Greetings all. Have to bail a little early today so let's waste no time in getting to some puck talk. So, where were we?
Do the wings survive without Howard or do they make a move to bring in a more consistent backup?
Andy; A lot of angst in Red Wing nation since it was announced Jimmy Howard had suffered a finger injury and might be out a few weeks (it seems a bit fluid yet how long Howard will be out). Joey MacDonald will get the start tonight against Phoenix but I will be surprised if GM Ken Holland doesn't move to add some goaltending insurance. Evgeni Nabokov is the obvious target given that he's actually played in the NHL of late and given the team's interest in him a year ago. It would appear that Ty Conklin inspires little confidence in head coach Mike Babcock and his teammates so I don't think the status quo will cut it much longer in Detroit.
So when can we expect the next big trade? Teams like Toronto are wanting to make moves now so they can continue their push for the playoffs. So who gives first?
Timmy; This is a great time of the year because it's like a 30-player poker game. Teams like Toronto want to add but the number of sellers is smaller now than it will be in two weeks which means the price is higher ie. for a Tuomo Ruutu. In two weeks there might be a couple of guys like Ruutu and thus the asking price comes down. Also for teams looking to add the longer they wait the easier the additions are against the cap. But the flip side is if you wait too long you may miss out on the player or kind of player you want. Hal Gill, for instance, will be highly sought after given his playoff experience. I expect the Flyers will be interested but do they move now or try and save cap space and see if the price comes down in two weeks? In short, soon. But when is soon? Not sure.
Scott. My Hawks are Dying here. Any help from Bowman coming soon and any truth to Pavel Kubina perhaps being available?
Jim; Just checking and Kubina has a limited no-trade clause and he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. His effectiveness has diminished over the last two or three years because of injury but Chicago might be a good landing place because Kubina wouldn't have to be 'the man' with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook etc. Not sure what the asking price would be and if the Lightning keep winning it may be a moot point. But the 'Hawks will not stand idly by as the deadline approaches.
Hi Scott! I've read that the Pens aren't opposed to making a trade for a bigger name player, but that they would have to structure it so the other team absorbs most of the salary (to make cap room once Staal/Crosby/Depres etc. return). What kind of a big-name player are we taking about? Someone in the 4-5 million per year category?
Devin; Under the current collective bargaining agreement teams can't eat a portion of a contract as they could in the past so that means anyone the Pens or any other team acquires they are responsible for their full salary. I imagine what you've heard is that the Pens could acquire a top-end forward (ie. a winger) but would have to send some salary the other way. I doubt that's going to happen given how strong the Penguin blue line is. My guess is Ray Shero won't upset his everyday roster to make any additions.
how impressive have the devils been since the all star break?4-0 with wins over rangers, and outplayed the flyers and penskovy with 9pts in 3 games, that is impressive, and is showing he is a leader, how long till people stop saying he is a selfish russian?with zajac getting checked out on wednesday, the devils could have a deep lineup, and most likely will go after a dman at the TD, who should they target? (lou said that the devils will be buyers)
david; No question the Devils are playing their best hockey of the season right now. And I agree on Ilya Kovalchuk. Interesting story emerging there as he assumes a leadership role. There seems to be little doubt that the team will retain Zach Parise and try and go as deep as they can in the playoffs and then see what develops before July 1. As for adding a veteran defender that makes sense and a guy like Hal Gill or perhaps Nicklas Grossman from Dallas.
will the blues make a move before the deadline? With Steen and Mcdonald future return still uncertain. We won't be able to go far without a dominant scorer right now all we can score is a goal or 2. I think we should use Bishop as trade bait
Justin; Not sure there's a huge market for Bishop even though he might yet turn into a good goaltending prospect. But if Alexander Steen and Andy McDonald return in the next couple of weeks as expected (or hoped given that they're both dealing with concussion issues) that's like adding two top-six forwards and gives Ken Hitchcock lots of options. Other than that I wouldn't expect the Blues, still in the middle of an ownership change, to make many bold moves. The good thing is I'm not sure they need to make such moves.
What's been missed a bit with the rise of Taylor Hall and the Nuge, not to mention Gagner's explosion, is the play of Jordan Eberle. He never appears to take a play off, and seems to create scoring chances at will. What kind of ceiling to you see for him? Maybe a perennial scoring title challenger? Or am I being too optimistic?
