NHL Trade Speculation: 8 Post-Lockout 'Will They Stay or Will They Go' Scenarios

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IIDecember 28, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: 8 Post-Lockout 'Will They Stay or Will They Go' Scenarios

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    Lets assume that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr don't succeed in their apparent quest to blow the NHL, and that there will be a season sometime in the near future. All Dr. Claw driven doomsday scenarios aside, the line of thinking is that the league literally can not afford to miss an entire year year.

    I know I am asking a lot here, but just roll with me:

    Believe there will be a season in 2013 sometime.

    If you can do that, then you will quickly come to the understanding that there are several unanswered questions that will need to be answered once play resumes and trades/releases are possible again.

    So here is my version of will-they-or-won't-they.

    Some of these guys have one year left on their deals and could be trades, some have massive contracts that could be dumped onto other teams or dropped all together (granted that is an option), and others still have had their names swirling in trade rumors for the last few seasons.

Bobby Ryan

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    For all that could have been with Bobby Ryan in Anaheim, the Ducks just haven't seemed to be able to dial in a sturdy relationship with this kid and the trade rumors have been pretty constant for at least a year now.

    He is signed to a deal that inches just north of $5 million—while that number seems solid for a young player of Ryan's caliber, consider the fact that both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will see their deals end at the end of this season, and things get a bit foggier.

    Teemu Selanne could also see his last season lost mostly to a lockout.

    Long story short: things could look very different in Anaheim before the year is done, and while a lot of the choices may be based on what happens with the cap, the team will also be able to present a clear path moving forward.

    One of the ways to do that would be to deal Ryan for the usual package of prospects and picks, restocking the farm team and giving Getzlaf and Perry some more backup. Moving Ryan would also give the Ducks more wiggle room to resign both of their free agent stars.

    In my mind, both of those deals would need to be locked in prior to free agency though if the Ryan deal was just to make cap space. I just can't see Anaheim dealing Ryan to make room for Getzlaf and Perry while risking losing them over the summer for nothing.

    After all, it is better to have one disgruntled top line guy than lose your entire vaunted trio over the course of the month.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    As outlined above, there is no shortage of possible paths to be taken here. If they believe they have a contender in place aside from the big three, they will try to sell that idea and retain the services of Getzlaf and Perry.

    If, however, they don't have enough cap space for those two, or management decides they want to take the team in another direction, look for Ryan to be on his way out of Anaheim.

Linus Omark

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    I've already written this week about why I think the Detroit Red Wings should go after Linus Omark once the lockout is over, but they could be a little heavy on forwards as-is. If they don't end up going after the shifty Omark, there's no other reason that another team won't look to scoop him up from the Edmonton Oilers.

    If for no other reason than this: he is an absolute monster in the shootout.

    With a compressed season (again, assuming it's in the high-40's) winning in the shootout will become paramount to many teams looking to squeeze into the playoffs. If Omark is good for two or three shootout victories just this year alone, he'd be worth something to someone.

    It's hard to fathom that a player would end up on an NHL roster just because of their shootout moves, but it isn't like it is unprecedented. And it isn't like he hasn't been raising some eyebrows overseas either.

    Omark's numbers have taken off in the Swiss League, and while his game may translate better overseas, there will always be a team willing to take a shot on a raw talent like Omark.

    Especially if he alone could garner between two and three games worth of points with his shootout prowess.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    It is all but certain the Omark's days in the Edmonton system are limited.

    He's done the team a great service by raising his own stock during the lockout, and the Oilers would be wise to make a few phone calls as soon as the lockout is over, moving him to the highest bigger.

    An obvious strike while the player is hot mentality, but if they are just going to stash him in the AHL (where he probably wouldn't play anyway) why not move him for a usable asset?

Alexander Semin

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    Out of all the teams that have been hurt by the lockout the most, I'd argue that the Carolina Hurricanes are among the top two or three.

    This is a team that clearly had a plan heading into 2012-2013. They went out and acquired Jordan Staal at the draft and were looking for huge boosts from a few young players—namely Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy on the blueline, along with Zac Dalpe and maybe even Victor Rask up the middle—to put them over the top.

    With this team in mind, they saw a weakness on the wing and went out and got Alexander Semin, putting a $7 million, one year deal on the table where some pundits were thinking he'd have to bolt to the KHL for that kind of money. It was a risky move, but one that the 'Canes were clearly willing to take.

