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
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 Hockeyleaks.com 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...