Sudbury; Not sure if Art Ross king in waiting is in the cards for Mr. Eberle but he has certainly flown a bit under the radar. And given his potential I'm sure that's why you've heard so much about possibly trading Sam Gagner of late (not sure that'll happen now but the Oilers certainly deal from a position of strength given their young offensive talent.) Certainly the three of those players; Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle have the potential to be point-a-game guys in the not too distant future.
Is Ryan Suter still going to be a Predator once the trade deadline is passed?
Willow; Yes. Now, will he be one on July 1, not so sure about that. Preds go on a long playoff run it'll be hard for Suter to walk away from the Music City. But that's a long ways off.
Scott,Besides an unlikely trade for Suter or Weber, I'm trying to figure out if the Rangers can land a solid PP defenseman. Any chance they can deal some youth (i.e. Tim Erixon/McIlrath/Zuccarello) to a team like Phoenix and go after after someone like Keith Yandle? If not, do you see them just trying to target the best forward that they can? Thanks!
Brendan; Don't see Yandle being moved by the Coyotes no matter how uncertain their future might be. Keep an eye on Joni Pitkanen who is injured and won't be back until March but is an underappreciated guy who logs tons of minutes and can help out offensively. Just not many puck-moving guys that figure to be on the market unless you want to take a chance on Tomas Kaberle (just kidding, that's not going to happen two years in a row).
Hello Scott! Thinking about Steve Mason. Do you think he can resurrect his career? He's still a very young goalie with great physical talents. And do you think he'd need a change of scenery for that to happen?
Andrew; Well Steve Mason sure needs a change of scenery but then again is there a Columbus Blue Jacket that doesn't? As for Mason as a reclamation project that rookie year seems like it happened to a completely different player. If it cost me nothing I might give him a shot and maybe Tampa or a place like that is a good spot for him to try and rebuild his career. But no one will give up any assets of value for him if he was made available by the Blue Jackets.
With the Hurricanes playing better as of late, what are the odds that Jim Rutherford signs Tuomo Ruutu to an extension rather than trading him?
Jonathan; Jim Rutherford has already broken GMs' hearts around the league by signing Tim Gleason to an extension he'll have them in a complete frenzy of anguish if he signs Ruutu. Too attractive an asset I think for Rutherford to hang onto even if the team is playing as well as it has all season.
I know the Rangers want a top 6 forward, but what do they give up to get that? I hate to see them trade any of the kids that have played their buts off this year. Something to be said for leaving well enough alone, you agree?
bob; I doubt if Glen Sather will give up anything from his everyday roster and certainly none of the top assets in Hartford. You're right, this team has been very carefully constructed and no sense in disrupting that rebuild for a rental guy like Ales Hemsky etc.
In light of playing better since the break what are the chances the Lightning make the playoff? Can they do it with their existing goaltending tandem? Are there realistic goaltending options for the Lightning available? What are the odds of bringing in a new number one goalie at this time of year paying off?
Kevin; I think if there's one team that could lead a late charge from back in the pack it's the Bolts given how mediocre the rest of the Southeast Division is and the experience of guys like Martin St. Louis and the evolution of Steven Stamkos. But I also doubt if Steve Yzerman will devote resources in the form of draft picks or prospects chasing a number one netminder. If he could grab a goaltender that might emerge as a goaltender of the future like Jonathan Bernier or Cory Schneider (doubt he'll be on the market) then maybe he goes that route but I wouldn't close the book on the Bolts' chances right now. Let's see where they are in a week.
What are the chances that Barry Trotz finally wins the well-deserved Jack Adams Trophy this season? Poile for GM of the Year?
Jackson; If the Predators can stay ahead of the St. Louis Blues whose head coach Ken Hitchcock has to have the inside track at the Jack Adams I think Barry Trotz's chances are pretty good.
Scott what would you do with The Scott Gomez?
Sebastien; What a sad story. An entire year without a goal. No end in sight. Are you further ahead keeping him and hoping he gets right or buying him out? The new GM in Montreal will have his hands full for sure and the Gomez conundrum will be chief among his priorities I am sure.
so Scotty: the Sharks. what kind of team are they? and how do they fix their PK?
