Here are 6 trades from around the league that I believe should be made and why. I do not necessarily believe the trades should occur right now, but I think they should be done. Again, I do not necessarily believe the trades should occur right now, but at some point during this season. Please review and let me know what you think. I know you won’t agree with all or maybe even any, but it’s a slow Canes week so I thought this might help pass the time. Maybe I’m just doing this to cause some debate; it might be fun to hear what you guys/gals think?
Washington: Washington would lose one of its dynamic scorers, but that is likely to happen anyway. They would gain a physical defenseman in Greene that I say is a Tim Gleason type of player. He doesn’t do anything real spectacular, but he is solid and should help improve their defense. He could possibly be paired with Mike Green, allowing Mike to roam and do what he does best; contribute offensively. Greene’s cap hit ($2.95M) is also pretty affordable and goes until the 13/14 season. Washington would also get Wayne Simmonds, a young winger with potential. He’s not Semin potential, but he could definitely offer the Caps something. He’s a big guy that usually plays with tons of energy and he also is pretty responsible defensively. With Mike Knuble getting older and his contract expiring, Simmonds could potentially fill that role on the Caps 2nd line or maybe even their 1st. He is a RFA after the season and will command some better compensation; but with Semin gone, the Caps will have a little more money to play with. Also included in the deal is a conditional 3rd round pick. If Semin does well in LA and he meets certain benchmarks, then that conditional 3rd becomes a 2nd.
LA: LA would gain a piece they missed out on in Kovalchuk and they are in need of; an elite left winger. Semin on Kopitar’s left side should be an offensive force. It would also allow Dustin Brown to move back to his natural position RW. Now if LA wanted to keep Semin, they would have to work out a contract extension, but having exclusive negotiating rights for a little while couldn’t hurt. They could always go after him in free agency, but you never know what the price will be and it wouldn’t address a glaring weakness in their lineup this season. LA would also get Erskine to fill in the Matt Greene role for the rest of this season. He’s probably not a top 4 guy, but LA has a pretty good stable of defenseman and Erskine would be a decent bottom pairing guy. He is a UFA after the season; but if LA was looking to resign him, he would probably come a lot cheaper than Greene. LA would lose a solid young defenseman in Greene, but like I said; they have defensive options. They would also have to give up a 2nd or 3rd round pick. That is probably not a huge deal for them, given their current prospects. The big piece to them in this trade would be Simmonds. They seem to like him and he is currently very affordable; but to get someone like Semin, you have to give up something in return.
Boston: This would help address 2 issues for the Bruins; their salary cap situation and an offensive defenseman. I know a lot of you are thinking; why get rid of Savard when they could just trade Strum or Ryder? Well, Boston is pretty heavy on centers and light on effective wingers. Also, trading Savard address the issue more long-term than trading the UFA wingers. If they don’t let Savard go, this problem will rear its head again in a couple of years when raises are due. Sure Savard is a great playmaking center, but Krejci & Bergeron are pretty good themselves. Then add an improving Seguin and Boston’s top 3 center spots are in pretty good shape. They would also be acquiring an offensive defenseman that can quarterback their power play in Kaberle. He would be a nice partner for Chara and they are not tied to him long-term because he is a free agent after the season. Caputi would basically be a future replacement for Wheeler at a lower cost for Boston. He hasn’t proven himself at the NHL level yet, but he is projected to be pretty good.
Toronto: IMO, this is exactly what the Leafs need, a 1st line center to play with Kessel. It would also reunite the two and should be successful, if Savard can regain his pre-concussion form. Savard would have to waive his NTC, but I’ve heard that Toronto would be a place he wouldn’t mind going to. And while Savard's salary over the next couple of season is high, his cap hit isn’t bad, and Toronto has plenty of money. Wheeler is another big winger that sort of fits the Burke mold; he not overly physical, but Burke might get him to play that type of game. They would lose Kaberle, but it doesn’t appear likely they are going to resign him anyway. While this probably wouldn’t be enough to get the Leaf in the playoffs this season, they should be playoff material for the 11/12 season. Burke & the Leafs need to get into the playoffs and finding a true #1 center would offer them their best chance of getting there.
Carolina: The Canes would gain a big, tough defensive prospect in Tuebert that has top 4 potential. Depending on his development level, he could possibly be a 3rd pairing guy next season and give Gleason a little more freedom to play his physical game. If things go well for Tuebert, he could move into the top 4 and pair up with one of our many offensive defensemen that the Canes already have. Moller is a smaller prospect that plays a little like LaRose. He’s an energy guy with some two-way ability and might be able to play center or wing on a 4th line. And with many Canes prospects expected to make the jump, having guys on two-way contracts would be helpful at keeping costs down. Losing LaRose’s work ethic and leadership would be tough, but it is possible he wouldn’t be back anyway. Losing Rodney probably wouldn’t be a huge loss since the Canes are probably not going to use him as anything more than a depth defenseman.
