The NHL trade deadline is March 1. We had a small trade Monday, as Michael Stone was traded from the Coyotes to the Flames for third- and fifth-round draft picks. Some wonder if this will be a quiet deadline, at least as far as big names being on the move are concerned. Only the Coyotes and Avalanche are more than 10 points out of a playoff spot. So they are the only true sellers at this point. The problem is that the Coyotes don’t have much to sell. Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn’t going anywhere and neither is any of their prized youngsters. This will leave veterans like Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata as their biggest trade pieces, and while both players could be useful pieces for a team on a playoff run, neither one is going to bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Avalanche, however, have two very useful players in Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. Both are easily Top 6 forwards for any NHL team, and either one could easily be placed on a top line. The problem for teams looking to acquire either player is that Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is holding out for a king’s ransom, and who can blame him? Right now, any team that feels like they are one player away will have to come talk to Colorado, and even teams that are rebuilding can still talk about Duchene. The problem is that a rebuilding team probably won’t want to give up the number of young players and draft picks it will take to acquire the young center. The Islanders have been the team most associated with Duchene, but they aren’t willing to part with younger players like Mathew Barzal, Michael Dal Colle and a first-round draft pick. Could the Wild or Ducks come calling here?
The Senators are a beat up team right now. Bobby Ryan will be lost to the team for 4-6 weeks with a broken finger. Mike Hoffman is day to day with a groin injury and Mark Stone is the same with a neck injury. This is pretty much three of the Senators Top 4 forwards out of the lineup. They still managed to defeat the Devils Tuesday, but until Hoffman and Stone return to the team, I’m staying far away from Ottawa in both daily and yearly leagues.
As far as biggest team disappointments this season, the Dallas Stars have to be at the top of the list, and you have to wonder if they will look to move Patrick Sharp. He hasn’t worked out in Dallas no matter what line or who he has played with. He’s not the same player he was in Chicago but could still be a useful sniper, especially on the power play, for a cup-contending team.
The Kings placed goaltender Jeff Zatkoff on waivers Wednesday. Why did they do this? Well, they will need to clear a roster spot for Jonathan Quick, who is getting closer and closer to a return from a groin injury that has sidelined him for all but 20 minutes of game action this season. Quick should be back shortly, which will make life pretty interesting in the Los Angeles net. Do you start your franchise goaltender, or the goalie that could be in the running for the Vezina Trophy this season in Peter Budaj?
James Reimer made his second straight start for the Panthers on Wednesday. There is nothing wrong with Roberto Luongo, but the team is just riding the hot goaltender. If you’re looking for a dark horse team in the Atlantic Division, it is the Panthers. They were forgotten about due to multiple injuries to start the season, a slow start and a coaching change, but everyone is healthy now, and they may be the team you don’t want to face in the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Wings sent Jared Coreau down to the AHL on Wednesday. This is not an indication that Jimmy Howard is ready to return from his knee injury but rather that the team wants Coreau to get some work during their bye week.
If you’re looking for low-owned forward who may be in line for a strong finish, I would look no further than Mathieu Perreault of the Winnipeg Jets. He has only six goals and 23 points in 46 games this season, but since being promoted to a line with Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele, Perrault looks like a different player. He has two goals and four assists in his past four games, and he’s a must-grab for me as he plays on a team that plays a run-and-gun style. There will be plenty of opportunities for Fantasy points on this team.
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