Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trade Deadline 2010 Preview

Well folks, this time tomorrow it's likely we will already have seen two or three trades come through the wire. The Olympic trade freeze ends at midnight tonight, opening up the NHL for action. The playoff races are hotter than they've ever been, with some pretty big sellers around with a lot to sell (Toronto, Carolina, Edmonton, Florida).

While Wednesday may not break the record for most trades ever, remember that this deadline is different than ever before. The long Olympic break resulted in some of the bigger trades (Phaneuf, Giguere, Kovalchuk, Barker, Cullen) moving before the Olympic freeze. We'll also see several trades announced tomorrow that were worked on during the trade freeze, deals that would normally be worked out on deadline day itself.

Make sure to tune into all week for the latest trade deadline news and rumours. Our chat will return tomorrow, with several scheduled chats happening between now and Wednesday's 3 PM deadline. Starting around 10 AM on Wednesday, I will be in the chat room all day, letting you guys know what I'm hearing and hopefully breaking a few trades for you.

Here is a look at what each might do and what players are available.


If I was the GM of the Ducks, I'd be a seller. Trading impending UFAs like Koivu, Niedermayer and Selanne could get the Ducks some young prospects that make them much better down the road. With that said, the Ducks are two points out of the playoffs and will not be sellers going into Wednesday.

Players Available

James Wisniewski
Teams Interested: Chicago, Boston
Chances of being moved: 75 percent


The Thrashers have already traded Kovalchuk and Lehtonen, so you'd expect them to continue to sell. However, GM Waddell says he wants his team to make the playoffs and will make moves to help make that happen. In my opinion, however, the deals won't be there for the Thrashers to make to get better, so they'll become semi-sellers at the deadline

Players Available

Colby Armstrong
Teams Interested: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, LA, Boston, Colorado
Chances of being moved: 85 percent

Vyacheslav Kozlov
Teams Interested: Vancouver, Phoenix, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 90 percent

Pavel Kubina
Teams Interested: Buffalo, Vancouver, Ottawa
Chances of being moved: 45 percent

Max Afinigenov
Teams Interested: Vancouver, Washington, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 60 percent


The Bruins will be buyers and their wishlist is pretty big. They'd love some offense, they'd love to dump an expensive, under-producing player, a puck-moving d-man and a d-man that could play a good shutdown role. Unfortunatly, cap issues will make it hard for the Bruins to swing too many deals. With two first round picks, though, the Bruins have the pieces to make a significant deal.

Players Available

Michael Ryder
Teams Interested: Toronto, Phoenix, Nashville
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Tim Thomas
Teams Interested: Unknown
Chances of being moved: 10 percent


After a smoking hot start to the season, the Bruins have really slowed down. They'd like a puck-moving d-man, secondary scoring and a backup goalie.

Players Available

Drew Stafford
Teams interested: Toronto, Edmonton, Florida
Chances of being moved: 15 percent


With Cam Ward likely shutdown for the season, the Hurricanes have no reason not to tank. They'll move out vets to give guys like Boychuk and Sutter more ice-time.

Players Available

Ray Whitney
Teams interested: Pittsburgh, LA
Chances of being moved: 100 percent

Joe Corvo
Teams interested: Boston, Buffalo, Vancouver
Chances of being moved: 60 percent

Aaron Ward
Teams interested: Phoenix, Colorado, Boston
Chances of being moved: 85 percent


They've already made several MASSIVE trades, with Phaneuf, Jokinen, Sjostrom and Prust already leaving town. The Flames have a lot of forwards, so look for the Flames to make a few more deals leading up to Wednesday.

Players Available

Any forward, with the exception of Iginla, Bourque, Higgins and Hagman.


While team management doesn't want to mess with the chemistry, the Blackhawks could have a deal or two up their sleeve before we're all said and done. Rumours swirl that Chicago would like some insurance in net, while an offensive defenseman could also be on the teams radar

Players Available

Anyone who makes more than they should (Versteeg, Byfuglien) that could still get a decent return. The Blackhawks would love to deal guys like them for expiring contracts.

