Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2006 Trade Deadline Analysis

With the 2006 NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching, here is a team-by-team analysis of what players might be available. Thanks to TSN.ca for the report:

The 2006 NHL trade deadline is Thursday, March 9 at 3pm et/Noon pt, and TSN will have live coverage of all the breaking trades, updates, news and negotiations with NHL on TSN TradeCentre beginning at 10am et/7am pt. Click below to get a complete list of who went where during the season.

Lowdown on the NHL's 30 teams
Complete Trade List - 2005-06
TSN.ca TradeCentre Page

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - Brian Burke has already dumped two huge contracts in Sergei Fedorov and Petr Sykora, and likely won't stop dealing until he gets the lineup he's happy with. Reports have goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the block, as the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy winner has struggled this season with Ilya Bryzgalov getting more playing time.

Atlanta Thrashers - GM Don Waddell guaranteed a playoff spot for his up and coming squad, and that means improvements could be on the way. With centre Bobby Holik out since early January, a third-line centre could be on the wish list.

Boston Bruins - The Bruins have showed a lot of improvement in the aftermath of November's Joe Thornton trade. Marco Sturm has been a huge contributor, and Boston is in the thick of a tight playoff race. With Tim Thomas getting the spotlight in goal and Hannu Toivonen still being groomed as the netminder of the future, all signs point to 2004 Calder Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft being the odd man out. But Toivonen is still a couple of weeks away from playing because of a high ankle sprain, so the duo of Thomas and Raycroft will stand. Another name being thrown around is forward Sergei Samsonov, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Buffalo Sabres - Any moves to improve the club depend on the market for Martin Biron. He hasn't played much since the return of netminder Ryan Miller, despite winning a club-record 13 starts in a row. There are a lot of goalies on the market right now, and supply could very well exceed demand.

Calgary Flames - GM Darryl Sutter has been busy throughout the season, acquiring forward Kristian Huselius along with Mike Leclerc and netminder Brian Boucher. He may not be done yet, as reports have said the Flames could be interested in getting Olli Jokinen from Florida.
Carolina Hurricanes - The Hurricanes may sit out the deadline after dealing forwards Jesse Boulerice, Mike Zigomanis, Magnus Kahnberg and three draft picks for centre Doug Weight and forward Erkki Rajamaki. Then again, Carolina hasn't been this good in the regular season in a very long time, so some more deals could be made to ensure a full Stanley Cup run.

Chicago Blackhawks - GM Dale Tallon was very active signing free agents over the past two summers, but the team struggled right out the gate. With the possible exception of forward Mark Bell and defenceman Duncan Keith, no player on this roster is untouchable. Tyler Arnason, Kyle Calder and Matt Barnaby have been tossed around in the rumour mill, as well as Adrian Aucoin and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Colorado Avalanche - It's been three years since Patrick Roy's retirement, and the Avalanche are still reportedly putting out the feelers for a bonafide successor. David Aebischer has improved his game of late, and the Martin Biron-Jose Theodore-Roberto Luongo rumours have quieted down. But as the postseason nears, what will Lacroix do - stand pat, get insurance in net or grab a new No. 1 guy for a Cup run? Remember his answer in 2004...Tommy Salo.

Columbus Blue Jackets - The Blue Jackets have been a very good team of late, and everything on deadline day depends on their spot in the standings. If the Jackets are active, reports say unrestricted free agents Luke Richardson, Cale Hulse and Jan Hrdina - who combine for more than $4 million US in salary could be shipped off for a top-six forward. Forget the Marc Denis trade rumours, as GM Doug MacLean has already said the netminder won't be traded.

Dallas Stars - The Stars are on top of the Pacific Division, due in part to some solid acquisitions in Janne Niinimaa and Niklas Hagman. Losing Aaron Downey to Montreal via waivers prompted them to get another big guy in Jeremy Stevenson. It may be fine-tuning for the Stars at best, especially when they have Marty Turco holding the fort well in net.

Detroit Red Wings - The Wings entered the Olympic break with the NHL's best record, but could goaltending actually be something that needs to be addressed? "You look around this room; it is a weak point," Manny Legace recently told the Detroit Free Press. "If we have anything to point our finger at, it's this." Legace and Chris Osgood aren't as established as guys like Hasek or Brodeur, but the Wings will likely stick with this successful tandem for the postseason.

Edmonton Oilers - Mike Morrison already said he wants the chance to be the No. 1 goalie, but is that enough to address the Oilers' issues in net? Remember that the team has a surplus of defenceman after getting Dick Tarnstrom and Jaroslav Spacek, so all signs point to Kevin Lowe shipping out a blueliner and getting a goaltender for the stretch run.

Florida Panthers - Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen have already rejected long-term offers from the Panthers, raising a lot of questions about their futures in Florida. Granted, the team could still sign them later this spring, but it hasn't stopped the rumour mill going on possible deals. The Senators and Flames are aggressively chasing Jokinen, especially after Doug Weight went to Carolina. Where Luongo goes is anyone's guess, and don't count out the Panthers when all is said and done.

Los Angeles Kings - Reports indicate GM Dave Taylor could be planning to acquire a defensive defenceman like Washington's Brendan Witt, St. Louis's Eric Weinrich or Minnesota's Willie Mitchell. Sean Avery has been mentioned as trade bait, especially with recent arguments with head coach Andy Murray over playing time.

Minnesota Wild - With Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, GM Doug Risborough will be listening to offers from teams wanting goaltending. The team's blueline could also be testing the market this summer with Willie Mitchell, Filip Kuba and Andrei Zyuzin headed for free agency.

