There is plenty of speculation lately suggesting Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise will be shopped if they haven’t re-signed with their respective teams by the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
But, right now, both teams are in the thick of the playoff race. The Predators have won five of their past six games and eight of their past 10, while the Devils have won seven of their past 10 and five of their past six.
Why would either club want to move a star player, regardless of his free agent status, who is vital to securing a playoff berth?
The Predators are in negotiations with Suter’s agent over a long-term extension. Even if those talks fall through by the trade deadline, it still wouldn’t make much sense to ship him out and send the wrong message to the rest of the team and its fans at such a critical juncture of the season.
The Devils’ principal owner has a debt problem, which will make it difficult to re-sign Parise, but they could use playoff revenue to help pay down that debt – and they stand a far better chance of making the post-season with Parise in the lineup.
If both clubs go into lengthy losing skids that knock them well out of playoff contention, then it would make more sense to move those players. As long as the Devils and Predators remain in the playoff hunt, it doesn’t make sense to move either guy.
BRUISED WILD SEEK FORWARD HELP
The Minnesota Wild’s injury-ravaged forward corps suffered another serious blow over the weekend, as first line center and team captain Mikko Koivu sustained a separated shoulder and is expected to be sidelined four-to-six weeks.
Koivu joins right winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard and left winger Guillaume Latendresse on the injured reserve list, leaving the offensively anemic Wild with only 11 forwards.
Michael Russo of Startribune.com reported he was told Wild GM Chuck Fletcher was trying to make a trade before calling up a replacement.
Russo considers goaltender Josh Harding the only player who could land the Wild a top-six forward, though there aren’t many available options, listing Edmonton right winger Ales Hemsky, Carolina right winger Tuomo Ruutu and Columbus left winger/center Vinny Prospal among possible “rental players.”
Forget about Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard. Russo was told Brassard had been taken off the market after Scott Arniel was fired as coach of Columbus.
KRUGER PLUGS HOLE IN BLACKHAWKS LINEUP
The Chicago Blackhawks have been relying upon rookie Marcus Kruger of late to fill the role of second-line center.
Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman would like to land an experienced second-line center, but noted finding one would be difficult and costly.
Jahns believes adding a winger, as well as a defenseman, is more likely, as the Blackhawks hope Kruger will fill the second-line center role.
ARE THE CANUCKS LOOKING TO BULK UP?
Critics of the Vancouver Canucks point to the lack of an established enforcer as the team’s Achilles heel. They say it prevents them from gaining an edge over more physical teams, such as the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
That’s what spurred recent rumors that the Canucks had talked to the Anaheim Ducks about tough guy George Parros.
Not true, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who tweeted the two teams hadn’t held a single discussion regarding Parros.
Those who dream the Canucks will land a policeman to ensure nasty rivals don’t take liberties against their best players will have to find other targets for their fantasy trades.