The Pittsburgh Penguins got the jump on everyone by dealing for Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray in the past two weeks. That plucked some gems from market, but plenty more action is expected ahead of Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline.
Here’s a look at some teams that should be buyers and sellers:
Boston Bruins: They nearly had Iginla and were interested in Morrow. Now they may have to settle for San Jose’s Ryane Clowe if they want a big forward. Clowe is without a goal in 28 games, but he had 24 only two seasons ago. If they want a right-winger, Brad Boyes is an impending unrestricted free agent, although the New York Islanders may not be selling a piece of their first line while so close to a playoff spot.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Despite the fine play of James Reimer, there is persistent talk of getting a veteran goalie. Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, despite a contract that runs to 2022, has been discussed since last summer. Centre Tyler Bozak, whose contract is up, has been mentioned going the other way. Now attention has turned to Calgary’s 36-year-old Miikka Kiprusoff, although he has mentioned retirement if he is traded. Another upcoming UFA is Florida’s Jose Theodore.
Ottawa Senators: With Jason Spezza out, the Senators may be seeking an centre for a top line and who better than UFA-to-be Derek Roy, an Ottawa native now with the Dallas Stars? With Craig Anderson on his way back, six-foot-seven goalie Ben Bishop could be attractive on the market.
Montreal Canadiens: Bringing back former Habs has been a theme under GM Marc Bergevin, who signed Francis Bouillon in the summer and recently traded for Michael Ryder and Jeff Halpern. He’ll likely want a veteran, depth defenceman before the deadline and that could mean Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne, a former Canadien. He’ll likely also want a depth forward with a physical side. A possibility is Kyle Chipchura of the Phoenix Coyotes, Montreal’s first-round pick in 2004 ?
Vancouver Canucks: With Ryan Kesler’s health always a question mark, help up front is likely on the agenda. They have Luongo and perhaps winger Mason Raymond to offer.
Anaheim Ducks: They are said to be seeking a centre, but would they go for Washington’s impending UFA Mike Ribeiro, or try for Florida veteran Tomas Fleischmann? One rumour has Philadelphia sending young centre Sean Couturier to the west coast for Bobby Ryan.
Columbus Blue Jacks: A big month of March looks to have made believers of the Blue Jackets. They hold three picks in the first round of the draft and are seeking a forward.
Calgary Flames: The Canadian-based squad with the dimmest playoff prospects is rebuilding. Iginla and Bouwmeester are already gone, and Kiprusoff may follow. Scoring forward Curtis Glencross’s name keeps coming up, even though he ought to be a keeper with two years left on a contract that pays a reasonable $2.55 million per season. Prospects and picks are sure to be the asking price.
Phoenix Coyotes: There are lots of impending UFAs, including Chipchura, Matthew Lombardi, Raffi Torres and Boyd Gordon, but the one that stands out is Mike Smith, a solid No. 1 goalie.
Buffalo Sabres: Veteran rearguard Robyn Regehr should be on the move, but the intriguing name being mentioned a lot is Thomas Vanek, a huge talent who has another year left on a deal that pays $7.1 million.
Florida Panthers: They have what could have been an intriguing trade piece in centre Stephen Weiss. He’s 29, a solid two-way player, and is due to be a UFA. Unfortunately, he’s also out for the season with a wrist injury. Defenceman Brian Campbell could generate interest but he still has three years left on his contract at just over $7.1 million per season.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Although he started out as a Flame, it is hard to imagine 37-year-old Martin St. Louis as anything but a Bolt. He has two years left to serve at $5.6 million per season.
Colorado Avalanche: They’re in last place and are bound to get offers. Veteran Milan Hejduk could be a good rental for a contender.