With the NHL holiday trade freeze in place from Dec. 19-27 it’s a good time to look at potential trade bait from each Western Conference team. Click here to see the Eastern Conference.
Anaheim Ducks: Saku Koivu. Like most of his teammates, the 35-year-old Koivu has struggled this season and is on pace for his lowest points output since 1999-00. If the Ducks are out of the playoff race by the trade deadline, they will give Koivu the option of being dealt to a contender.
Calgary Flames: Cory Sarich. With plenty of blueline depth and needing cap space to re-sign left winger Rene Bourque, the Flames will consider moving Sarich and his $3.6 million cap hit once he returns from injury, perhaps for a rental scoring forward.
Chicago Blackhawks: Brent Sopel. Moving him won’t adversely affect the Blackhawks roster this season. With one more year at a cap hit of $2.33 million remaining, the Hawks might have to add a sweetener, such as a pick or prospect, to move the defensemen.
Colorado Avalanche: John-Michael Liles. He’s in coach Joe Sacco’s doghouse and with young blueliners Kyle Cumiskey and Ryan Wilson stepping up Liles, could be shopped, although his no-trade clause and $4.2 million salary will restrict his value on the trade market.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jason Chimera. The left winger was almost dealt last summer to San Jose and with the Jackets still in need of experienced blueline depth it would not be surprising if Chimera pops up again in the rumor mill.
Dallas Stars: Steve Ott. Eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, Ott will prove difficult to re-sign for the cost-conscious Stars. GM Joe Nieuwendyk is looking to bolster his blueline and could use the 27-year-old physical left winger as trade bait.
Detroit Red Wings: Jason Williams. GM Ken Holland insists he won’t make any trades to bolster his injury-ravaged lineup. His opinion, however, might change if the team is on the playoff bubble by the trade deadline, which could make a pending UFA center/winger such as Williams expendable.
Edmonton Oilers: Andrew Cogliano. He’s on pace for his points total to drop again after posting 45 as a rookie and 38 last season. It’s believed management wants to move some expensive veterans, but an affordable young center like Cogliano will attract more attention despite his poor numbers.
Los Angeles Kings: Alexander Frolov. He’s eligible for UFA status and earlier this season was benched for his indifferent play, making him a fixture in this season’s rumor mill. GM Dean Lombardi won’t just give him away, but if there’s a deal that will enhance the Kings’ playoff hopes this left winger will be gone.
Minnesota Wild: Kim Johnsson. An unrestricted free agent this summer, Johnsson is on pace for the lowest output of his career, which could be attributed to the Wild’s popgun offense. The defenseman could be dealt if the Wild are out of the race by March.
Nashville Predators: Dan Hamhuis. Management would love to retain Hamhuis, but he’s in his contract year and the cash-strapped Predators might be unable to re-sign him. With defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter under contract and the Preds needing offensive depth, he could be on the block.
Phoenix Coyotes: Peter Mueller. GM Don Maloney reportedly rejected an offer from the New York Rangers earlier in December for Mueller, but the struggling forward doesn’t appear to be a good fit in coach Dave Tippett’s defensive style. Unless Mueller picks up his game, he could be moving on.
San Jose Sharks: Jason Demers. His performance cooled after a hot start, earning a recent spell in the minors. GM Doug Wilson would prefer to retain the young defenseman, but given the pressure on this team to shake its playoff jinx he could be moved for a skilled rental player with post-season experience.
St. Louis Blues: Paul Kariya. The 35-year-old winger is in the final year of his contract and might be willing to waive his no-movement clause for a shot at playing for a Cup contender if the Blues are out of the race by late-February.
Vancouver Canucks: Mathieu Schneider. He’s been a healthy scratch in several games and is taking time off to attend to a personal matter, leading to speculation he’s pondering retirement. If he’s not retiring, the Canucks might consider peddling Schneider to teams seeking an experienced rearguard.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.