NHL Trade Deadline: Predicting the Landing Spot for Each Big-Named Player

Alex HCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2013

NHL Trade Deadline: Predicting the Landing Spot for Each Big-Named Player

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    We are now just one week away from the trade deadline, and there are plenty of notable players that are available.

    With the shortened season, this year's deadline is extremely tough to predict and it's anyone's guess who's going where.

    Jarome Iginla is this year's most coveted player, and there is no shortage of teams interested.

    Here is a look at where the most notable players could end up by 3 p.m. ET on April 3rd.

These Goaltenders Are Going Nowhere

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    Roberto Luongo

    Luongo has been a big name in the rumor mill for almost a year now. There has been plenty of speculation that he will end up in Toronto or Florida. Both of those teams would be good fits, but it's too early for either team to make a trade this big. Given how Florida is faltering in the standings and Toronto's goaltending tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens are playing exceptional, there is no need to make a move for him this yearly.

    Vancouver may also need Luongo if Cory Schneider struggles.

    Expect Luongo to remain in blue and green for the rest of the season.

    Jonathan Bernier

    Bernier reportedly requested a trade last summer following the Kings' Stanley Cup victory.

    He has been linked to Toronto and Edmonton, but Los Angeles is in no rush to move him. Bernier is also a restricted free agent in the summer, so it may be in the Kings' best interest to move him then.

    The biggest reason he's likely going to stay put is because of starting goaltender Jonathan Quick's inconsistency. He's posted a mediocre 11-10-2 record with a .895 save percentage and 2.54 goals against average. 

    If Quick doesn't return to usual form, then Bernier could be utilized to push him into improving his play. Expect Bernier to be moved in the offseason, but not right now.

    Miikka Kiprusoff

    Kiprusoff was expected to be dealt at the trade deadline, but he shot down that possibility after announcing that he would not report to any team that acquired his services, citing "family reasons."

    We will take Kipper by his word there. He will remain in Calgary for at least the rest of the season.

    Ben Bishop

    Many teams may be calling for Senators goaltender Ben Bishop, but he's likely going to remain in the Canada's Capital City for the remainder of the season.

    Number one goaltender Craig Anderson is still hurt, and it's still uncertain when he'll return. Once he does, there is no guarantee he'll be perfectly healthy. If he struggles, Bishop can take over the starting role.

    Ottawa also has a rising star in Robin Lehner, but he's being groomed to be Anderson's successor. 

    The Senators will likely trade Ben Bishop in the offseason when he's a restricted free agent, but they need him for this season if they're hoping to make the playoffs. Expect Bishop to stay put.

     


These Defensemen Won't Be Changing Uniforms

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    Keith Yandle

    Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has been mentioned in various trade rumors. It doesn't make much sense for the Desert Dogs to move their top player.

    In the summer of 2011, signed an extension that pays him $5.25 million through 2015-16. Why give the man that extension if you're going to move him?

    Yandle is also fourth in team scoring with 17 points. The Coyotes are four points out of eight in the Western Conference, and they need him if they want to sneak into the postseason.

    Mark Streit

    Streit has scored 16 points this season, providing the Islanders with a puck-moving defenseman. Streit, unlike Yandle, is set to become a free agent after this season. Similar to the Coyotes' situation, New York is still in the playoff hunt, just two points out of the final playoff spot in the East. The Islanders should be buyers, not sellers this time. Streit should be kept on Long Island, he is crucial to their playoff chances.

    Robyn Regehr

    Regehr is a stay-at-home defenseman. He is a free agent at the end of the season and will turn 33 in April. I believe Regehr is going to remain a Sabre. They likely are going to become sellers, but Regehr won't fetch a handsome price compared to others players on their roster. He won't attract much interest.

Mike Ribeiro

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    The situation for Mike Ribeiro is an interesting one. Katie Carrera of the Washington Post outlines it:

    "Ribeiro, 33, is Washington’s leading scorer with 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) and has filled what was a crucial need on the roster for a highly skilled second-line center this season. But he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Ribeiro could demand upwards of $6 million per season on the open market.

    That backdrop makes for a strong case as to why the Capitals might try to re-sign Ribeiro, if they believe he’s the right fit for the organization going forward. If Washington can’t agree to a new deal with the Montreal native, though, the team could always opt to move him before the April 3 trade deadline."

    Washington is currently 11th in the Eastern Conference, four points out of the final playoff spot. If management believes they can still get in, they may look to hold onto him. However, Ribeiro is an unrestricted free agent after this season. As Carrera pointed out, he's looking for a five-year deal.

    That would be a gamble for the recently-turned 33-year-old. Washington gave up a top-notch prospect in Cody Eakin and a second-round pick in 2012 for his services. If they lose him all for nothing in the summer, this would be a huge mistake on their part.

    Ultimately, it looks as though the Capitals may have no choice but to part with him and hope the resurgence of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will be enough to lock down a playoff spot.

    Montreal could look to add more offense to keep up with the rival Bruins, and given his earlier success there, a reunion makes sense for both sides.

