Jarome Iginla and 10 NHL Players Who Need to Be Traded
There comes a time for every team when they have to make a decision on what personnel will make them the most competitive in an increasingly competitive NHL.
As such, there also comes a time when perhaps finding that competitive edge often involves getting rid of some players who may not necessarily deserve trading.
However, if you're holding the team back from being as successful as it can be, then odds are you're going to be traded away. Whether it's below-expectation play, too high of a salary, or just a need for different player resources, sometimes certain players just need to find a new home.
Here is a list of 10 of those players.
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Ever since the Anaheim Ducks traded away Chris Pronger, they've been unable to fill the shoes he left vacant, and with the retirement of Scott Neidermayer last summer, that gaping hole only got more glaringly obvious.
Andy Sutton was GM Bob Murray's most recent attempt at filling this hole, but to say the least the gamble completely bombed.
Despite battling an injury sustained in a fight in the very first game of the season that kept him sidelined for 21 games, Sutton only managed to play in 39 contests.
It's pretty bad when someone you initially brought in to be one of the key pieces of your defense finds himself relegated to battling for a roster spot.
This is $2.125 million of salary cap hit that the Ducks can easily afford to go without next year, as you can expect to see youngsters Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa begin to take an even more central role on the blueline.
In addition, with the Anaheim defense being highlighted as an area in dire need of improvement in their unexpected quarterfinal exit to Nashville, you can expect the underperformers to go.
Andy Sutton will definitely be leading the way... to the exit.
Okay so the Rangers had a record of 4-1-1 when he scored a goal.
The problem was... he only scored seven of them.
In 41 games.
Yes he was sidelined by a torn ACL in early January last season, but come on. When you're paying a guy $3 million a year to put pucks in the net, you can expect him to pull at least 20. He was on pace for maybe 14.
For a guy who was drafted in the first round, Frolov has not lived up to expectations on any of the teams he's played for.
The Rangers were hoping he would prove to be a brilliant addition to their offense, perhaps giving them a second line with the capability of being a true offensive threat.
But once again he isn't living up to what he was expected to be.
Yes, he is a free agent this July 1 so I guess he can't really be traded strictly speaking, but here's my message to you, New York: DO NOT RE-SIGN HIM. You can do far better things with that $3 million, like give Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan their much-needed raises this offseason.
Regarless of whether or not the Flames want to either enter a rebuild or avoid one, this is a player who has GOT to go.
When the Flames initially brought him in during the summer of 2009, they were expecting him to be a defenseman who could bury upwards of 10 goals a year while still providing some solid defense in front of Miikka Kiprusoff.
So far he's provided neither.
Bouwmeester has finished with a negative plus-minus rating in both his years in Calgary, and additionally has not scored more than four goals in each of those years. And what's worse is both these years are coming on the heels of three straight in Florida where he managed at least 10 goals.
It's obvious Bouwmeester doesn't fit into the Flames system very well as he's struggling to play with his potential.
But perhaps the biggest reason the Flames need to get rid of him is his extremely unpalatable $6.68 million cap hit, which will last until 2014 on his current contract.
It might be difficult to finally offload that, but the Flames really need to find a way to get rid of this guy and use that salary to bring in someone (or multiple someones) who will better suit their needs.
He's proven he's extremely valuable to the Capitals franchise, but at the same time Washington is offensively stacked and needs to improve their defense.
While it is considerably better than it was a year ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning showed there's still some considerable-sized holes that need to be filled if the Caps want to have any chance at winning a Stanley Cup within the next couple years.
As such, Alexander Semin becomes an extremely valuable piece of trade bait.
Washington managed to sign him to a one-year contract extension, but it wouldn't surprise me if they tried to deal him away now while they can still get some serious return on the deal.
The Caps are also strapped for cap space as it is, and dealing away Semin, who will be their third forward to be making upwards of $6 million next season, seems a lot more palatable when you consider the kind of defensive talent they could possibly buy using that kind of money.
Fancy tendering an offer to Kevin Bieksa, by chance?
Yes I realize that there's virtually no way Brodeur is being traded, but he may be getting to the end of his career, and he showed that last season.
Because of that, I think it's time the Devils considered the possibility of exploiting his trade value.
At this point, it's a gamble. If the Devils keep him and he has another bad year, then the need to trade him will only grow and his value will have only declined sharply.
Right now, the Devils can get some serious return for this guy: a seasoned veteran with a ton of playoff experience and some proven skill... the price tag is really high for shopping him around.
Thus I think it's a good time for the Devils to, for the first time in a very long time, re-evaluate their goaltending situation.
Plus with that huge Ilyia Kovalchuck contract on their payroll, it can only help to clear a little bit of cap space to be flexible a few years down the line.
Let me clarify right now. Was Antero Niittymaki a bad signing for the Sharks last summer? No. Did he do his job this season? Yes.
Was he worth the $2 million in cap hit the Sharks gave up for him? No.
The Sharks decided pretty early on that Antti Niemi was going to be their main man in net, and for most of the season he didn't disappoint... for the most part.
The thing is however that Neimi is streaky and he will need a talented backup to be there when he has his occasional bad game.
