St. Louis Blues v San Jose Sharks

With the trade deadline coming up in about 29 hours, it’s crunch time for NHL GMs. Half the battle with the standings as tight as they are is figuring out which direction is your team naturally heading, then deciding how to best give your group a hard shove in that direction. Mediocrity is the biggest failure of all in North American sports, thanks to our draft system.

So without any further ado, the following players are rumoured to be on the trading blocks.

Forwards

Ryane Clowe

His story: Dude is a large 30-year-old (6’2″ 225) who becomes an unrestricted free agent this off-season, and with the Sharks looking like sellers (despite winning five straight and climbing to 6th in the Western Conference standings) after moving Douglas Murray and Michael Handzus, it seems like they’ll try to move him too. Apparently nobody is getting out of San Jose for nothing. The one catch: Clowe scored 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points in 2010-2011, and followed it up with 15 points in 17 playoff games. This season: ZERO goals and 11 assists in 28 games. How much are teams willing to give up for a dude struggling that bad?

Jaromir Jagr

His story: Well, for one, he’s Jaromir freaking Jagr, the NHL’s eighth-leading scorer of all-time. He’s also a UFA this summer, and given Dallas’ current situation – out of playoffs and playing like dog meat – you could see them moving him to make sure they don’t lose him for nothing. Guy can still play too – has 24 points (13 of which are goals) in 30 games this season.

Brad Boyes

His story: Was on a one-year deal with the Islanders worth essentially nothing in hockey terms – one million bucks for a guy who once potted 40-plus in a season and is only 30 – and has done more than enough to prove he can still contribute. He has 27 points in 36 games, and could be a valuable depth-scorer for someone. Here’s to hoping the Isles keep him, speaking of teams who could use him for depth scoring and are in the playoff picture.

Lee Stempniak

His story: Another 30-year-old depth scorer, though he doesn’t turn UFA this summer. He’s got another year left at a cap-friendly hit of $2.5 million ($2.75 real dollars), and has done what’s expected of him for that money. He has 23 points in 33 games, and for a team going down in Flames, you could see him being swapped for picks or prospects.

Mike Ribiero

His story: Ribiero is banking five shmill this year, and becomes unrestricted when the season ends. The problem is, the Capitals are sort of teasing the playoffs (three points out, 6-3-1 in last 10), and don’t seem to know which direction they’re heading. Ribiero will probably be our indicator. He apparently wants a fairly lengthy extension (in the five year range), and given his stats this year – 34 points in 32 games – it would cost a lot to keep him. Probably too much, actually, but teams have done sillier things.

Ryan Jones

His story: He uh…he um…has a lot of hair and is pretty good on Twitter. But he’s a UFA this summer, so PANDEMONIUM! Get him! $1.5 million dollar cap hit, 28 years old, depth guy. Go nuts, teams in need.

Jason Pominville

His story: The Sabres captain has another year on his contract at a $5.3M cap hit before he becomes a UFA, but given the rest of his situation – being on the tanking/rebuilding Sabres, and having value (23 points in 36 games, 30 years old, put up 80 points one season) – you can see how he’d find his way out of town.

Jussi Jokinen

His story: Remarkably cleared waivers when the Hurricanes put him on it last week, likely because a three million dollar cap hit for a second/third line forward with a shrinking cap scared some people. But boy, is it going to be funny when somebody who could’ve had him for free trades for him.

Mason Raymond

His story: I don’t really think the Canucks, who are close to the top of their conference and at the very least in a home ice position, will deal one of their depth scorers given the amount of injuries they’ve seen to their top players (and their Cup window is only so big), but Raymond is an expiring contract, and good GMs rarely let talent walk away for nothing. If they can’t reach a reasonable extension, they may be forced to move him.

Derek Roy

His story: Roy was dealt from the Sabres to the Stars this summer, and while he hasn’t been downright terrible, I suspect they expected more than four goals in 26 games (though 18 points is nothing to blow your nose at). But a team in need of depth scoring could rent a guy with a (pro-rated) $4 million cap hit, which ain’t a bad deal. Given Dallas’ position, I could see that happening.

Marian Gaborik

His story: When you spend $7.5 million on a guy, you’re usually hoping for more than 19 points in 31 games. Gaborik has another year on his deal at that price, and with what we’ve seen him do in the past, it’s not impossible that some team would take him off the Rangers’ hands and hope for a rebirth of sorts. But the Rags are flirting with missing playoffs (currently in eighth), so I’d be surprised to see them pull the trigger without a sizable return.

Clarke MacArthur

His story: The Leafs are in a tough spot, because as I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to lose a guy for nothing, but with the Leafs currently in the thick of the playoffs (and I mean seriously right in the midst of it, they could climb or fall and still qualify), it’s a tough spot for a franchise that’s so desperate for playoffs, let alone playoff success.

