NHL Trade Deadline: 15 Players Who Needed a Change of Scenery and Didn't Get It
With the NHL Trade Deadline having passed on Monday, it's time for many teams (and fans) to stop and take a look at all of the deals that have been completed over the last few weeks.
However, in many cases, it's the deals that haven't been done that can tell us more about a team's plans than the ones that were. After all, there are always dozens of players who could use a trade to a contender, or to get ice time, or just actively want to leave, but precious few actually get the chance.
We're bringing you the 15 players who could have used a trade, were almost traded but wound up staying put. These guys could have been serious help to contenders, but their teams, for one reason or another, decided to keep them where they were.
So strap on you skates, grab your replica Ken Dryden mask, and let's get started, shall we?
15. Zenon Konopka, C, New York Islanders
This gritty center with the goofy name is one of the NHL's premier enforcer forwards, and would be the perfect fit on a team in need of a toughness transplant, like Anaheim or Vancouver.
In fact, Konopka was on the block and a deal nearly went through with the Ducks, but the price (a second-round pick) was ultimately too high for a player who is running away with the league's penalty minute lead.
Konopka will likely get away after the season, but in the end, the fact was he was too pricey for most team's tastes.
14. Johnny Oduya, D, Atlanta Thrashers
Things have not gone well for Oduya this season in Atlanta. His mediocre point totals (2 goals, 14 assists) have been offset almost completely by his anemic plus-minus rating of minus-14.
Numerous teams reportedly called about Oduya, but in the end the Thrashers decided to hang on to their struggling blue liner, hoping he can right the ship down the stretch.
However, look for Oduya to be shopped again come the offseason. With his relatively nice cap hit and some slight upside, he's got plenty of trade value at some point.
13. Filip Kuba, D, Ottawa Senators
Like pretty much everyone in Ottawa this season, Kuba has been flat out brutal. Between the injuries that have seen him play just 44 games, to the poor offensive play (no goals, 9 assists), to the absolutely dreadful plus-minus rating (a disastrous minus-26), Kuba's been an absolute mess for the Sens.
But he's not nearly as bad as those stats would have you believe, and on a team that's not such a disaster area, Kuba would have the chance to shine.
Still, his contract (he's owed another $3.7 million next season) and the Senators asking price proved to be too much for other clubs.
12. Ladislav Smid, D, Edmonton Oilers
Smid is a rarity on the trading block: A young defenseman with NHL experience and plenty of potential still to fill.
The 25-year-old has struggled a bit this season, but given his potential, there were plenty of teams kicking the tires and seeing if perhaps Edmonton was willing to make a change of scenery deal for him.
Smid is a big, quick defender with the potential to be something solid. But, it looks like he'll be doing that in Edmonton rather than Chicago.
11. Joni Pitkanen, D, Carolina Hurricanes
Pitkanen has been sensational in 2011, racking up 25 assists and 27 points on the year and ranks among the most consistent offensive blue liners in the NHL.
Which is why, with free agency impending for the 27-year-old, the Hurricanes fielded all kinds of calls for him.
But in the end, there was little chance of Pitkanen being dealt to a Stanley Cup contender, mostly because the 'Canes fashion themselves as Cup contenders. Pitkanen might not have wanted a deal, but there were plenty of teams who could use his touch with the puck.
10. Tim Connolly, C, Buffalo Sabres
Another year, another underwhelming effort from Buffalo Sabres center Tim Connolly. The 29-year-old forward still has potential, but with just 26 points in 47 games this season coupled with a minus-10 rating, Connolly is looking like he's on pace to have another disappointing season.
Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needs. But, after the Sabres decided they needed him to make a playoff push, it was clear he wasn't going anywhere.
Can he turn it around? Perhaps. But his best shot to do so might be to leave Buffalo this summer.
9. Stephen Weiss, C, Florida Panthers
The 27-year-old Weiss has been one of the Panthers' best forwards in 2010-11, racking up 16 goals, 40 points and establishing himself as a solid player once and for all.
The center was the key to various trade talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but ultimately nothing came of it.