Niittymaki filled that role well, but I don't think the Sharks should be paying $2 million to a guy who only saw action in 24 games this past year.
With several teams in need of a solid goaltender this year (Ahem... Colorado...) the Sharks could use him as good trade bait for possibly stockpiling some good extra draft picks or even maybe a good budding young player.
However, the Sharks shouldn't have to pay $2 million for a backup goalie, when you can get one who can just as adequately handle that same workload for less than half the price.
The Kings are trying to become one of the elite teams in the Western Conference, but yet they're still running around with two enforcers most nights.
Between Kyle Clifford and Kevin Westgarth, the Kings have two guys who are pretty much nothing but bruisers.
However, Kyle Clifford finished last season with a slightly less mediocre 14 points, including seven goals. He also played in 76 games.
Westgarth on the other hand only found a roster spot 56 times last season, being a healthy scratch for much of those missed games, and only bringing in three points, all assists.
To put this in perspective: Scott Parse only played in five games last season and he finished with more points than Westgarth.
The modern NHL has proven that you need to have at least three offensive lines capable of production if you want to have any chance at contending for a Stanley Cup. At this point I'm not really even sure if the Kings have two.
And running around with two enforcers who clearly can't be expected to produce points is not going to help your case when the modern NHL requires your team to be able to score on just about every shift.
At Least One of the Flyer Goalies
The Philadelphia Flyers are in a real sticky spot. They've got a talented team that showed it's got the capability of going far if they can stay consistent, but they're being plagued by inconsistent, streaky goaltending.
Between Sergei Bobrovsky, Michael Leighton, and Brian Boucher, the Flyers managed to collapse, lose the top spot in the East which they owned for most of the year, and then be swept out of the playoffs in the second round by the Boston Bruins.
So really it seems the only piece of their puzzle that's missing is a solid, consistent goaltender who can at least give them a chance to win every game.
As such, they need to dump the guys they have.
Brian Boucher shouldn't be too hard as he's an unrestricted free agent this July.
Bobrovsky could make some decent trade bait since he carried the team for most of the season and gave them hope for a potentially deep run in the playoffs.
However, there might not be much hope for getting rid of Michael Leighton for anything more than meager compensation.
Either way, if the Flyers want to have another shot at a better run next year, they're going to have to figure out what to do with their goaltending.
It's going to be rough for the Flyers, but if they want to bring in a goaltender like they need to do, they're going to have to sacrifice. They're pretty short on cap space as it is, and Andrej Mezaros' $4 million cap hit is pretty hard to swallow.
So therefore, he's my choice for them to give up.
It's tough to say you have to get rid of a defenseman who at the age of 25 played 81 games, scored eight goals, and finished a +30.
However, Mezaros could bring in a stellar price, more than likely a first-round pick in either this year or next year's draft, and a prospect or two depending on how much they can shop him around.
Teams will be looking to jump on this because quality defensemen are hard to come by these days it seems, so there'd be no shortage of teams willing to put up an offer for him.
And with the money they can save, they could even afford to go out and sign or trade for a goaltender who will fill that role adequately.
The good news for Philly that might be the solver of all their problems: Tomas Vokoun. Word is that Florida will not be resigning the veteran netminder, and he'll be free to go anywhere he wants. Odds are, if the Flyers can tender him enough money and give him the promise of a decent shot at a Stanley Cup, they might be able to lock him in for a year or two.
Okay before you go tearing my head off over this (Flames fans I'm looking at you...) at least give me the courtesy of explaining myself.
The Flames are quickly headed in the direction of the Edmonton Oilers... down like a lead-filled stone, or like Domink Hasek when someone skated within three feet of his crease. If they want to prevent being forced into a full-blown rebuild, they're going to have to find a way to balance this lineup. They're weak defensively, and beyond Iginla, their offense doesn't boast all that much either (Alex Tanguay was second in goals with only 22).
It's difficult to imagine trading a way a guy who has scored at least 30 goals in each of the past 11 seasons (including 43 last year) as being the solution to solving offensive problems, but here's his kicker: he's making a hefty $7 million in salary cap.
I'm not arguing that this is money gone to waste (in fact far from it), but Iginla is expensive and holds a ton of trade value to a team looking for a first-line forward.
Look at it this way: were the Flames to offer him to a team like the Los Angeles Kings (who have both cap space and young talented assets the Flames would be looking for), they could ask for an exchange like both Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds in return.
Getting a 21-year-old kid who's already been nominated for a Norris Trophy and a brilliant young power forward with a lot of budding potential while still clearing up cap space to possibly acquire even further players this offseason will no doubt add to the Flames overall talent.
And even better is the Flames will no longer be reliant on just one player for offensive production. They'll be able to add depth, add talent, and become an overall better team that would have a very realistic shot at a return to the playoffs next year, and perhaps even more importantly, avoid a rebuild.
Plus if you look at it this way, if the Flames are forced into a rebuild, the fattest contracts are usually the first ones to go, so he would probably be traded away then anyway for far less value than what he's actually worth were the Flames to trade him now.
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