I would first like to welcome myself back from Christmas/illness. Please hold your applause. Getting back into NHL hockey is a little tough these days, as I am an Oiler fan and watching Canada thump the lesser lights at the WJC is much more fun that watching Oiler “hockey?”.
Anyways, there are definitely things to discuss. The Washington-Columbus deal (good for both teams, in my opinion). Dave Scatchard, Kyle Calder and Mathieu Schneider are all available on waivers.
Carey Price is now popping up in Canadiens rumours, a new call is out to blow up the Oilers and the Rangers are looking for big bodies. All this info can be found at Spectors and of course in our Morning Papers.
Looking very briefly at the Caps–BJ’s trade, we see a solid veteran and a mobile defender going to Columbus for a speedster with some skills. I like the deal from both sides in that Columbus gets some veteran leadership and a good young defender to shore up the blue line in Rusty Klesla’s absence. Washington gets a big body that can move and play a rough and tumble game. I think Chimera‘s addition to the Caps signals their willingness to get their noses dirty come playoff time, and I am willing to bet Chimera pays dividends for them. Good for the GM’s, too, in pulling the trigger on moves to help their clubs.
Dave Scatchard is on the waiver wire today, as are Kyle Calder and now Mathieu Schneider. Scatchard has been around the block a few times and has certainly lost a step, but I think he could still help out a team that needs or wants some veteran insurance up front. He is only making $550k and I am sure most teams could afford him. That said, I would imagine he clears and gets sent to the minors, at least for a while. Should a team have interest, I would think Nashville would recall him so he could be claimed that way.
Anaheim has also placed former Regina Pat Kyle Calder on the waiver wire. Once a decent scorer, Calder has all but fallen off the map offensively. He is a UFA this summer and has a paltry cap hit of $386K. I would imagine there is someone willing to roll the dice on him, as he is only 30 and may benefit from a change of scenery.
Mathieu Schneider appeared on the wire today, after being mysteriously absent from the Canucks for the past few days. While no one is saying much, it could be a bad fit between player and team, or he could be done. The 40 year old is making $1.55 but has a higher cap hit of $2.75. He can still produce in a limited sense, but I don’t imagine anyone takes the gamble here, unless they really need help on the back end.
On the trade front, an article out of Montreal suggests that Bob Gainey will have to decide if he wants to keep Price or Jaroslav Halak. Both are RFA’s and make about the same money, but Halak has been better of late. Despite his uneven play this season, Price will still want a significant raise in the off-season, as will Halak. If the story is true, Gainey had better be comfortable with the guy he is going to pay, otherwise the Canadiens could be set back a number of years by a bad contract. My bet is that Halak goes, as the Habs seem to be more invested in Price.
In NYC, Glen Sather is thought to want to add some size to his lineup. With Marian Gaborik basically carrying the team on his back, I would thin that any help would be welcome. The problem for Sather is that the rest of the team is underperforming, and he has few tradable assets that would fetch a decent return. I believe he has learned his lesson about dealing future prospects and picks, so the team might have to be content with what they have until the deadline. I can’t see any other GM’s lining up to do Slats any favors.
Finally, Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal has echoed fan sentiment and called for the Oilers to be torn down, suggesting that the team keep its core and deal off veterans such as Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios and even Fernando Pisani. All three are being paid above what they can contribute, though Staios has been relatively steady against the onslaught.
Moreau has taken to throwing his team under the bus, so I can agree with him being moved. Staios should still have some value to a playoff bound team, but he has an extra year on his deal that pays him north of $2 million, which could limit the list of suitors. I doubt any team is that interested in Pisani. His history of illness isn’t likely to sit well with any team, and its likely best for the Oilers to allow him to retire in copper and blue.
For my money, I could get behind basically any trade. Even the youngsters. I think the fan base is getting a Maple Leaf-esque tendency to over value the players on the roster, and I don’t see any reason to keep most of the current bunch. What they have there clearly isn’t working, and an entirely new approach might be in order.
If I got to choose, I would keep Zach Stortini, Ryan Potunly, Ryan Stone, Ladislav Smid, Dustin Penner and Sam Gagner. Brule can stay too if he signs cheaply. The rest I would entertain offers on. This group offers a good base for the bottom six and an emerging defender. They are priced right (or should be come the summer) and are all guys that will play hard.
However, since I don’t get to choose, let me at least say that while I am very in favour of the blowup, I do not anticipate any moves until the deadline. I would imagine GM Steve Tambellini is wise enough not to sell low.