The Calgary Flames and the twice traded Jarome Iginla may end up being the biggest trade of the year, but the first general manager to say they are listening to everything is Darcy Regier. Mike Harrington reports in the wake of the Jordan Leopold to the Saint Louis Blues that the embattled general manager is talking to every front office in the league. Nobody is off the market at this point, so let’s take a romp through the roster.
- Ryan Miller should be an easy chip to move if he’s willing to get gone no goalie with more games played has a better save percentage than his .911, his $6.25m contract isn’t ridiculous, and at 32 he’s probably got four to five more years of solid play ahead of him minimum. When you look at guys around his size like Tim Thomas, Martin Broduer, and even Hedberg and Biron, you get the idea he might have another 8-10 years in him. He’s putting up solid numbers despite an awful season from the team, and that means even teams starting to rebuild might want to consider him.
- Drew Stafford, the 27 year old right wing is having an off year, his point percentage is usually a bit closer to .66 per game, versus the less than half a point per game this season. With two more years at four million he’s in the price range where he should be getting second line minutes, but if he’s outperformed by someone, or just fits better on the third line most competitive clubs won’t have sunk their chances of success. At six-two tall and two hundred pounds and change the former 30 goal scorer presents a pretty compelling , where he plays in all situations, even if his scoring touch isn’t there he can still contribute.
- Cody Hodgson is not a player I would want to trade if I were the Sabres, but he’s one that might draw some pretty nice offers is anyone is paying attention. He’s young, he’s already taken part in a run into the Stanley Cup finals, and he’s a skilled one or two center. While he’s hardly large or physical, he plays on both the powerplay and the penalty kill and plays big minutes.
- Thomas Vanek might be hard to move, not because of his skill set or age, but because his contract is a bit large to shuffle into the mix with the salary cap going down. This might be a situation where a team like say the Islanders or Red Wings takes on the player and most of the contract. When you can be more than a point per game on less than 19 minutes of ice time a game on a bad team in a compressed season your skill set is worth taking note of.
- Jason Pomminville, another year with 5.3m left on the contract should really only slow down those with no cap flexibility at all. Twice a 30 goal man, five straight years of more than 20 goals, and a career points per game percentage of .79? The biggest question should be is anyone worth keeping wearing his number on your roster.
- Tyler Ennis, low risk, potentially high reward. The small forward is tenacious, a great skater, a good passer, and should easily fit in at anywhere from the 4th-10th forward spots. A bit over 2 million for his cap hit for one more year, a twenty goal year to his name, and just 23.
- Tyler Myers, high risk, but the reward could be huge, or a perpetual drain on the payroll. He’s got a forever long contract and has taken a couple dozen steps back from his Calder Trophy form. A team that has a solid defenseman who can coach up the towering Texan into better play is probably in the best position to get the most from Myers. That defenseman might not even need to be on ice, Lidstrom played recently enough that he could likely make big strides Myers.
- Christian Ehrhoff, while most defensemen age pretty well, this one has had more than one knee injury, and carries a cap hit of four million through 2012. The actual pay out is only only one million a year in the last three seasons, but a guy who relies on his speed and skating signed for that long with those problems already is worrisome. On the other hand, he’s only increased his minutes in the last two or three years and is playing in all situations. The contract length could mean the German defenseman stays in Buffalo even if someone has some interest.
I can’t see anyone targeting most of the rest of the roster. Marcus Foligno might garner a bit of interest, and defensemen are always in demand so shuffling out the current blueline for some prospects and picks is possible, and the fact that Regier traded for Ott shows there’s at least two people who think he’s got value (aside from his agent). Overall this team isn’t horribly built, it just can’t seem to ever get on the same page or four games in a row.
Filling out the Team USA roster will require a mix of youth, international experience, and attitude. The Russians, the Canadians, and the upper echelon of European teams will not be intimidated by half the roster returning, or even two thirds. Part of what will be needed is a bit of familiarity, so anyone who has played with likely players wins the tie breaker over complete outsiders.
