Since we have seen an already blockbuster deal happen in the NHL, I figured now was a perfect time to start talking trades. What teams are looking to move players, what they need in return and obviously try to piece together where those players would go. I think the teams with the biggest stake in the game regarding the trade deadline is the Tampa Bay Lighting, New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers.
Let’s start with the highly sought after prize of Steven Stamkos and the Lighting. He says that he wants to stay in Tampa, but it seems like they cannot get a deal done. They are coddling Drouin and may not give him the trade he has requested sending more signals that perhaps they are looking towards a sustainable future.
Stamkos will not be a loaner player and has a no-trade clause which means he will probably only agree to go to a handful of teams he thinks; A) Are legitimate Cup contenders, or B) He can be the building block for a promising young team. I honestly don’t think he likes the hype and pressure of being the #1 guy and would flourish behind additional talent.
In order to give up Stamkos, the Lighting will be looking to secure a few younger players, both offensively and defensively and also a pick or two. The question then lies which teams are an elite goal scorer away from being legitimate contenders and have room to give up a young player and some picks.
I think two teams that fit the bill would be the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings. Don’t get me wrong, these are both large market teams and the pressure would definitely be on Stamkos to produce. In Montreal though, he would still have Pacioretty, Price and Subban that would provide adequate cover from the media. In Detroit, he would be joined by Zetterberg and Datsyuk and eventually Larkin. Montreal could part ways with Gallagher or Galchenyuk, Emelin and a pick or two. They would keep their core players along with take some pressure off Plekanec who has been the #1 center for ages.
Detroit has arguably the best talent pool in the league. They have some young forwards that show signs of being elite players. They could also throw in an Ericsson or another defensemen who has been underperforming and who is overpaid. This would help their salary cap situation and allow them to sign Stammer to a long-term deal.
The Islanders are in a unique situation because they have a great young defensemen and a talented forward in their prime. I think they make this work by dealing both players. In order to do this, they need to get a lot of talent in return and make their run now. They have to find a team who isn’t quite as good as the Islanders and who are willing to give up part of their core and officially begin rebuilding. I think the perfect team to make this happen in Winnipeg.
Look, the Jets made the playoffs and hockey is back in Winnipeg. I understand that they wanted to roster a solid squad right from the start and make sure no one forgot about the cold city in Manitoba. They have three players that they could easily move to the Islanders and it would be seen as a win-win. Those players are Byfuglien, Stafford and Ladd. The Jets have enough solid players lead by Wheeler and would benefit from the addition of younger players in Okposo and Hamonic. They would still need some help on the back end, but they have two great young goalies and a heap of young skilled forwards. They would miss the playoffs for a year or two, but that’s about it.
Finally, you have the carousel that is the Edmonton Oilers. Eberle and RNH are your two biggest targets here. They have an established elite player in Hall and some promising talent up front. They are lacking defensemen and are going to need to improve on the back end in order to compete, ever. If I were the Oilers, I would give up both of the players. I would try to move Eberle for an elite goaltender. One that is established and one that wont die in Edmonton like the rest of them. I would then trade RNH for a younger defenseman. The hardest part about this is that defensemen are so hard to come by. A good, young defensemen will only be moved for the highest of prizes. Is RNH really that top-notch? Is he a Ryan Johanssen? The Oilers could make a move for Hamonic, but does that really improve Hamonic’s situation of wanting to be closer to home? Would a team like the Hurricanes be willing to part ways with Faulk knowing they have Hannifin in the mix, especially if it meant a replacement for Eric Staal who will most likely be loaned out by the end of the trade deadline?
The most intriguing of all the situations is by far the one that the Oilers have to deal with. So much promise and first-round picks. So much skill and depth, but for some reason one plus one equals three in oil country. As for Stamkos, if he lands in Detroit, you all better be signing my praises and screaming from the rooftops that you heard it here FIRST!