NHL Trade Speculation: 10 Teams That Need to Avoid Panic Trades
Quick! Make a trade to improve!
That's being shouted in many NHL cities right now, whether it's true or not. The number of teams dealing with major injuries continues to rise, as now 22 of 30 teams have been forced to handle concussions. As significant players all over the league continue getting hurt, fans want their team's general manager to make a trade for an immediate replacement.
Meanwhile, in other cities, teams or certain players are underwhelming their fans and have found the spotlight of columnists and barstools. The hurry-up-and-win mentality is infectious, even if the road to potential success today could ultimately come at the cost of sustained success down the road.
There are some teams that absolutely need to make a move right now, though. The Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, and Tampa Bay Lighting are three teams that should probably consider making a fairly major deal (Ducks to get something to click, the Habs to add scoring, and the Bolts to find an actual goaltender). But there are 10 other teams that might be considering a deal they don't necessarily need to make.
Here are ten teams that should hit the pause button before making a dramatic panic trade.
San Jose Sharks
Currently sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference, the Sharks are experiencing the unfortunate injury-plagued nature of Marty Havlát right now. There have been whispers that they might consider making a deal to get someone onto the ice to keep Havlát's spot warm in the top-six until his hamstring is back to 100 percent.
However, the Sharks are in better position than the surface would indicate. They've played the fewest games in the Western Conference (35) and are only one point out of a playoff spot. As a team, the Sharks are plus-17 on the season and were without Antti Niemi to begin the year. They'll be ok if they stay put.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was sent home with a shoulder injury, and the Oilers have been trending the wrong direction in the last couple weeks—but not all is lost for the Oilers.
They might look to move a veteran player like Ales Hemsky or Sam Gagner to bolster their future, but their core is still young and talented enough that compromising it for a possible playoff run this season would be foolish.
The Wild's magical mystery tour appears to have come back to reality, but making another big-time deal shouldn't be their remedy for a tough stretch. Minnesota made a couple major deals with San Jose over the summer that have worked out better for the Wild than the Sharks so far, and those should be the only major deals they make for now.
Let's not forget the Wild have had major injury issues in net already this year. When healthy, they have one of the better goaltender tandems in the Western Conference and have enough firepower up front to win close games.
Los Angeles Kings
So much of the talk in LA is that the Kings need to change something to be a championship contender, and yet they sit on top of their division in spite of their struggling offense.
Sure, Dustin Penner might be a bust (that probably should be buried at some point), but many fans forget they were without Mike Richards for a long stretch of time. If the Kings can get healthy and make the right choice in making Penner disappear in favor of a productive player, they certainly have the goaltending to go deep.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The standings show the Leafs in 10th in the Eastern Conference, and they have only won four of their last ten games. But does that mean they should start looking for a dramatic move? Doubtful.
While fans in Toronto might lust for the likes of Parise or Getzlaf, there is little cause for major concern in Toronto. They're two points out of sixth in the conference and have one of the hottest scorers in the game on the ice every night.
They already made one panic move in firing their coach, but should hold still when considering making a move. Mike Green is expected back soon and the offense (read: Ovechkin) is finally starting to click.
With the issues all over their division being bigger than those in Washington, the Caps should have the confidence to hang onto their bigger-name players.
The Stars got off to a great start, but have fallen back in the standings. Some think they should start selling veterans and prepare for next season.
But with their goalies getting healthy and Stephane Robidas coming back, the Stars haven't fallen completely out of the mix in the Western Conference. If they can get and stay healthy, they certainly aren't out of it.
They're going to be without Matt Duchene for a while, but shouldn't sweat making a dramatic trade yet. Just because their arguably most important offensive player is out shouldn't lead to any knee-jerk deals.
However, with most of their roster coming up to free agency this coming summer, some minor deals might happen as the Avs look to bolster their roster moving forward. If they slide out of the playoff picture in the next five weeks, they might become sellers.
With the top record in the West in hand, the Hawks are (finally) starting to deal with injuries. Daniel Carcillo's knee injury might keep him off the ice longer than any suspension Brendan Shanahan hands out, and now defenseman Steve Montador and rookie center Marcus Kruger are on IR.
However, the Hawks shouldn't make a quick move. Chicago's organizational depth has improved dramatically in the last couple years, and a lot of the "holes" on their roster will be filled from within starting as early as next year. Making a move for a player signed long-term isn't likely, or necessary.
The Flyers aren't on top of the Eastern Conference any longer, but have survived without the services of some of their more prominent players. Now that Jaromir Jagr is going to miss a week, the concerns grow louder that the Flyers need to make a move.
Not so fast.
Certainly the Winter Classic showed the Flyers aren't far away from being the best team in the East, and even without Chris Pronger their formula might be good enough to get back to the Finals.