     

    Prediction: Traded to Montreal for 2013 first-round pick and 2013 second-round pick.

Ryan Whitney

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    Ryan Whitney's play has slowly declined the last couple of seasons, so there may not be much interest in him.

    However, he's an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and Edmonton should be willing to give him away, considering that he's been an occasional healthy scratch throughout the season.

    There aren't many puck-moving defenseman available and Whitney could flourish in a different environment.

    Detroit needs help on defense. They have a knack for bringing in veteran blueliners and turning them into gold, such as the Larry Murphy case in 1997.

    The Red Wings will need to bolster their depth if they want to go far in the postseason and Whitney shouldn't cost too much, so a move to Hockeytown seems like a good match.

    Prediction: Traded to Detroit for 2013 third-round and 2013 fourth-round pick.

Ryan Miller, Drew Stafford, Steve Ott, and Jordan Leopold

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    Buffalo may soon be forced to enter fire sale mode given the club's poor performance so far this season.

    According to capgeek.com, Buffalo has the ninth-highest payroll at $64,543,665. The fact that they are 12th in the Eastern Conference and five points out of the final playoff spot is unacceptable.

    The Sabres should look to rebuild or reload by moving their biggest trade chips.

    Drew Stafford has two years left on his current contract, which carries a cap hit of $4 million for the next two seasons.

    Steve Ott has one year left at $2.950 million, Ryan Miller also has one, which carries a $6.250 million cap hit while Jordan Leopold is set to become a UFA after this season.

    The Canucks tried trading for Ott last season, but Dallas wasn't interested in swapping him for Raymond. Vancouver needs to add toughness and a power forward, so Ott may be the right guy to fill that role.

    Stafford likely won't attract much interest given his inconsistency and being grossly overpaid.

    Buffalo may hold onto Miller until the offseason, where teams will have more salary cap space and giving the Sabres the best possible return.

    Leopold is a puck-moving defenseman that could fix a team's power play struggles. Winnipeg's power play is 26th in the league, and Leopold could improve that. With the Jets trying to hold onto their Southeast division lead, adding a veteran on the blue line to a young club would be a strong addition for the team.

    Prediction: Stafford and Miller remain in Buffalo. Ott is traded to Vancouver for a 2013 first-round pick and 2013 fourth-round pick, Leopold is traded to Winnipeg for 2013 second-round pick.

Jay Bouwmeester

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    Jay Bouwmeester hasn't been the player Calgary was hoping for when they signed him to a five-year $33 million contract in 2009.

    This season has been an exception, however.

    Bouwmeester has six goals and 15 points thus far, and leads the team in average time on ice with 25:13.

    He's never played a postseason game, but that could all change this spring.

    Bouwmeester is a tough, physical and power play quarterback who can be a top-two defenseman for any team that wants him.

    The one stumbling block is his heavy cap hit, which is $6.7 million through 2014.

    Calgary is soon to enter rebuilding mode and unloading a veteran while shredding salary would be a smart decision for the front office.

    Toronto needs more depth on their blue line, Bouwmeester would be a perfect fit for a young team trying to make the playoffs. The Maple Leafs and Flames are no strangers to blockbuster trades, such as the Dion Phaneuf one back in 2010. Toronto has many soon-to-be NHL-ready prospects, so adding Bouwmeester wouldn't hurt.

    Prediction: Traded to Toronto for C Jerry D'Amigo and 2014 second-round pick.

Ales Hemsky

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    Ales Hemsky's name has popped up in the rumor mill several times for over a year now.

    Edmonton was expected to trade him last summer, but they wound up re-signing him to a two-year extension just before the trade deadline.

    Hemsky has been inconsistent in recent years, battling many injuries that have sidelined him throughout his career. He has never played an 82-game season, and has missed 118 games over the past three seasons.

    The Oilers won't get too big of a return for him, but the team should look towards moving him to free up cap space. They desperately need to find a franchise goaltender and fill several holes on the blue line. Moving his $5 million cap hit which carries into next season would give them much-needed cap relief.

    When healthy, Hemsky is a slick playmaker and a dangerous weapon in the shootout. He would be an ideal fit for a team on the second line and could be on its top power play unit too.

    At this point, Edmonton should be willing to just give him away instead of holding onto him for another season.

    Nashville is desperate for goal-scoring while trying to capture a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Adding Hemsky would certainly help out a club, and if Nashville was willing to part with a first-round pick to acquire Paul Gaustad last season, they shouldn't have a problem overpaying for Hemsky.

    Prediction: Traded to Nashville for a 2013 first-round pick.

Ryan Clowe

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    What in the world happened to Ryan Clowe?

    A man who has posted 50-plus points in three of his last four seasons has yet to score a single goal in 25 games played this season.

    Clowe has a reputation as a power forward, a player who can hit, fight and score goals, he's done all but the last part this season.

    San Jose is barely holding onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so keeping Clowe might be in the team's interest.

