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Just the beginning: Expect flurry of trades over the next week

Jun 19, 2010, 4:15 PM EDT

Spezza.jpgThe Nashville Predators and their two big trades today likely broke
the ice for the NHL as we gear up for the NHL draft next weekend and
then the start of free agency right after that. With the free agency
pool not as good as it’s been in the past, many are speculating that
this could be the busiest period for trades in the NHL since the lockout
as teams jockey for upgrades while battling roster and salary cap
limitations.

Since the free agency pool is limited, those on the
open market will likely demand a high price, leading teams to try and
save money by making trades to upgrade their team. The question is, who
will be next to be traded and which teams are likely to be the busiest?

There
is no doubt that Nashville isn’t done yet, as their two trades leave
the team with an insane amount of space under the salary cap with 17
players already under contract. With Jason Arnott headed to New Jersey,
the Predators are now in dire need of a top line center; they still have
pieces that can be moved and the cap space to pick up a large contract.
Jason Spezza has been a name that keeps coming up, and the Predators
have made the moves necessary in order to be able to take on his $7
million a year contract.

Bruce
Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun
seems to think that Tim Thomas will be
the next goaltender to be traded, saying that “as teams gather for the
draft in Los Angeles next week, expect Thomas to
be at the top of the most wanted list for GMs seeking help in goal.”

The issue there is that Thomas is set to make $5 million next season,
is 36 years old and had a woefully mediocre season last year; you have
to wonder if there are better options out there for teams looking to
acquire a goaltender this summer.

Despite the lack of a great free
agent market this summer, there are a number of experienced and
talented goaltenders set to become UFAs in two weeks. With not that many
teams in dire need of a starting goaltender, teams like Philadelphia or
San Jose can wait and have their pick without giving up any assets for a
player like Thomas.

You can also guarantee that teams like
Chicago, Calgary, Ottawa and perhaps even Detroit will be needing to
dump some salary over the next week or so, while other teams like
Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal and the New York Rangers could be buyers. Other teams, such as Florida, will be looking to retool and rebuild and could be shopping some of their top players as they hope to restock their system moving forward.

This is as close to another trade deadline as we’ll ever get, as teams
fight for space under the salary cap in order to prepare their rosters
for next season.

  1. nick - Jun 20, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Are you sure the Rangers will be buyers? I heard slats is sticking with his younger players. If there gonna be buyers, who will it be that they recieve, and for who?

  2. grimjack - Jun 21, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    I can’t imagine anyone taking Thomas without Boston having to eat some of that salary. How many teams need a $5 million dollar back-up goalie? Are you listening, Flyers? You don’t need to pay Tim Thomas $5 million to sit on the bench. And stop the Nabakov talk as well. If he was that great, he would have a ring. He never even got to the dance. Someone made a comment that Nabakov played the Hawks better then Leigton? Really? With Zero wins?

  3. strangerdays - Jun 21, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Nick,
    There is no way, that teh rangers could ever follow through with not being a “buyer” the big apple would not stand for the 4-6 years it would take to fix that mess… if they don’t make the playoffs next year (which they won’t) then the GM and coach will be fired (which they will).

  4. StakeX - Jun 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    @strangerdays – Sather isn’t going anywhere until he quits, plain and simple… no matter what the outcome of the next couple seasons. Its painfully obvious the owners of the Rangers simply don’t care all that much what happens to their team, otherwise Sather would have been gone a LONG time ago. He has made so many terrible calls as GM that have caused huge issues for the Rangers, such as the $7m a year waste of space named Wade Redden… or what about Rozsival/Drury/Gomez? All three recieved large contracts with the Rangers… doing little more then wasteing cap space. In fact, its hard to find many good moves Sather has made over the years… yet his job seems to be safer then ever. The coach on the other hand will be the one who takes the fall if the Rangers don’t over perform this year (which they will have to in order to make the playoffs with the players they have now). If the Rangers don’t make the playoffs, Sather will fire Torts and blame him for their failure…
    Personally Id love to see the Rangers turn into sellers and dump some of their dead weight. Tho I know that won’t happen because only Sather is dumb enough to sign them for what he did in the first place… which means that while the Rangers NEED to be buyers, its going to be hard for them with the cap.

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