Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Islanders Finally Make A Move

and I'm actually quite surprised at it. The Islanders have traded defenseman Janne Niinimaa and a 5th round pick in 2007 to the Dallas Stars in exchange for for defenceman John Erskine and a second round draft pick in 2006. I know Niinimaa isn't worth what he once was, but I really thought the Isles could have gotten more in return. This is a great move for Dallas, who should become an even bigger threat in the West now that they have solidified their defense. This move should not affect the Isles, but it does clear cap room for them to make an improvement, most likely up front, and likely at the center position.

The most disgusting move of the day goes to Tampa Bay, who has places veteran Dave Andreychuk on waivers, which should mark the end of his NHL career. I know he could be useful for a handful of NHL teams, but I don't expect him to get claimed. I think he would be great for a younger team, maybe an Atlanta or Carolina, as he is a great leader, and still has something left to contribute. Speaking of players who still have something left, don't be shocked to see Steve Thomas sign somewhere in the next little bit, maybe back in Detroit.

The Mighty Ducks apparently have interest in Kyle Calder. Calder, a UFA at the end of this season, is having a rough season in Chicago, only scoring 24 points in 38 games, while going a minus 11.

The Blackhawks are really trying to dump their biggest of many offseason mistakes, Adrian Aucoin. His massive salary has scared every team away, and Chicago will find it will be very tough to find a taker for him. One team that apparently would be interested if Aucoin came cheap enough would be the Buffalo Sabres, who are looking to make a serious charge at tops in the East.

Salary dumps will begin soon, and there are a few teams to really keep an eye on. With a fairly good UFA class coming up this summer, teams will be looking to dump some salary so they have room to work with on July 1st. Teams that won't make the playoffs, will look to unload their big contracts to teams with Stanley Cup dreams. The biggest team to watch is Pittsburgh, as they have a lot of big contracts they will be looking to unload. Recchi is rumoured to be heading to Philly, while many have suggested that Leclair could return to Montreal. Gonchar back to Washington is not out of the question, while Ryan Malone is being heavily shopped.

Boston, who could still make the playoffs with a good run, is another team to watch should they fall out of contention. Samsonov is a guarenteed move, as he is a UFA at season's end, and has no intention on re-signing with the Bruins. Glen Murray may seek a trade to a contender should things fall apart in Boston, while many feel Raycroft will also be dealt by the trade deadline.

New Jersey continues to try and shop Mogilny without luck, however, as the season goes on, Mogilny's salary for this season continues to shrink. Whoever gets him would still be on the hook for 3.5 million next season, which is a lot for a veteran winger with a hip problem. New Jersey has a lot of UFA's once this season is over, which means if they're a playoff team, they may make a few moves so they don't loose players like Colin White and Elias for nothing. That being said, I don't see Elias being traded, or leaving New Jersey at season's end, but anything's possible in the new NHL.

Florida is not likely to make any deals, unless they get a very good offer for Luongo, one that would blow them away. Colorado is probably the only team with the talent available to make such an offer.

In the West, Phoenix is falling fast away from a playoff spot. Brian Boucher and Curtis Joseph may be had for the right price, and with the large need for goalies in the NHL, Phoenix may get something good for either, even if they're both UFA's at the end of this season. There were rumours earlier in the year that Nagy was available, while I wouldn't put Doan as untouchable either. Morris and Mara, both free agents at the end of the year, will both see a lot of attention near the trade deadline if Phoenix doens't look like they're going to make the top 8 in the West.

Then there is the chance that Colorado doesn't make the playoffs, which at this point, is very possible. With Sakic and Blake both UFA's at the end of the season, teams would be all over them if they were available. Can you imagine the offers Colorado would recieve if they were available? Who wouldn't want either player for a solid playoff run. Both are expected to resign with the Avs sooner rather than later, but you never know what could happen between now and the deadline.

Thats all for now. Check out the General Hockey Forum for information on the new version of the hockeyleaks.com website coming soon! Keep checking hockeyleaks.com daily, as it is updated each and everyday! We are always looking for new writers, so email me if you are interested. Cjohnson202@Hockeyleaks.com for any questions or comments. Have a good night everyone.