Plamondon: NHL Trade Deadline looms
Brian Plamondon | Tuesday, February 17, 2015
In just a few weeks one of my favorite sports days of the year will take place: the National Hockey League trade deadline.
Falling on Monday, March 2 this year, the deadline is a fun and exciting day that can make or break your team’s season. Unlike the NFL, or even the NBA, the NHL trade deadline is an incredibly busy day (or couple of days leading up to it) — in 2014, there were 30 deals completed in the two days leading up to the deadline.
This year there is no shortage of possible moves. Below you’ll find a few of potential trades — most a stretch, but hey, I could look like a genius — that I think would benefit both clubs as I try my luck at armchair GM.
Maple Leafs trade RW Phil Kessel, 4th round pick to Sharks for C Joe Thornton, 1st round pick
The Leafs are officially in rebuild mode. They are bound to deal Kessel and defenseman Dion Phaneuf, whether it happens now or in the offseason. Kessel, in the midst of his seventh-straight 20-goal season, would immediately become a top-line threat for the Sharks and pair well with center Joe Pavelski. It also allows the Sharks, who have a glut of centers (Logan Couture is only 25), to get rid of one. The Sharks need to make a glitzy move as they fight for a playoff spot. The Leafs also come out happy in this scenario—they free up plenty of cap space for their rebuild, as Kessel was in year one of an eight year, $64 million pact. They gain an always-valuable first round pick in addition to a proven locker room leader who can mentor their younger guys.
Capitals trade D Mike Green, C Brooks Laich to Bruins for LW Milan Lucic, 2nd round pick
It’s no secret that the Bruins are looking for a defenseman. There were discussions, though, that any move might coincide with the departure of shut-down D-man Zdeno Chara. In this scenario, the B’s would hold onto Chara and add an offensive defenseman in Green, whose contract is up at the end of the year. They also would get Laich in the deal, a longtime Cap who is not far removed from four consecutive 40-point seasons. Injuries have hindered Laich, who could use a change of scenery.
It’s also no secret the Caps are interested in moving Green, already with upwards of $20 million tied up to defensemen for next year. They would get the power forward Lucic, who has been their worst enemy in the past and could provide the hard-nosed hockey that has eluded the Caps in the playoffs.
Three-team trade: Blackhawks receive D Keith Yandle (from Coyotes); Flames receive LW Patrick Sharp (from Chicago); Coyotes receive C prospect Sam Bennett (from Flames)
What?! The Hawks are getting rid of Sharp? Yup. He’s a great hockey player, with 31 points in 43 games, but he has seen his role in the top six diminish to the point that his production could be replaced. It’s not the best-case scenario, but the Hawks are competing every year and need help on the back end. Yandle has one more year on his contract, so he’s a bit more than a rental — and he’s a risk the Hawks are going to have to take if they want to win a second Stanley Cup in three years.
The Flames have plenty of room under the salary cap and get a bona-fide scoring threat. They currently sit 7th in the West, so they need something to secure them a playoff spot and give them a chance to finally compete in the postseason.
Lastly, the Coyotes. They’ve been an over-performing team for years, and it finally got the best of them. It’s time to reload with young prospects and draft picks, as Yandle has no role in Phoenix in the next two years.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.