Ales Hemsky

His story: Hemsky is a quality winger with a fairly reasonable cap hit of five million, on a deal that still has another season to go. Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini has made it clear that the Oilers are listening to all offers, but given their lot in the standings (starting to tease playoffs) he’d likely have to get quality return for Hemsky to justify it. He’s got 19 points in 33 games this season.

Tomas Fleischmann

His story: Fleischmann is a 28-year-old coming off a season in which he exchanged 27 goals and 34 assists for 4.5 million dollars. There’s a lot of teams out there who’d be happy to make that trade. Problem is, this year he’s only notched 8 and 15 in 36 games. Still, the Panthers are terrible (injuries haven’t helped), and would likely be happy to stay near the bottom and grab a good pick. With Weiss and Upshall injured, Fleishmann is one of the few chips they have to move. He has two years left after this season at that cap hit.

Raffi Torres

His story: Since the Coyotes are inching ever-closer to seller mode (four points out of playoffs isn’t bad, but the basement isn’t that far back in their rear-view), Torres could be a target. It’s crazy that people think he has no value because of his history as a cheapshot artist. You don’t have to like him, but with a salary and cap hit of $1.75M, a guy like Torres on your third or fourth line is a nice fit.

Defensemen

Adrian Aucoin

His story: Aucoin would be your prototypical “I think this is a guy we can run out there for 15 minutes a night without getting killed” trade deadline pickup. At 39, he’s not going to set the world on fire, but he keeps it simple, doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, and can eat some minutes for you. For a pro-rated $2.25M with an expiring contract, you could do worse.

Jamie McBain

His story: I doubt this one happens – a 25-year-old with a low cap hit of $1.8 million that has another season left on his deal – but if the Hurricanes decide this isn’t their year, they could turn him into a pretty decent return. In 2010-2011 he put up 30 points, so you could see why teams would covet him.

Mark Giordano

His story: The Flames are a disaster, that’s his story. His cap hit is a reasonable $4 mill for a guy who cracked 40 points a couple years ago and logs over 23 minutes a night on the back-end. But since it’s a fire sale in Cow-Town, they could grab a pretty darn nice return for the 29-year-old who’s under contract until 2016.

Filip Kuba

His story: Not that different from Giordano’s in that he’s only in this conversation because his team is auctioning off all items (EVERYTHING MUST GO), but quite different in that he’s 36 and not all that amazing anymore. But for this year and next at $4 million per…someone out there may want a depth guy.

Mark Streit

His story: HANDS OFF. THE ISLES ARE KEEPING HIM. (But seriously, they’re trying to extend him – if they can’t, he’s a guy making $4.1M on an expiring deal about to become a UFA who’s topped 40 points every season since 2007. Who wouldn’t want him?)

Update: Welp.

Ryan Whitney

His story: In his final year of a deal that pays him $4 million per, and frankly, he just isn’t worth it anymore. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not a bad player, it’s just that whatever his problem is with his feet is just that – a problem. He’s only 30, but his play has been in decline. I suppose a team looking to add some depth would be happy to have him, but I’m not trotting out Whitney in my d-zone in playoffs right now.

Goalies

Roberto Luongo

His story: Under contract until 2021, Luongo is one of the league’s top-5 goaltenders, and a qualified starter. Of course, he was usurped by the younger, cheaper Corey Schneider, and the Canucks aren’t giving him up for a bag of pucks. But, they know that having $9 mill-plus in their crease “isn’t the most efficient use of assets,” so given the right return, I’m sure they’d be happy to move him. Maybe the Leafs are leveraging Kiprusoff to get a better deal on Lu. Speaking of…

Mikka Kiprusoff

His story: The fire sale in Calgary apparently includes their 36-year old goaltender, who has a cap hit of $5.833 million for this year and next. He has said if he’s dealt, he won’t report (he only earns one million real dollars next year, so he’d just pack it in), but the Leafs have permission to speak with him to convince him to come to Toronto. Oh, and don’t forget – he’s been absolutely atrocious this year (3.52 GAA, .873 sv%). As I mentioned above, it seems more like they’re just trying to get Lu leverage, but I could be wrong.

Ben Bishop

His story: Ben Bishop has a lot going for him: he’s young (26), he’s playing well (2.62 GAA, .921 sv%), and he makes comparative nickels ($650k). With Lehner playing a lot and Anderson getting healthy, Bishop seems like a pretty valuable, movable asset.

Jonathan Bernier

His story: Another valuable trade chip. Like Corey Schneider, Bernier is a likely NHL-quality starter trapped behind a stud trying to get out. He’s only 24, only has a $1.25M cap hit, has an expiring contract, and this year has a 1.95 GAA and .919 sv% in the mere 11 contests he’s played. The Kings may want to two-headed monster for playoffs, but letting him walk for nothing would be a mistake. So…he could get moved.