The people have spoken. Here is a sampling of deals, scenarios and questions I've received from readers after last week's column. Thanks for your passion.
With Evgeni Malkin done for the season and Sidney Crosby still extremely uncertain, do you see any trade opportunities or free agent signings that could help the Penguins?-- Jeff, Pittsburgh, PA
I think a big body in the middle -- like Jason Arnott or Nik Antropov -- makes sense. Antropov is intriguing because he can move to the wing when both Crosby and Malkin return.
I have absolutely no idea what Penguins GM Ray Shero plans on doing before the trade deadline. Who would make the most sense to move? Malkin? Personally, I think that's crazy talk, but if the goal is to win right now, you certainly could get two 50-60 points-per-year guys for Malkin's cap hit, and we'd be in a much better situation than we would be after all our other alternatives. I really think Shero will go into seller mode and try to get some picks by leveraging third- and fourth-liners to Western Conference teams that are fighting for a playoff spot.-- Chris, Pittsburgh, PA
Tim Connolly to the Penguins for a third-round and a fifth-round pick. Connolly fits the Pens' need up front, and he can play the pivot or wing. (Sabres GM) Darcy Regier will tell you that Connolly is a top 20 center!-- Fred, Buffalo
Malkin, who is out for the season, obviously isn't in play right now. I threw out the names of Arnott and Antropov to the Pens as possible fits, so why not Connolly? However, the Sabres are in the playoff hunt. It's also doubtful that Shero will go into seller mode if Sidney Crosby is coming back and the Penguins look reasonably healthy and in decent form for the playoffs.
Here are two potential deals for the Islanders. Move Radek Martinek for a second-round pick and trade P.A. Parenteau to Pittsburgh for NHL-ready prospect Eric Tancredi. Parenteau can provide secondary scoring in Malkin's absence and might be cheap enough for the Penguins to re-sign after Malkin returns. The last few games have provided abundant proof that John Tavares needs a Clark Gillies-like presence with scoring touch on his line. Put Mighty Matt Moulson on right wing and Tancredi on left wing and watch that line produce 100+ points next season.-- Bcisleman, Terrace, BC
Given the recent acrimony between the Islanders and Penguins, I'm not feeling any imminent trades between the two clubs.
I am a born-and-bred Flames fan who is encouraged by our recent stretch of strong play. But Calgary is not one player away from being an elite squad. (It doesn't have the cap room.) The farm system is thin and (former GM) Darryl Sutter traded away many high draft picks to assemble this team. It's time to unload some veterans and get youth and picks in return. Miikka Kiprusoff, Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr surely would be attractive to legitimate contenders and provide strong assets in return. The only concern would be which trade partners could absorb the cap hits these players bring. I'd hate to see one or more of these pillars leave, but I'm going to hate looking up at the Oilers in the standings in a year or two even more.-- Ian, Calgary, Canada
The Flames are playing really well right now. I don't think this spring is the time to blow up their roster.
The Bruins acquire Jarome Iginla from the Flames for Andrew Ference (he's from Calgary) and Boston's first-round pick (not the one from Toronto in the Kessel trade), or Boston acquires Jason Spezza from Ottawa for Mark Stuart and the second-round pick acquired from Toronto (which would be probably top five in that round). What thinkest thou, Mr. Eliot?-- Ron Gabriel, Toronto
With the Flames playing so well, moving Iginla doesn't really fly. Stuart will be moved, but I'm not sure what an unrestricted free agent defenseman like him really does for the rebuilding Senators. That pick is intriguing, though...
In the everyone-must-go world of the Senators, I can see Kovalev to the Kings for a second-rounder, and if Dan Hamhuis is out a long time in Vancouver, I can imagine the Canucks looking at Chris Phillips. Both Kovalev and Phillips are UFAs after the season, so if the Sens can get anything for them, I imagine they will try.-- Chris, Ottawa
Agreed. Phillips to the Canucks makes sense.
Between Dustin Penner or Ales Hemsky, who do you see being traded? Right now, rumors have Hemsky to the Predators for defenseman Ryan Ellis and a first-round pick. Penner has been floated around Los Angeles and Columbus for a couple of player packages. Personally, I like Hemsky to the Preds, and I would see if Boston would take Penner for Tyler Seguin (the Bruins are finding it hard to fit him in their lineup) and a pick. Thoughts? -- Warren, Detroit
Both Penner and Hemsky are in play before the deadline. But Nashville is no longer a possible destination after the Predators' acquisition of Mike Fisher. Nice try on Seguin, though.
