The March 2nd trade deadline is looming in the NHL and teams are really starting to shake things up – trade rumours aplenty, fans interests peaking, and NHL General Manager’s phones blowing up as we speak.
For our beloved Canucks, it’s unclear if they’ll make any major moves at the deadline this year. They picked up depth D-man Adam Clendening on January 29.
The Canucks have to be content with the depth and output of their forward unit at this point in the season. GM Jim Benning may look to add a scoring forward, but would be cautious in doing so. The Canucks have a number of blooming young prospects who they won’t want to give up, and adding depth forwards would only bump deserving players out of the lineup.
Ryan Miller could be injured for the next six weeks, but with Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom (who has had a brilliant season in the minors) taking over the workload, Benning can’t be worried about filling a goaltending gap for the time being.
One area Vancouver could shake things up is their back end. Top bluelines Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev are out with injuries, as well as Frank Corrado.
Vancouver could be looking for an offensive defenseman that has for so long been missing. D-men on the market such as Coyotes’ Keith Yandle and Capitals’ Mike Green don’t seem too farfetched. Despite high salaries of these players, they are both nearing the end of contracts and could have a high reward, albeit if the Canucks don’t break the bank on potentially making one of these deals.
Currently Edler leads the Canucks defense with 17 points this season. Christian Ehrhoff is the only Canucks defenseman who has reached 50 points in the last 19 seasons (50 in 2010-11). It’s a move that could be drastic for the Canucks, but adding a scoring D-man would likely be a welcoming option for this team and the fan base.
And now to the rest of the NHL. The Sabres and Jets kicked off the deadline frenzy with a blockbuster, as Winnipeg sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and a minor leaguer to Buffalo for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, two prospects and their 2015 1st round pick.
Winnipeg had been trying to move Kane for a while and are poised for a playoff run down. The Jets furthered this by adding offensive forward Jiri Tlusty from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Kane is injured and likely won’t debut with Buffalo till next season, which signals the Sabres intentions to tank the rest of year, probably looking to score the first-overall pick and Connor McDavid in this year’s draft. To further this, the Sabres traded goalie Jhonas Enroth to Dallas the same day, for Stars’ backup Anders Lindback. Enroth had started most of Buffalo’s game this season.
The Predators sent Olli Jokinen, a prospect and a first-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson. The move has the Predators looking at a Stanley Cup run, while the Leafs are likely thinking about rebuilding. Toronto also dealt away forwards David Clarkson and Daniel Winnik prior to the trade deadline.
To round up other trades leading to the deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks picked up Antoine Vermette from Arizona for a minor leaguer and first round pick; he’ll fill a fraction of the void left from Patrick Kane’s injury. They also acquired Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia for two draft picks.
The Carolina Hurricanes, along with trading Tlusty, sent Andrej Sekera to the Kings for a first round pick and a prospect, and Tim Gleason to the Capitals for defenseman Jack Hillen and a fourth round pick.
The Anaheim Ducks traded Devante Smith-Pelley to the Montreal Canadiens for rookie Jiri Sekac. Smith-Pelley and Sekac were born four days apart in June 1992; the two forwards play a very different style. The Ducks also picked up Tomas Fleischmann from the Florida Panthers in return for Dany Heatley and a third round pick.
The Panthers also picked up Jaromir Jagr from the Devils in return for two draft picks. 43 year-old Jagr, who’s fifth all time in NHL scoring, has now played for five different teams in the last four seasons. The busy Panthers also sent forward Sean Bergenheim to the Minnesota Wild.
Some key trade-bait players leading up to Monday’s deadline should include Keith Yandle (Arizona), Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry (Edmonton), Mike Green (Washington), Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, Jonathan Bernier (Toronto… yes, the Leafs are sellers), Marek Zidlicky (Devils), and Chris Stewart (Buffalo). We will see what madness awaits for the March 2nd deadline.