RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 13:Ray Whitney #13  of the Carolina Hurricanes watches action on the ice from the bench during a NHL game against the New Jersey Devils on February 13, 2010 at RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the end of the Olympics comes one last chance for NHL general managers to make moves to improve their hockey clubs, and that means that the time between now and Wednesday’s Trade Deadline is going to be a period of upheaval for players and teams.

As a bit of a primer, we’ve decided to kick things off at Hockey or Die today by providing a list of 10 players likely to be sent to new homes over the next few days.

Dan Hamhuis, Nashville Predators.  Like most of the players on this list, Hamhuis is a pending unrestriceted free agent, in the final season of a four-year, $8.0 million dollar deal with the Predators.  He’s an elite defensive defenceman who was on the cusp of making the Canadian Olympic team, and at just 27 years of age is entering the prime of his career.  This season he’s been a positive force despite playing the toughest minutes on the team, but Nashville has a great set of young defencemen and may not be able to re-sign him.  They certainly cannot afford to let him walk away for nothing. 

Fredrik Modin, Columbus Blue Jackets.  The 35 year-old Modin has struggled with injuries over the last three seasons, playing less than 100 games in that span.  He’s struggled to score while being cast in a defensive role this season, but it’s possible that he could put up some points in the right situation.  A team acquiring him for a playoff push likely views him as a third line winger who can add some size and checking ability.

Ethan Moreau, Edmonton Oilers.  Rumours are rampant in Edmonton that the captain’s tenure with the team is over, and he’s been linked to several Pacific Division teams.  His $2.0 million contract has a year left in it after this one, and that price may scare teams away or at least diminish return, given that he’s unlikely to consistently play above the fourth line at this point in his career.

Peter Mueller, Phoenix Coyotes.  For months now there has been speculation that the Coyotes are trying to move Mueller, one of the few disappointments on their rejuvenated club.  Coach Dave Tippett has tried to shelter him by playing him against poor opponents and giving him lots of offensive zone starts, but nothing has worked so far.  Someone will be willing to take a chance on the 21 year-old, who stands 6’2″, was the eighth pick in the 2006 draft, and recorded 54 points as a rookie in 2007-08.

Fernando Pisani, Edmonton Oilers.  Pisani is another unrestricted free agent who can play a bottom-six role for a contending team.  He gained notoriety in that role for the Oilers in their improbable cup run in 2006, playing great defensive hockey and showing a surprising offensive touch, which culminated in a short-handed overtime goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Illness has limited both his games played and his effectiveness.

Alexei Ponikarovsky, Toronto Maple Leafs.  It’s said that a prophet is only without honour in his home country, and at times it seems much the same can be said about hockey players.  Certainly the adage applies to Ponikarovsky, an effective two-way player and a consistent 20-goal scorer since the NHL lockout.  While dismissed by one prominent member of the Toronto media as not even being a top-six player, that’s exactly the role that the 6’4″ Ukranian will be asked to play for whichever team acquires him.

Lee Stempniak, Toronto Maple Leafs.  I’ve always rooted for the diminutive Stempniak, who if nothing else at least contributed one of the greatest posters in hockey history.  A team acquiring Stempniak is not adding him for his offence (although he can contribute) so much as for his defensive play.

Raffi Torres, Columbus Blue Jackets.  Torres has been maddingly inconsistent throughout his NHL career, at least when it comes to scoring, but he does add a lot in a supporting role.  He’s an underrated defensive player who can be used in any role, but he also brings an at times vicious physical dimension.  In the 2006 playoffs, he knocked out both Milan Michalek and Doug Weight with hits that went unpenalized.

Aaron Ward, Carolina Hurricanes.  Aaron Ward has had a miserable season.  Despite that, he has some value; he brings the famous and ever-popular ‘veteran presence’ as well as ‘Stanley Cup experience’ and his contract expires after this season, so I fully expect some team to add him to shore up their blueline depth.

Ray Whitney, Carolina Hurricanes.  Whitney is probably the best offensive player available on the market today, a guy who has flirted with the point per game mark every season for more than a decade and who was a key piece in the Hurricanes 2006 Cup win.  The only hitch with Whitney is his no-trade clause, and the fact that he reportedly wants a multi-year contract extension from whoever acquires him.  Rumour has it that a trade to the Los Angeles Kings was already quashed because they wouldn’t offer him a three-year contract, and Whitney may surprise everyone and end up staying in Carolina.

Comments (14)

  1. I would love to see the habs do something big , without moving halak or subban

  2. why the habs…they still will not do anything……….

  3. The PRICE is Wrong.That dummy has to go…………………….

  4. Thats original

  5. Certainly should prove to be an interesting few days. And for once it’s going to be interesting to watch what the Oilers do this season. I’m sure lots of fans have the pitch forks ready if Tambellini fails to do much in these next three days. The Leafs are in the same boat although Burke has said he looks to acquire some talent as well. But it’s pretty slim pickings once you get past Stempinak and Ponikarovsky, so it will be tough to make other moves.

  6. Why does Price have to go, exactly? It seems to me that Gauthier has until the summer to deal with his goaltending, and that the draft will probably be the best time to make a decision.

