Trade Deadline Top to Bottom: Western Conference
Part deux of everything you need to know about the trade deadline is mere lines away. With further ado, here’s what you need to know about the Western Conference.
For Chicago, it’s been an impressive year. They will be buyers tomorrow if they can find a deal. Al Strachan threw out that Brian Campbell is not being shopped but could be had if the right offer was made – I’m also throwing that out…as garbage. Sure he’s overrated and overpaid, but that’s non-starter as far as I’m concerned. Jack Skille and/or Cam Barker might be movers to get a center back. Chicago strikes me as a team that will go for a homerun on a wild card like Connolly, but they might not make any big shakeups at this deadline.
Columbus is a team firmly planted in the hot stove. With Steve Mason taking over, the Jackets are expected to heavily shop Pascal LeClaire (he expects to be moved). The Jackets need a center and they have been talking about Tim Connolly as well. With Aaron Rome recalled, Scott Howson is likely done dealing with drizzlepuss Christian Backman. Frankly, I’m surprised Backman wasn’t waived in the flurry of activity today. All the usual suspects are attached to Columbus, including Antoine Vermette and Jordan Staal. The bell (may) tolls for Rostislav Klesla – the first pick in Blue Jackets history.
The Detroit Red Wings will remain quiet at this deadline. Maybe a goalie is in the works after getting slaughtered 8-0 by Nashville recently. Derek Meech and Ville Leino are guys that Detroit could move to fill in spots. The Wings might pluck a gritty forward up as well, which is par for the course.
The Predators are looking for forward help, they have Greg Zanon as the most available bait, Greg DeVries is deadline fodder as usual too. In other Predator defenseman news, Ville Koistinen, a frequent scratch, has requested to be moved and we’ll see if he is accommodated. Alexei Ponikarovsky is a guy that the Preds have been rumored to be pursuing.
St. Louis, like most Western teams, is not out of the race and apparently are not sellers. John Davidson said that if he has a deal to move some young players for a player that will help us now, he’ll consider it. Apparently, Keith Tkachuk has been yanked from the market. A recent rumor puts Chris Pronger back in his old stomping grounds but that’s highly doubtful. The Blues might be on one end of the spectrum or another – huge splash or quiet day at the office. I can’t confidently predict which though, so I won’t.
Calgary has some holes to fill, a decent top six forward, some more grit never hurts, a top-four defenseman and a backup goalie are all prevalent needs. Jay Bouwmeester could find a home in Calgary – the pun is that he actually is building a house in Calgary. Flames fans will likely be hot if Lawrence Nycholat (claimed off waivers) was the answer to the defensive need. Scott Clemmensen might have upped his value enough to get Calgary interested.
The Colorado Avalanche are almost certainly moving a defenseman at the deadline. Brett Clark and Jordan Leopold are the two names most likely to be moved. Marek Svatos is always heavily rumored for a team that needs a goal-scoring winger. Ian Laperriere is attracting a lot of interest also. The Avalanche need organizational depth at goaltender from NHL and lower. There’s a lot of talk of Milan Hejduk being moved, but I think that remains unlikely. Similarly, there’s a lot of talk involving Ryan Smyth and his bloated contract, the last part of that statement makes it a non-issue in all likelihood. The Avs could be big sellers and might try to change the face of the franchise a little bit, but a prediction like that is always a longshot by nature.
Edmonton doesn’t have as many rumors floating around them like they normally do. Erik Cole appears to be as good as gone, he’s been a major disappointment this season. The Oilers will continue to try to peddle off Dustin Penner on an unsuspecting victim, but that’s not happening. Edmonton and Philadelphia are talking again, there appears to be some good relations there, maybe something brewing in terms of goaltending? Pure speculation on my part though. YouTube all-star Robbie Schremp could be part of a package that’s sitting in the “out” pile. Perhaps Tampa would have interest in a deal for Mark Recchi.
The Minnesota Wild locked up their starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, to a four-year, $24 million deal. $6 million seems high for Backstrom, but at least he’s locked up. Perhaps Josh Harding, a very talented young goalie, is available now? Marian Gaborik might find a new home sooner rather than later. The Wild could use a forward, you know, one that plays more than 23 games per year.
The Vancouver Canucks long-standing defenseman Mattias Ohlund might be on the outs, but the Canucks are in the market to get Jay Bouwmeester to replace him. Mason Raymond has been scratched at times recently and he could be moved as part of a package. The Canucks are always in the market for someone to play with the Sedin’s. It could be an Antropov situation here to add some size, but who knows what Vancouver is up to. The Canucks will likely try to sign Alex Burrows as opposed to dealing him, he’s been excellent for them this year.
The Anaheim Ducks main component is Chris Pronger. There’s a lot of interest in Pronger. Patrice Bergeron and/or a top prospect and/or a first round pick would be heading to Anaheim. Boston appears to be in the lead in that regard. The Ducks made one big deal, acquiring Ryan Whitney from the Pens for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi, then they waived Brendan Morrison. Defensive center Samuel Pahlsson could be dealt as he is a UFA and would be very valuable for a playoff run. The Ducks need a top six forward or two and might consider blowing it up so to speak and starting over.
The Stars number one priority is replacing Sergei Zubov, who might be done altogether. Secondly, they could use a third line center and third, a backup goalie they can trust. If they give up on the playoffs, the third thing can be scratched though. The Stars were able to get Sean Avery half way off the books when he was claimed off re-entry waivers today. The Stars might also try to blow it up and deal off long-time Star Jere Lehtinen for instance. However, this should be a quiet Wednesday afternoon for Dallas.
Los Angeles might not be sellers like many would have predicted going into the year. Alexander Frolov’s name has been tossed around, but I doubt he’s moved. Marian Gaborik is a name that is tied to the Kings quite often though. Sean O’Donnell will apparently not be traded, the Kings will try to re-sign him instead. The Kings are looking for a sniper and maybe Ales Kotalik brings that to the table for them for a bargain, maybe Marek Svatos. One of the depth forwards could get chucked at the deadline, but I don’t see the Kings doing too much in either direction. They do have a number of draft picks in 2009 (14, the most in the NHL) and could use that “depth” to sweeten a deal perhaps.
The Phoenix Coyotes are in a world of hurt financially and will probably try to shed some salary. Derek Morris is an absolute goner, he’s sitting out until he gets dealt. Olli Jokinen has had a disappointing year and could be moved already as well. Shane Doan is always attracting a lot of interest at the deadline, we’ll this be the year that he’s moved? Steven Reinprecht is a fairly valuable player that could be dumped. The Coyotes just want young, cheap players back at this point. I was kind of surprised that David Hale wasn’t waived today, he’s not good.
The San Jose Sharks should be big buyers at the deadline, especially now that they found out Mike Grier and Jeremy Roenick will be sidelined for four to six weeks. The Sharks are rumored to be interested in ruffian Chris Neil and a similar player that is more prone to scoring – Ryan Smyth. There’s also talk that San Jose could splurge on Chris Pronger, but that would be costly (like Ehrhoff +++). With recent injuries, the Sharks might pursue some depth at forward but I’m not sure they’ll be in for a big shake up. Doug Wilson says that Jonathan Cheechoo is not in play.
Enjoy the trade deadline everyone and stay tuned to Faceoff Factor for the latest!