Christobal Huet
Teams interested: Unknown
Chances of being moved: 15 percent


The Blue Jackets are definite sellers, but don't have super-high quality stuff to sell. Still, I expect the Blue Jackets to move a couple of Vets by Wednesday.

Players Available

Raffi Torres
Teams Interested: LA, Phoenix, Atlanta, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 75 percent

Milan Jurcina
Teams interested: Ottawa, Boston, Phoenix
Chances of being moved: 75 percent

Fredrik Modin
Teams Interested: Detroit, Colorado, New Jersey
Chances of being moved: 60 percent


Colorado looks to make the playoffs after just about everyone wrote them off prior to the season. In fact, they were my pick to pick first overall this June. Look for the Avs to improve their lineup slightly, but they won't be trading any young players for a quick fix.

Players Available

J-M Liles
Teams interested: Unknown
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Marek Svatos
Teams interested: Boston, Ottawa, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 45 percent


With Auld gone, it's unlikely the Stars will move Turco, but could if the price is right. Dallas will be buyers, but likely won't make any giant moves.

Players Available

Mike Ribeiro
Teams interested: Toronto, Columbus, Florida
Chances of being moved: 30 percent

Marty Turco
Teams interested: Philadelphia, Washington
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Steve Ott
Teams interested: Pittsburgh, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 15 percent


Don't expect much of anything from the Red Wings, as they're prospect pool is drying up and the team is capped out more than any other team in the league.

Players Available



And the winners of last overall in the NHL are.....

Players Available

Sheldon Souray
Teams interested: NYR, LA
Chances of being moved: 25 percent

Ethan Moreau
Teams interested: Toronto, Buffalo
Chances of being moved: 45 percent

Andrew Cogliano
Teams interested: Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, New Jersey, Florida
Chances of being moved: 45 percent

Lubomir Visnovsky
Teams interested: unknown
Chances of being moved: 20 percent


GM Sexton promised us all big changes, Florida could be the most exciting team to watch over the next three days.

Players Available

Tomas Vokoun
Teams interested: Chicago, Edmonton, Washington, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 60 percent

Nathan Horton
Teams interested: Toronto, Edmonton, Phoenix, Montreal, LA, Columbus, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 30 percent

Stephen Weiss
Teams interested: Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Buffalo, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Denis Siedenberg
Teams interested: Calgary, Ottawa, Phoenix, LA, Boston
Chances of being moved: 80 percent

Jordan Leopold
Teams interested: Colorado, Boston, Buffalo, San Jose
Chances of being moved: 70 percent

Cory Stillman
Teams interested: Phoenix, Anaheim, Vancouver
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

Los Angeles

The Kings are 100 percent buyers, and would love some defensive depth and a scoring winger.

Players available

Alex Frolov
Teams interested: Montreal, Philadelphia, Boston
Chances of being moved: 25 percent


This team probably already made their biggest deal by getting Cam Barker, but they'd love to add some offense before Wednesday.

Players Available

Josh Harding
Teams interested: Montreal, Colorado, LA, Buffalo
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

James Sheppard
Teams interested: Edmonton, Toronto, New Jersey
Chances of being moved: 25 percent

Marek Zidlicky
Teams interested: Buffalo, Boston, LA, Vancouver, Ottawa
Chances of being moved: 70 percent


While management insists a goalie won't be moved before the deadline, if the right offer came along, it could happen. The Habs would love to add a significant piece to this team, while cheap, young players are also on the Habs radar

Players Available

Sergei Kostitsyn
Teams interested: Edmonton, Phoenix, Detroit
Chances of being moved: 60 percent

Roman Hamrlik
Teams interested: LA, Washington
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

Carey Price/Jaroslav Halak
Teams interested: Who wouldn't be interested in one of these young studs?
Chances of one of them being moved: 40 percent


The Preds are once again looking like a playoff team, but will have some tough choices to make before the deadline. They've already made one, locking up Pekka Rinne for a few more years.

