In a normal NHL season, hitting the panic button after three weeks isn’t really an option. This isn’t a normal season, though, and with under 40 games left on the schedule, the time to consider making some deals have arrived.
The trade deadline is still nearly three weeks away, but teams are beginning to get a clearer picture of where they will finish the season. For the teams in contention, loading up for the playoffs is beginning to look like a good option. For all the rest, it’s time to start building for the future.
Trade rumors are beginning to pick up steam, and it’s time to take a look at several players whose names have come up recently.
According to Elliotte Friedman of CBC.ca, Brassard’s name has been coming up in trade discussions, and the Blue Jackets have the ammunition to move him for a quality scorer:
Once again, Derick Brassard's name is coming up. That's been an uneasy marriage, to say the least. The Columbus Blue Jackets have three first-round picks next year -- their own and one each from the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. I can't imagine they'd trade their own for anything less than a superstud, but the other two are strong commodities in a deep draft.
Columbus is 12 points out of first in the West, barely hanging on from falling into the basement of the conference. The Jackets need to regroup, and it looks like building for next season is the best option at this point.
While it’s unclear which teams would be interested in Brassard before the deadline, he could bring some good value. The 25-year-old center has failed to live up to the expectations of being the sixth overall pick in 2006, and a change of scenery may benefit him and the Jackets depending on what they could get in return.
Gerbe isn’t on pace to record 31 points like he did in 2010. In fact, he’s on pace to record none this year.
The 5’5” center hasn’t done much of anything for the Buffalo Sabres this year, leading some to believe he is on the trade block.
According to Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com, the return of Patrick Kaleta and Gerbe’s relegation to fourth-line duties suggest he could be deal before the deadline:
Sources say don’t be shocked if Sabres GM Darcy Regier moves or at least attempts to move Gerbe in the near future.
The Sabres are currently sitting in last place in the Northeast Division and word is Regier is on the phone exploring his options.
Gerbe is becoming an afterthought in Buffalo, especially with the emergence of Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson. His value won’t be incredibly high, but now would be a good time to move Gerbe.
Kessel’s disappointing season has drawn humorous shots at the winger. His inability to find the twine has been maddening, converting just two goals in 49 shots this season.
He has recorded 11 points this season, though, and despite his inability to put the puck in the net, he’ll likely draw some interest from several teams should he be available on the trade market.
According to James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail, that may be the case in the near future:
It is also believed that while Leafs GM Dave Nonis isn’t offering his top sniper around the league, he is willing to listen to offers, rumours that will only increase should Toronto fall out of the playoff race before the trade deadline in early April.
Toronto is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just three points out of lead. It’s hard to imagine Norris will look to trade the winger should Toronto stay in the playoff hunt, but the next few weeks could have a big impact on where the Maple Leafs stand in the conference.