    Fast-forward to the end of December 2012, and not a single game has been played yet.

    So lets assume that 48 games end up being played this year. One little losing streak—lets say seven or eight games—and an entire season can be off the rails in a hurry.

    I'm not saying this is any more a possibility for the Hurricanes than it is for anyone else. Just that if they are one of the teams that happens to start off slow and are in danger of missing the playoffs, they have a very talented, very attractive asset on a very short contract that they could put into play.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    Lets say the 'Canes are on the outside looking in late, but not because Semin hasn't been producing. Lets say he's been doing his job well, filling the net and aiding the power play. There's no reason to think that Carolina couldn't move him for a pick or prospect to a team looking for some help heading into the playoffs.

    Even if he hasn't been producing, we've seen teams take stranger risks on stranger players in hopes of getting them to play harder for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

    Unless they get the idea that he'd like to stay in Carolina, but to me it's either extension or trade for Semin.

Jarome Iginla

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    The Calgary Flames have a very unique, innate ability to never finish the season close enough towards the bottom of the standings to secure a high draft pick, but to also never be quite good enough to make the playoffs.

    It's either a positive or a negative attribute, depending on how you see things.

    Regardless of your view, the clock is running out on Jarome Iginla's remarkable career, and the man is still tragically Stanley Cup-less. There are two sides to this coin as well.

    Do the Flames retain their captain and allow him to finish his career in Calgary—perhaps even hoping that newcomers Roman Cervanka, Sven Baertschi and Jiri Hudler can put them in contention for a Cup—or begin a rebuild around these same players while dealing Iggy?

    Will he stay or will he go?

    It's a question that has been asked over and over again for the last few years, and I honestly just don't see the answer changing at this point. I say Iginla stays in Calgary unless a top contender blows them away with an offer.

Dany Heatley

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    If the salary cap comes down more than $2 million, then the Minnesota Wild will be over it after signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter for peanuts over the summer.

    Looking up and down their roster, it's hard to figure out what two or three players they'd cut or trade instead of dealing Dany Heatley. Do they sell two or three players like Devin Setoguchi and Tom Gilbert instead? That is a possibility, but I don't think that the return-on-investment would be quite as good as what they could land for Heater.

    His point total has gone down every season since 2009-2010, but he has one thing that no other movable Wild asset has, and that is name recognition. And if we know anything about GMs and owners, they just can't keep it together when someone they've heard of goes on the market.

    Certainly there is someone out there who would take on Heatley for the last two seasons of a contract worth more than $7 million. Perhaps someone who needs a little help getting to the cap floor, or in need of a recognizable name on the roster. Maybe even a surprise team with cap space looking to load up a bit for a run at the Stanley Cup?

    Will he stay or will he go?

    Someone is going to be out the door for the Wild once play resumes, and I just don't think it'll be Mikko Koivu. Of course Heatley has a NMC on his contract, but he may be willing to waive it for the right team. And who knows if those NMCs will still even be good after the lockout.

    Oh, speculation.

Roberto Luongo

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    For a team looking to add some regular season success to their squad, they could do worse than going after the maligned, fallen-from-grace Roberto Luongo.

    There aren't a whole lot of ifs in play here. Not a whole lot of buts either. Just two sides looking to, and willing to move on with their respective hockey lives. Luongo knows that his days as the Vancouver Canucks number one goaltender are done.

    The became very clear after his team resigned Cory Schneider to a three-year deal over the summer, despite the impending lockout and despite his cap hit, along with Luongo's, equaling close to $10 million a year.

    One guy is on the way out, and his name rhymes with Slowmo.

    The Canucks have said that they are willing to start the season with both netminders on the roster, but I don't find that scenario likely. With a shortened season, there will be no time for distractions on a squad that will be looking to capture that illusive Stanley Cup.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    Barring some kind of miraculous breakthrough, Luongo most likely won't see game one for the Canucks. He's said that he prefers the Florida Panthers, but they already have Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings as a starter.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs have been kicked around as possible trade partners, since they are always looking to trade for anyone who has been to an All-Star game within the last seven years, but my favorite rumor is Luongo going to the Chicago Blackhawks.

    It's a small world, after all.

