The trade deadline is often even more fascinating to watch than any of the games for two week around it. Some teams have entered their playoff mode. Some are jettisoning players they know don’t want to come back, no longer fit or can get a good return. Other teams continue being chaos on skates and in the offices. Here’s some of the players flying under the radar that might grab the attention of GM’s from here out.
Mike Knuble of the Washington Capitals. With seven of the twelve games between now and the deadline against playoff teams including the Bruins, Rangers, and Sharks the Capitals might not climb back into a playoff position before the 27th. Knuble has yet to win a Cup in his career and at 39 you can’t help but wonder how many years he has left. His production has tailed off, but well who on the Capitals is that not true of? The chance to go a contender and provide both a veteran presence and the big body at the crease could be all it takes to give him a three month rejuvenation and push a team over the top.
Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche was tied to trade rumors earlier in the year. With just two years left on his contract teams that are shying away from the lifetime commitment to Jeff Carter might be less put off be the even higher short term salary. It’s clear the Avs have needs, what the biggest need their is remains an open question, but Stastny with a fresh start could be a big boost to other teams. With the (sometimes) emergence of Duchene and more recently of O’Reilly and Landeskog the man who was supposed to be the face of the franchise might be suffering an identity crisis, in the midst of a clearly troubled franchise.
Alec Martinez of the Los Angeles Kings can provide depth to a team looking to thicken it’s blueline. The Kings need offense like the world needs less Tebowing, and solid defensemen are always a good chip to put into play.
Lars Eller of the Montreal Canadiens. Personally I think Gautheir would be guilty of something akin to criminal negligence to trade the young Dane. Despite a team that went from bubble team to basement dweller he’s improved his two way play over his rookie season, and eclipsed last years 77 game point total through 47 this year. Montreal media had him as potential trade bait earlier in the year. As a second or third line forward for teams in need of some offensive depth like the Wild or Kings if he can be had, he’s a good average sized body who plays hard…
Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild more than one NHL team needs goaltending either for now, or next year. The pending UFA might find himself squeezed out of the crease by Backstrom and Hackett next season and if that is the plan going forward the Wild might try and turn him over now for some offense. In January he played 7 games to Backstrom’s 3. Could he be the solution in someplace like Tampa Bay or Columbus?
Teddy Purcell of the Tampa Bay Lightning had an impressive playoff run last year for Yzerman’s team, a team offensively gifted with little else to it’s name. Mediocre defense or absent goaltending could be addressed for the twenty six year old. With another year left on his contract he’d be more than a rental, and the Lightning do have some solid depth in the AHL and juniors among forwards.
Jeff Schultz of the Washington Capitals has been marginalized on a team with an overcrowded blueline. His reasonable cap hit with two years left on his contract can make him a longer term acquisition and while most of what the Capitals needs is mental, stocking up on draft picks or longterm prospects wouldn’t be a bad move for the Capitals.