Well, we're down to two weeks before the Trade Deadline and we've already seen a deal hit this week, which may see a couple response deals done before the end of the week. Teams will now line-up to see if they can get the jump on players before their rivals can and make a better push for the playoffs or a good Cup run earlier than expected.
The expensive Jaromir Jagr (Wes) has seen his name circling around the trading block for the majority of the season. Of course, you would have to think that most teams are quite hesitant on taking on a moody player that costs a bloody fortune. It seems even less likely that he'll hit his performance targets for his contract option to take place, so it is pretty safe to assume that he will become an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1st.
This season, Jagr has 47 points (15G, 32A) in 59 games with the Rangers, a fair bit below his point-per-game standard he has set for himself. In pool scoring, he currently ranks 62nd, behind players like Daymond Langkow (Dale B.), Jason Pominville (Dieter) and an injured Shawn Horcoff (Box 2). This isn't good news and it's something a lot of teams would consider, especially if he would want to sign a contract with a team.
It is believed that Jagr's cap hit this season is only $4.94 million, despite his giant deal he received in Washington, so it isn't like he'll put a heavy burden on a team that would pick him up for the rest of the season. The only real burden would be in the dressing room with a superstar ego floating around.
If the Sherpa was to offer a suggestion, it would be that since Boston has been shopping around for some flashy talent, they may want to have a good look at picking up Jagr. They currently sit 8th in the East and they could make a legitimate push for a playoff spot come the Spring. They have a guy in Marc Savard (John P.), who would likely have very little issue upping his assist totals by passing it to a scorer like Jagr. The Bruins don't have a "superstar" in their dressing room at the moment, so the fragile Czech wouldn't have a complex that he currently feels while playing with Scott Gomez (Peter) and Chris Drury (Clayton). It could very well be the perfect fit... especially, since they have cap space.
A deal now would look good on the Bruins, but if they go with the status quo, I would imagine that they would make a pretty solid push for the winger come July 1st.
There has been some speculation on Long Island that their summer acquisition, Mike Comrie (John B.), may be on the block, since the team is falling out of the playoff race quickly. Comrie was a good deadline deal acquisition last season for the Senators and he could very well be a good one for another contender this season.
In the summer, Comrie had only signed on with the Islanders for one season at $3.8 million, which would be a sizable ding against the cap, even with only 20+ games remaining on the schedule. He would also be considered a rental player, as he's known to test the market or be a guy that would be considered a short-term solution to a season.
Comrie has 41 points (16G, 25A) in 56 games for the Islanders this season (94th in pool scoring), which would be a pretty nice contribution to a contending team. He'll more likely be a considered player once the dust settles on guys like Peter Forsberg (Wes) and Mats Sundin (John P.).
A very interesting name being sized up in the trading market is Tampa Bay's Vaclav Prospal (Jeff). The last place Lightning could very well be sellers in the market in the coming weeks, as they may want to consider re-structuring their team's make-up for the Free Agency Season of the Summer. Prospal, 33, has had a pretty productive season (51 points in 56 games) at a salary of $1.9 million. A guy like Prospal will become an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the year and his marketability has risen from under $2 million to roughly $4 million per season for possibly 2 or 3 more years. That may not be in the Lightning's price range, since they still have to re-sign Dan Boyle (Dale C.) to a long-term deal and then find a quality number one goaltender in the summer as well.
Even at 33, Prospal could quite possibly command a good combination of prospects and picks, which would be hard to pass up in a good couple draft years. I could see a pretty good bidding war happen for the services of Prospal for the stretch run, he should be a name to watch before the 26th.