Training camp begins for most teams in the next few weeks and most of them have their rosters ready to start the regular season. The question is, are their rosters ready for the 82-game schedule that is only a month away? Some teams need a little more depth, some teams need to start a rebuild, and some might just need that one player to push them over the hump.
While some free agents are still available for the picking, the trade route is also an option. Here is one trade for each NHL team that I think would help them make an even bigger impact then they would with their current rosters.
To Anaheim: Nik Antropov & a 4th round pick in 2012
To Winnipeg: Peter Holland
Anaheim relies on it’s monster first line for most of its offense. That’s understandable, as Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan are three of the NHL’s premiere players. The problem is that the supporting cast isn’t that strong in offensive potential. If he decides to return, Teemu Selanne will continue to be a strong contributor for one more year, as will Saku Koivu.
Anaheim gives up one of it’s better prospects in Peter Holland, but in acquiring Nik Antropov they get a big, strong player who get at least 40-50 points a season. At 31 years old, he brings experience and can take Koivu’s spot when he retires.
When you’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions, there shouldn’t be a trade that you have to make prior to the next season. The only notable losses they suffered were Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder on offense, and Tomas Kaberle on defense. They did a good job to get Joe Corvo out of Carolina to replace Kaberle. Tyler Seguin will be given every chance to step up into a top six role. Jordan Caron will also have the chance to make the team out of training camp.
If there’s any trade that were to happen before training camp, it wouldn’t be a major one. Certainly one not worth talking about.
To Buffalo: Paul Stastny
To Colorado: Brad Boyes, Marcus Foligno, and a 4th round pick in 2012
Although Buffalo became a much better team during the offseason, but they failed to land the one position they needed most: a No.1 center. The made an unsuccessful pitch at Brad Richards and weren’t able to find another suitable centerman. Derek Roy is able to hold the No. 1 role, but if the Sabres were able to acquire someone better, they would be even more set to make a run at the Northeast Division title.
Enter Paul Stastny. The Sabres would be giving up some quality players and a high draft pick, but in the long run, it might be better for them. Acquiring Stastny would give the Sabres a first line of Stastny, Thomas Vanek, and Ville Leino, and a second line of Roy, Tyler Ennis, and Jason Pominville. Pretty dangerous first two lines if you ask me.
To Calgary: Jordan Staal, Eric Tangradi, and a 2nd round pick in 2012
To Pittsburgh: Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque
Now, Calgary fans are sure not to like this one. While the Flames are a team that could certainly contend for the playoffs with their current roster, they would not make past the first round barring a major upset. The Flames are slowly becoming a much older team and their time to contend for the Stanley Cup has more than likely come and gone. That being said, it’s time for a rebuild.
The first step is trading Jarome Iginla to a team that he will have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup. The best situation I have found is sending him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a nice package of players. Jordan Staal’s talent is being wasted under the star power of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Rene Bourque is in the deal to give the Penguins more than a older player that will be very shortly on his last legs.
To Carolina: Shawn Matthias
To Florida: Danny Biega
The Carolina Hurricanes are pretty good team as they stand right now. They can certainly make a run at the playoffs and possibly make it past the first round with their current roster. The only problem with their roster is if there is an injury to a major player during the season, they don’t have the proper depth behind their star players to replace them with a minor league player. Therefore, they need to make a deal that will give them that depth.
Shawn Matthias has only played about a season and a half in the NHL but he is the type of player that can play two positions and provide a little secondary scoring. He’s also able to move up into the top two lines if he has to. All Carolina has to give up is Danny Biega, their third round pick from the 2010 draft.
To Chicago: Mikhail Grabovski
To Toronto: 2nd round pick in 2012
The Chicago Blackhawks are a team that is going to do some damage in the 2011-12 season. Their only soft spot is at the center position. The only natural centers on the team are captain Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, and rookie Marcus Kruger. Patrick Sharp and Michael Frolik can also play center, but they are better suited to play the wing positions. Acquiring a second line center would do the Blackhawks a whole lot of good.
The best option I think is to acquire Mikhail Grabovski from the Toronto Maple Leafs. All they will have to give up is a prospect from this past years draft in Brandon Saad and they get Grabovski’s services for the entire season.
To Colorado: Alex Tanguay
To Calgary: 3rd round pick in 2012
In one of my previous articles, I said the Colorado Avalanche should sign Alex Tanguay to provide another veteran presence to the young Avs. When he re-signed with Calgary, my prediction was proven wrong. That doesn’t mean he can’t end up in Colorado before the season starts.
Continuing with my belief that Calgary needs to start a rebuild, the Flames could send Tanguay back to the team with which he began his career with. He would provide valuable leadership to the team. He will also be able to stick around longer than Milan Hejduk, as he will most likely retire after this season.
