In the last mailbag column, I lamented the lack of questions about potential trades and player movement. I write this week’s column with no such lament.
Do you see any big moves being made (except for Forsberg) before the trade deadline?
My favorite team in the NHL is the Penguins, and I would like to see a natural goal-scorer traded to the Steel City. What do you think of trading Ryan Malone to the Rangers for Petr Prucha?
Johan Carlsson, Karlstad, Sweden
Your first question was one I asked a Western Conference GM this week; he believed that a number of big names could be dealt before Feb. 27.
Here’s why I don’t see your Malone-Prucha swap suggestion coming to pass: (a) you’re asking two division rivals both fighting for a playoff spot to work with each other on a trade; (b) both players are underachieving this season; and (c) you’re asking two division rivals both fighting for a playoff spot to work with each other on a trade.
A better fit for the Penguins would be Columbus’ Fredrik Modin. He plays in the Western Conference, is a rental player (i.e. an unrestricted free agent this summer) who won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and he has valuable playoff experience from his days in Tampa Bay.
The Sabres have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup this year and with their big stars (Drury and Briere) about to become UFAs this summer, they’ve got to do everything possible to win this year.
They need some size. What are their options? Can they trade to get Mike Grier back? What about Adrian Aucoin?
They’re up against the cap, so it seems like to get anyone with any kind of salary they have to trade someone making a couple million. To me, that means trading away Martin Biron and maybe a big time prospect like Drew Stafford or Daniel Paille.
Many people in Buffalo get upset with me when I talk about trading these guys, but WE NEED TO WIN NOW! Forget about next year. What do you think?
Matt Caswell, Western New York
As Predators coach Barry Trotz said after Nashville acquired Peter Forsberg, you never want to look back 20 years later and wonder Â“what ifÂ” you’d made the trade that put you over the top. And while the Sabres aren’t in quite the same situation as the Preds are, Buffalo’s recent spate of injuries (to Jaro Spacek, Max Afinogenov, Paul Gaustad and Jiri Novotny) could force GM Darcy Regier into making a deal or two.
That said, San Jose is perfectly happy with Mike Grier, so he ain’t goin’ nowhere. And if you want any shot at re-signing Briere or Drury, I don’t think you want Adrian Aucoin.
But there are other tough defensemen (Brent Sopel, Aaron Miller) out there who could help the Sabres. If Regier can make the cap numbers work, sending Biron to L.A. (so long as the Kings can re-sign him) in exchange for one of those two makes a lot of sense.
Should the Leafs sell or buy at the deadline? And who should they be buying or selling? Enquiring Leafs Nation minds wanna know!
Barry Greenberg, Toronto
The Leafs should be selling Darcy Tucker, who will stretch their salary cap resources to the limit next season. As well, they should be buying younger players who will be able to knock the likes of journeymen (such as Bates Battaglia or Boyd Devereaux) out of Toronto’s lineup.
I still believe the Leafs will squeak into the post-season, but for too many years, they’ve exchanged promising youngsters such as Brad Boyes for short-term benefits at the trade deadline. Toronto GM John Ferguson understands that, which is good news for Leafs fans.
For now, that philosophy will likely mean another first-or-second-round playoff exit. Painful to hear, I’m sure, but you’ll be thankful for it this time next season.
With the trade deadline approaching, and the playoffs just around the corner, what current non-playoff team do you think will slip into a playoff position? Will it be an Eastern Conference team with the standings being so
much closer, or will somebody like Colorado who has been in most the year
jump back in?
Landon Meyers Muncie, IN
If you’ve followed my work, you know I haven’t been confident in the Avalanche since well before last year’s Jose Theodore trade. Their inconsistent play this season hasn’t given me any reason to think they’ll make a late run.
As I said in yesterday’s Screen Shots column, I don’t believe the Oilers or Rangers will make it to the playoffs, either.
So it comes down to the Leafs and Islanders for me. And though the Isles beat them in a shootout this week, I think Toronto has a better blueline Â– and some key players who will eventually return from injuries in Tucker and Kyle Wellwood Â– that should give them the edge.
Ask Adam will return March 2.
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