An Exciting Time, The NHL Trade Deadline
The March 5 NHL trade deadline is right around the corner, and anything can happen between now and then. Big names are consistently moved, there are typically a lot of deals, and there is a greatly likelihood that the trade with work out for both teams.
Often times, like other sports, teams end up trading draft picks and prospects for players that can help the team at that moment. What makes the NHL different is, in my opinion, draft picks and prospects are more likely to develop into contributors than in other sports.
A first round pick in the draft, more often than not, is going to help your team in the future. Therefore the NHL trade deadline becomes a classic situation of sacrificing a part of your future for help now, or sacrificing wins now for help in the future. Either way, it means there is usually a lot of drama and excitement leading up to the trade deadline.
Let’s take a look at some of the players that could be moved:
Ryan Miller (G) – Buffalo Sabres
The biggest name on the trading block is this star goaltender. He puts up solid numbers despite playing behind a Buffalo team that is one of the worst in NHL history. Miller is in the last year of his contract before he hits unrestricted free agency. He will be moved; it’s just a matter of where to.
Possible Destinations: St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals
Where I think he’ll go: My guess is that Miller ends up in St. Louis. He wants to go to a winning team, and St. Louis is one of the best in the league. Adding Miller to a St. Louis team that is already a defensive powerhouse would immediately make them Stanley Cup frontrunners.
Ryan Callahan (RW) - New York Rangers
The Rangers seem like they’re not going to be able to keep both defensemen Dan Girardi and Callahan due to salary cap issues. And it looks like they’ve already chosen to keep Girardi. The right winger is also in the last year of his contract before unrestricted free agency, and is looking to cash in, in the offseason.
Possible Destinations: Buffalo, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Montreal
Where I think he’ll go: Callahan is from Buffalo, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign there in the offseason, but I can see Montreal making a push to trade for him. The Canadiens are not an offensive powerhouse my any means, and adding a power forward like Callahan could really help Montreal make a run in the playoffs.
Thomas Vanek (LW) – New York Islanders
The Islanders shocked the NHL by trading for Vanek earlier in the season. The Austrian is in the last year of his contract (are you seeing a pattern yet?), and is one of the premiere scorers in the NHL. He recently told the Islanders he plans on testing free agency over the summer, meaning New York will be trading him--looking to get back some of what they lost earlier in the year.
Possible Destinations: Minnesota, Los Angeles, Phoenix
Where I think he’ll go: A couple of years ago, Los Angeles made a trade for Jeff Carter at the trade deadline that pushed the Kings over the edge, and helped them win the Stanley Cup. Once again the Kings are struggling to score goals, and that’s what Vanek does best. I’m guessing he goes to the Kings.
Mike Cammalleri (C) – Calgary Flames
The Flames, like the Sabres, are terrible and in full “rebuilding mode.” Cammalleri will be a nice veteran presence to any team that picks him up. The 31-year-old could offer some depth scoring for a team headed to the playoffs.
Possible Destinations: Los Angeles, Columbus, Tampa Bay
Where I think he’ll go: I’m pulling this one a little out of right field, but I think Tampa Bay would be a nice fit. They have the star power with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, but adding Cammalleri for a playoff push could really help the Bolts with their secondary scoring, so they are not relying on rookies Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat as much down the stretch.
Andrew MacDonald (D) - New York Islanders
MacDonald is in the last year of his deal, and recently declined a 4-year, $16-million extension from the Islanders. There are a ton of teams that could use a legitimate top 4 defenseman as the playoffs roll around. MacDonald also leads the league in blocked shots.
Possible Destinations: Colorado, Pittsburgh, Boston
I was really hoping the Avs would pick him up, but with Colorado losing Alex Tanguay for the year with a hip injury, they may wait one more year before really making a deadline push to make a Stanley Cup run. However, Pittsburgh is definitely in win now mode, and with a number of their defenseman battling injuries, and their defensive meltdowns in recent playoff history, I expect GM Ray Shero to pull the trigger on a deal for MacDonald.