Players Available

Dan Hamhuis
Teams interested: New Jersey, Boston
Chances of being moved: 70 percent

Dan Ellis
Teams interested: Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago
Chances of being moved: 25 percent

New Jersey

They've already made the big splash of the year picking up Kovalchuk. Now NJ will look to add some depth at center as well as shoring up their D

Players Available


New York Islanders

While they flirted with the playoffs for part of the season, make no mistake, the Islanders are lottery bound to pick up that defensive prospect this team truly needs. The Isles are expected to be slight sellers this year.

Players Available

Martin Biron
Teams Interested: Buffalo, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 65 percent

Andy Sutton
Teams interested: Boston, Chicago, LA
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

New York Rangers

The Rangers would love to trade some over-priced d-men like Redden or Rozsival, but it's unlikely. Still, the Rangers would love to improve their point shot and add a little bit more flare up front.

Players Available

Wade Redden and Michael Rozsival
Teams Interested: N/A
Chances of being moved: you can never say never, but it's close

Matt Gilroy
Teams Interested: Minnesota, Calgary, Toronto
Chances of being moved: 15 percent

Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan
Team interested: Various
Chances of one of them being moved: 50 percent
Note: While the Rangers are not actively shopping either player, if they were to make a significant deal this deadline, it's likely one of these players would go the other way.


The Ottawa Senators already made a deal to get Cullen, but are not done. Look for them to add some offense on the wing and maybe a defensive defenseman on the back end.

Players Available



The Flyers have to be looking for some goaltending stability, as Emery is questionable to return this year, leaving Boucher and Leighton as your playoff goaltenders. The Flyers would love another puckmoving defenseman, and have some depth at center they could move to get it.

Players Available

Daniel Briere
Teams interested: Toronto, Buffalo, Calgary
Chances of being moved: 30 percent
Note: Rumours are beginning to swirl that the Flyers would give up Briere as a salary dump quite cheap, and may even throw in a younger player to sweeten the pot.

Jeff Carter
Teams interested: Toronto, Florida
Chances of being moved: 25 percent
Note: While it's unlikely he'll get moved, he's had a rough personal year and Philly and change may not be a bad thing. The Flyers would move him if they could get something of value in return (Kaberle, Weiss/Horton, for example)


The Coyotes will be looking to add some veterans both up front and on the back end. This team needs to make the playoffs and will add what they have to to get there.

Players Available

Peter Mueller
Teams Interested: Toronto, NYR, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 50 percent


Look for the Penguins to add an offensive winger this deadline. A skilled defenseman is also on this team's wishlist.

Players Available


San Jose

The Sharks, while they say they are not looking to add anything else, I expect them to be sort of busy this week. They'd love to move a guy like Ryan Clowe, whose money could be better spent in the offseason, while a puck-moving defenseman and a backup goalie wouldn't hurt either.

Players Available

Ryan Clowe
Teams Interested: Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Boston, Florida
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

Joe Pavelski
Teams Interested: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 10 percent

St. Louis

The Blues are likely to be sellers, but it's not for certain yet. Keith Tkachuk is staying put, but a guy like Kariya could be on the move.

Players Available

Paul Kariya
Teams interested: Vancouver, Buffalo, LA
Chances of being moved: 70 percent

Carlo Colaiacovo
Teams interested: Montreal, Vancouver, Buffalo, Ottawa
Chances of being moved: 65 percent

Tampa Bay

I think Tampa Bay may be the quietest team this year. While we'd all love to see a Vinny Lecavalier trade, it just isn't likely to happen. If Tampa does make a move, it will be for some goaltending help or another skilled blueliner.

Players Available



If Toronto had their first round pick, they'd likely throw in the towel and tank. However, Boston has their pick so the Leafs will do what they can to make a push up the standings without hurting their teams in the future. The Leafs would love a number one center, but it'll be tough to find one at the deadline.

Players Available

Alexei Ponikarovsky
Teams interested: Pittsburgh, LA, Boston, Nashville, Phoenix
Chances of being moved: 100 percent

Tomas Kaberle
Teams interested: buffalo, Boston, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 50 percent

Lee Stempniak
Teams interested: Buffalo, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 65 percent


The Canucks would love some secondary scoring and both a puck-moving and shutdown d-man. The Canucks could be busy this week.

Players Available

Cory Schneider
Teams interested: St. Louis, New Jersey, Edmonton, Philadelphia
Chances of being movied: 70 percent

Cody Hodgson
Teams interested: Toronto, Florida, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 20 percent


The caps would love some blueline depth and a veteran goalie. At this point in time, they're the team to beat.

Players Available


Monday, February 15, 2010

Going for Gold

Well folks, tomorrow the greatest hockey tournament in the world kicks off and I couldn't be more excited. I won't lie, I wasn't as stoked as I've been in the past for this tournament in the weeks leading up to it. Maybe it was because I am Canadian and I'm still hurting from our seventh place finish four years ago. I remember taking a "sick" day to watch that game, only to have my heart broken when the final buzzer rang and Russia was leaving Canada out of the semi-finals.

With that said, I am incredibly excited for the tournament to be kicking off tomorrow, mostly because I am caught up in Olympic fever. I have watched just about every event thus far, screaming and yelling at every accomplishment Canada has made. I'm sure a lot of our American and European readers can relate to what I'm going though, it's awesome to see your country have success on the world's largest stage.

Looking ahead, it's also incredibly exciting to know that as soon as this tournament is over, a compressed NHL schedule means a lot of great stretch-drive hockey for us to enjoy. Oh, and there is also that Trade Deadline thing just days after this all ends. It's going to be one the craziest deadlines ever, no worries there.

Here are a few reasons why I am excited for the 2010 Olymic Hockey Tournament:

Welcome Back

Some of our favourite stars of the past are back to thrill us once again. I'm a huge Ziggy Palffy fan and cannot wait to see him back in action. He's been flying in his home country, putting up almost two points-per-game! He's still got it and along with a few other strong Slovaks like Jaroslav Halak, they have the potential to really upset some teams. I'm also excited to see Jaromir Jagr back on the ice. It sounds like a strong tournament could land him back in the NHL next season, which wouldn't be a bad thing at all. I'm also excited to see some others, such as Russia's Morozov and Sweden's should be a blast.


Every year there is always that big upset that changes everything. In 2002, it was Belarus beating Sweden in the quarter final, a result that nobody could have ever predicted. In 2006, it was the Swiss beating Canada, giving Canada a very unfavourable Quarters match with Russia. Who will it be in 2010? Teams like Latvia, Germany and Norway would love nothing more than to play the roll of spoiler for one of the world's top nations.


Nothing is more exciting than seeing an entire nation embracing a sport. I love seeing the Canadians, the Americans, the Swedes, etc. cheer on their nation, knowing everything is on the line. I encourage you all, no matter where you are from, to watch the games with a large group of people. It gets intense and there is no better feeling.


Here is how I am predicting things will go down.

Bronze: U.S.A.

While many people will have Sweden, Finland or Czech cracking the top three, I am going to give the Bronze to the United States. Yes, they are underdogs, but Ryan Miller is good enough to steal a game when it matters, and I think that will be what propels the U.S.A. to Bronze. If Ryan Miller is good enough, a trip to the finals isn't out of the question.

Silver: Russia

The Russians may have the most deadly offense in the tournament. Malkin, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk are going to dazzle us with their skills and keep them in every game they play in. For me, the Russians have two big questionmarks, however. #1 - Are the players from the KHL good enough to keep up with the NHLers from Canada and U.S.A? #2 - Is this defense strong enough to keep things close? I think they're good enough for Silver, but not good enough for Gold.

Gold: Cananda

From 1st, to seventh, back to first in 8 years. I wrote a column for a local newspaper back in December where I begged Yzerman to not make the 2006 mistake of picking experience over skill and it's clear he read that paper (hehe). The Canadians are as skilled as any of the other teams, while their defense is by far the strongest of the tournament. They also have the most depth in goal, which will be key if one of Brodeur or Luongo struggle early. Up front, guys like Crosby, Nash, Heatley and Thornton give Canada enough firepower where any result but gold will be a disappointment.

The puck drops tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Two Minutes for Instigating - Feb. 6

First off all, im sorry for the lack of column last week and the lateness on this one tonight. I've been crazy busy!

Second, my thoughts and prayers with Brian Burke and his family. Losing someone is never easy and I cannot even imagine losing your son. Parents are not suppose to bury their kids, and anytime I see this happen it breaks my heart. My thoughts are with the Burke family.

We'll start in Toronto...

Minus the late meltdown on Friday against New Jersey, the Leafs have looked amazing since the trade with Calgary. Kessel picked a great time to refind his scoring touch, but even without him, it sure doesn't look like Toronto will struggle to score goals.

As far as what to expect from Toronto between now and March 3rd, there are still 2-3 more deals to go down. One will involve Ponikarovsky, who will at least fetch a 2nd round pick, likely more. He's one of the best players available at the deadline and I wouldn't be surprised if the Leafs are able to package Poni with someone else to grab a 1st round pick in return.

The Leafs and Sharks have been scouting each other like mad the past three weeks. Everyone is pointing at Ryan Clowe, but I know Burke loves Joe Pavelski...I could see something happening there.

I honestly believe Kaberle will go before the deadline. He has a chance to pick where he goes, and it's clear he's not longer wanted. His time time has been cut and the Leafs have too much money tied up to their blueline. A strong season by Gunnarsson and a late-season blooming of Luke Schenn makes it that easier for Kaberle to be dealt for the offensive center the Leafs badly need. I'd be shocked if he wasn't traded before 3 pm on March 3rd

Greedy Hurricanes

Can someone tell Ray Whitney and Niclas Wallin that they play for the Hurricanes? Whitney will only waive his NTC if he can sign an extension, something apparently LA wasn't willing to do earlier in the week. Sources tell that a deal between the Kings and Canes was almost complete when Whitney vetoed the deal because LA woudln't sign him to a three-year deal. News flash Ray: You're 37, you're not getting a three year contract.

Now it's come out that Wallin wouldn't waive to go to SJ because they wouldn't sign him to a one-year deal. San Jose is actively seeking defensive depth, you have to wonder if Kaberle is a fit there.

$40 million apart?

You always hear how a team and player are often $500,000 and $1 million apart, but the Thrashers and Kovy were over $40 million apart!! Kovalchuk wanted 13 years at 11.2 million per season, which he isn't going to get anywhere (minus the KHL, of coarse).

While NHL GMs everywhere are saying Atlanta got the best they could for Kovalchuk, I don't buy it. A 5-6 D-man, A third line forward, a troubled prospect and a draft pick that will be in the mid-20s? You're telling me Boston, LA or Chicago couldn't match that offer? Reports have Ottawa as one of the finalists for Kovy, you're telling me they couldn't make a better offer?

Put the Bear to sleep

Put a fork in the Bruins, they're done. 10 straight losses and things don't seem to be gettign any better. The Bruins are too good to throw in the towel, so expect them to throw some of their draft picks around to try to get some offensive help. One of those picks may also be used to get rid of Michael Ryder, who is due $4 million next season. His awesome season last year was clearly due to Phil Kessel...

Washington is pretty good...

What other team can lose both goalies and pull off 10+ straight wins? Expect the Capitals to go out and get some goalie insurance, though I dont know if I agree theyll need it. As long as Varlamov comes back and Theodore keeps his recent streak up, the Caps will be fine. I think they will look to shore up their D, though

The Price is wrong, Bob

The Habs have to trade Carey Price. There, I said it. One of Halak or Price have to go by the draft, so why not move Price now when you'll get more for him than you will at the draft. Halak will never be worth more than a 2nd round pick, while Price will get you a good roster player and a decent pick. I know the Dallas Stars have kicked some tires on both Halak and Price. Turco's not coming back, thats for sure...

Final Thoughts on Calgary

Calgary has been mediocre since they made their two deals, but why on earth did they trade for Kotalik? Jokinen is coming off the books and instead you take a guy who you'll overpay for two more seasons. Something else is coming in Calgary, but I don't know how or what...this team has no assets to trade, none...