Weiss is undeniably talented, but given his occasional lapses in production, it's possible he needs a change of scenery to fully utilize it.
8. Chuck Kobasew, RW, Minnesota Wild
Another disappointing player, Kobasew has notched just 13 points on the year, and has frequently been a healthy scratch in recent weeks. He's not happy in Minnesota, and the Wild seemed willing to give him his ticket out of the Xcel Center.
But a funny thing happened on the way to a deal: Injuries beset the Wild's best forwards, including Mikko Koivu.
So, the team decided that they needed to hang on to the 28-year-old sniping winger for the rest of the season as they make their push for the postseason.
7. John-Michael Liles, D, Colorado Avalanche
Liles was a guy many thought would be moved on Monday, primarily to the Maple Leafs. The 30-year-old blue liner might be having his best season as a pro (six goals, 35 assists), but given his contract, the Aves were hoping they could send him to a contender in need of some offense from their back line.
However, Toronto repeatedly lowballed the Aves, offering nothing better than a third-round pick when many in the industry saw him as a player worth at least a first-rounder.
6. Brad Richards, C, Dallas Stars
Richards has emerged as a true first-line center this season in Dallas, leading the team in just about every offensive category. He also had no desire to leave, while the Stars had no desire to deal him.
So why was he on the block? Richards is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, meaning Dallas could lose him for nothing.
So, they decided to see if anyone needed a top-tier center, and when they figured out that no one would meet their asking price, they stood pat.
Still, the Stars probably won't be hoisting the Stanley Cup this season, while sending Richards to the Rangers would give him the chance to contend for it, so a change of scenery surely couldn't have hurt.
5. David Booth, LW, Florida Panthers
Booth was another of those deadline darlings, the guys whose names just wouldn't leave the radar until after the deadline actually passed.
He's proven to be quite a talented goal scorer this season, netting a team-high 17. Booth's relative youth (he's only 26) means he's still got some time to hit his prime and should see a boost in scoring in the next year or two.
Booth would be the perfect fit on a contender in need of goal-scorers, like the Los Angeles Kings, but ultimately the price for the talented forward was just too much for other clubs to give.
4. Jonathan Bernier, G, Los Angeles Kings
It's not that Bernier's unhappy or a bust or struggling; in fact, he's still the NHL's most promising young keeper.
However, the 22-year-old has a problem in Los Angeles, and it's name is Jonathan Quick. The 25-year-old has established himself as the dominant netminder for the Kings, and has left Bernier to start just 17 games this season.
The Kings would hate to see him go to waste, and he'd be a perfect fit for a team in need of consistent goaltending with plenty of upside.
But, with most contenders standing pat and no one else willing to give the Kings what they were asking, Bernier figures to be stuck behind Quick for the time being.
3. Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
Hemsky was one of the biggest names on the market this offseason and with good reason. The winger is smooth as butter, and has been one of the most exciting players in the NHL this season, when he's healthy. His 18 goals and 24 assists in 46 games make him a potent scorer, and if he were to wind up on a contender, he would have been a welcome addition to the lineup.
However, the Oilers were asking for the farm when teams enquired about him, so the 27-year-old stayed put.
2. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G, Toronto Maple Leafs
The man known simply as Jiggy was supposed to fix the goaltending situation in Toronto. Instead, the 33-year-old keeper has flopped royally, posting the lowest win total in quite some time for the veteran and goals-against-average and save percentages that are among the worst of his career.
In other words, Jiggy could really have used a new home before the deadline.
But in the end, the price was too much (as was his salary), and he'll stay trapped in Toronto for now.
1. Tomas Vokoun, G, Florida Panthers
Vokoun is your classic "Change of scenery" guy. He's still one of the league's better keepers, evidenced by his solid peripherals (goals against average, save percentage).
But the 34-year-old is once again doomed by a subpar supporting cast, and was yet again the subject of rampant speculation right up until the trade deadline.
Like always, the reasons Vokoun stayed put were primarily his salary and a lack of need. Most postseason contenders are set in goal, which means that Vokoun was once again trapped by the market.
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