NHL Trade Deadline: Top-5 Teams' Needs & Haves
In this odd season, here we have a rare chance for April actions to bring May questions. One team in a league full of bubble teams has jumped way out in front of the trade deadline hoopla – the Pittsburgh Penguins. With how Ray Shero has conducted his business, some might equate it to the old gag where someone cuts a slice of pie and leaves the slice while taking the remainder of the pastry for him/herself. The pickings are relatively slim for the other playoff-bound clubs.
Pittsburgh exchanged one of their surplus defensive prospects for warrior depth, they exchanged some draft picks for a depth d-man and then the cherry on top was the outright theft of Jarome Iginla from Calgary. Given the Penguins current cap situation, roster make up and the “found money” that Shero garnered from the Jordan Staal trade, this season made the most sense for the Penguins to ante up and make a strong push for the Stanley Cup.
So what’s needed and what’s in play at this hour?
Need: Not much other than some quick healers. They lack quality call-ups from the AHL, especially in terms of bottom six forwards. They might want to add a big, left-handed center that can serve as a utility man in a pinch.
Have: Not a lot is needed for what they need. I doubt they’d invest more than a B prospect or a mid-round pick in 2014 for what they’re looking for. Smart center Dustin Jeffrey might be on the outs eventually, but it seems unnecessary to move NHL roster players before a playoff run. Robert Bortuzzo falls under the same umbrella, minus the “smart” and the “center” part.
Need: Toughness, grit and size at all positions. The team is small and skilled, but they play a lot of defense which can wear down small players over the course of a playoff series. They could use some meat. The name Jaromir Jagr has been attached to the Habs for some time thanks to the Tomas Plekanec connection, but the asking price matters. A winger like Ryane Clowe or a defenseman like Mark Fistric wouldn’t be bad.
Among younger players that might fit the bill, Columbus defenseman David Savard has had trouble becoming a regular and has been on Montreal’s radar for some time.
Have: Tomas Kaberle recently cleared waivers, which is why he still falls under “have”. The Canadiens probably won’t go “all in” this season given that not much was expected from them. They have three 2nd round picks and an extra 3rd rounder this season. They also have a couple of offensive d-men in Yannick Weber and Raphael Diaz that could be in play.
Need: The Jets could use some more skill in their lineup, especially on the right side. A go-to center is necessary also, but it’s a lot to ask for at the trade deadline.
Have: A couple of depth defensemen could be in play like Ron Hainsey or Mark Stuart. Alexander Burmistrov has been scratched a bit and seems to be under-utilized by coach Claude Noel. Prospect Carl Klingberg was expected to be a player at this point and the Jets might cash out on him if they can get good value.
Need: They would like insert some scoring and some “care” into their top six. GM Peter Chiarelli was in on Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla but didn’t acquire either of them. Ryane Clowe might be a consolation prize. They need a fire starter too, or something to get Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton focused.
Have: A good prospect cupboard. The oft-traded-but-never-moved Alexander Khokhlackhev is obviously available. Young, third line winger Jordan Caron is also in play. The Bruins have assets to play with and might get desperate and go for a big splash (Pominville) or just add a depth piece like Steve Sullivan or Tomas Kopecky.
Need: To stop getting hurt, first and foremost. They could use some skill/grit in the top-six, especially on the wing. Curtis Glencross would be high on the Sens radar if he were available.
Have: Ben Bishop, along with all the other Sens goalies, has put up gaudy numbers and is garnering some attention from around the league. The asking price has gone through the roof for him though. Prospects/youngsters like Stephane Da Costa, the upstart Patrick Wiercioch or even Stefan Noesen could be available. The Sens have an extra d-man they can move certainly, but we’ll see if they choose to, Sergei Gonchar included, but that would be counter-intuitive to a playoff run.
Need: Some depth down the middle. They just acquired Michal Handzus for the bottom line. They will have their hands in on Derek Roy, Valtteri Filppula and Mike Ribeiro too.
Have: Some tweener prospects like Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Jimmy Hayes, etc. that can be had. What they don’t have is a lot of 2013 draft picks, they used their extra 4th rounder on Handzus and already lost their 2nd and 3rd to Winnipeg for Johnny Oduya.
Need: Some depth down the middle, just like the need above them. The Ducks have been hard after a second line center for a while now and have been unable to secure one. There is some talk of a Sean Couturier and Matt Read for Bobby Ryan foundation, but it seems like a longshot. They could also use a defenseman with a little more versatility that can handle more minutes than some of the current Johnny Clockpunchers that they have.
Have: A lot of good forward prospects all over their lineup or on the cusp of being in it. It’s unlikely that a player like Kyle Palmieri or Emerson Etem is available though, but it would depend on the center I do believe. Jonas Hiller was in play last year, but I don’t believe that’s the case any longer. I’m not sure the Ducks will like the price of a second line center enough to pull the trigger at the deadline.
Need: Better defensemen. Suter and Brodin are outstanding, Jared Spurgeon is a good offensive player, but most of the rest of them might send even the biggest hockey fans to Google a name or two. They’re looking to add some forward depth as well, they are in on Ryane Clowe.
Have: A restocked prospect cupboard that features a lot of diversity. Two good goalies, a young defensive player in Marco Scandella and some quality forward pieces. Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard might attract some interest as well.
Need: Like a couple of other West contenders, a center. Ryan Kesler will be back before the regular season ends (maybe in a week or two) so that will help but the Canucks wouldn’t mind more help than that certainly.
Have: No one is talking about this ever, but the Canucks have a bit of a goaltending controversy I’ve heard…unconfirmed, but I believe Roberto Luongo is available. Plus, puck-moving defenseman Keith Ballard and his hefty price tag are available. The Canucks would listen if someone offered up something nice for either of their speedsters: Mason Raymond or Jannik Hansen
Los Angeles Kings
Need: The Kings have a very good roster overall and would just like to add some depth on top of it. Whether it be of the skilled variety (Ales Hemsky) or of the physical, defensive variety (Robyn Regehr). The injuries to Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene have been a major strain on the healthy six, that’s for sure.
Have: As a result of the injuries, a couple of d-men are proving their worth at the NHL level. Of course, backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier is always a hot topic.
Stay tuned to Faceoff Factor for more trade deadline coverage!