    However, as Mike Halford of NBC Sports reports, plenty of teams have been calling Sharks' GM Doug Wilson about several players, and Clowe is one of them.

    Clowe's 225-pound frame would be a huge addition to any club. It's also important to remember that he is a tremendous playoff-performer, and broke out in the 2008 playoffs with nine points in just 13 games. In 2011, he posted 15 points in 17 playoff games.

    Any team who lacks toughness and veteran players should have Clowe on their wish list, because they could address two roster voids by making one call. Clowe is also set to hit free agency after this season, so he's not going to be a major gamble.

    Toronto is making a push for the postseason, but they lack playoff veterans and toughness. Ryan Clowe would be a great addition for the club that hasn't made the playoffs in nine years.

    Prediction: Traded to Toronto for 2013 second-round pick and 2013 third-round pick.

Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr

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    It's very tough to tell what Stars' GM Joe Nieuwendyk will do on April 3rd.

    Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr are two of the team's most valuable players, but both are set to hit the free agent market after this season.

    Jagr leads the team with 14 goals and 25 points, and has been a great addition and mentor to a young team. Roy is fourth in points for the Stars with 20 of his own.

    CBC's Elliot Friedman shared his thoughts on the Jagr situation:

    "The Morrow trade doesn't necessarily mean a Dallas sell off. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk was otherwise tight-lipped about it, but he did say they are trying to re-sign Jaromir Jagr. The goal is to keep, not trade him."

    Dallas is just one point out of eight in the Western Conference, so it may be in the club's best interest to hold onto Jagr and Roy. On the other hand, whether they make the playoffs or not, they risk losing both players for nothing in the summer.

    Although plenty of teams may be calling about Jagr, I believe an extension will get done to keep him in Texas.

    I expect Derek Roy to attract plenty of interest, and the Canucks should make Nieuwendyk an offer he can't refuse, given the club's desperation for a second-line center while Ryan Kesler recovers from a broken foot.

    Prediction: Jagr stays in Dallas, Roy is traded to Canucks for RW Anton Rodin and a 2014 second-round pick.

Marian Gaborik

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    Marian Gaborik is one of the biggest names on the trade market this season.

    Who wouldn't want a player who scores 40-plus goals a season when he's healthy?

    Gaborik is owed $7.2 million next season, and any team that acquires him would have a significant portion of their salary cap eaten up. The Rangers lack forward depth since trading for Rick Nash, but trading away Gaborik could give them assets to fill out those holes.

    Ottawa may be a team calling, as they lack scoring depth while Jason Spezza is sidelined. They also have over $14 million in salary cap space according to HockeyBuzz.com

    The Senators were reportedly kicking the tires to acquire Rick Nash last summer, so why not Gaborik, who would come more cheaply?

    In what could be one of the biggest trades in trade deadline history, Ottawa and Gaborik make plenty of sense. Both the Rangers and Senators would shore up big weaknesses.

    Prediction: Traded to Ottawa for RW Milan Michalek, RW Guillaume Latendresse, 2013 first-round pick and 2013 second-round pick. 

Jarome Iginla

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    At last, we come to the big fish of sought-after players in this year's trade deadline.

    Flames' Captain Jarome Iginla is going to turn 36 this summer and is also set to become a free agent, but that hasn't stopped teams from calling.

    TSN's Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and several other reports have claimed that the Iginla sweepstakes are down to four teams: Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Boston.

    All four teams happen to be the four most recent Stanley Cup Winners. All of those teams have plenty of prospects, and their core players are still young and in their prime.

    All of them can afford to part with the believed asking price—a first-round pick and two top prospects.

    Pittsburgh may have traded for Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, but as LeBrun reported, they are planning to go all in this season.

    Chicago has plenty of depth on the wing and they need to bolster their depth at the center position, so they shouldn't go after him.

    Los Angeles and Boston may be the two better fits. Pittsburgh's offense is talented enough, Iginla would only improve it by so much.

    The Kings have made their fair share of blockbuster deals in past trade deadlines, such as trading for Dustin Penner and Jeff Carter. Los Angeles gave up first-round pick and young talent. Ultimately, they will likely learn that they need to hold onto these draft picks and being the defending Cup Champions, shouldn't feel forced to make a move. Plus, Calgary probably won't feel the desire to trade him away to a conference rival.

    That leaves the Bruins as the front-runners. They have plenty of young power forwards and playmakers, but no pure goal scorers like Iginla. 

    Boston gives Iginla a great chance to win the Stanley Cup. They also have the prospects that they can afford to move in order to land him. 

    The Bruins pose a dangerous scoring attack, but it may not be enough to match Pittsburgh's. Adding Iginla would change that. The Bruins appear to be the best fit for Iginla. Boston also has two quality goaltenders plus top prospect Malcolm Subban and Calgary needs to find a replacement for the aging Miikka Kiprusoff.

    Prediction: Traded to Boston for Goaltender Anton Khudobin, Center Ryan Spooner and a 2013 first-round pick.

    **UPDATE: Iginla has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2013 first-round pick along with prospects Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski, as reported by CBC.