After the frenzy that was the free agent market this summer, signings and trades have pretty much stopped entirely. However, entering the 2011 NHL season several teams still need to improve certain positions in their lineups, and the best possible trades for each squad will be documented here.
Not all of the trades are financially feasible, but dream deals usually aren't.
The Oilers are currently stocked up on young talent from two first overall picks in a row, as well as through their farm system. Unfortunately, that talent is predominently based within the forwards, and they are significantly lacking a solid star D-man ever since Sheldon Souray left town.
In order to aquire a true No. 1 defenseman, however, the Oilers must let some of their young talent go. If they want to progress more quickly they need to make a deal. Here is the proposed deal:
To Edmington: D Drew Doughty
To Los Angeles: FW Linus Omark, FW Eric Belanger, first-round pick in 2012
Going into the 2011 season, the Colorado Avalanche have made several changes to their lineup including bring in J.S. Giguere and Semyon Varlamov to tend the goal. Without a doubt though, the team needs to find Matt Duchene a better left winger than Daniel Winnik. They need a winger who will dish the puck off to Duchene and help him put up even more points.
The player who will do this best would be Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars. Over the past two seasons he's averaged just over 70 points, most of which have come from assists, and has some of the best hands in the league. If the Avs were to land Eriksson, they would immediately have extremely dangerous top two lines.
To Colorado: FW Loui Eriksson
To Dallas: FW Daniel Winnik, FW Ryan O'Rielly
The Florida Panthers come into 2011 as a completely overhauled team. After bringing in over eight new players via free agency in the summer, they still lack a completely proven goaltender. Sure, they have former Vezina winner Jose Theodore in there, but since leaving Montreal, he hasn't done much.
The Panthers would love to have the chance at a goaltender like Pekka Rinne, and with the future of the Predators in question, Rinne might just agree to a deal. Of course, the asking price for Rinne will be extremely high, but it is definitely worth the price.
To Florida: G Pekka Rinne
To Nashville: FW Jack Skille, FW David Booth, second-round draft pick in 2012
It's pretty obvious where the 2011 New York Islanders need to improve; it's the same position year after year: goaltending. Even if Evgeni Nabokov does indeed return to play this season, who knows what kind of form he will be in? Injury-prone goaltenders have decimated all deals in which the Isles tried to acquire a new one.
It doesn't have to be anyone spectacular, but anyone decent is an upgrade. Here's an example of a guy who would do great for the Islanders: current Canucks backup Cory Schneider. Schneider helped the Canucks to the William Jennings trophy for fewest goals allowed last season, and he was unbelievable. He is craving a starting job, and New York would be the perfect place for it. This is a deal than benefits both sides as well.
To New York Islanders: G Cory Schneider
To Vancouver: F Nino Niederreiter
The Ottawa Senators are desperately looking to improve from a very disappointing 2010/11 season. With the exception of Jason Spezza, the Senators don't really have any proven centerman. If they could part with players like Nick Foligno and Erik Karlsson, they could land themselves a premier center. Someone like Nicklas Backstrom out of Washington would be a good fit in the Sens' lineup.
To Ottawa: C Nicklas Backstrom
To Washington: FW Nick Foligno, D Erik Karlsson
The Winnipeg Jets find themselves in a difficult spot to be going into the 2011/12 NHL season. They aren't too far away from playoff contention, but they also can't afford to give up a lot in order to get the man they want. The core of the team plays well together, and they don't want to break up something good. The only place they could really upgrade is in the net, but even there they aren't in too much trouble.
They could trade away for Shane Doan, mostly because Jets fans would love it, and Doan would love to play back in the 'Peg.
To Winnipeg: FW Shane Doan
To Phoenix: FW Blake Wheeler, 2nd Round Draft Pick in 2012
For the first time in franchise history, Columbus Blue Jackets fans can finally get excited at the thought of being playoff bound. With Jeff Carter now in Ohio to center a line with Rick Nash, total team success is oh so close.
The Blue Jackets are a couple key pieces away from being in the playoffs in 2012. They could fill these holes via trade. They need more depth on the right wing, and could find that in LA Kings forward Justin Williams. Williams is extremely underrated, and does his job perfectly. He would fit in very nicely on the Jackets' second line.
To Columbus: FW Justin Williams
To Los Angeles: FW Vaclav Prospal
For the first time in almost two decades, the New Jersey Devils enter the 2011/12 NHL season with doubts in the crease. It seems as though Martin Brodeur is rapidly approaching the end of his career, and Johan Hedberg is a career backup, he is no starter.
The Devils need to address these issues in net as soon as possible. One prospective goaltender they could go after is Niklas Backstrom from Minnesota. Backstrom has played his team into the playoffs before, but that won't be asked of him in New Jersey with the plenty of stars he'll have in front of him.
To New Jersey: G Niklas Backstrom
To Minnesota: D Bryce Salvador, FW Cam Janssen
For the first time in several seasons, Leafs fans can go into the season saying their team actually has a shot at the postseason. This past offseason, GM Brian Burke did an excellent job putting the finishing touches on his rebuilding process including getting Tim Connolly to center Phil Kessel's line.
Offensively, the Leafs are set, but they still need to do some work on the defensive side of the puck for depth purposes. An often injured blue line has killed the Leafs as of late, and they can't afford for this to continually happen, so it is proposed that they trade injury-prone D-man Mike Komisarek away for two depth D-men.
To Toronto: D Anton Babchuck, D Adam Pardy
To Calgary: D Mike Komisarek, second-round draft pick
Minnesota Wild management put in work this summer. They are finally scrapping the defense-only style of play in favor of a more high-paced game. After bringing in Dany Heatley and Devon Setoguchi from the Sharks, look for higher scores than 2-1 at the end of Wild games in 2011/12.
Despite these additions, the Wild still struggle at the defense positions. If they went back to the Sharks for yet another deal, they could grab a solid, consistent D-man in Jason Demers. He doesn't hit hard on the cap, and is one of the best plus-minus defenseman in the league.
To Minnesota: D Jason Demers
To San Jose: FW Kyle Brodziak
The St. Louis Blues need one thing to make the jump into playoff contention in 2011/12: a star. Other than goaltender Jaroslav Halak, the Blues don't really have a star player. Their first line left winger is Alex Steen, who has never put up more than 55 points in a season his entire career. They desperately need a star winger to put up points.
This could be found in Dustin Brown of the LA Kings. Brown is still just 26 years old, and has shined on a underwhelming LA Kings team in the past (prior to 2009). Putting Brown on the first line with Chris Stewart and Andy MacDonald could work wonders for the Blues' offense.
To St. Louis: FW Dustin Brown
To Los Angeles: FW Alex Steen, 4th Round Pick
The 2010/11 season for the Carolina Hurricanes was crushing as they missed out on the playoffs by just two points. Entering the 2011/12 campaign, they have a solid all-around lineup led by Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner.
However, they may still want to improve their role or depth players. Currently troubled forward Brandon Sutter is centering the third line, and is far too overpaid for his role. The Canes need to look into moving Sutter out for a better role centerman.
To Carolina: C Dave Steckel
To New Jersey: C Brandon Sutter
It is pretty safe to say the Olli Jokinen experiment back in Calgary was a failure. This leaves the 2011/12 Calgary Flames in a bit of a predicament. By the end of the past season Jokinen was all over the lineup and couldn't find a nice niche.
The Flames need to get rid of Jokinen and bring in a real third line center. They will find this in a player like Jeff Halpern. Halpern puts up points and wins big draws—just what the Flames need.
To Calgary: FW Jeff Halpern
To Washington: FW Olli Jokinen
The Dallas Stars are inching back to glory slowly but surely. They have a few areas to work on in the upcoming season, including figuring out what to do with their aging players. Captain Brenden Morrow isn't who he used to be, and for the amount he is making, he needs to be moved.
A player who could be brought in and provide a spark to the secondary scoring of the Stars is Clarke MacArthur of the Toronto Maple Leafs. MacArthur put up 62 points last season and is just 26 years of age. He would be a perfect fit with the Stars.
To Dallas: FW Clarke MacArthur
To Toronto: FW Brenden Morrow
Where can the New York Rangers possibly improve in 2011/12? They got every player they wanted last year, including highly touted free agent center Brad Richards. If one had to guess, the only place the Rangers would make a move would be on their blue line.
Only in New York would a team try and make a big splash like the Rangers. The Rangers could go after a guy like Shea Weber to take one of the top two spots of the defensive depth chart. Weber would compliment Marc Staal nicely and he is one of the top two defensemen in the NHL today.
To New York Rangers: D Shea Weber
To Nashville: D Tim Erixon, FW Brian Boyle, FW Brandon Prust
The Buffalo Sabres secured everyone they were hoping to get in the 2011 free agent market including Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr to solidify their defensive corps. Now they just need to make a few more tweaks up front before they can be a Stanley Cup contender in 2011/12.