To Boston: Hemsky ($4.1 million cap hit until 2011-12), Taylor Chorney ($940k RFA) and a third-rounder. To Edmonton: Joe Colborne ($1.1 million cap hit until 2012-13) and Blake Wheeler ($2.2 million RFA). This fits under the cap for Boston, I believe. The Bruins receive a true first line right wing for a Cup run. (They've recently been playing Mark Recchi there, for god's sake, and Nathan Horton hasn't scored in ages) plus a decent depth defenseman in Chorney and a pick. (Hemsky, if healthy, is absolutely worth that cap hit.
Edmonton receives a possible first line center with size for the future (something they're desperate for) and can concentrate on drafting for their other need on defense (Adam Larsson). Also, even though he's struggling mightily, Wheeler adds some size and offensive upside for the third line. Either way, his contract's up and the Oil can decide to sign him afterward. I don't know how much Boston values Colborne (probably a lot), but they are so deep at center with Krejci, Bergeron, Seguin and Marchand, when is he going to get a shot?-- Rick, Whistler, Canada
Interesting. The cap hit for Hemsky would be bothersome for Boston, but less onerous if the Bruins make other moves.
Obvious big-ticket guys like Bryan McCabe, Tomas Vokoun and Alex Kovalev are pretty unlikely to move. McCabe is long past his best-by date. Vokoun is interesting. Tampa Bay and Washington have the cap room to take him, but would Florida move him within the division? A rental doesn't seem like (Lightning GM) Steve Yzerman's style, and I'm not sure Washington has two players it can give up without overpaying. (A combo of Michal Neuvirth, John Carlson or Karl Alzner is far too rich.) Kovalev has completely stunk up the joint (in Ottawa). No contender wants him. Likelier candidates to be traded are depth guys.
It continues to blow me away that the league ignores Zenon Konopka's ideal performance as a fourth-liner. He's a monster on the dot, will fight anything made of organic material, and plays a hard honest game (albeit unskilled). He would be a great fit on the Rangers or Ducks. Jason Arnott would bring a wealth of playoff experience to a team like Tampa. Chris Phillips would look great in Dallas (provided the Stars have the financial wherewithal to do the deal) as their defense is stocked with nobodies. Would Dallas move someone like (young goaltender) Jack Campbell, with Kari Lehtonen playing well? -- Michael Sung, Los Angeles, CA
Yzerman made his move in goal with Dwayne Roloson. Konopka is likely to move and Anaheim is a good destination. Arnott, too, should end up elsewhere. Phillips would be a nice fit in Dallas. Campbell traded, though? Probably not.
The Capitals need a rock-solid goalie for the playoffs, especially given their new focus on defense. I'd trade Michal Neuvrith to Florida for Tomas Vokoun, who would give us a veteran goaltender and allow Semyon Varlamov to grow into the starting role over next year or two. The trade also addresses the fact that the Caps probably can't keep Neuvirth and Varlamov forever. Eventually one would leave.-- Anik, Boston, MA
I'm not sure that the Caps won't let their young guys fight it out this year to determine who becomes their number one. Florida is in the playoff mix, so Vokoun isn't necessarily in play, although he probably will be by February 28.
I'll give you deals -- one to improve my hometown team and one to improve a contender: Edmonton trades Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Tom Gilbert to Atlanta for Zach Bogosian and Nik Antropov. The Oilers would get a physical, nasty defenseman to complement the surprising toughness of Theo Peckham and compensate the Thrashers for taking Gilbert's high salary ($4 million cap hit). And if I'm the L.A. Kings, I trade Wayne Simmonds and a third-rounder to the Panthers for David Booth. The Kings would get a very good first- or second-line winger while the Panthers get a nice young player who could play on their top six.-- Zigmund, Edmonton, Alberta
I don't think Thrashers' GM Rick Dudley is thinking big-time trade, which your proposal would be with the Oilers. An interesting premise, though. Booth and Simmonds are similar players, so any deal involving one for the other would be contract driven as Booth is signed at over $3 million more per season that Simmonds.
Toronto trades Tomas Kaberle to Boston while Boston sends its first-round pick to Ottawa, which gets one of Toronto's prospect goalies (Jonas Gustavsson, James Reimer or Jussi Rynnas) while Toronto gets Jason Spezza.-- David Smith, Burlington, Ontario
I like it. Great stuff. Keep the ideas coming. Next week I'll weigh in as we get closer to the deadline.