"Psst, hey buddy, need a goalie? I've got one.
"No, too rich? How about
Imaginary conversations? Yes, but while it's a safe bet that most fans haven't been thinking about the resumption of the NHL's regular season, you can be sure that general managers were. The trading deadline is at hand: Wednesday March 3 at 3 pm. Though most GMs will tell you that "they like their team" and "the salary cap will be an issue," we hear that ever year come deadline day.
As always there will be buyers, sellers and teams that will do both -- see:
With that in mind, we've taken in the likely trading scene for the 2010 deadline. It's not our intent to flash all 30 teams before your eyes, but we will look at the needs of Cup contenders and teams that are likely to try to position themselves for a playoff run.
The Capitals have no real weakness (unless you consider not having a Cup-savvy goaltender on the roster), but they could benefit from bringing in a puck-handling or shooting defenseman who can orchestrate a proper power play. They will likely have to cut into their formidable offense to get a top four blueliner, but they can afford it. The Caps could also go the rental route, but GM
The defending Cup champion Penguins are in the Capitals' class and then some, with
Ottawa established itself as perhaps the most improved team in the East during their 14-2 run up to the break. The Senators have scoring up front and may have solved their problem in goal, but they will need a quality defenseman in order to go from merely making the playoffs to making a run in the playoffs. They would be wise to also try for an experienced forward who has some scoring ability to replace at least some of the goals lost when
The Sabres are likely to get a lift out of the stellar play of goalie
The Flyers would be wise to look at shedding some tough guys for a third- or fourth-liner who actually helps win games. An experienced veteran who can settle a sometimes fractured dressing room would also help. As always, the Flyers need an upgrade in goal, and as usual, they aren't likely to get it.
Montreal, New York, Boston, Tampa Bay could make a move to get to a postseason berth, but none of the four look capable of going beyond one round.
The Sharks, Blackhawks and Canucks followed by the Coyotes, Kings, Avalanche and Predators will likely gain a postseason spot and possibly score an upset in the first round. Calgary, Dallas, Detroit and Anaheim are in contention for the coveted eighth spot.
San Jose and Chicago are powerhouses, but not without needs. There have always been quiet questions in San Jose regarding the "big game" capability of goaltender
In Chicago, there are questions about the mental toughness of goalies
The Canucks could use a bit more in the secondary scoring department, especially if it comes in the form of a veteran player with true Stanley Cup experience who could help settle young talented players who lack the mental toughness for a deep playoff run. If that player can also perform as a third-line, two-way center, then the Canucks will have struck gold.
The Coyotes have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft and could spend one on a quality veteran to help their thin defense or struggling power play. The problem is that the Coyotes are financed by the NHL's member teams and there is no room for more debt. They also have prospects and some expendable young players on their roster, but league oversight weighs heavy on the mind of GM Don Maloney.
The Kings are said to be in the market for any kind of sizeable winger who can get to the net and score. A veteran blueliner to lead the kids and take pressure off
Colorado is said to be looking (like everyone else) for a veteran defenseman, but not at the cost of a prospect or a draft pick. Word is that Nashville is looking for a penalty-killing forward who can win face-offs and a winger who'll add to what is usually a weak offense, but like Colorado, the Preds aren't likely to give away youth or picks. They might give up goalie
Detroit currently sits out of a playoff spot by a single point. The Red Wings, usually a Cup contender, look older now, but are counting on their own players to get healthy and complete the playoff push. There may not be another option as the Red Wings are at the max in the cap department and don't have much to give up in a trade.
The Flames held the eighth spot by a point at the break and are also stuck at the top end of the cap -- not a good place to be when you need a lot of scoring help. Calgary has already given away its top pick in the 2010 Draft in a deal with Phoenix to acquire the already-departed
Like the rest of the tightly bunched pack, the Ducks will likely look to add even though one could argue that they'd be better selling off veterans for prospects and looking toward next year. The Ducks are said to be shopping a veteran defenseman (
The Blues could upgrade, should veterans such as
The Stars also need to make moves. Normally, they would be handicapped by the fact that they are for sale, but cash-strapped owner