10 Teams That Need to Make a Trade Before the Deadline for Psychological Reasons
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The trade deadline is a strange time.
In the last two years, the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings made trades prior to the deadline that were vital to their respective Stanley Cup runs.
The Bruins added Rich Peverley from the Atlanta Thrashers (now doing business as the Winnipeg Jets) and Chris Kelly from the Ottawa Senators, and both role players made key contributions during the postseason.
The Kings were struggling to make the playoffs last year when they traded solid defenseman Jack Johnson to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter. That acquisition seemed to unblock the Kings' offense as they not only made the playoffs, but they dominated in the postseason. Carter's goal scoring ability remains a vital factor for the Kings.
Sometimes teams need to make trades prior to the trade deadline just for the psyche of the team. Here's a look at 10 of those teams that would get a boost by making a trade prior to April 3.
Toronto Maple Leafs
While there are no guarantees, the Maple Leafs are in a strong position to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
The Maple Leafs need to get stronger on the blue line and could still use an upgrade in goal.
While head coach Randy Carlyle has a hard-working and hustling team, the Maple Leafs would get a psychological boost from a trade.
Instead of looking for draft picks and trading away assets, it would send the team a positive message if it could add a solid veteran who could make them stronger during the stretch run and for the playoffs.
This kind of boost could go a long way toward making the Leafs a decent playoff team.
The Calgary Flames have taken the first step in the rebuilding process.
By trading Jarome Iginla, general manager Jay Feaster has finally said that the Flames are looking to the future instead of clinging to the ridiculous hope that the team was actually a contender.
The first step is important, but it won't mean a thing unless the Flames continue to make moves. They have traded Iginla, now they need to trade other veterans who might be able to help contenders while they add draft picks and young players.
It's an important message to send to the team's players, coaches and fans.
New Jersey Devils
There's little doubt that Lou Lamoriello understands what it takes to win in the NHL on a consistent basis.
He is one of the sharpest and smartest leaders in the NHL and most of his maneuvers have benefited the Devils in both the short and long run.
It's difficult to determine exactly where the Devils stand right now. They are in seventh place as of March 29 and a spot in the playoffs is likely.
However, they don't look strong enough to make much of an impression in the postseason.
Lamoriello needs to add a veteran scorer if this team is going to have a chance to advance in the postseason like it did last year when New Jersey went to the Stanley Cup Finals.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks shot out of the gate on a hot streak this year, but they have leveled off considerably in the last two months.
If the Sharks are going to make the playoffs, it seems likely that they will be a seventh- or eighth-place team in the conference.
General manager Doug Wilson has to ask himself if his team has one more legitimate Stanley Cup run in it or if that ship sailed.
Wilson traded defenseman Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that move does not mean the Sharks are out of it.
By adding a productive offensive player or two, the Sharks could prepare to go on a run. If he decides that his team is not capable and starts trading assets, that will also send a message to his players, coaches and fan base.
Standing still is the wrong answer. Making a move in one direction or the other will indicate Wilson has a strong grasp of his team's capabilities.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders are battling hard for a playoff spot, and that's quite an achievement for this team.
When you play in a division with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, contending for the playoffs is a difficult assignment. It seemed likely the Islanders would be bringing up the rear in the Atlantic Division.
The Islanders and Rangers both have 35 points as of March 29, and that's good enough to put the Islanders into a tie for eighth place.
John Tavares and his teammates have done a solid job and so has head coach Jack Capuano. Now it's time for general manager Garth Snow to show his faith in the team by making a key upgrade prior to the trade deadline.
The Islanders have been beaten down over the years and now it's time for the team to continue its climb to the playoffs by adding new blood to the equation.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are no longer a dominant team in the Western Conference.
Instead, they are fighting for their playoff lives. However, they are not a team that has to cash in its chips and start trading players for draft choices and other future considerations. They still have plenty of talent and head coach Mike Babcock gets plenty out of this team.
The Red Wings are the last team you would expect to start looking at the future and giving up on the current season.
That's not going to happen. The Red Wings need to add one or two defensemen to give them a better chance to make the playoffs and have a chance to win a round or two.
If Ken Holland can do that, the Red Wings have a chance to make an impact the rest of the season.
The Sabres have played better hockey since Ron Rolston replaced Lindy Ruff behind the bench, but they have not been consistent enough to make general manager Darcy Regier believe that the team has a legitimate shot at the playoffs.
The Sabres have some decent talent, but they are not in a position to play consistently against the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
It's time for Regier to start breaking down this team. That could mean trading former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller. At this point, Miller could bring the Sabres a lot more in a trade than he could help them by remaining in a Buffalo uniform.
If Regier trades Miller and can get a decent load in return, it will allow this team to continue the rebuilding process it started when Ruff was fired.
Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.
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It's been a strange season for the Vancouver Canucks.
At the start of the season they appeared to be the odds-on favorite to win the Western Conference and contend for the President's Trophy once again.
However, they have been a streaky team this year, alternating hot streaks with slumps. As a result, they have ceded the top two spots in the conference to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks. In addition, they are in a dogfight with the upstart Minnesota Wild for the Northwest Division title.
General manager Mike Gillis needs to give his team a psychological boost with a trade. Ryan Kesler has been shelved with injuries most of the season—he has played just seven games—and the Canucks can use an upgrade among their forwards.
The goaltending situation remains in flux. Gillis may choose to keep Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo and trade one of them at the end of the season.
No team needs to complete a trade to repair its psyche more than the Boston Bruins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens and the Bruins appear to be the three best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens added Michael Ryder from the Dallas Stars in February to upgrade their goal scoring. He has been a solid addition.
The Penguins added Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, and then brought in Jarome Iginla to give their offense and locker room a major boost.
It appeared the Bruins were in the driver's seat to acquire Iginla, but he preferred moving to the Penguins (source: Boston.com).
If the Bruins are going to keep up with their rivals, general manager Peter Chiarelli needs to make a deal to convince his players, coaches and the team's fans that the Bruins are going to have a real chance to win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
If Chiarelli does not make a deal, the Bruins may suffer a serious letdown.
The Blackhawks are playing with much more fire and determination than they showed in either of the last two seasons when they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
They have demonstrated speed, skill, puck possession and consistency since the start of the season. They are on track to cop the President's Trophy and finish with the league's best regular-season record.
They have a solid team, but Stan Bowman knows there is always room for improvement. They could use a second-line center and perhaps some help on the blue line.
The Blackhawks may very well be good enough to win their second Stanley Cup championship in four years without a trade, but the right move may improve their chances significantly.