Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cap Report + Waiver Action

Jeff Hamilton has been placed on waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes. $800,000 for a guy who put up 39 points last season, and still only 30, I have to think someone picks him up...

Maxim Kondratiev is on waivers as well, you may remember him as being a large part of the Brian Leetch to Toronto trade.

As I looked over Cap numbers this morning, I was shocked to see how well prepared some teams are for the trade deadline.

First of all, I was looking at cap numbers because of our good friend Eklund, who has posted a rumour of the Leafs shipping Raycroft, Antropov and McCabe to a Western Team. This coming on the same day where I was tipped off that San Jose has great interest in McCabe. I check the numbers, and am shocked to learn the Sharks have over 10 million in available cap room. Antropov would fit in great with the Sharks, while McCabe would be the big shot from the point San Jose has been looking at for years (you will remember last year how much they pursued Souray). As for Raycroft, he would add a little insurance in case Iron Man Evgeni went down.

Looking at the top ten in each conference, I found a few other teams very well prepared for the upcoming trade season.

Detroit - Over five million dollars available to go out and get a top line forward and a top four defenseman, which is the two things they are looking for. That shouldnt be hard to do, when you figure one of Franzen or Filpula will be part of the forward deal, each earning almost a million dollars per.

Columbus - Not sure if they are going to make a push for the playoffs, but if they decide to upgrade their roster, they will have 10 million to spend. They may also get even more cap space if Federov or Foote are traded like some rumours are speculating.

Colorado - I was surprised to see that they had four million to still spend, and they may very well spend it if they think they can go out and get someone that will give them that extra push. This team didnt spend large on Hannon and Smyth to not make the playoffs...Ray Emery is one name I'm hearing loudly this morning.

Minnesota - They also have four million to spend, and they will spend it. Their division is the tighest in hockey, and they have every intention of winning it. Look for them to add some more offense as the deadline approaches.

Phoenix - The currently hold the 8th and final spot in the west, and are very dangerous with 12 million to spend. They'd like to add both a top defenseman and a top forward, but are not willing to give up too much to do so. Toronto fans, this is another team where salaries could possibly be dumped. I'm hearing Kubina is very high on Phoenix's list of available d-men.

Rounding out the west, Calgary, Vancouver and Dallas all have between 2.5 - 4 million to spend, and I'd be shocked if all three didnt make a significant move between now and Feb 26th...Finally in the West, Nashville has 16 million to spend, and if they feel they can make a move to help them make the playoffs this season, they wont be afraid to pull the trigger

Atlanta - Despite having big stars like Kovalchuk, Hossa and Kozlov, the Thrashers have almost seven million to spend! I see Atlanta going out and spending to make their team better, improving all three positions. They will look to add depth at forward and in goal, while a top defenseman is something the Thrashers really feel they need to get to the next level.

Boston - With between 4 and 5 million to spend, Boston will also be looking to make some moves to make sure they don't lose their spot in the post-season (currently seventh). The team will likely focus on their offense, and add one or two solid forwards between now and the deadline.

Buffalo - With almost six million to spend, the Sabres will be lookig to improve their club. Don't look for a quick fix, however, as Buffalo will be looking for players that still have several years remaining on their contracts. Jokinen is one player they want badly.

Carolina - Four million to spend, and they are likely to spend it. They really want to improve their blueline, and I'd be shocked if they didnt get a blueliner from LA. Stuart or Preissing, if not both.

Florida - 5 million to spend, talk around the league is very mixed when it comes to the Panthers. Martin is close to losing his job, and many believe that if he's still around by the deadlie, he will wheel and deal and do his best to save his job by making the playoffs. They need help up front, though with all these Jokinen rumours it's hard to really tell what direction the Panthers will go in.

Montreal - One of the hottest teams in hockey, and they still have over four million to spend. They are searching for a top centre, and have been for as long as I can remember. Jokinen is one player they'd love to have, while Federov is another name that won't go away.

New Jersey - With just over three million to spend, I look for them to improve their offense. With that said, I don't expect New Jersey to give up much youth at all, and I feel New Jersey will have a quiet trade season...

NYI - The Islanders are very interesting, as they have over seven million to spend. Currently sitting 8th, I don't expect them to make any short team fix deals, only deals that help them now and longterm. The Islanders don't want to make the same mistake they made last season (ie Smyth).

NYR - The Rangers have 2.5 to spend, and they'll spend every penny. Defense is likely where they will focus. Rob Blake to NYR is still very hot.

Ottawa - At three million to spend, the Sens badly need offensive depth. With that said, rumours of Redden and Emery being moved won't go away. The Sens could be one of the most interesting deadline teams, something we're not used to seeing (ie Tyler Arnason)

Philly - They have no cap space, so any move would have to be done very creatively.

Pittsburgh - As far as cap room in the east goes for contenders, look no further than the Pittsburgh Penguins. 10 million to spend, and you'd have to think they won't be afraid to spend it. The Penguins are playing great hockey, and have to be serious contenders at this point. Look for them to add some defense prior to the deadline, as well as a little more offensive depth.

Washington - If the Caps can ever climb into the third spot in the East, they could be very dangerous. With 14 million to spend, if Washington finds themselves securely in the playoffs by the 26th of the February, they could become very active on buying market. They told Ovechkin they'd start spending when they signed him to his 13 year deal, nobody expected it to be this soon, however.

With 27 days left before the deadline, the action could start anytime. For teams like Toronto, Philly, and Anaheim, the time is now to start making moves, and freeing up cap room for the stretch run.