With the NHL’s 2013 trade deadline only two sleeps away, things are really starting to pick up. New names are finding their way to the market, deals are reportedly happening as you read this and believe it or not we’re still all talking about Roberto Luongo. If you ask me this whole Christmas thing is totally overrated. Just try telling me that if your team is a contender this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah, I’m talking to you especially Pittsburgh Penguins fans...
For every new name on the market, there is a new team working it’s way either in or out of the buyer and seller distinction. It’s like the old saying goes “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...to playoff contention” or something like that. There are so many moving parts at work here, and it becomes all the more difficult to keep track of them in a shortened 48-game season that’s moving a mile a minute. Doesn’t mean I can’t try though - and don’t think I won’t enjoy every minute of it. You can get in on the action too, with my series of deadline previews.
Like this one for example, on the upstart Winnipeg Jets. Many were wondering if the love affair that Winnipeg had with it’s new-old club would dissipate with the lockout, and that whole familiarity breeding contempt thing. This just in, the honeymoon is far from over. The Jets, due in large part to a series of injuries in their division, are now on top of the Southeast Division and looking to make their mark in the postseason.
As easy it would - and in most cases should - be to label a virtual certainty for the 3rd seed as a “buyer” the Jets have other plans. Maybe they’ve been caught a little off guard by being a playoff team. I can definitely see this team bringing on a rental player or two, if the price is right, but don’t be surprised if they send a few player’s elsewhere for draft picks as well. If there’s one thing this club has made perfectly clear it’s that they want to build through the draft. They carry a long-term vision for this franchise, and have been steadfast to this point in keeping with it. With all that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the players that could be on their tradar (trade radar, yeah, I’m witty) or on their way out.
Ron Hainsey: Depending on who you talk to, it’s almost a certainty that the minute-munching defensemen will be dealt by the deadline. Yes, even though the Jets are in the 3rd place. While Hainsey doesn’t provide much if any offense, he is a reliable shutdown defensemen who takes on the oppositions best lines night in and night out. These kinds of players are in short supply at the deadline, and as such the Jets could get a handsome return for Hainsey, who carries a limited NTC. Hainsey has to designate a list of 15 teams he will accept a trade to before anything happens.
Alexander Burmistrov: I highly doubt Burmistrov will be moved, but if he’s the sole roadblock in what Jets management considers to be a great deal I can see him being moved. Burmistrov has hit a snag in his development, and has worked his way into Claude Noel’s dog house, which leads to his being a healthy scratch with great regularity. He was picked 8th overall though, so I’m sure there’s plenty of untapped potential left in Burmistrov.
Joe Corvo: The Jets powerplay is miserably ranked at 26th in the league, and much of this has to do with their having no offensive firepower from the blueline beyond their top pair. Enter Joe Corvo, and they have another anchor for their second unit. Corvo makes a lot of sense for the Jets if they do end up trading Ron Hainsey, but might be difficult to get from a divisional opponent like the Hurricanes.
Marc-Andre Bergeron: Bergeron would have a similar impact to Corvo on this team, and is also from a divisional rival. Only difference is he has a bad history with injuries, and an even worse history of poor play in his own end. Can’t see Bergeron endearing himself all that well to Noel...
Raffi Torres: The Jets bottom six forwards are just a little too nice for my liking. They lack the size and grit needed to even hope of making it out of a first round matchup. Bring Torres into the fold, and that changes mighty quick like.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins