The NHL Hot Stove is Always on

Originally posted on “Is It Sports?” by Ryan, shortly after he started up the Victoria Times.

Joe Thornton was recently traded from the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks for Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau. That’s one of the top 5 players in the league being traded from one underachieving team to another for three pretty good players in their own right. Why? The teams were slumping. They needed to shake things up. Does this make sense in any other sport? The White Sox are slumping! Trade Konerko! Send him to the Pirates! Bring in Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Rob Mackowiak!

Add this to the smattering of minor trades, like Brad Ference being shipped from Phoenix to New Jersey and a bigger trade like Russian heartthrob, the former Mr. Kournikova Sergei Fedorov being shipped off to the hockey Mecca that is Columbus, well, we reach the obvious conclusion that hockey GMs obviously don’t care what people think. Either that or their experience with hockey has rendered them stupid. Nevertheless, I did some poking around and thought up ten trades that would make sense. This is a little more fun, because any of these trades could have already happened since you started reading this. My only rule? Only two team deals, because adding a third party would indicate more thought than the GMs generally put into these things.

Steve Rucchin, Dominic Moore and Marcel Hossa (NYR) for Jere Lehtinin and Johan Hedberg (DAL): Eventually, the Rangers are going to have to figure out the relying solely on Jaromir Jagr can lead only to bad things. They have depth at defense and center, and they are short a big time player on the wing, and with Kevin Weekes shaky at times and injured at others, insurance in the net wouldn’t be a bad idea. So Rucchin whom the Stars have long coveted and Dominic Moore and Marcel Hossa added as young talent for the Stars to pair with Niko Kapanen and the Rangers get a flashy winger to play a line that doesn’t have the names Straka or Jagr involved, and Hedberg can play net. Not a bad deal.

Keith Tkachuk (STL) for Branko Radivojevic and Mike Richards (PHI): The Flyers’ roster is short a wing or two, otherwise it has what it needs to be a championship team. The drop off from first line (Simon Gagne) to second line (Donald Brashear) at left wing is so dramatic as to give one a head rush. The Blues, which have roughly 720 wingers on their roster, and a desperate need to offload the troublesome Tkachuk and continue to rebuild are a perfect fit, as long as the young defenseman and center are part of the package.

Dainius Zubrus (WAS) for Matt Ellison (CHI): The ‘Hawks are playing mediocre hockey in a fairly weak division. They lack a dynamic goal scorer, and in a market such as Chicago, that could be their undoing. As long as they are patient with Rene Borque and Pavel Vorobiev, they will be ok in the long run, but as it is they need a little kick in the pants, and the fans need assurances that the ownership is trying. Although they have a delicate balance of players that they don’t want to tinker with too much, they can afford to add a decent role player like Zubrus to shake things up.

Mark Parrish (NYI) for Jason Williams (DET): The Red Wings are missing out on another good RW, and that’s what Mark Parrish would provide. He’s lower in skill than Miroslav Satan, but lower in price as well, which is good news for the Wings who need to keep an eye on the salary cap. Jason Williams, a talented young center is going unused in Detroit, and talent happens to be in short demand on the Island. Williams needs a chance to find himself as a hockey player, and New York may be the place to do so.

Olli Jokinen (FLA) for Nick Schultz, Willie Mitchell, and Kyle Wanvig (MIN): The Panthers are awful. They need to get what they can for this team. It appears Kristian Huselius is already on his way to Minnesota through waivers, since he has never been a Mike Keenan favorite. Now the Panthers need to go to Minnesota and get something in return. Schultz and Wanvig, a D and a wing, both sought after prospects who are struggling to break through would get a lot of ice time with the Panthers. Willie Mitchell is a veteran going through a rough patch and might do well in South Florida. For the Wild, they seek to remain competitive in the Northwest division, and are stuck at .500. The next step is another pure goal scorer to pair with Marian Gaborik. Brian Rolston has proven he can play one of the other forward positions if Joikinen struggles with a transition to a wing. The Wild are a team in desperate need of some energy to spark a hot streak, and they have plenty of cap room, so this trade would make total sense.

Sergei Brylin, Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo (NJD) for Jonathan Cheechoo, Alyn McAuley, Nils Ekman and Christian Ehrhoff (SJ): About once a year, Lou Lamoriello totally refigures his team, adds young talent and exports some guys you never thought would leave New Jersey. San Jose about twice a year does the same. Needless to say, both are due. I have no doubt in my mind that Lamoriello could sucker the Sharks into taking on some older guys like Brylin and Pandolfo as well as current doghouse resident Gomez in exchange for young, ready to breakout talent like you have in Cheechoo Ehrhoff and Ekman. As for McAuley, he just seems to find his way into the “transactions” wire about twice a month, but nobody can turn down a smooth skating centerman.

Chris Drury (BUF) for Marek Zidlicky and Mark Eaton (NAS): The Sabres remind me of the 2001 Twins, in that they are almost ready to make the jump, but they have a fairly glaring hole. For the Twins, it was pitching. For the Sabres, its defense. The Twins solution was to give up a star player to help remedy their problem, which they did when they sent Matt Lawton to the Mets for Rick Reed. Now the Sabres are at the point where they need to do the same. Giving up one of their top centers for a pair defensemen, both who eat up ice time, and one, Zidlicky, provides some potential for scoring. The Predators are also looking for that extra edge in their fight against the Red Wings for control of the Central Division, and another scoring forward would definitely help them in that regard.
Brian Smolinski, Draft pick (OTT) for Ruslan Fedotenko (TB): The Senators recently got bad news that their skilled wingman Martin Havlat will have surgery and be lost for the season, so they should be in the market for another skilled scorer. The Lightning could use an older, wiser forward to work with top flight scorers Martin St. Louis and Fredrik Modin. This would give the Lightning more scoring lines, as Vinny Lecavalier tends to dominate whatever line he is on. Brad Richards also has the ability to move to a wing, should that be necessary. Smolinski is too low an asking price for the younger, skillful Fedotenko, so a pick would need to be thrown in.

Teemu Selanne, Petr Sykora, Scott Niedermeyer (ANH) for Raffi Torres, Ales Hemsky and picks (EDM): This is a trade that would never happen, but makes total sense. The Oilers need to realize that they are now in a dogfight in the battle of Alberta. Both Calgary and Edmonton are now
afforded the means to remain competitive, and right now, Calgary is winning the battle. A few new veterans could certainly spice things up for Edmonton. The Ducks, who would never make this trade either, have a severe age problem. Torres and Hemsky are very talented youngsters that could help the Ducks immediately. The picks would be a bonus. But the reason this trade wouldn’t work is the names. In Hollywood, you need to stick to you’re A-list names, and rebuilding is a 4 letter word.

As I started writing this, a couple players mentioned have already been traded, namely Kristian Huselius (to the Flames) and Matt Ellison (to the Flyers) So there you see it, hockey GMs just never quit. – Ryan