the desert still in doubt, as is their playoff hopes. They could still pull it out, but realistically would/could they do much once there? Maloney should attempt to deal but all his tradeable commodities have NTC's. Doan, Rozival, Whitney, Langkow, and Aucoin all have no movement clauses.

  • Dallas: Micheal, Ryder, and Sheldon Souray would get back the best return but being so close to the 8th seed and in need of playoff revenue its unlikely the Stars will be big sellers

  • Washington: Jeff Schultz and Alex Semin most available Caps, but with their recent injury woes will they part with them? Mike Knuble could also be had, but wouldn't fetch much.

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