Trade deadline preview

Publish date:

Trade talk exploded this week in NHL circles when the Maple Leafs overhauled their roster and the Devils won the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. The chatter will only intensify as the March 3 trade deadline moves closer.

American League trade rumors are decidedly more muted, but, for a variety of reasons, GMs annually shuffle their AHL rosters as the Calder Cup playoffs near: Gunning for the playoffs, clearing salary, making lineup space for young amateur prospects who will be sampling the AHL after their junior or college seasons end or doing a favor for a loyal veteran are all motives for GMs to act.

When Clear Day – the AHL's answer to the NHL trade frenzy and a deadline for rosters to be finalized for the post-season – arrives next month, some talent will surely swap cities. Springfield and San Antonio both are all but finished in the playoff race. Binghamton is also fading quickly, but the Senators do not have much veteran talent to offer.

Here is a look at a few AHL veterans who could be potential assets to clubs with Calder Cup playoff aspirations.


The Edmonton defenseman farmhand parlayed a Calder Cup last spring with Hershey into a contract with the Oilers. Desperate for a crack at the NHL after stalling in the deep Washington organization, Arsene's decision paid off with a two-game call-up in mid-November.

Arsene holds the Springfield captaincy and holds together the Falcons' rickety blueline. But the sturdy, steady defender will be 30 this summer and the Oilers need to replenish much of their organization with new faces. Arsene offers prospective suitors a two-time Calder Cup winner who blossomed as a pro in the highly respected Hershey environment with his no-frills brand of play and ample leadership.


The Rampage own one of the AHL's more intriguing rosters, but a brutal early season has buried the Phoenix affiliate. Hoggan has struggled since coming to the Phoenix organization and the 32-year-old winger saw his plus-minus drop from plus-39 in 2007-08 with Providence to minus-30 last season. But the British Columbia native offers buyers an experienced hand who has assembled consecutive 20-goal seasons and owns a Calder Cup on his resume.


Whether or not the Crunch can remain afloat in pursuit of a playoff spot is very much an open question; even a brief skid would likely prove fatal. If the Crunch does fall out of contention, MacKenzie is a dependable two-way center who has been to two Calder Cup finals (winning once) and can provide steady top-six offensive pop.


• Manchester netminder Jonathan Bernier's two wins and a pair of shutouts earned him player of the week honors.

• Keith Aucoin (12 goals, 35 points, plus-11) of Hershey won monthly player honors for January, while Milwaukee's Colin Wilson (seven goals, 20 points) won monthly rookie honors. Chicago goalie Peter Mannino went 6-1-0 with a 1.28 GAA and .958 save percentage to win the January goaltending award.

• Portland's Mark Mancari tied a franchise mark with a five-point game in a home win for the Pirates on Tuesday.

• The AHL finalized agreements with XM Radio and the NHL Network this week. XM coverage will debut a 12-game slate that begins Feb. 16. A six-game NHL Network schedule will start Feb. 20 when Syracuse hosts Binghamton in the AHL's first outdoor game.

• The Glens Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star reported this week the Adirondack Phantoms will return to the Glens Falls Civic Center for another season.

• When the week began, several proven NHL/AHL defensemen lugged dreadful plus-minus marks. Syracuse's Brendan Bell owned a league-worst minus-24 mark. Tampa Bay prospect Matt Lashoff carried a minus-19 line with Norfolk. Edmonton farmhands, not surprisingly, also ranked near the bottom of the AHL in this category, with Colin McDonald (minus-15), Kip Brennan (minus-16) and Taylor Chorney (minus-17) all representing Springfield.

From American League correspondent Patrick Williams, Around The AHL keeps tabs on the world's second best circuit, details all the news and notes and profiling prospects destined for the next level. It appears every weekend only on


Mat Barzal

Fantasy Hockey Preview: New York Islanders

For the second straight season, the Islanders were on the cusp of making the finals only to be defeated by the eventual Cup champions. They're projected to be contenders again, and your fantasy team should take note.

Brian Boyle

Veteran Forward Brian Boyle Hoping to Catch on with Penguins

Boyle believed his body was sharp heading into the abbreviated 2020-21 season. Thirty-one NHL teams did not seem to agree. And so for the first time since 2008, Boyle found himself watching the league move on without him. He wants to change that for 2021-22.

Finale_de_la_coupe_de_France_de_Hockey_sur_glace_2013_-_001_-_Luc_Tardif (1)

Luc Tardif Elected IIHF President

French official Luc Tardif was elected president of the International Ice Hockey Federation on Saturday ahead of the return of NHL players to the Olympics in February.