Montreal Canadiens - A lot of fans and media outlets in Montreal are calling for Bob Gainey to ship out struggling netminder Jose Theodore. But even if the GM is looking to swing a deal, it could be difficult finding a suitor willing to pay $5.3 million US over each of his next two seasons. And that was before the recent injury to his heel. More moveable names could be forwards Mike Ribeiro, Richard Zednik and Jan Bulis, depending on Montreal's postseason hopes.

Nashville Predators - The Predators traded for centre Mike Sillinger in January, adding some much-needed experience and offence for their playoff push. That likely won't be the only move for the Predators, who hope to add a veteran defenceman before the deadline.

New Jersey Devils - Unless they trade forward Alexander Mogilny and defenceman Vladimir
Malakhov, the Devils will be in salary cap trouble next year. The team is going to have to eat up $7.1 million US in cap room for two players who quite likely will be retired. Mogilny's $3.5 million salary and Malakhov's $3.6 million are going to put the Devils behind the salary cap eight ball, even if they're not actually paying them. Their deals also gave the Devils little breathing room under this year's cap. So are the Devils going to be buyers on deadline day? Probably not.

New York Islanders - The Isles entered the Olympic break just six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, so their fate on deadline day could go either way. Alexei Yashin who is making $7.6 million a season for the next five years, is going nowhere. Media opinions vary on team's trade plans, with names like Mark Parrish, Brad Lukowich, Miroslav Satan, Trent Hunter and Arron Asham being thrown around.

New York Rangers - The Rangers are doing so well at this stage of the season, it is hard to fathom the team making any major moves going into the playoffs. A bit more defensive help on the blueline may be in order, with defenceman Tom Poti and goaltender Kevin Weekes as possible candidates to be dangled. Could Brian Leetch be on his way back to Broadway? Don't bet on it.

Ottawa Senators - The Senators went into the Olympic break on a bit of a slump, and GM John Muckler is already looking to bolster his lineup down the middle - with Olli Jokinen. The Jokinen-to-Ottawa rumours just won't go away, as the Florida Panthers' leading scorer can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and the team has been unable to sign him to a long-term contract. How much the Senators are willing to give up for him is the concern, and a bidding war with a team like Calgary is all but inevitable.

Philadelphia Flyers - Like the Senators, the Flyers have also been struggling of late, with injuries to Peter Forsberg, Keith Primeau (for the season), Eric Desjardins, Mike Rathje, Michal Handzus, Sami Kapanen, Joni Pitkanen and Petr Nedved taking their toll at different times. With Primeau gone, Bob Clarke could be looking for some more experience up front. Could Mark Recchi make a return?

Phoenix Coyotes - GM Mike Barnett has made a flurry of moves since the summer of 2004, constantly looking for that right lineup that will make a postseason run. They may be active again leading up to the deadline, and Curtis Joseph - with a small portion of his salary left to pay this season - could be a good addition should the Coyotes bow out of the playoff hunt early. Shane Doan rumours keep popping up, but it's hard to imagine the team parting ways with their captain.

Pittsburgh Penguins - An offseason full of free agent signings and promise quickly turned into a regular season on a downward spiral. With postseason hopes all but lost, the Penguins could be looking to trade away veterans like Mark Recchi and John LeClair. Recchi has already stated he wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but no one knows what his fate may be come deadline day. LeClair is not the same forward that once dominated the scoreboard, but a change of scenery could boost his short-term productivity.

San Jose Sharks - The Sharks already made their big splash, so to speak, back in November
when the acquired Joe Thornton from Boston. If the team wants to add some depth, netminder Vesa Toskala, due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer could have been offered up. But by signing Toskala after the Olympic break, the Sharks don't need to deal him at the trade deadline just to get something in return.

St. Louis Blues - The lowly Blues have already begun the process of selling, with Mike Sillinger and Doug Weight gone on to happier days elsewhere. That leaves the rumour mill buzzing about the fate of Keith Tkachuk. He may just stay in St. Louis, as the Blues hold a $3.8 million US option on him for next season. More likely candidates to be moved are forward Dallas Drake and defenceman Eric Weinrich.

Tampa Bay Lightning - For all the preseason talk about the Lightning struggling without Nikolai Khabibulin, John Grahame has been solid for the defending champions. Nevertheless, reports continue to surface on the possibility of Jose Theodore, Dwayne Roloson, or Martin Biron possibly heading to Tampa. In return? Players like Brad Richards, Pavel Kubina, Ruslan Fedotenko, Grahame and Cory Sarich (all UFAs this summer) have all been rumoured.

Toronto Maple Leafs - The Maple Leafs don't have a lot of cap room to work with, so bringing in talent may not be an option at the deadline. The team has struggled as of late, prompting the local media to speculate on the futures of Jason Allison, Nik Antropov, Darcy Tucker and yes, even captain Mats Sundin. Such is life for hockey news in Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks - Alex Auld has been steady in net in place of the injured Dan Cloutier, with a 25-16-3-2 record and 2.86 goals-against average going into the Olympic break. It's up to Dave Nonis whether or not the team should make an upgrade in goal. With defenceman Ed Jovanovski out and Sami Salo and Mattia Ohlund on the shelf during the Olympics, Nonis will be more pressed to get some help on the blueline.

Washington Capitals - Signing veteran netminder Olaf Kolzig to a contract extension essentially took him off the trade market. That leaves GM George McPhee with the task of getting some value for defenceman Brendan Witt, who asked for a trade earlier this season. Witt becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, and could be a big help to any team looking for a strong defender down the stretch. Another name on the block could be forward Jeff Friesen, who has also been mentioned in trade rumours.

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