Spitballin”

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With the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, it’s always fun to speculate who is going where and what the return might be.

Of course, none of us has the inside poop on what General Mangers are actually thinking but we can make some guesses on what we think teams need and which ones are likely to be buyers.

One team that has been flying quietly under the radar is the Calgary Flames. 

TSN/ESPN pundit Pierre Lebrun has a post up today that looks author the Flames are approaching the deadline:

The reality is that the Calgary Flames are playing with house money being in playoff contention this late in the season, and even if their passionate fans might have forgotten their pedestrian preseason expectations, team management hasn’t. Which is why GM Brad Treveling isn’t about to trade a first-round pick in exchange for rental help. Heck, he’s going to guard his second-round pick pretty closely too, unless it’s a trade that really, really makes sense. And he will protect his Grade A prospects, too. But he does want to make a deal before Monday’s deadline that’s reasonable for now and beyond because he wants to reward the NHL’s hardest-working, blue-collar outfit for their surprising season.

Lebrun also identifies Calgary as being in the market for a defenseman in the wake of the injury to Mark Giordano and with his team currently 1 point out of a playoff sport, I think he’ll pull the trigger and may have the Oilers’ Jeff Petry in his sights.

The question then becomes what might the Flames dangle to get themselves another defenseman. Well, they are absolutely loaded at centre with Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan, Micahel Backlund, Joe Colbourne, Lance Bouma, Josh Jooris, Markus Granlund, Max Reinhart and Sam Bennett on the way next season.

Not only might one or more of those players prove to be attractive to a team wanting to move a defenseman but I would imagine the Arizona Coyotes could make an offer that would send Antoine Vermette to the Flames for a potential playoff run.

Brian Burke teams have a history of swinging big trades so don’t be surprised if the Flames pull off a blockbuster in the next few hours.


Another team to keep an eye on is the Florida Panthers. Dale Tallon has already acquired Jaromir Jagr and has just moved out Tomas Fleischmann’s $4.5M cap hit to the Ducks for Dany Heatley (buried in the minors) and a 3rd round pick. I expect another galosh to drop in south Florida very soon as the Panthers try to overtake the Bruins for the final wild card spot in the EC. Patrick Sharp?


Apparently the Toronto Maple Leafs are shopping centre Tyler Bozak very hard but there’s likely a limited market for what is essentially a 2nd line centre with a cap hit of $4.2M for another 3 seasons. It’s very difficult to predict which, if any teams might be interested in Bozak at that price point but some GM might step on his dink in order to get his team in the playoffs.


Lots of chatter that the Chicago Blackhawks are going to move Patrick Sharp (in the wake of persistent rumours he was involved in fisticuffs in the Hawks dressing room). Don’t be surprised if he ends up in Florida although there are other teams in the chase:

Noises getting louder over Blackhawks discussing calls for Sharp, who has limited NMC. Told WAS, MTL, DET have serious interest.


I expect the Arizona Coyotes may be the most active team in the next few hours. Along with aforementioned Vermette, the Coyotes may also deal Keith Yandle, Sam Gagner, Martin Erat, and Zbynek Michalek. Don Maloney could be holding a raft of draft picks if most or all of those players are moved.


 

I’ll update this post later in the afternoon as the dominoes begin to fall.

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Raking the Leafs

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a place where they are going to have to blow things up.

This presents a huge opportunity for teams that are in a position to pick the carcass.

Teams that have a huge amount of cap space AND a deep prospect pool are likely already smacking their lips at the prospect of “helping” the Leafs with their rebuild.

I would imagine the Leafs will be looking for young players and draft picks to get things started and any team that has an abundance of both should be able to help themselves to the Leafs’ roster.

Not surprisingly, there are only a few teams that I would consider to be in that position.

The Leafs will likely move one of Jake Gardiner or Cody Franson.

They will likely explore trade options for Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson, among others.

I don’t think they will actively shop Phil Kessel but if a team is prepared to offer up a stupendous package for one of the best goal scorers in the league, I think Brendan Shanahan would entertain it.

The team, and the manager, most acutely poised to take advantage of the Leafs, is the Calgary Flames and Brian Burke.

The Flames will have the most cap space in the offseason, have one of the deepest prospect pools in the league and the two teams have a long, long history of making deals with one another.

I can’t imagine the Flames would want Phaneuf back but I think they would look at every other Leafs roster player under the right conditions.

Let’s be clear here. The Flames have the revenue base and the cap space to relieve the Leafs of bad contracts if the price for doing business benefits them enough.

It’s very difficult to suss out how these deals will come about at the trade deadline and in the offseason but it wouldn’t surprise me if Phil Kessel, David Clarkson, Tyler Bozak and Cody Franson/Jake Gardiner were on the Flames roster next season.

Pierre LeBrun (one of the most tuned in NHL insiders) was on the radio today saying he expects the Leafs and Oilers will be the two teams that that will swing blockbuster trades in the next few months.

Brace yourself laddie!