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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Traders Send NHL Tumlbing Into the Boards (TEE TIME)

This is the third and final of three posts examining some interesting thoughts and notes regarding 10 of the NHL's 30 teams as they prepare for T-D Day (trade deadline).

A total of 3 posts are provided broken into the 3 categories of Chasing Stanley, In the Curve and Tee Time to correspond with On Goal Analysis' (OGA) depiction of where the teams stand on their quest to qualify for NHL post-season play.

At OGA, we measure a team's performance to a proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) at the end of each 10-game segment to see where they fall on the Curve. For more information, please see The Tao of OGA to understand how we can call a team IN or OUT of the playoffs, even as early as November.

The following teams have all been determined by OGA to be at TEE TIME:

  • Bill Guerin is the healthy scratch du jour...again. Sitting out the last couple games...is it Boston? Montreal? NO, it's the Capitals!!! No, wait....it's not. FUN! But what what if we throw in Doug Weight?...Okay, it's Boston! The Caps? It's on Hold? Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
  • The most important part of this to note: both Guerin and Weight are both going to unrestricted free agents come summer and both are 38 years old...and can still play. Both have played together in Edmonton, St. Louis and now on the Island. Perhaps renting them both to the same team for immediate chemistry and a contributing line would help a team push deep into the playoffs. It would certainly make a great hockey story for these two deserving players. If they do both go (either together or separate) it is important the Islanders get some tasty treats in return - prospects, early picks, a new arena....something good to help this team keep the fan base hopeful and the recent progress on the Lighthouse Project cooking along. The Isles are going to be contenders in this league much sooner than people are ready to accept and the coach made the decision by the Game 40 mark this year to let the youth play and get experience in anticipation of next season's success.
  • On February 20th, the Isles did deal Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli for Dean McAmmond and a 2009 first round pick, positioning themselves to add to the future.
  • The Leafs are expected to be one the busiest teams at the deadline...and expected to be sellers. Mathematically, the team still has a slim chance of making the playoffs. However, OGA has called them OUT and we stick to that call. Thus, any moves made on March 4th are done in anticipation of strengthening the team for next season and beyond...and shedding some payroll.
  • For an overview, here are the players said to be available to any of the other 29 teams who want to part with draft picks and/or promsing prospects:
  1. Pavel Kubina - D - Unrestriced free agent after the 09/10 season who currently has a no-trade clause. Still a possibility on the deal-making, though.
  2. Tomas Kaberle - D - Will he or won't he? Another no-trader but provided the GM with a list of 10 teams (all in the East) he would be willing to consider. The latest thoughts on this are that he may not be available after all. He is definately a fan favorite and very talented. But GM Burke wants top biliing for this player who deserves it.
  3. Nik Antropov - C - Can also play right wing and has been expected to be available all season for the trade deadline to relieve salary cap space as he is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Antropov is having a good season but has not played up to expectations over the years, many have thought. A change of sweaters is probably more likely for this player than any other on the Leafs' squad and he will boost any team's chance of making the post-season, despite the naysayers who like to refer to him as 'the pylon.'
  4. Matt Stajan - C - He is having a great year and is signed thru the 09/10 season at an attractive salary. Will he stay or will he go? It depends on the offer...
  5. Dominic Moore - C - Having a break-out, career year and is worth more now than previously thought. Burke will want to move Moore and get the most bang for the buck here. Another fairly safe bet for a Maple Leaf falling from the tree.
UPDATE: Both Nik Antropov and Dominc Moore were scratches for the Maple Leafs' game (03.03.09) vs the New Jersey Devils. Time to pack up, boys!

  • The Coyotes looked like they were playoff bound midway thru the season. Then came the All-Star break and a drought in the desert. Following a nasty losing streak, this team begain (yet again) thinking about what can they do for positioning next season. The GM has already stated he will trade Derek Morris, an expensive, unrestricted free agent after this season.
  • Olli Jokinen is another name bantered around the intertubes of late with trade rumors, but Phoenix has barely begun to reap the benefits of this dynamic player, received from Florida before the current campaign. Although the organization may entertain trade offers for this difference-maker, it will be costly to pry him from the Desert Dogs, if at all.
  • Phoenix has so much potential and the middle part of the current season had hints of what is to come for this team. No need to go shopping in hopes to make the playoffs this year, but if another contender comes calling with big eyes and open wallets, they will, as all teams will, consider the offers. Everyone's a seller when the price is right.
This wraps up the Frozen Pill's review of 10 teams before the trade deadline. On Wednesday, March 4th, the real fun begins. One reminder - the yard sale ends at 3PM Eastern time but that simply means that communication must be received by the NHL offices by this time. So any late, breaking deals may not get reported until closer to 3.30 or 4.00PM. Golly, waiting another half hour? Yeah, we'll be okay. But the games tomorrow night and on Thursday will be fun to watch because only one other deadline looms...the Playoffs!

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