In my last installment of The Trade Deadline Wish List I highlighted ten players that all GMs wish they could add to their roster.
However, the blockbuster trades rarely ever pay off. Last year Ryan Smyth did nothing to further the Islanders chances, neither did Atlanta's acquisition of Keith Tkachuk, nor Peter Forsberg's debut in Nashville. Superstar players do not guaruntee superstar results.
The 2007 Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks only made minor moves at the trade deadline. Brian Burke’s largest trade deadline splash was the acquisition of tough guy Brad May.
So let’s look at ten role players that could be made available who could help put a playoff-bound team over the top.
Dwayne Roloson (Edmonton)
It was only two years ago when Kevin Lowe acquired Dwayne Roloson at the trade deadline for a draft pick. That acquisition, seemingly minor at the time, gave Edmonton the opportunity to make a Cinderella run for the Stanley Cup finals.
Roloson went 12-5 in the playoffs sporting a .927 save percentage. He has fought consistency for his entire career, but has the ability to be outstanding during stretches.
BEST FIT: The San Jose Sharks might want to invest in a strong backup goalie as it appears Evgeni Nabokov is beginning to tire after starting 58 of San Jose’s 59 games this season. Compare his save percentage of .925 in November and December to the .885 save percentage he’s recorded in 2008 and it’s clear he needs a rest.
Darcy Tucker (Toronto)
Someone has lit a fire under the Maple Leafs firecracker. After a horrible start to the season Darcy has raised his game several notches over the past two weeks.
He’s putting on a show for the scouts. Either he really wants to remain in Toronto, or he really wants to be traded.
In the month of February we have seen the Darcy of old. He’s racked up 6 goals and 24 penalty minutes in that stretch. Darcy has the ability to play with the grit, heart, and determination of a Stanley Cup contender.
BEST FIT: Tucker would be a perfect fit for Brian Burke’s rough & tumble Anaheim team. I was surprised when John Ferguson Jr. didn’t trade him to Anaheim last year at the trade deadline. Now Burke has a chance to get him for much cheaper – as long as he can fit Darcy’s $3 million per year contract under his cap.
Martin Havlat (Chicago)
If you look up the term ‘injury prone’ in the dictionary you will find a picture of Martin Havlat—which is probably the reason Chicago is hoping to unload his $6 million dollar salary.
He only has one year left on his contract, so a richer team in the NHL would be able to afford taking a risk on the talented winger.
Havlat has the scoring touch of a Lemieux but the bone structure of a house of cards. If his quick feet and exceptional hands can find a place on a team that plays a fast-paced game, he’ll be too quick to hit.
BEST FIT: With Dan Cleary hurt and Tomas Holmstrom slumping, Havlat would look fantastic alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in Detroit.
Michael Ryder (Montreal)
The Montreal Canadiens have been dangling the two-time 30-goal scorer to a number of teams hoping to package off the pending unrestricted free agent for a player they can keep.
Ryder is certain to leave the Canadiens at end of the season after playing much of this season on the third and fourth line.
Last night he showed a hint of what he is capable of by potting a hattrick in a miraculous 6-5 comeback victory over the New York Rangers. Scouts took notice of his efforts and I would be shocked not to see Ryder swap jerseys before the deadline. Unless Montreal wants to let him walk at the end of the year, they’d be smart to trade him now while they can still get something for him.
BEST FIT: All season long Vancouver has been struggling to find a winger to play with the Sedin twins. Taylor Pyatt, Mason Raymond and Ryan Shannon have all failed to answer the call. Ryder has the speed and the hands to keep up.
Barret Jackman (St. Louis)
Barret Jackman broke into the league on a whirlwind. In his rookie campaign he earned 19 points from the St. Louis blue line, but also accumulated 190 penalty minutes. His hard-hitting style raised many eyebrows around the league and it also earned him the 2003 Calder Trophy, narrowly beating out Henrik Zetterberg.
Jackman has since learned a more disciplined game. This season he only has 63 penalty minutes through 55 games. However his scoring is way down.
I suspect that his drop in point production is due to the new coaching style implemented by Andy Murray.
