With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching, many are wondering what rabbit Bob Gainey will pull out of his hat.
Will he be able to land the big centre that the Habs desperately need but have been unable to acquire? If there was ever a time to make some big moves, it would be this trade deadline.
With a team full of free agents and a hefty portion of prospects, Gainey may think twice about moving players that he would normally move. That said, Gainey should consider trading any unrestricted free agents (UFAs) that he does not plan on signing. With 11 UFAs and four restricted free agents (RFAs), we may see a very different team come next September.
This coming free agent market will be one of the biggest markets in NHL history! According to a list I have looked at, there are 289 UFAs this year with a combined 2008-09 salary of $415,000,000.
With the addition of the RFA market (320 players for a total salary of $217,000,000), many teams could do a lot of retooling this summer. Due to the economic crisis, teams can pick up many good players at good prices.
I expect this to be a busy trade deadline and an even busier summer free agency.