NHL Trade Rumors: Analysis on Evgeni Nabokov and the Other Big Names on the Move
While the 2011 NHL Free Agent class is not the most star studded in recent memory, teams will still be looking to shake up their rosters via the trade market with some big names potentially up for grabs.
In a season that saw high profile players like Erik Johnson, Tomas Kaberle, Kris Versteeg, and Dwayne Roloson moved, it appears as if the offseason will provide a similar amount of player movement for teams looking to patch holes on their rosters.
Among those rumored to be on the market are Evgeni Nabokov, Brad Richards, and possibly even Tuukka Rask. Not to mention, the restricted free agent market is ripe with talent.
Here is the latest buzz from the trade market. Keep it tuned in here for the rest of the day as I break down all of the latest rumors.
Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @MatthewFairburn for all the latest news from the rink.
With Brian Rafalski retired and Nicklas Lidstrom not too far behind him, the Detroit Red Wings need to focus on revamping the blue line.
Luckily for Detroit, this free agent class boasts a solid group of players that fit their need.
For starters, Joni Pitkanen appears to be a perfect fit for the red and white. His offensive prowess on the point would be perfect to replace Rafalski and perhaps Lidstrom at some point. Pitkanen is a poised and experienced defenseman.
Other notable free agents on the blue line are Sami Salo, Ed Jovanaski, Kevin Bieksa, and Roman Hamrlik among others.
Whether the Wings go the offensive defenseman route or seek a tough physical presence on the blue line, they will have plenty to choose from.
The Fourth Period has begun speculating that T.J. Oshie could be on the move this offseason. Oshie did not earn high praise from the coaching staff for his attitude or work ethic and also spent much of the season injured.
Meanwhile, the Kings are in the market for another center behind Anze Kopitar, and Oshie would provide a fixture at the position for the long term future.
It's also thought that given the history between the two teams, the Flyers and Kings could be potential trade partners with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter being the topic of discussion.
Either way, it appears the Kings will be among the most active teams in the league this offseason.
The Edmonton Journal is reporting that the Islanders will "almost surely" deal Evgeni Nabokov this season. Now the speculation on his potential landing spot can begin.
The first team that comes to everyone's mind is the Philadelphia Flyers, who had well publicized issues in goal this postseason. Philly does not have much cap room, so they would have to move a veteran to get the deal done. However, the Flyers have shown a willingness to maneuver the roster and throw money around, so don't be surprised to see Paul Holmgren pull something off.
Garth Snow would be wise to get something for the Russian netminder, as Nabokov has made it clear that he does not want to be a part of the New York Islanders. Plus, the Islanders don't need to cloud their goaltending depth chart any further.
Meanwhile, this would be the ideal pickup for the Flyers and for Nabokov. Philly gets the dependable veteran goalie they need to bridge the gap for Bobrovsky, and Nabokov gets a chance to play for a Stanley Cup contender in the twilight of his career.
This will be an interested one to keep an eye on.
The New York Rangers badly want Brad Richards, that much is obvious. The Rangers may be willing to go farther than some may expect to acquire Richards's services, however.
The New York Post is speculating that the club could give up draft picks in order for the negotiating rights to the superstar center.
Since it is becoming more and more apparent that the Stars will have trouble signing Brad Richards with their instability at owner for the time being, the Rangers are hoping to avoid being outbid by teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings, who are also reportedly interested in signing Richards.
The speculated price for the rights to Richards would be a second round pick. It seems a bit steep, but if it means the Rangers reel in Brad Richards than more power to them.
Pairing the playmaking Richards with the goal scoring touch of Marion Gabrorik would be a thing of beauty.