LA: If LA made the Semin trade, LaRose would be a good fill-in for Simmonds in the short term. He could work on their 3rd line & PK and his playoff experience could always help out the younger Kings. He’s also the type of player that most coaches love because his motor is always running and he will give you all he’s got. His expiring contract would also allow LA the flexibility of negotiating their other contracts after the season ends. Rodney is at most a depth defenseman, but he could fill in on a bottom pairing every once in a while. He’s on the older side for a prospect and his AHL experience might be helpful to the handful of young, up and coming defenseman they have in their system. He is still a RFA, so he could be resigned at a very affordable price if the Kings were so inclined. They would lose Tuebert and Moller from their system, but Tuebert is only their 3 or 4 rated defensive prospect and Moller seems to be out of favor with the organization. So they wouldn’t be giving up a lot for a solid role player in what hopes to be a good playoff run.
Tampa trades Vinny LeCavalier (C) to Montreal for Scott Gomez (C) & a 2nd Round Pick.
Tampa: Before you call me completely crazy here, hear me out. Tampa is no longer Vinny’s team, it is Stamkos’ team. And while the Lightning have plenty of cap space right now, that will start to be eaten up with new contracts for Stamkos, Hedman, Downie, and others. Getting rid of Vinny and his contract until 2020 would be a wise thing to do and not many teams would have the ability to take it on. Getting Gomez would not be an upgrade, but Gomez is a decent 2nd line center and his contract expires after the 13/14 season. And it not only expires sooner, but his actual salary begins to drop after this season; making a possible buyout much easier on the Lightning. Gomez, even though much smaller, has also been more durable than Vinny over the past couple of seasons. With Malone at his side, Gomez’s size shouldn’t be a huge factor. Tampa would also gain Montreal’s 2nd; since Montreal would be getting the better player, this would only be fair. The big key to this deal though is opening up future money to build around Stamkos.
Montreal: The Habs would finally get their big center and the fans would love this. While Vinny’s contract is much longer than Gomez’s, the cap hit is similar and the actual money is not quite the issue as it would be in Tampa. Montreal would more than likely become Vinny’s team and the playoffs wouldn’t be such a big question year in and year out. I could really foresee this being very lucrative for LaCavalier and Montreal. The big question would be what player they are getting; the pre 08 Vinny or post 08 Vinny? Either way, I think this would work well for both teams. Gomez lose wouldn’t be huge and the 2nd round pick is a small price to pay if Vinny could be close to a PPG player.
San Jose: The Sharks have significant limitations due to all the money they have tied up in their "star" players. Setoguchi is a RFA after the season and wants a decent raise, but he has been struggling some over the past year and a half. Trading him for something is return is going to be difficult. This trade would allow them to obtain a decent 6th defenseman in Lovejoy who is signed for 2 more seasons at a very affordable price. They would also gain a physical winger, Asham, who is cheap and has some abilities that could come in useful. Not to mention the small amount of money saved from getting rid of Setoguchi’s contract. It would allow them a little more freedom to make another trade if needed.
Pittsburgh: The Pens would gain another rental winger for Crosby or Malkin, but this one would come with RFA status. Setoguchi has skill and speed and he’s a talent upgrade over the useful Dupuis, but he has been struggling for a little while. If Crosby or Malkin could get his game to return, he could be a very useful piece in their expected playoff run. And if he worked out, Pittsburgh could potential resign him after the season. So Pittsburgh could retain a mid-season acquisition if he returns to the 20+ goal form. They would lose an affordable bottom pair defenseman in Lovejoy; but honestly, he could be replaced. They would also lose Asham, but the Pens (like the Canes) have plenty of players that could fill in on the 3rd or 4th line.
Carolina trades Sergei Samsonov (LW) to Anaheim for a conditional 4th Round Pick.
Carolina: The Canes would gain a conditional 4th that could increase to a 3rd if Sammy were to meet certain benchmarks. Samsonov is going to be gone at some point, whether it is during the season or after the season. If the Canes can get anything back for him, I would call it a win. The key to this trade though is the roster spot that would become available for one of the Canes prospects. Gaining NHL experience for next season could be very useful. And this would save the Canes some cash; no matter when the trade were to occur.
Anaheim: The Ducks currently sit in 12th place in the West, but they are only 1 point out of the playoff picture. They have a great top line, a pretty good 2nd line, and then pretty much nothing. Sammy could come in and provide them with some abilities in the bottom 6. He is not 1st line material, but he does ok against bottom pairing defenseman and seems to play ok with grinder players. He might be able to come in with Lupul to give the Ducks some scoring options outside of the top 6. The conditional pick is not a huge price to pay and Anaheim has the cap room to take on the salary.
One player I would really like the Canes to target is Troy Brouwer in Chicago. I don’t know if Chicago would even give him up or at what price he would cost, but I think he could be a valuable asset to the Canes. He’s young, offers some size and physical play, and he has scoring potential. Since the Canes are constantly taking 2nd or 3rd liners and putting them on the 1st line, Brouwer is another type of player that could succeed at times on a 1st line with Staal.