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.
I’ve had enough of looking at potential sellers. It’s getting depressing. This preview centers around one of the more obvious sellers; sometimes you gotta shake things up right? The Chicago Blackhawks put together one of the most amazing streaks in recent history, by going 23 games straight with at least one point. So what I’m trying to say is, they are clearly contenders. As such they are likely to gear up from a long playoff run, by adding pieces aplenty.
According to http://www.CapGeek.com the Chicago Blackhaws will have an estimated $15M at their disposal at the deadline. That means whatever their need, they can, if they so choose, fill it. As good as this team is, there are a few things that could be shored up with that $15M to boot. I’m still not convinced they can get a cup with their rotating door at second line center, and they are rumoured to be looking to land another defenseman. Not sure they need another one, but I guess they’ve little faith in Brookbank as their depth guy. Whatever the case, they should be active. Let’s us have a look at some of the players that could be Madhouse on Madison bound come April 3rd.
Derek Roy: With Derek Roy set to hit free agency, and his just so happening to be the perfect fit on this team’s second line, I could see the Blackhawks making a real push to land him. The Stars will want a solid return for Roy, but his scoring could make it more than worth the trouble. Especially if it helps them win the ultimate prize. Again.
Mike Ribeiro: Another potentially great fit -and I mean great - on their second line would be Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro’s cap hit is only $0.5M higher than Roy, which means his cap hit doesn’t make it all that hard to add to the payroll. I don’t wanna hype Blackhawks fans up too much, but if you land Ribeiro, start planning some Cup parties.
Vaclav Prospal: Prospal carries a no-movement clause, and the Blue Jackets continue to defy logic by staying in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, so there are questions about his availability. He’s not as good a player as any of the aforementioned names, but he’ll come much cheaper and fill in admirably as a second line center. Could also play the wing.
Eric Belanger and Boyd Gordon: I grouped these two together, because they’re more or less the same player. Pick your poison. Either one would provide a solid presence on the fourth line that could be relied upon to kill penalties and take important faceoffs.
Ron Hainsey: The Jets are currently holding down the top spot in their division, which will most likely make them buyers in general, but word on the street is Hainsey’s good as gone. UFA at the end of the year, and a UFA and all. Hainsey would be a great addition to a solid defensive corps, that could be relied on in nearly any situation.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins