While I understand the guys have been playing better as of late, I still think it would be highly unlikely that this team makes the playoffs. My opinion is; if we aren't in the playoff picture, let's begin preparing for next season and hopefully a return to the post season. This team has pieces to build around and in the highly competitive NHL, a few tweaks could make a major change. I know I will probably offend a few with my trade suggestions, this is just fun for me. I'm not trying to upset anybody. I'm also not suggesting that we trade everyone or all at the same time. These are just some of my ideas. I hope it is entertaining to read and let me know what your thoughts are.
Trade Michael Leighton to the Rangers for a 4th or 5th round pick.
New York: They would get an inexpensive back-up for Lundqvist. They recently waived their back-up goalie andreplaced him with a kid from the AHL. From what I have read, many believe the kid is not ready for the NHL. New York relies heavily on Lundqvist and with the compressed schedule and him tending net for Team Sweden, the Rangers are going to have trouble sneeking in the playoffs. Leighton is not great, but he could spell Lundqvist from time to time and hopefully do a good job at it. He is playing for his career and under the bright lights of Broadway would be an ideal place to showcase what he has. Yeah, the Rangers would prefer a "better" solution, but with their cap situation and still needing another forward; Leighton is a good pick up for the price.
Caroling: We would get a mid to low draft pick. It's not exactly an impact player draft position, but you sometimes find a "diamond in the rough." A 4th or 5th really doesn't mean a lot to a team like the Rangers, they pretty much buy who they want anyway. The Canes could maybe find a solid contributor in that draft position or package it for some other pick/trade option.
Trade Manny Legaceto the Sabres for a 3rd round pick.
Buffalo:They would get a veteran back-up for Miller. Miller also plays a lot and will probably be the workhorse for Team USA. The Sabres really need to make the playoffs this year anda good back-up would go a long way to achieving that goal. With the Olympics and compressed schedule, they cannot afford to get Miller worn down. As he goes, so do the Sabres. Legace could fill-in every now and then and let Miller get some rest. Buffalo fans hate their current back-up Lalime and Legace should be able to do a better job than him. Also, Legace is dirt cheap and has a two-way contract. The Sabres are usually pretty tight, but this is a pretty decent deal.
Carolina: A 3rd round pick would take the place of the one we lost in the Eaves/Ward trade. We should be able to find a quality prospect at that position. It might not be a superstar, but someone that would eventually play in the NHL. Also, if we are in the rebuilding mode; the guys that will move up from Albany need to be replaced. Not all picks work out, so the more we have, maybe the better shot at a few developing into the players we want and need.
Dallas:They would get an offensive defenseman to help them push toward the playoffs. Corvo has the highly coveted right-handed shot and has improved into a guy that can be relied upon. If matched up with the right partner, Corvo could play on both ends of the ice and eats some big minutes. He would be coming back from injury, so rust is possible, but freshness at the endof the season could be huge. The Stars have a pretty good power play, but with Corvo and Robidas manning the points; that would be dangerous.
Carolina:We would get a young, fast winger that has goal scoring potential. Brunnstrom has the ability, but needs to get in gear. He is playing bottom six minutes in Dallas, maybe a change of scenery would do him some good. He is a RFA at the end of the year, so the Canes could resign for the minimum ($962,500). Start him out of the 3rd line and see how things go. Under $1 million/year is not a big risk in the NHL. Either he flops and is 4th line or scratched or he becomes a good player that can play top six minutes. At that point, we either give him a raise or he becomes trade bait for next season.
Trade Joe Corvo to the Islanders for a 2nd round pick.
New York:They would get an offensive defenseman to help this young team try to reach the playoffs. They really don't have a lot of experience or talent on the blueline. Corvo would bring his shot and ability to play in many situations. He could eat some minutes and take some of the pressure off of Streit. They are on the edge of the playoffs, they have the need for a defenseman, and they have plenty of cap space.
Carolina:A 2nd for Corvo probably sounds low, but coming off an injury, I think most teams will have questions. Anyway, a 2nd is a pretty good draft pick. It would probably be in the middle of the round. We should be able to pick up a quality player or package it with something else.
Nashville:They would get a play-making left winger that could play with Legwand and Dumont. He's not the goal scorer they are searching for, but could be a good fit on the Preds 2nd line. He can skate, handle the puck and hopefully set up Dumont and Legwand to do the scoring. When he was moved last time to Carolina, he came out hot and really helped spark the team. Maybe he could do it again in Nashville. The Preds should be able to fit one of their many defensive prospects into Sulzer's position.
Carolina:We would get a 6th or 7th defenseman and a mid round pick. Sulzer isn't anything special, but could develop into a 3rd pairing guy and he's cheap ($650,000). Withall of the injuries that occur, defensive depth is always a must and Sulzercomes with a two-way contract. The 4th round pick could be used to help replenish the minors. We should be able to find a role player or depth at that position. The real key for the Canes is to get rid of Samsonov's contract. He's a decent player (though not a favorite of mine), but he just doesn't seem to fit that well on this team. Moving him opens a place for one of the young wingers or even opens the possibility of resigning Ray Whitney while still leaving room for the kids.
Chicago:They get an energy guy that can play on the 3rd or 4th line and a savings of $1.3 million. This is basically a salary dump for Chicago, but LaRose was somewhat sought after this pre-season. He's struggled so far this year, but he is a hard worker and can kill penalties. You'll never question is work ethic and he should put in a few goals here and there. He could be a very good role player and has won a cup, which might be important to a team determined to win the cup within the next couple of seasons.