- Craig Anderson, he’s played with Erik Johnson, he’s the best goaltender in the NHL this season, and he’s got enough of a different style from both Miller and Quick that if the coach has to make a change, the opposition will have to make adjustments.
- Dustin Byfuglien, big body, can play defense and forward, has won the Stanley Cup has played with Patrick Kane.
- Jason Pominville, an infusion of skill is needed and this guy has it.
- John Carlson, is highly talented, knows the tendencies of several of the big names from some of the other national teams.
- Max Pacioretty has turned into one of the most interesting players in the NHL. Almost a point per game player on a team that has been injury prone over the last two seasons.
- Kevin Shattenkirk, has played well in the very defensive system in St Louis, has also played in the more free wheeling Colorado system in the past.
- Seth Jones, has won World Junior gold, will likely be part of team USA for years to come, even if he only plays seven or eight minutes a game, good experience for the future.
- Alex Galchenyuk, has played with Jones internationally, and plays with Pacioretty on the Habs.
- Rob Scuderi, no international experience, but has won Stanley Cup’s in two radically different systems, the Los Angeles Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, among the leaders for US born defenseman in shorthanded ice time.
- James van Riemsdyk has had solid international experience, currently playing with 2010 Silver Medalist Phil Kessel.
- Alex Goligoski, the Dallas Defenseman gets overlooked a lot, but it should be noted he’s putting up almost identical offensive numbers on the far less talented Dallas team as he did with the Penguins. Has a small amount of international experience.
- Justin Faulk, great young defenseman burdened by a poor defensive team. Has played under the flag, plays in all situations, like Jones will likely be around for the next three Olympic cycles, has played with Gleason.
- Drew Stafford, scored 52 points in 62 games including 31 goals two seasons ago, plays with Pominville, some international experience.
- Erik Cole, former Olympian, World Championship experience, two time thirty goal scorer, played briefly with Galchenyuk, and a season with Pacioretty.
- John Gaudreau, speedy little pure goal scorer,
- John Gibson, WJC tournament MVP, stud goaltender.
- Rocco Grimaldi, speedy, agile, had two goals in the WJC win over Sweden.
- Blake Wheeler, great reach, good speed, plays in all situations.
- J.T. Miller, played in on the WJC gold team with Gibson, Gaudreau, Grimaldi, Jones, playing for the Rangers and getting compliments from John Tortorello.
- Emerson Etem has proved himself at the junior level in the WHL, he’s yet to make a big mark in the NHL, but he’s got speed to burn and plays on the same team as Bobby Ryan, some games for the NAHL national team.
- Tyler Myers if he can somehow get his grove back he’s undeniably talented, has developed some aggression, and is both a good skater and puck handler.
- Brandon Dubinsky, has had a downturn in production lately, but had a good World Championship and is a great two way player.
- Jack McCabe, captain of the gold team, solid defender, but the defense is the area where the team is likely to have the least turnover.
- Jimmy Howard no slight on his talent, but he’s about the fourth best American goaltender in the NHL right now. National development team veteran.
- T.J. Oshie, depending on how the top lines shake down he might find himself tapped to captain the penalty kill effort, also plays with Backes, some national experience, plays physical.
- Kyle Palmeri has a hat trick this season, and half of his goals have been game winners, national experience, and plays with Bobby Ryan.
- Paul Gaustad, incredible faceoff man, great penalty killer, like Oshie could end up as a “role player”, team guy.
Given the eventual composition of Teams Canada and Russia, ensuring there is a viable penalty kill, players at all positions who can skate, and guys who won’t wilt under physical play or the bright lights of Olympic play take priority over pure skill with questionable fortitude. With a deep enough team, playing against the weaker teams gets easier because you can use your whole bench and stay reasonably fresh for the games where one bad five minute stretch can bounce you from the metal round.