With the Sabres lineup pretty much set in stone, you have to look at a guy like Jason Pominville who hasn't been playing to the potential he did a few seasons back that got him that $5.3 million contract. The Sabres need someone to get Ville Leino and Thomas Vanek the puck, and that man could very well be St. Louis Blues forward David Backes. Backes posted 62 points last season and is very strong with the puck.
To Buffalo: FW David Backes
To St. Louis: FW Jason Pominville
Montreal may be the only professional sports market where fans can voice their opinion so loudly that management will actually make a move. It is the one market in which no player is safe. Since Andrei Kostitsyn ripped head coach Jacques Martin, it doesn't seem like he will be welcomed back with open arms.
This will more likely than not result in a move being made. Kostitsyn is overpaid for his role anyways. If the Canadiens could dump him, it would be miraculous. One player who would fit well with the Canadiens is Canucks winger Mikael Samuelsson. His soft hands, and a change of environment could help the Canadiens win some games by way of secondary scoring.
To Montreal: FW Mikael Samuelsson
To Vancouver: FW Andrei Kostitsyn
It is pretty hard to improve on the practically perfect lineup that makes up the Chicago Blackhawks, but going into the season they still strive to replace what was lost when Dustin Byfuglien was traded away. A big man for the front of the net who can make room for Toews and Kane to work their magic.
This is a real dream deal for the Blackhawks. They would send Rostislav Olesz and a pick to Winnipeg for Dustin Byfuglien. That alone could get the Hawks back in the finals.
To Chicago: FW/D Dustin Byfuglien
To Winnipeg: FW Rostislav Olesz, third-round draft pick in 2012
Going into the 2011/12 NHL season, the LA Kings' top two lines are nothing short of what you would see in an All-Star game. This team is going to be amazing this year. If they had to address any "flaws" they might have, it would be their role players.
The Kings will get plenty of secondary scoring from their second line this season, but you can't win the cup purely off of one or two lines putting the puck in the net (see 2011 Vancouver Canucks). If the Kings brought in Martin Erat from Nashville, he could be a pleasant surprise for the team. Erat always knows his role and plays hard. He would be a good fit in LA.
To Los Angeles: FW Martin Erat
To Nashville: FW Brad Richardson, 3rd Round Pick
How Phoenix will make the playoffs in 2011/12 I do not know, but they have some significant work to do before that is even in the conversation. The Coyotes are all out of sorts with Raffi Torres making the same amount as the first line center of the club. Not only do they have issues finding offense, but they also do not have the most solid goaltending situation.
With the departure of Ilya Bryzgalov to the Flyers, the 'Yotes are left with two career backups as their starting goaltenders. They could take a risk and go after Sergei Bobrovsky, but that could be dangerous. Instead, they could take a run at Cory Schneider. Schneider provides the Coyotes with enough stability in the back end that the offense can take risks.
To Phoenix: G Cory Schneider
To Vancouver: FW Kyle Turris, FW Kyle Chipchura, 5th Round Pick
Following the salary arbitration debacle with Shea Weber in the off-season, the Preds desperately need to make a move for a star offensive player if they want to attract players to Nashville. With the Preds having both Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber set to be free agents after this upcoming year, they need to make a move to stay successful.
One player that could do this for the Preds is LA forward Anze Kopitar. Kopitar brings speed, hands, and brilliance to the ice that gets fans on their feet.
To Nashville: FW Anze Kopitar
To Los Angeles: FW Mike Fisher, 1st Round Pick
The Anaheim Ducks are in desperate need of secondary scoring going into the 2011/12 season. The top line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry cannot play the team into the playoffs. With Teemu Selanne still unsigned, the Ducks need to make a move.
By bringing in a player like Ryane Clowe from San Jose, the Ducks shouldn't have any issue getting the production they are going to need in a tough Pacific division in 2011/12.
To Anaheim: FW Ryane Clowe
To San Jose: FW Jason Blake
With the loss of standout forward Sean Bergenheim to the Florida Panthers in the offseason, the Tampa Bay Lightning have a serious hole to fill. They didn't fill it in the offseason and need to make a move to replace him.
One player who could help fill that void is Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals. Ward had a stellar 2011 playoffs, and put up 29 points on a under-skilled Nashville Predators team. Once surrounded by great players he will perform much better.