BEST FIT: Jackman is a steal at $2 million per season and with his decreased production this year might even be able to be re-signed for less during the off season. The cash strapped Buffalo Sabres would be the perfect fit for Barret Jackman, especially if there were to lose Brian Campbell.
Yanic Perreault (Chicago)
Teams who win face-offs win games. Yanic Perreault wins face-offs. If you look him up on Wikipedia you will see this written about him:
“Yanic is statistically one of the best face-off men in the NHL. He consistently has one of the best face-off win percentages in the NHL. He is regarded as one of the greatest face-off men in NHL history.”
Currently Perreault is wearing a split on his right wrist to protect a fracture, so that may deter teams from trading for him, however he should not be injured for more than a week or two so he could still significantly help a team in the playoffs that has trouble winning draws.
BEST FIT: The Minnesota Wild rank dead last in the NHL for face-off percentage, winning only 46.6% of their draws. The Wild currently sit first in the Northwest Division, but if Vancouver or Calgary were to catch them they could be flirting with playoff elimination. How can they ensure they win more games? Win more face-offs.
Pavel Kubina (Toronto)
Toronto’s new whipping boy is in an enviable position. He currently collects a $5 million dollar paycheck and will do so until 2010.
Cliff Fletcher is desperate to trade the defenseman's contract.
Statistically speaking, Kubina has not been all that bad. He’s earned 26 points in 51 games, placing him fifth on the Leafs in scoring tied with Matt Stajan and Alex Steen. He is also one of the few Maple Leafs not to carry a negative plus/minus.
BEST FIT: It will be a challenge for Cliff Fletcher to find a team willing to take on a contract of his size, but if there’s a team that can afford him it’s the Nashville Predators. The Preds payroll is the lowest in the league, and the new ownership team might want to bring him in at the deadline as a treat for the fans. With 172 goals against, defense hasn’t been their strong suit.
Patrick Marleau (San Jose)
You might be surprised to see the Sharks captain classified as a role player, but Marleau has been just that for the San Jose Sharks this season. In 55 games he has collected 28 points. But what is more alarming is his -21 plus/minus – fourth worst in the league. Statistically he’s on par with Radek Bonk.
The Sharks have recently place Marleau on the injured reserve list with a groin injury but has been practicing with the team and should suit up shortly.
BEST FIT: His $6.3 million contract extension will deter some of the higher spending teams from investing in him. He would look great on Ottawa’s second line with Cory Stillman, but they would have a tough time justifying his salary with Spezza, Heatley & Alfredsson already on the books. Calgary is shopping Tanguay, and swapping Marleau for Tanguay makes sense for both teams.
Sergei Fedorov (Columbus)
Fedorov is a shadow of his former self. Since leaving Detroit in 2003 his production has been slowly declining.
Columbus’s playoff hopes are slowly fading and they would be wise to ship out Fedorov before the trade deadline. Fedorov is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and it’s unlikely that he will resign in Columbus. There is a plethora of young talent at center that is itching for icetime—namely Gilbert Brule and Joakim Lindstrom.
BEST FIT: The obvious choice is Detroit. Perhaps Fedorov can rekindle some of the old glory he had with the team back in the nineties. If not, at least he’ll get to retire a Red Wing.
Marek Malik (New York Rangers)
Malik finished the 2005-2005 season with a +28. Last year he finished the season with a +32. However this season he is only a +3 and has fallen out of grace with the coaching staff in New York.
He stands at 6’6” and weighs in at 240 pounds, but is criticized for a lack of physical game. Several times this season he has watched the game from the pressbox as a healthy scratch.
He has the ability to be an effective scoring defenseman (remember that shootout goal against Olaf Kolzig?) but prefers to be a strong stay-at-home pointguard.
BEST FIT: He would do well on a team that requires a strong man to guard the net. Marc-Andre Fleury is no sure thing in the Pittsburgh net and Malik is the type of player who can keep opponents from entering the defensive zone. With Sergei Gonchar on the point Pittsburgh lacks a strong defensive defenseman. Malik could be the answer they are looking for.