The NHL’s trade deadline is just under a week away. Even after years of disappointment as I watch analyst after analyst scrounge for something, anything, hell even an AHLer for AHLer trade, to comment on you had better believe I’ll be up bright and early for this year's deadline coverage.
In this article, I’ll even offer some of my opinions and speculation on the deadline. As of right now the playoff picture is about as clear as it will get, pre-deadline. There is very little in the way of a grey area for teams to hide in at this point. Your team is a seller, or they’re a buyer. Worst case scenario, there a journalistic bore and stand pat with their current roster. Whatever the case, something or preferably things are bound to happen.
Speaking of those stand pat type teams, oddly enough, something tells me Paul Holmgren of all people just might be one of them. Despite the fact that the Flyers currently sit four points out of last in the Eastern Conference, I don’t expect them to go full on firesale. The league wide assumption seems to be this is just a team struggling through injuries to some of their best players. No need to blow that up. That’s not to say they won’t ship out of some expendable players that don’t necessarily fit into the team's long term vision. When talking about the Flyers we also have to take into account the fact that they get somewhat of a get out jail free card organizationally, what with, humangous big free agent bust Ilya Bryzgalov manning the crease. Or whatever it is he does...
What will hinder Holmgren’s ability to make moves at the deadline are a combination of the dreaded salary cap crunch and injuries. Even with the amount of money he could potentially have saved based on these injuries, money is tight in Philly. That would make it incredibly difficult to add pieces to this roster, which really isn’t worth investing in anyways. These same injuries mean that if they were to try and sell, they don’t really have much left on the shelves. Hopefully the usually busy Flyers have something in store, but assuming they don’t and let us all down come April 3rd, enjoy their deadline preview.
Simon Gagne: It would seem kind of odd to part ways with Gagne only months after reacquiring him for a fourth round draft pick, but if they were to shop him they could always recoup that pick and maybe resign him in the offseason. Or not. Or maybe they get more than a third? If he is on the market, teams looking for scoring depth like the Bruins, Sharks, or Senators might be interested.
Ruslan Fedotenko: I’d say Fedotenko is as good as gone at this point. His great work ethic and improved playoff play will surely make him a wanted commodity by teams looking to play into June. With only the rest of this season left on his contract, with a cap hit of $1.75M he’s kind of the prototypical rental player.
Kurtis Foster: He’s no stranger to being traded, and his contract that ends at the end of this year, with a cap hit of less than $1M, means it’s likely a team looking to acquire defensive depth will be in hot pursuit.
Andrej Meszaros: Meszaros hasn’t been bad in Philly, but he hasn’t been great either. He has one year after this one remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4M, and the Flyers who are seemingly always up against the cap might be willing to move him to any team willing to ignore his battles with injuries all year long. Could see the New York Rangers being interested after losing Marc Staal to injury.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins