Well, the countdown after the second Waiver Draft will be for the February 26th trade deadline in the NHL. The trade deadline ranks up there for excitement with Draft Day in June and the Free Agent Frenzy on July 1st. Players move... picks are swapped... teams get better... others throw in the towel. So much fun!
So, just for fun, I've been reading around the websites and I thought I would drop a few good rumours that I've picked up over the last few weeks and the Sherpa will decipher whether or not it'll actually happen.
Obviously, the most sought after rumour is that of Mats Sundin (John P.). Sundin is rumoured to go anywhere and everywhere before the deadline including Philadelphia and Vancouver. Philadelphia has been rumoured to be offering a guy like Jeff Carter (Box 19), while the Canucks have offered up a prospect like Luc Bourdon (Box 11) and some picks. In all honesty, I believe the reports that Sundin desires to stay in Toronto, but if GM Cliff Fletcher comes to him and says he's got all sorts of good coming back for his services, which way will Sundin want to help the team? The price will undoubtedly be high from Leafland, but even if you throw a team like Detroit into the mix, a deal could very well go down.
The Sherpa's odds on favourite for Sundin... he stays with the Leafs.
One of the better bets to move before the deadline will be Rob Blake (Box 10). Blake has reportedly agreed to move to another team in a similar type situation that will have him back in Kings' colours after July 1st. Blake wants to remain a King, but sees the upside of the rental loophole that the league currently has and agrees that the team could be much better next season, if they throw in the towel this season. The number one suitor again for services is Detroit, but I would imagine that Blake is their number one priority. The Ducks already have (arguably) the best defense corps in the league, but the addition of Blake could rival the Ducks down the stretch. Let's not count out other teams though. Beyond the Motor City, I would wager that there are a few teams that will be out for his services or jack up the asking price that the Wings will have to pay to gain his services.
The Sherpa's odds on favourite for Blake... the Red Wings for the farm, left testicle and right arm in futures.
Since the All-Star Game was in Atlanta, a hot topic of discussion was the future of Marian Hossa (Dale C.) with the Thrashers in years to come. It is understood that contract talked have stalled with the winger and a trade opportunity has been batted around the grounds a little bit in the last couple weeks. Offense depleted teams like the Canucks and Bruins have been the most interested teams knocking on the Thrashers door, but with that much talent on the table, other sides like Colorado, Ottawa and Detroit are reportedly interested. Hossa should not be considered a rental player, however. Any team that manages to snake his services into their line-up will likely look to sign him long-term. That's a $6 million price tag, per season, for the services of the older Hossa... theoretically. This may open the door a little wider for a team like the Bruins, who could manage a top-heavy deal for a top-quality sniper... and let's not forget, he's played with Marc Savard (John P.).
The Sherpa's odds on favourite for Hossa... going off the board and saying Colorado. Better prospects cinch it with cap room to spare.
A player well noted here for his being shopped around of late is Rangers defenseman Marek Malik (Box 22). Malik has been a healthy scratch way too often of late for the Blueshirts and has had episodes of not having his gear in his locker before practice. The buzz is that there is interest in Malik from other teams, but GM Glen Sather is asking way too much for a guy who is a healthy scratch all the time. Malik will likely move and if a team loses out on the Blake sweepstakes, they may turn their attention to the hulking Malik, who will be a free agent at the end of the year and provide a $1 million cap hit towards the end of the season.
The Sherpa's odds on favourite for Malik... going back to the Northwest Division in Denver. The Avs will lose the Blake sweepstakes and need more depth on the back-end.
He may not be a name that is thrown around too often, but Sergei Fedorov (Box 7) does have all the components of a trade deadline day deal attached to him. He's an aging veteran in the last year of a deal that will see him unrestricted in the summer on a team that is struggling for a playoff spot. This being said, the number of teams looking to fill the top six forward role is quite huge and the price tag could be quite reasonable to unload his high-priced salary onto a contending team. The notion I will entertain the most would be a move to Pittsburgh where the Russian quotient is quite high and they are missing their number one asset in Sidney Crosby (Benson). The Penguins have a few young assets to move and they could find themselves in great shape with a guy like Fedorov. There isn't a source for this kind of rumour, I am just throwing this one out there.
The Sherpa's odds on favourite for Fedorov... he moves and hopes that Ray Shero sees a good point here.
If you asked me a couple weeks ago, Alex Tanguay (John B.) was already out the door in Calgary and off to Montreal for Alexei Kovalev (Clayton). Granted, Tanguay's play has gotten a bit better in the past few weeks, he has 10 points in his last 16 games, but he may not be clicking as first-line material. Unfortunately for the Flames, they are in a playoff race with the intention to pick up more scoring for down the stretch. In all likelihood, if the Flames were to deal Tanguay, they'd want someone of equal value coming back, that has a more condusive style of play than Tanguay's free skating and passing style. Obviously, the Habs are the leading candidate (as style points dictate) and they do have players that could come back in a deal.
The Sherpa's deal that sends Tanguay out would look like this... Tanguay and Rhett Warrener (non-pool) to Montreal for Guilliaume Latendresse (non-pool) and Mark Streit (Dale B.).
Rumour has it that forward Erik Cole (Ryan) is being shopped around for some depth players to help Carolina in their special teams. Carolina currently leads the Southeast Division heading into the post-All-Star Break portion of the season, but also has one of the worst penalty kills in the NHL (30th at 77.1%). The coaching staff must be screaming for some help for their penalty kill and since Cole is worth about $4 million, they may be able to unload some cap money to do it. Cole seems to the Sherpa to be more of a guy who will appeal to a bubble team with plenty of grinding players and plenty of cap space. Since there wasn't much for actual teams or names being batted around, he'll make his own.
The Sherpa's deal for Cole would look a little bit like this... Cole would head to Nashville for the return of Martin Gelinas (non-pool) and two picks.
In what could be the biggest deal before the deadline, Olli Jokinen (Dieter) could be moved out of Florida for no less than a Kings ransom. Jokinen has the same career qualities of Fedorov above, but the only difference is that Jokinen has more years and more of a scoring upside than Fedorov, which makes him the Peter Forsberg (Wes) of 2008. Forsberg went to Nashville for the proverbial farm in picks and prospects and if Jokinen is to leave Miami, it would be something relatively similar. Jokinen suggests that he doesn't want to move, but when the Panthers are falling out of the playoff race faster than they can bail out water, why not use parity to their advantage and get what they can out of their marquee man?
The Sherpa's odds on favourite for Jokinen... the Dallas Stars. His brother is there... cap room... and a couple prospects with blue chip written all over them.
NHL, Hockey, Hockey Pool, Trades