  7. Even the draft seems a bit premature to me for Gauthier to handle the goaltender situation. Both goalies are RFA, so what prevents him from keeping both? If Price needs more time to develop (which appears to be the case), Halak can hold the fort, meanwhile solidifying his claim as a legit #1 NHL goalie (admittedly the Olympics will have helped him a lot in that department).
    Gauthier can then trade Halak later on for a better return and keep Price, if that’s what he wants. Or dump Price in 2 years if his development has leveled off. The return on Price right now probably isn’t that great so better to hold on and hope he turns it around.
    I see no point in getting rid of a goaltender at this point since both are RFAs, they kind of have to sign with us this summer.

    As for Montreal ‘needing’ to do something, I disagree. This team is in no position whatsoever to make a deep playoff run and has exactly 0 chance at the Cup even if they make the playoffs. The idea of ‘anything can happen’ is all nice and romantic but it doesn’t hold water. No sense in selling the farm for rentals; this team needs tweaks that should be done at the draft / over the summer.

  8. i just wanna see them dump a few players, hamrilik,spackek, gill, mara, for anything keep weber and subban up for the rest of the year, i almost hope they miss the playoffs and get in contention for a high draft pick, cause your right james they probaley wont go far in the playoffs, but it dosent look like gauthier is saving his chips when he throws away a second rounder for domininc moore.

  9. Eddy- I’m still puzzled by the Moore trade as well but if he signs a 2-3 years contract for a reasonable price (around 1,25M) he’s very well suited for third line duties and is an upgrade over Metro (who’s gone this summer anyway). So the Moore deal can be alleviated if he signs before hitting free agency – we needed a third line center from the UFA pool anyway. Moore is pretty good in that capacity.

    As for dumping bodies, we can hope but Gauthier’s unlikely to find takers for Gill, Mara and even Spacek (who I really like this year and as JW outlined a while back, is having a pretty good year). Besides, it’s only wishful thinking – no GM in this league would be a seller with their team in a playoff position. That’s absolutely suicidal PR and sends a message to the players that management has given up – NOT the winning culture/mindset you want in the locker room.

  10. the habs need to move hamerlik to free up cap space for plekenets, pouliot, halak and/or price. spacek is better and his cap hit is less…get rid of hamerlik and mara and thatll free up 7-8 mil, and then with metros 1 mil coming off the books this off season the habs will have the money for plekenets, pouliot, halak and/or price, and sergei kostitsyn, that is if they decide not to trade him at the deadline, which alot of people think they will. i agree with james though, spacek is aving a decent year and i think should be kept around

    but the list above says that whitney is the best player available. that is definitly not the case if plekenets goes on the market, he is muc better than whitney, cheaper too

    with hamerlik and mara moved the habs still have depth on the blueline: markov, spacek, bergeron, gill, o’bryne ( whos stood out a little more this season), gorges (who i think is there best defensive player, very underrated ) , subban, weber.

    and then in dealing hamerlik and mara could maybe buy them either A: one or two rentals to help a playoff run, i think svatos could be a risk that could pay off… or B: a couple draft picks to help them this offseason

  11. also. the oilers have a bit of a situation in net, it’ll never happen but if the habs could take there 1st pick for halak, s. kostitsyn, and someone else, or acouple more players or lower picks going to edmonton. thatd pretty much ensure either taylor hall or tyler seguin, or cam fowler but i think theyd be better off with seguin, a much needed centre., or taylor hall

    also with what i said above, svatos could be a good third winger there lines could still be good if they deal hamerlik and mara:

    ofense:
    benoit pouliot- scott gomez- brian giota
    andrei kostitsyn- thomas plekanets- mike camalleri
    sergei kostitsyn- dominic moore- marek svatos
    travis moen- glen metropolit- maxime lapiere
    other posibilities: tommy pyatt, mathiu darche, matt dagostini, max pacioretty, ryan white and brock trotter

    defense:
    markov- spacek
    gorges- gill
    bergeron- obryne
    other possibilities: P.K subban, and yanik weber

  12. first of i think the kostisyns would only play together trade one trade both kinda deal, secondly i could see the habs trading hamirlik to new jersey or colarado for a low second or thrid rounder, also i heard phoenix migth need a d man, only knock on hamrilik though is i think his cap hi is like 5.5 million which is crazyy also i know spacek is having a decent year but hes signed for the nest 3 years, and i think he might be on the decline, so it would be better to maybe try and move him now while he still has something left to offer, than you could use his 3.5 million that hes making and throw it at plekanec of maybe dan hamuies or something

  13. Mara’s a non-factor – he barely plays and is a UFA this summer. Sure if Gauthier can trade him for a third round pick he should, but it’s barely worth mentioning.
    I don’t think there’s much of a market for Spacek because of his age/salary, combined with his declining offensive output (lack of PP time and d-zone faceoffs will do that…). I do think there *might* be a market for Hamrlik but barely, because he still has 1 year left on his deal.
    But Hammer has been the Habs most consistent d-men for nearly 2 years now and trading him while they’re in a playoff spot is a terrible idea, for reasons outlined above. This is not NHL10 and keeping locker room chemistry and good attitude is important. Besides Gauthier didn’t indicate he was taking over for a rebuild so I think at most we can expect minor tweaks and no big moves. Getting both goalies signed for at least 1 year, Pleks signed long term and Pouliot signed to a 2-3 year extension will be plenty of work for Gauthier.

  14. There is absolutely no chance that the Oilers trade their first overall pick. None whatsoever.

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