BURNSIDE: Well, my friend, an interesting morning as the clock ticks toward Wednesday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. One deal that will ramp up the urgency meter for a couple of teams is the Vancouver Canucks’ addition of center Derek Roy, acquired from the Dallas Stars for a second-round pick in the 2013 draft and defensive prospect Kevin Connauton, whom the Canucks selected 83rd overall in 2009. There were only a couple of offensive centers headed toward unrestricted free agency on the trade market (Roy and Washington's Mike Ribeiro) and now Roy is gone. The Canucks, thin down the middle with Ryan Kesler out and David Booth gone for the season, filled a gaping hole with the addition of Roy. Is Vancouver done dealing? A source told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun that the Canucks still have an interest in Ryane Clowe. But for teams that were looking for help down the middle, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, does this mean Ribeiro's value is even greater? Or does it suggest Washington GM George McPhee will redouble his efforts to lock Ribeiro up long term, given that the Caps are just three points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference with a big tilt in Carolina on tap Tuesday night?
CUSTANCE: If I were George McPhee, I’d be redoubling my efforts to trade Ribeiro rather than re-sign him. I realize the Capitals are still in the mix and have been looking for a No. 2 center for a long time, but he’s clearly the best potential center available now. He probably was before Roy was traded. If Roy is worth a second-round pick and a prospect, Ribeiro should fetch a first-rounder. It would be a short-term hit for the Capitals, but prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov is a great young center. We’ve talked a lot about the pressure Boston is under to match Penguins GM Ray Shero's magic, but what does this mean for Chicago? The Canucks just got better by adding Roy, and Kesler is on the mend. Plus, Clowe is still an option for the Canucks. What does Chicago do to keep up?
BURNSIDE: I know you and I disagree on Ribeiro. I think the Caps’ best play is to try to keep Ribeiro in the fold. Not sure if McPhee can come up with enough term, but given how nicely Ribeiro has fit in there, it’s hard to see the Caps coming up with a better option this summer -- and, of course, there’s the not-so-insignificant issue of possibly making the playoffs for a sixth straight season. As for the Blackhawks, do you really think there’s that much pressure on Stan Bowman to make a significant move? He has lots of attractive assets in Rockford and could pry Ribeiro loose if he has no intention of keeping the center long term. But given the Blackhawks’ mini-rebuild after their 2010 Stanley Cup win, I imagine Bowman will be keeping his asset powder dry.
CUSTANCE: True. It’s not like there are glaring holes in Chicago, although I still think they need a No. 2 center. I wonder what this trade means to the Roberto Luongo trade talks? The Canucks wanted an NHL-ready center back in any deal for Luongo and now that’s not a need. It might open the door for more flexibility in terms of a Luongo deal moving forward. The goalie market is an interesting one; four or five teams have already contacted the Senators about Ben Bishop, who deserves a shot at a No. 1 job somewhere. Mike Smith is getting healthy in Phoenix and is an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Coyotes would prefer to extend his contract but nothing is expected to get done before the trade deadline. And, of course, Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff is another veteran option. But no doubt, the Canucks addressed a need with Roy and paid a reasonable price to make it happen, which opens some doors in Vancouver.