Welcome to the first edition of The Kidds Corner: A hockey blog for hockey fans. Tune in for rumors, updates, predictions and news. It is a bit late in the season but no time to start like the trade deadline, which is this upcoming Monday, February 27th at 3PM Eastern. This event has almost turned into a national holiday in Canada, even though last years deadline was extremely disappointing.
Everyone thought that this would be a fast and furious deadline. Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is notorious for not waiting. “Prices get too high around the [deadline] so I like to get my deals out of the way a few weeks in advance” He says. However prices have been very high in the weeks leading up so he hasn’t been able to pull the trigger just yet.
That didn’t stop Paul Holmgren in going out and filling in the physical void left by the horrific concussion of Philadelphia Flyers Captain Chris Pronger. Holmgren went out and picked up Nicklas Grossman (6’4” 230 lbs.) from Dallas and Pavel Kubina (6’4” 258 lbs). Pronger is still suffering from post concussion syndrome and is not showing signs of recovery. “Chris isn’t himself these days, and not in a good way. We are just hoping to have some good days in a row” said his wife Lauren at the recent Flyers Wives Fight For Lives Carnival. The Flyers wouldn’t have had to spend their backlog of draft picks on Defense if $51 Million free agent acquisition goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was living up to his potential. He is earning $10 Million this season and his save percentage is below .900 which isn’t in the top 30.
Even though it has been slow, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a shortage of buyers and sellers. In fact this is one of the most star-studded trade deadlines in recent memory. Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson dropped a bomb on the world last week when he declared team Captain and face of the franchise, Rick Nash was on the block. Add Nash to names like Jeff Carter, Mikhail Grabovski, Jonathon Bernier, Ales Hemsky, Luke Schenn, Jack Johnson and James van Riemsdyk, and we could be in for an exciting deadline. Columbus will be the busiest team. In full rebuild mode, they already have dealt Antoine Vermette, and have Nash and Carter out on the market.
Rick Nash is currently being shopped around the league for the highest bidder. Rumor has it the asking price is an impact player, a young player preferably a goalie, an A prospect and a first round draft pick. However what is being offered around the league is significantly lower. Nash has a full No Trade Clause and can nix any deal that is to a team he doesn’t want to go to. He has given a list of teams he would agree to be traded to, but finding a team willing to tear their team apart to add Nash will be tough by the deadline. Also tough to find space for his contract, a cap hit of $7.8 Million for the next 6 years (capgeek.com). Teams that weren’t on “the list” are putting in offers as well and it isn’t far fetched to say Nash would go to a team like San Jose who are thinking about making an offer. It would shake the league up if Nash does move, but my guess is Howson can’t find a fit before the deadline, and Nash finishes the season in Columbus, and moves in the off season to Detroit.
Jeff Carter has been linked to Los Angeles. He wants out of Columbus and would love to be reunited with his former Philadelphia Phantoms, Flyers and Team Canada (World Juniors) teammate, best friend Mike Richards. The Kings however also have interest in Nash, van Riemsdyk and Hemsky. They are looking to add offense as they are last in the league in goals per game, and are miraculously still in the playoff hunt, thanks solely to goaltender Jonathon Quick. However there are many teams still interested in the high octane goal scorer, but there is a bit of hesitance in paying the price because of his contract. It is affordable at $5,272,727 (capgeek.com) for a player who has scored 30+ goals for the past 3 seasons, but it is for 10 years, and he has had a string of foot injuries in the last year. My guess is he lands in Los Angeles with defenseman Jack Johnson being part of the package coming back.
Ales Hemsky has been a thorn in the side of Edmonton Oilers. He has under produced for years, is often injured, but will still dazzle the audience on certain nights. Going with the theme of the year though, the Oilers seem to be asking too much, and with so many high-end forwards on the block, they aren’t getting enough attention. He is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and it looks like the Oilers may have no choice but to try and resign him. However he wants a longer deal than they are willing to give. I have no idea what is going to happen here, but with all of the young talent on the Oilers, I would move him for whatever I can get, whether it be an early pick or a decent young defenseman prospect.
James van Riemsdyk has been shopped to many teams by the Flyers. The former second overall draft pick has had flashes of brilliance and domination at times, but is yet to put a full consistent season together in his 3 year career. His new contract comes into affect next season, and the Flyers won’t move him without significant return. He is set to make $2.5 Million next year but has an annual cap hit of $4.25 Million over the next 6 seasons (capgeek.com). He has been linked to deals with Toronto for defenseman Luke Schenn, whose little brother Brayden plays for the Flyers, as well as Columbus and Rick Nash. My guess is JvR stays put in Philadelphia. A New Jersey native, he loves playing close to family and friends and loves being a part of their tight knit locker room.
Things are starting to heat up and Twitter has been exploding on an hourly basis with new thoughts and rumors are being tweeted at an alarming rate. Even though not much has gone down yet it has been exciting. Fans of many teams are coming up with their own thoughts and ways to land certain players. One thing is for certain; the best is yet to come.
Best ways to follow deadline?
TSN TradeCentre App on iPhone and iPad
Twitter: SportsNet’s Nick Kypreos: @RealKyper ; TSN’s Darren Dregger: @DarrenDreger; TSN’s Bob McKenzie: @TSNBobMcKenzie; ESPN/TSN’s Pierre LeBrun: @Real_ESPNLeBrun