Milan Lucic or Brad Marchand

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    I know this is going to be sacrilege to fans of the Boston Bruins, and maybe I am a little off base here. After all, Peter Chiarelli didn't run his plan by me before executing it.

    From the outside looking in however, after the signing spree over the summer that saw the B's lock up Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin to pre-lockout extensions, the Bruins would be in dire straits if the cap sank even a few million.

    Logic maintains that the Bruins wouldn't deal any of the forwards they bothered to lock up this offseason, but logic hasn't exactly been the driving force in the front offices of NHL teams lately. So lets break it down subjectively.

    Before signing this trio of forwards, Boston already had David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Marc Savard, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, and Dennis Seidenberg all locked into deals with no movement clauses or no trade clauses of some kind.

    Obviously, having nine of your 22 roster players with NMC or NTC deals can really limit what you can do as a GM to shake salary.

    Which, odds are, is something the Bruins are going to have to do.

    So scratch Savard from the ledger because of his place on the long-term IR. Horton is apparently ready to go, so his money sticks.

    That means that if the cap takes only a $5 million dive, the Bruins could move a bottom-six forward or fifth or sixth blueliner to get out of trouble. If it goes down $10 million or more, there could be a few changes brewing in Boston.

    The buyouts that it would take to close that gap would gut the depth of the team. The most likely solution might be to deal one of these two recently signed guys—who just so happened to get no form of movement control whatsoever.

    Dealing Lucic or Marchand seems way more likely to me than moving Seguin, as he'll be arguably the best forward on this team for another decade. Because he's awesome.

    So before defending them and saying the Bruins would never do such a thing, imagine what a guy like Lucic could bring in via the trade market. It's hard to speculate exactly what kind of offers could come, but needless to say it wouldn't be slim pickings.

    Think of what Ryan Getzlaf could have been traded for before his off-season, and that's the kind of market I think there would be for Lucic.

    Of course one also needs to take into consideration that the hulking forward is the epitome of what the Bruins wants their forwards to be, so maybe it is a crazy thought after all. But this isn't a hockey sense move. This may all come down to dollars and cents.

    Will they stay or will they go?

    I think Boston would move mountains to keep this young core together, but something might have to give somewhere. I think moving Marchand and players like Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton would be the preferred route in Boston if they need to shave dollars.

    Also worth considering is that Tim Thomas and his $5 million will come off the books at the end of the season, but Tuukka Rask will become a UFA at the same time, so I consider that money more or less a wash.

    Regardless of what you think about my speculation, one thing is clear: they are going to have to get very clever in Boston, very soon.

P.K. Subban

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    The Montreal Canadians raised some eyebrows as they took their time negotiating with P.K. Subban heading into the lockout. While some teams used those dire weeks and days to lock up their players to extensions, the Habs just... didn't.

    Taking a look at their current cap situation could tell us all we need to know about why, however.

    Lets scratch all the hear-say and hoopla surrounding the talks and get down to the nitty-gritty.

    The Canadians could very well have been playing it safe by keeping their total cap space hovering around $6 million. Several other management teams decided to play the game this way as well, letting top free agents sign elsewhere for big bucks instead of strapping their teams with contracts they may not have been able to keep.

    Sure Subban isn't asking for more than $6 million a year, so they money to re-sign him is presumably there. Or at least it was this summer. If the cap sinks coming out of the lockout like many predict it will, then Montreal may have played their hand right this time around.

    If there is any kind of mild cut-window, or drop-window allowed by the new CBA then the Habs won't hesitate to cut the obvious guys from their roster to make room for Subban.

    Finally we'll have to find a new lead slide for the league's worst contracts, as Scott Gomez would be history. Brian Gionta could be as well, but that probably has a lot more to do with where the cap lands and the roster-reshaping opportunities the CBA affords teams.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    This is a bit of a tougher situation, as it depends on the cap and what Subban's camp is demanding.

    I'm sure the Habs would much rather move someone else, but at this point there is no way Subban is going to take less than what they are giving to Tomas Kaberle.

    If the situation sours then Montreal could land a hefty return for the rising young puck-moving defender. Those have been key words since the last lockout, and there is no reason to believe they'll have any less importance this time around.

    My gut is that Montreal makes the room to make this happen once they have a clear picture of what the CBA will look like, but who knows for sure.