To Tampa Bay: FW Joel Ward
To Washington: FW Dominic Moore
Age has finally caught up to the mighty Detroit Red Wings dynasty. With an average age of just under 30 years old, they are the oldest team in the league. Going into the 2011/12 campaign, the Red Wings had 232 games missed due to injury. Wings management needs to get some youth in the lineup and quickly. Even though it will be difficult to break up that core group of players, it is time for some changes.
Bringing in Chris Stewart would be huge for the Wings. He's a solid force physically, and has the ability to put up points. One can only imagine how well he would do under the legendary coach Mike Babcock.
To Detroit: FW Chris Stewart
To St. Louis: FW Dan Cleary
Much like the Minnesota Wild, San Jose addressed many of their needs through free agency and trades already this offseason.They brought in Martin Havlat and Brent Burns and seem set on returning to the Western Conference Finals.
It is pretty hard to touch their lineup right now, but if we are talking about dream (and completely unrealistic) trades, here is one that will get you thinking.
To San Jose: FW Corey Perry
To Anaheim: FW Patrick Marleau
Just imagine Corey Perry and Joe Thornton on a line together.
With the 2011/12 NHL season rapidly approaching, there are more and more questions surrounding the health of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby's health. If he can't start the season, the Pens need to find someone to temporarily take some of the pressure off offensively.
RJ Umberger has potential to bring in some offense and fit well in the Penguins mold. Obviously he is nothing close to Crosby, but he could help balance out the offense until Crosby returns. Umberger consistently posts upwards of 50 points a season and has a great eye for the ice. He would slide in nicely on the second line, and could be demoted to third once Crosby returns.
To Pittsburgh: FW RJ Umberger
To Columbus: FW Pascal Dupuis
There was no doubt in the hockey world that the Philadelphia Flyers' trades of both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards this offseason constituted the biggest trade news anyone had heard in a long time. They have gone more for the younger team approach and are slowly bringing players they have developed into the lineup. As a result of the team's youth in 2011/12, some changes will need to happen in order for the Flyers to return to glory.
The Flyers no longer have a standout star. Claude Giroux is on his way to being a star, but he's not quite there yet. If you're banking on Jaromir Jagr, injury-prone Danny Briere, and Scott Hartnell as your top point getters you are going to have issues.
Philly should consider a trade for Boston Bruins forward David Krejci. Krejci has steadily improved year after year in the show, and finished the 2011 playoffs first among all scorers. He has proven he can play at the highest level and would be a great fit in Philly.
To Philadelphia: FW David Krejci
To Boston: FW James van Riemsdyk, first-round draft pick
The Washington Capitals go into the 2011/12 NHL season trying to prove their critics wrong. They can't seem to get over the hump in the playoffs and changes need to be made. They went out and traded both their goaltenders and picked up Joel Ward and Jeff Halpern.
Despite these changes, the Caps are still in a rut. Other than the top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin, they don't really have any proven scorers on the team. As it is for most teams that can't seem to win the Cup, secondary scoring is the Caps' biggest enemy.
Trading for Andrew Ladd could be a key moment in the organization in helping the Caps get over that hump. Ladd is a solid second liner and has veteran experience from when he helped the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup a couple seasons ago. Ladd could be instrumental in helping the Caps win a cup.
To Washington: FW Andrew Ladd
To Winnipeg: FW Brooks Laich
The Vancouver Canucks have an influx of offensive depth that could cause some issues this year. It appears as though they are wasting young talent by going out and signing new players and leaving the youth down at the farm. In 2011/12, the Canucks can use this to their advantage by way of trades to get someone for Ryan Kesler to play with on the second line.
The perfect man for Kes is Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils. Parise has just one year on his contract and would fit perfectly with Kesler. Canucks fan dream of this deal ever happening.
To Vancouver: FW Zach Parise
To New Jersey: FW Cody Hodgson, G Cory Schneider
Coming off a Stanley Cup victory, most teams aren't too keen on tinkering with their lineup. The Boston Bruins are no different. They only have one spot they need to deal with before the season starts, and that is the second line center spot, vacated by Marc Savard due to injury. Is Tyler Seguin ready to make the jump? Or do they have to bring someone in?
In the case they have to trade for a second line center, it would have to be Patrick Sharp. Sharp is still somewhat underrated due to the firepower that he plays with in Chicago, but is extremely consistent and a great leader as well. Sharp would fit in perfectly with his new teammates in Boston.
To Boston: FW Patrick Sharp
To Chicago: FW David Krejci