Bid D; Well, could be worse, Sharks could have Chicago's PK. Weird but San Jose ranks 26th killing penalties and the 'Hawks 27th and yet would it really be a surprise if they ended up in a Western Conference final? (I know some would be surprised but bear with me.)Sharks seem to be in a weird space, not really challenged by anyone in the Pacific but still with a shot at finishing with a top two seed. But their lapses are cause for concern and I would expect Doug Wilson will be looking for some defensive depth come trade deadline. For all their missteps the Sharks look to have a lock on home ice at least in the first round yet again.
Hey scottWhen talking about deadline acquisitions we hear a lot about Tuomo Ruutu and Ales Hemsky. However, we rarely hear anything about Andrei Kostitsyn of the Canadiens. Can you assess his value? Can he be an option for teams at the deadline?
Anthony; I think Andrei Kostitsyn does have value. How about rejoining his brother in Nashville where the Preds can always use some scoring boost? But I think Kostitsyn is viewed as a second tier offensive talent and there are questions about his work ethic and fair or not I think he is perceived as not necessarily a glue guy. Would I give up more than a third round pick? Maybe a second but not anything more.
Scott, chances that the Atlantic puts all 5 teams in the playoffs? Isles are playing well again...
Joe; Isles always seem to play their best when they're out of it. Let's see how they make out if they pull within six points of 8th. I don't see them having the horses. But four out of five from the Atlantic is prett good representation, no?
Will the Avalanche be buyers or sellers, or perhaps neither? Do you see Sacco making it through the year?
Dennis; It would seem they will be neither buyer nor seller as there aren't really any obvious assets that would command top return. They're not going to trade Milan Hejduk (at least I would be shocked if they approached him about waiving his no-move clause. But lots of young talent there which I doubt the Avs will disrupt.
Slight techno problem. Bear with me.
Can you confirm that the Central is the best division in hockey? The top 4 teams are very strong and its entertaining to watch them play each other! Also, what can the Blues do to get Stewart going? Go after his brother that is rumored on his way out of Carolina?
Kevin; Anthony Stewart from all reports on waivers today. Hmmm. Might be an interesting pick-up for the Blues. And the Central is a great thing to watch. What drama and the great thing is that I am guessing the 4/5 seeds will come from the Central meaning we're going to get a dandy of a first-round clash to start the playoffs; even more incentive to finish on top in the best division in hockey.
Wo do you think will emerge in the playoffs from the SE division-and do you think my Panthers will have a shot? What piece of the puzzle does Dale Tallon need to add at the deadline to ensure a playoff berth?
Rich; I picked the Panthers in training camp to be a playoff team so I won't divert from that prediction. I think Dale Tallon will be looking to get healthy and not sure ownership has the stomach to take on much if any more salary. Still, a few home dates in the spring would be a welcome tonic for a franchise that hasn't tasted playoff hockey since 2000.
With no return in sight for Nick Backstrom, what are the chances that Washington packs it in and trades the UFAs at the deadline, i.e. Semin and Wideman?
Kevin; That's a sad story. Such a needless hit and such a dramatic impact on a franchise. Shame on Rene Bourque. But to your question I don't see George McPhee spending a lot in terms of picks or prospects this year given the state of the team. And really, would the team be worse off without Alexander Semin? But given that the Caps look to be in the hunt for a playoff spot and/or the Southeast Division crown and with Mike Green still not a factor I would be surprised if McPhee puts Wideman on the market.
What kind of package would the Rangers have to put together to acquire Rick Nash?
Pat; Not sure Nash will be on the market. Unless he expressly asks management to move him (who could blame him if he did) it won't happen. But if it shakes down that way it would have to be a first round pick, another top pick and a good prospect at least. Not sure the Rangers want in on that given their chemistry and the strong foundation in place for the future.
Could Johan Hedberg or Curtis Sanford be possible trade targets for the Red Wings? Looks like a backup goalie might move to the top of Ken Holland's wish list.
Zach; Sanford possible unlikely on Hedberg given how well the Devils are playing.
Okay all, thanks for dropping by. Let's do it again next week.