Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has given the nod that he is shopping 34 year old defensemen Pavel Kubina. With the Lightning now 10 points out of the eight playoff spot in the East, the team isn't looking anything like the playoff contender they were last year. This makes Kubina an excellent trade candidate, with or without a statement from Yzerman.
With Kubina being a healthy scratch and Yzerman now fielding offers, the question now becomes: Who would be a good fit for Kubina?
He's a big body at 6'4', 258 pounds and has some offensive upside to compliment his size. Though that offense hasn't showed up as much this year (only 3 goals and 11 points in 52 games), he's been a reliable 30-40 point defenseman in years past.
Kubina could really benefit a team who is looking to add size and veteran leadership to their blue line. That team will likely be a contender, and though Yzerman has said that he wants a player for player trade that will better the team, it's hard to imagine Kubina garnering anymore then a draft pick or two considering his poor performance this season.
Regardless of what they are willing to give up, teams will be interested in the veteran defender. Here are five possible destinations for Kubina.
Toronto is young, and his some youth to spare. If Yzerman is serious about wanting a player for player trade, Toronto might be his best bet. The Maple Leafs are in position to make the postseason this year and could certainly use some veteran leadership on their blue line to backup Dion Phaneuf.
The Anaheim Ducks wouldn't quite be considered contenders as of yet. However, the team is making a remarkable push towards the postseason. Aside from Francois Beauchemin and Toni Lydman, the Ducks are young on defense. Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa could certainly use a solid defender like Kubina if they were to make the playoffs.
Besides all that, let's face facts; Kubina would be an upgrade over Sheldon Brookbank.
St. Louis' active blue line is very young, with only one player older then 30.
The team could certainly use Kubina for his size as the Blues' biggest defensemen is Roman Polak at 225 pounds. The rest of the defense is small averaging at only 200 pounds.
St. Louis looks poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009, so they have some reasonable incentive to go after Kubina.
Though the Blackhawks have finally snapped their horrendous losing streak, they've dropped all the way to the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Chicago looked great in the middle of the season, yet their current struggles might call for some adjustments before the playoffs, assuming they're able to hold on and actually make them.
Kubina could be helpful to this team, there are only three teams in the league who have given up more goals. If Chicago wants to help stop the bleeding, Kubina could be their guy.
It's looking more and more like the only team from the South East Division to make the playoffs will be the winner of the division. Right now the Florida Panthers are setting themselves up to be that team and make the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
The Panthers have a nice mix of youth and veteran defenders on their roster, but they lack depth at the position. Coupled with the fact that Ed Jovanovski and Dmitry Kulikov are both on injured reserve, a proven player like Kubina could be very attractive to Florida down the stretch.