Carolina:We get a big power forward that could park himself in front of the net. Byfuglien could offer the Canes something we all have been wanting; a screen man for those point shots. I would hate to lose LaRose, but I would love to see what a big forward this size could do on this team. He is a little pricey, but if we go young; his salary shouldn't be much of a problem. This would also allow us to get bigger on the 3rd/Checking line.
Trade Aaron Ward to the Blue Jackets for a 3rd round pick.
Columbus:They would get a defensive defenseman to help out with their injury plagued blueline. Honestly, I don't know why Columbus would do this, but I saw a rumor it could happen. Ward was a pretty good player until this season, so maybe he would regain his form for the Blue Jackets. They have a need and the cap space, maybe it could help them get by until their guys get healthy.
Carolina: We would get a 3rd and clear a spot for one of the young guys to play more this season. We also would get to save a little money and the kids would get to develop in the NHL. We get to see more of what we have and maybe start stockpiling draft picks. Again, my thought is; the more picks we have the better opportunity that one develops enter a top notch player or we can package picks and move up in the draft.
Trade Matt Cullen to the Blackhawks for Cam Barker.
Chicago:They would get a 2nd line center to fill in for Bolland. Cullen has played pretty well this season, he could center Kane and Sharp, he can play on special teams, and he can play multiple positions. He is also cheaper than Barker and his contract expires at season's end; thus saving the Hawks cap space. He has the experience of winning a cup and this could benefit this young cup contender.
Carolina:We would get a young defenseman with potential. Barker has areas that need improvement, but maybe a new place would assist in that development. He has a decent shot, can play on the power play, and should be able to get more minutes here than in Chicago. He needs to work more in his own zone, but I think he would pair nicely with Gleason. Carolina would lose a popular player in Cullen, but I think it is unlikely that we would resign him at the end of the year. At least we would get something for him and he would go to a cup contender.
Philadelphia:They would get a versatile forward that can play in any situation and someone that has played in Laviolette's system before. He could play 3rd line center, on a line with Carter and Hartnell, on the 2nd power play unit, and on the penalty kill. He adds cup experience to a young team trying to get there and his contract comes off the books at the end of the year. Maybe he offers Philly a little shake-up, something to get them kick start. They would also get a 3rd round pick (obviously one of my other trades would have to happen to get a 3rd).
Carolina:We would get a young all-around defenseman. Coburn has struggled this year, but he still should develop into a really good player (He is a player I really like). He is a RFA at the end of the season and the Flyers have some cap issues and plenty of defensemansigned long-term. I'm not sure they would get rid of him, but Rutherford could always try. I think he would be a good match with Pitkanen and they could develop into a really good top pairing. The Canes could resign him to his RFA minimum ($1.54M) or offer him a long term deal in the $3M range.
Trade Ray Whitney to the Flames for a 1st round pick.
Calgary:They would get an experienced leader/winger to help make the push toward the Stanley Cup. You could put him on the 1st line with Jokinen and Iginla; that would be an interesting line to watch. Calgary is prime for a long playoff run, but their time is starting to run thin. They need to really push, but they have some competition from San Jose and Chicago. Ray is a skilled player on the later end of his career and he could help make that 1st line even better. He is a skilled passer, but can also put the puck in the back of the net. His limitation of physicality shouldn't be a problem on the Flames. He would also be able to get back home (not exactly, but pretty close). If Calgary goes far, a 1st round pick would be late and I'm sure they would trade that for a chance at the hardware.
Carolina: We would get a 1st round pick, probably a late one. If we get the 1st overall, that would basically be three 1st round pick (I'm including the top of the 2nd round). We should be able to use this pick to find a quality player that should contribute in the very near future. The one thing I would do before making this trade would be to sit down with Ray. I would tell him that I'm doing this for the benefit of the team's future and for him. I would then tell him that I would really like to resign him in the off-season, as long as the amount is right.
Trade Scott Walker to the Coyotes for Tyler Pyatt.
Phoenix: They get a good character guy that can give them some grit. He's not afraid to drop the gloves in defense of a teammate and he can a few in also. He is really good at cycling the puck and could make help this team get into or closer to the playoffs.
Carolina: We get a guy that could fit on the 3rd or 4th line and is a lot less expensive than Walker. He has scoring ability, but is also very inconsistent. We could see what he has and determine is we should resign him or not. I really like Walker as a player, but this organization needs to save as much money as possible this year.
So these are some of my ideas. Not everyone would work and I'm sure not everyone will be made, but it's something to consider. If some of these trades did happen, see below my projected lines for next season. We would be under the salary cap.
Whitney ($1.75) - Staal ($8.25) - Cole ($2.90)
Boychuk ($1.23) - Sutter ($1.23) - Ruutu ($3.80)
Brunnstrom ($0.96) - Jokinen ($1.70) - Byfuglien ($3.00)
Dwyer ($0.55) - Brind'Amour ($3.60) - Kostopoulos ($0.92)
Forward Call-ups: Bowman, Tlusty, Hall (projected)
Pitkanen ($4.00) - Coburn ($1.54)
Rodney ($0.85) - Gleason ($2.75)
Carson ($0.65) - Alberts ($1.05)
Defense Call-ups: Sulzer, McBain, Harrison
Ward ($6.30) - Peters ($0.55)