The Early Moves:
- Montreal acquires Mathieu Schneider from Atlanta for 2nd round pick and condition 3rd round pick
- Ottawa trades Dean McAmmond and San Jose's 1st round pick to New York Islanders for Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli
- Dallas acquires Steve Begin from Montreal for Doug Janik
- Montreal claims Glen Metropolit off waivers from Philadelphia
- Pittsburgh acquires Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi from Anaheim for Ryan Whitney
- Edmonton trades Mathieu Garon to Pittsburgh for Dany Sabourin, Ryan Stone, and a 4th round pick
- and so on ...
What they need: Depth players - they need to do away with guys like Claude Lemieux and get some gritty wingers. Dallas got the jump on this by acquiring Begin. With the kind of assets San Jose has, they can probably dish out for a real role player - maybe a guy like Dan Carcillo, Chris Neil - or even Sean Avery.
What they have to offer: Draft picks and prospects (though they are running low on quality organizational prospects at every position except goal)
What they need: Until Holmstrom comes back, I could see Detroit acquiring a big winger just to make the opposition goalie's life a living hell. I could see a guy like Mike Knuble being acquired just for this kind of thing. Also, Detroit has a history of acquiring familiar faces (ex. Osgood) so be wary with Dandenault on the trade block.
What they have to offer: Organizational depth players and prospects - Justin Abdelkader is a future role player on some team; Ville Leino - skill player with loads of potential; Jimmy Howard; and with rumours of Kopecky and Franzen hitting the UFA market this summer, expect the less important players (Hudler, Kopecky) to be available as well; Darren McCarty may make a good role player for a team needing some sandpaper and experience
What they need: Veteran defense and gritty wingers - rumours of Chris Pronger and Erik Cole are all over the place. There is also the possibility that Boston trades within the conference and acquires guys like Pavel Kubina and Tuomo Ruutu.
What they have to offer: Petteri Nokelainen, PJ Axelsson, Shane Hnidy, Andrew Alberts, Vladimir Sobotka, Matt Hunwick
What they need: Goaltending depth - they gave up a 2nd round pick last year to get Cristobal Huet. I'd imagine they are willing to give up an equal or lesser amount for someone to back up Jose Theodore, who although he has put together great playoff performances, is still a big question mark. I'd imagine they'd be interested in guys like Huet (again), Khabibulin, Gerber, Roloson (yes, even him) or Kevin Weekes. The Caps may also want to pick up a shutdown D-man and I'd imagine Brendan Witt (post-suspension) or Ken Klee (familiar face) would be of interest to them.
What they have to offer: Michael Nylander, Bryan Pothier, Brent Johnson
What they need: Offensive D-man, veteran checking pesence - I'd imagine Calgary is in the market for some familiar faces in Derek Morris and Jordan Leopold. Guys like Kubina are also available - but for what price? I think that the one disadvantage of trading off Nolan for Bertuzzi was a loss of that veteran savvy. Bertuzzi has been around for a while but he is not a playoff proven player, especially not at a checking line level. I'd expect Calgary to pick up a guy like Radek Bonk (if available) or Tyler Arnason. Yes, I know Arnason is not a proven playoff player - but he would fill that checking role.
What they have to offer: Adrian Aucoin, Eric Nystrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Jamie Lundmark
What they need: They're pretty well balanced of all the teams I looked at. I would suggest some sandpaper at the bottom two lines, however. Like San Jose, they are a team that could benefit from Sean Avery's presence - at least in the short run.
What they have to offer: Cristobal Huet, Nikolai Khabibulin, Cam Barker, draft picks
What they need: Offensive D-man - Johnny Oduya is doing a heckuva job but I'd imagine they'd be in on Kaberle and Pronger if they are available though New Jersey doesn't traditionally like to make big trades. A couple guys I could imagine playing in Devils silks are Tobias Enstrom and Christian Backman.
What they have to offer: Kevin Weeks, Bobby Holik, Brian Gionta
What they need: 1st line C and depth goaltending - I would imagine that if Columbus cannot acquire a guy like Michael Nylander or Nik Antropov, that they would compromise for someone else who is available, maybe the versatile Radek Bonk or maybe former Chicago front-man Tyler Arnason. These second choices are not comparable skill-wise to Nylander and Antropov, but have important backchecking presence.
What they have to offer: Prospects (Sigalet, Mayorov), Jiri Nvotny, Manny Malhotra, Christian Backman
What they need: Scoring and a depth D-man - any team lacking their #1 offensive talent will suffer regardless of available depth. I'd think Minnesota picks up a complementary top 2 line player (Mike Knuble, Bill Guerin) as opposed to a big playoff acquisition (Tkachuk, Frolov). I believe guys like Andrew Ference or Derek Morris will be of interest to them.
What they have to offer: Draft picks and prospects
What they need: Gritty winger, playoff presence - Given these needs, I can imagine the speculation around Ryan Smyth, who I believe will not move given his recent statements to the media. Stranger things have happened. I believe Montreal and Detroit are two teams that can help each other. With the acquisition of Metropolit, they have wingers to spare. I think players like Hudler and Franzen will be of interest to Montreal, and players like Halak, Dandenault and Chipchura of interest to Detroit. Perhaps Montreal felt gritty enough when they dealt Steve Begin to Dallas - but I would disagree.
