NHL Trade Bait
<i>Here are 13 players who could well be packing their bags before next Friday's NHL roster freeze or by the March 3 trade deadline.</i><br><br>Ray Whitney is not the most exciting name to headline the coming action, but Carolina's leading scorer is exactly the type of player who can make a difference for a contender. The 37-year old forward has the speed, experience and scoring touch to step into a top-six role, but he'll have to waive his no-trade clause first. He's reportedly looking for an extension on a deal that expires July 1, but may be willing to let that slip for the right team (say, the Penguins). Now that Ilya Kovalchuk's off the market, the `Canes should be able to extract a first-rounder for his services.
A decent stopper and an even better soldier, Biron might be the best answer for a team looking for goaltending insurance. The price won't be high -- a third-rounder should do the trick. If Semyon Varlamov's injury lingers much longer, the Caps may have to kick Biron's tires.
The veteran defender was scratched for Wednesday's game, ramping up speculation that a deal was imminent. It hasn't happened yet -- he needs to waive his NTC and may be looking for a contract extension -- but it could well go down. It's thought that San Jose or New Jersey -- the Devils are looking for an able body to replace Johnny Oduya -- are most likely to land his services. A third-round pick should seal the deal for a player who'll wind up on someone's third pair.
The Leafs won't give away the big left winger, who is on the verge of his fourth 20-goal season in the last five years. Still, he's not part of the long-term solution in Toronto, so GM Brian Burke will be listening to offers. If they can secure a second-rounder in this year's draft, they'll pull the trigger.
With so few centers on the market, Cullen's Stanley Cup experience, speed and (streaky) offensive touch will be coveted. He's even played the point on the power play, adding to his versatility. He might be a nice fit on the third line in Vancouver.
The Oilers reportedly were given a list of six teams -- the Kings, Ducks, Stars, Rangers, Capitals and Flyers -- for which the veteran defender will waive his no-trade clause. And while the broken hand he suffered in a fight last week did significant damage to his market value, he's expected to be ready for action in time for the playoffs. He's neither the defensive nor offensive threat he once was (hard to believe that he's yet to cash in even once with that booming shot on the power play this season), but he might provide a boost for a contender looking for depth at a discounted price.
The Bruins reportedly issued an email earlier this week alerting the rest of the league to the availability of the 30-year-old winger. No surprise that they haven't had to hire security to maintain control of the line forming outside Peter Chiarelli's office. Ryder's known for having a plus shot, but anyone who saw the premium chances he muffed in recent games against Washington and Montreal can't view the streaky sniper as the answer to their offensive woes. Then again, you never know how desperate a team might be to appear active once the dominoes start to fall. The Bruins might have to include a pick to get someone to soak up Ryder's $4 million hit for 2010-11.
The Oilers are willing to part company with their long-time captain but, as in the case of Michael Ryder, there's a question of how highly other teams will value a player who isn't bringing much to his current club. Moreau's the ultimate team player, and that may make him appealing as a veteran presence on a fourth line. Problem is, he's signed for next season at $1.75 million, so Edmonton may need to sweeten the pot to get him off their books.
The Thrashers aren't done dealing. Energy forward Armstrong becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and hasn't always been on the best of terms with coach John Anderson. A return to the Penguins for a middle-round pick wouldn't surprise anyone. There's also a chance that oft-injured goaltender Kari Lehtonen might finally be sent packing, but Atlanta may decide to cut ties with pending UFA Johan Hedberg instead.
There's a growing sense that the financially challenged Stars may not be willing, let alone able, to match what the agitating winger could generate on the open market as a UFA this summer. His numbers are down from last season, but Ott's value can't be measured simply in terms of goals and assists. The same reasons that make him one of the most hated players in the league are the ones that make him an ideal deadline pick-up. The real question for rookie GM Joe Nieuwendyk: with Mike Modano inching toward retirement this summer: Can he afford to part company with the guy likely to succeed Modano as the most popular Star?
With one year left on a contract that's unlikely to be renewed by the penurious Predators, Hamhuis could be allowed to play out the string. There's talk, however, that GM David Poile may want to cash in his chips a bit early, perhaps using Hamhuis to obtain an offensive threat to upgrade his streaky forward corps. Might be the sort of player that piques Dallas's interest.
The Stars seem ready to close the book on the Turco era, but the likelihood of dealing the impending UFA will be impacted directly by their success (or lack, thereof) heading into the deadline. But even if they make the 34-year-old available, the list of possible trading partners is shorter than a banker's patience with owner Tom Hicks. It doesn't take a long memory to recall Turco's phenomenal playoff performance in 2007 and 2008, but he's been erratic since then. He's also not the sort of guy you bring in to wear a ball cap on the bench and lead the cheers. Unless an injury sidelines a contender's No. 1, Turco might be a tough sell.
Two weeks ago, I would have said it was 50/50 that the Coyotes would listen to offers for the disappointing third-year forward. Now, after a couple of dynamite performances alongside Shane Doan on the top line, the odds of him being dealt have decreased significantly. Doesn't mean it won't happen. Phoenix may decide they need to make a splash heading into the playoffs, but they'd have to be dazzled by the offer.