It’s t-minus two weeks and counting until the NHL’s Feb. 26 trade deadline, and, as promised, the next four mailbag columns will be devoted strictly to swap-related questions.
I love hockey and will follow my Minnesota Wild until I die. Do you see the Wild, with their new owner, trading for a big gun like Marian Hossa? I still see them as having one piece of the puzzle missing.
Love your insight.
Keith Nebel, Big Lake, Minn.
The pressure is mounting for the Wild to win at least one playoff series this season. Therefore, even though Minnesota’s Doug Risebrough is one of the more cautious dealers in the GM community, he almost definitely will be a buyer this year.
That said, don’t plan on seeing Hossa in green and red. He’s not the type of proven playoff performer most GMs could justify giving up the boatload of talent Atlanta’s Don Waddell will want in exchange, and I don’t know how much fun Hossa would have in Jacques Lemaire’s system.
Instead, Risebrough will likely take a smaller gamble on a second-or-third line forward; to add to the depth every playoff team will need come April.
Being a huge Edmonton Oilers fan I sometimes become very frustrated with Kevin Lowe and management. The way I see it, if they paid the price for a sniper, the Oilers would stop being bottom feeders on the goals-for list.
I was also watching some highlights and Washington’s Alexander Semin was one that came to mind. Given Semin’s injury troubles, the Oilers might not even have to give up a whole lot.
Am I oversimplifying this, or am I wrong in thinking this?
Thanks a lot,
Kris, Sherwood Park, Alta.
Um, you’re wrong. Semin may have had more than his fair share of injuries thus far in his young career, but some people believe he’s just about as talented as Alex Ovechkin.
Now, at some point down the line, finances may dictate that the Capitals have to choose which of the two Russians to hang onto. But that day is still a long ways off. A long ways.
I’ve been following hockey closely since the Blue Jackets came to town, but I have to admit, with the trade deadline coming closer, I need something clarified. What are the differences in trading a RFA as opposed to a UFA?
Michele Cupp, Columbus, Ohio
An RFA is a restricted free agent, meaning that his team can match any contract he might sign with another franchise, and in doing so retain his services.
Conversely, an unrestricted free agent can sign with any team, and his previous team cannot match the offer to keep him. Hence, RFAs are more valuable to teams focused on the future, while UFAs are, for the most part, short-term fixes.
I’m likely the only St. Louis Blues fan in Toronto and wondered what you’ve heard on the rumor front re: them. I figure seven losses in a row in January should cause some rumblings.
Tony A., Toronto
In terms of trades, the Blues are one of those hard-to-figure teams. They’re still on the periphery of the playoff picture, but another week of mixed results may force John Davidson & Co. to start sculpting next year’s roster right away.
If that’s the direction they do go in, I’d expect to see at least one veteran defenseman (Jay McKee, Barret Jackman, Bryce Salvador) traded for picks and/or prospects.
And if they still believe they’ve got a shot, I think you’ll still see them move one of those blueliners, but for veteran scoring help in return.
What do you think it would realistically take for the Leafs to get Bobby Ryan and Edmonton’s first round pick this year from Anaheim? How about Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov?
Jeff Smith, Toronto
I’m sure Brian Burke will disagree, but by the time the deadline rolls around, I think Sundin alone would be enough to get Ryan and Edmonton’s pick.
You can add Antropov to the mix, but the Ducks would likely have to include an NHL roster player to make the two Maple Leafs fit into Anaheim’s salary cap situation. And since the Leafs hold the proverbial hammer in any trade scenario with Sundin – the consensus is he would without a doubt be the top prize available at the trade deadline – they wouldn’t need to take back a throw-in type as they had to in the Vesa Toskala/Mark Bell transaction with San Jose.
For that reason, I think they trade them both in separate deals. But I’ve said for a while now that Sundin to the Ducks makes a whole lot of sense for both teams. However, if Peter Forsberg chooses to sign with Anaheim, all bets are off.
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