What they have to offer: See above
What they need: Checking presence - I can imagine the return of Mike Peca or the acquisition of guys like Bobby Holik or Radek Bonk, though Holik would be the least likely since he would have to come from New Jersey. Connolly for Peca, perhaps?
What they have to offer: Tim Connolly, Jochen Hecht
What they need: Sandpaper - they haven't been the same since Mike Commodore left. I think they could really use a guy like Ruslan Salei. Rumours also abound of a Cole for Ruutu trade. Rutherford has been known to reacquire familiar faces (Tanabe, Cullen) but there is also rumours that the Oilers are unwilling to move Cole (citing a possible playoff run, perhaps).
What they have to offer: Frank Kaberle, Scott Walker, Tuomo Ruutu
What they need: Team chemistry - though Mats Sundin has gotten a lot better since his first week on the West Coast, I don't believe he has what it takes to cut it against the Western Conference - and neither does his team. The Canucks will get a heckuva performance out of the Sedin twins and Matthias Ohlund (pending UFA status) but the question once again is whether or not they have what it takes to take the next step. I think it's time to get somebody to play with Sundin who's style is comparable to his own. Mike Knuble, Nik Antropov, or maybe even guys like Maxime Talbot. The team needs to gel around its role players: Kesler, Luongo, Ohlund, Bieksa, Mitchell. Despite this leadership core, they have no leadership. I think Vancouver and Edmonton have this in common: with such inconsistency, they are a playoff miracle away from doing something meaningful in the postseason dance.
What they have to offer: Depth at all positions but nothing substantial (those twins are not moving, though expect the Wellwood's and Raymond's to be available)
What they need: 1-2 line scoring, checking line centerman and defensive depth - like every season, the Oilers are in dire need in the offensive department. There are guys available but acquiring them right before they hit UFA is not a good idea for a team on the cusp of the playoffs and a history of having trouble retaining players. If the Oilers stay away from trying to overpay for a rental, they can go after the big fish in the summer. (Spezza, Heatley, Kovalchuk, or UFAs like Madden or Hossa). Reasoner, Holik, Bonk, Avery, and Marchant (familiar face) are available. Also of note would be players like Morris, Ference, and Hainsey. The Oilers pride themselves on developing role players (Moreau, Pisani, Reddox) but they don't have anyone filling other roles such as scoring roles. It's time to deal part of the "kid line" and work on the future. Playoffs or not, it's time to get a scoring threat that will take the attention off of Hemsky. Call it primary or secondary scoring - the Oilers need as much of it as they can get and leave the role player development up to the World of Warcraft. We need skill - NOW.
What they have to offer: Depth at all positions except goaltending - Nilsson, Cogliano, Cole, Moreau, Staios, Gilbert are all players with considerable worth on the trade market
What they need: A little bit of everything - I think it's time to cast out the underperforming and get a sure bet. A team like Philly needs less of the Lupul's and Upshall's and needs more guys like the Jokinen's and St. Louis's.
What they have to offer: Knuble, Upshall, Lupul, Hatcher
What they need: Veteran presence - a young team on the cusp of the playoffs and looking like they make it for the first time in a long time. Forget the Bouwmeester rumours, GM Martin will probably ride it out though he will most likely overpay for a rental player. I can see them dishing out for a Tkachuk, Hejduk, or a Antropov type of player.
What they have to offer: Karlis Skrastins, Nick Boynton, and cheap, affordable forwards
New York Rangers
What they need: Balls - they should just pick up Sean Avery now. And while they're at it, they need some bulking to do on defense. You're fooling yourself if you think Wade Redden is going to carry them. Edmonton's calling, Strudwick is available ...
What they have to offer: Dmitri Kalinin, Petr Prucha
What they need: Balls - another team that could use a Sean Avery character. But with Sidney Crosby at the center of the universe, it is most likely that the Penguins pick up an offensive guy instead, assuming they think Kunitz will play that role. I would still try to acquire a Carcillo or Neil type of player if I were the Penguins. Without Hossa around, the Penguins will need a different type of team dynamic to go far.
What they have to offer: Pascal Dupuis, Jordan Staal, Ruslan Fedotenko, Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora
Though Anaheim is close to the others in the playoff chase, their actions as of late have been indicating that they're planning for the long run rather than for the short term. Acquiring Ryan Whitney is probably a "sayonara" to Chris Pronger.
Brian Burke is looking to acquire assets for building his team. If the Leafs make it to the postseason dance - good on them. But the truth is that Burke will not be a buyer at the deadline.
Who's available - Bill Guerin, Martin St. Louis, Chris Neil, Alexander Frolov, Jordan Leopold, Tyler Arnason, Derek Morris, Jason Spezza, Jeff Tambellini, Ian Laperriere, Olli Jokinen, Ron Hainsey, Ken Klee, Michael Tellqvist, Steven Reinprecht
Who's got clauses? - Ryan Smyth, John Michael-Liles, Adam Foote, Milan Hejduk, Adam Foote
Who's not going anywhere? - Ilya Kovalchuk, Bryan Little, Paul Stastny, Joe Sakic, Shane Doan, Kyle Turris, Peter Mueller, Luke Schenn, Trent Hunter, Kyle Okposo