Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Two Weeks Left...

Just under two weeks from now at 3 p.m., the buyers and sellers will be finishing up registering their transactions with NHL Central Scouting. So where exactly do the locals fit in?

Let's start with the easiest team to look at which is the New Jersey Devils. I don't expect them to do much. Right now they sit at the top of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference and are at this point jockeying for home ice throughout the playoffs. Although the Sabres got off to such an incredible start, the Devs only trail Buffalo by six points for tops in the conference.

The issue with New Jersey is offense. They never score a ton of goals. But with their style and with the "ultimate goalie" between the pipes, the Devils never need to score more than two or three per game.

However, I look for the Devs to add another blueliner and possibly a defensive-minded d-man. The Phoenix Coyotes are definitely going to be sellers; Derek Morris would look great manning New Jersey's power play. Could a Morris for Scott Gomez swap be in the offing? Right winger Nikolai Zherdev of Columbus or center Vinny Prospal of Tampa also would fit well into the Devils' scheme.

The New York Islanders have several players who appear to be on the trading block. Those include Mike Sillinger (who has played for 12 teams), Tom Poti, and Chris Simon. The Isles need help all over the place. I'm not sure if they make a big splash, but perhaps the NYI will look to snatch Mike Knuble from Philly who is one of many members of the "Orange Crush" who could possibly get dealt. Sillinger started in Detroit and probably could bring back a draft pick or a prospect; Poti is a solid fourth or fifth defenseman on a good team who could also fetch a decent draft pick; and Simon brings grit and playoff experience, which every contender will be looking for.

The New York Rangers are always involved in trade rumors no matter how unreasonable they may be. As I wrote about on Sunday, Sean Avery's arrival to New York gives Head Coach Tom Renney greater flexibility with his lineup. The top 12 forwards can now be more balanced and in addition the Broadway Blues now have two power play units with Jaromir Jagr on one and Brendan Shanahan on the other. Matt Cullen can now man one of the point positions on the Shanny unit; Cullen by the way played quarterback when Carolina had the man-advantage in last spring's playoffs which led to a Stanley Cup win for the 'Canes.

Calgary is said to be making Roman Hamrlik available and Derek Morris would look great in a Rangers' uniform. The price for either one of those two pointmen could be pricey, but don't be surprised to see Peter Prucha go in a deal for either one of the two.I have no idea why, but it seems like Glen Sather is set on trading Prucha.

Of course, the main rumor is in regards to Peter Forsberg. Nothing significant came out of Sunday's meeting between Forsberg and Philly's Owner Ed Snider. But the price may be too steep for the Rangers.

There are a few players who I wouldn't mind see donning the Rangers' sweater. Brendan Morrison of Vancouver, Robert Lang of Detroit, and Mats Sundin of Toronto. I would love to see the Blueshirts snatch Lang from the Wings. He's played with Jagr and is a centerman with some offensive ability. Sundin is unlikely because the Leafs are still in the playoff hunt. Morrison is likely to be moved by the Canucks, but he'll get some pretty good value in return.

If I were a betting man I say the Rangers make a minor move, I just can't see them giving up much for one of the big horses that may or may not be available.

Stay Onsides!

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