To Columbus: Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn
To Montreal: Samuel Pahlsson and a 4th round pick in 2012
Columbus had a pretty good offseason, acquiring Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski. That gives them some valuable high end players to go along with Rick Nash. The problem is, other than those additions, the Blue Jackets are pretty much the same team that failed to make the playoffs once again. Carter and Wisniewski will help, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to make the playoffs.
This deal is essentially a swap of penalty killers. Montreal gets a center in Samuel Pahlsson that is taller than any of the centers it currently employs, albeit only by one inch, but it gives them more depth at the position . Columbus gets depth on both wings in Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn, although they would be taking a chance on Kostitsyn.
To Dallas: Wojtek Wolski
To New York: 3rd round pick in 2012
When a team loses a player like Brad Richards, you can be sure that the team’s total offensive stats will take a dip. That happened to Dallas this offseason and they will need their players to pick up the slack from the loss of Richards. The team did a good job of signing Michael Ryder away from Boston, and Jamie Benn should continue to get better. It might not be enough however.
The New York Rangers have a player that could help the Stars and the Stars would be doing them a favor by taking him. Wojtek Wolski’s contract is not one of the most friendly in the league for the role he plays on the Rangers. On the Stars, he would more than likely be playing on the second line and would provide them with valuable scoring.
Brad Stuart, the only player on Detroit's roster last season acquired by trade.
Let’s face it, the Detroit Red Wings never has to make a trade. Actually, I don’t remember the last time Detroit made a trade in the offseason.
To Edmonton: Mike Komisarek
To Toronto: 4th round pick in 2012
It is no secret that Edmonton needs defensemen. The Oilers have a glutton of young forwards that will grow together. The problem is that the young defensemen they have are not in the NHL yet and are not ready for it. When they do, it will be a while before they make a big contribution to the team. They need a player that can be used as a transition.
Mike Komisarek has never gotten his feet off the ground in Toronto and he could use a change of scenery in many a Toronto fan’s opinion. Maybe a move to Edmonton could give him a new lease on his career. Playing with players like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle could do that to a player.
To Florida: Matt D'Agostini
To St. Louis: 3rd round pick in 2012
Florida is a wild card team heading into this season. They made arguably the biggest changes during the offseason. Maybe not as drastic as the Philadelphia Flyers retooling, but impressive nonetheless. The Panthers brought in a bunch of new forwards but are still weak in depth at the right wing position. Currently, they have Scottie Upshall, Jack Skille, Evgeny Dadonov, and Matt Bradley.
Matt D’Agostini’s talent is being wasted in St. Louis and he should be dealt. I believe he would be a great addition to the Panthers and he could be a vital player for them. With the additional scoring that D’Agostini would provide, the Panthers might be able to improve even more in the Eastern Conference.
To Los Angeles: Zach Parise
To New Jersey: Tyler Toffoli, Thomas Hickey, 1st round pick in 2012
Los Angeles got a lot better over the offseason. The acquisition of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne will do wonders for their offense but they could still do more. The Kings have shown that they are willing to trade away their top prospect away for a player that will get them a player that will help them now.
This trade would be a real doozy. Acquiring Zach Parise would give them a monster first two lines. Having Parise, along with Richards, Gagne, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Justin Williams would definitely put the Kings near the top of the Western Conference.
To Minnesota: Adrian Aucoin
To Phoenix: 5th round pick in 2012
If there is any team in the NHL that has a no-name defense, it’s Minnesota. The most known players on the Wild’s blue line are Marek Zidlicky and Mike Lundin, not exactly household names. Rounding out Minnesota’s defense is a mess of both young and old players.
Adrian Aucoin is an aging defenseman that can still help a team. Minnesota is a state where hockey is very important and the way that the Wild have been performing in recent years, they need to do something that can get them back to the playoffs. Aucoin could give them valuable experience and hopefully get them back into playoff contention.
To Montreal: Nik Antropov
To Winnipeg: Scott Gomez and a 2nd round pick in 2012
Montreal’s biggest problem is that their best players are small. They are very talented, but when they make it to the playoffs they are beat up by bigger and tougher teams. They need a big forward that can help defend players like Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.
Montreal is another team that could really use the services of Nik Antropov. He would easily become the tallest forward on the Habs roster and he would do wonders for their roster. He would become the Canadiens’ second line center with the departure of Gomez.
To Nashville: Dan Girardi, Christian Thomas, 1st round pick in 2012
To New York: Ryan Suter
With the whole Shea Weber arbitration situation going down the way it did, the Nashville Predators are going to be in a bit of a pickle come July of next year. Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter are due to become unrestricted free agents and Weber is going to be a restricted free agent once again. The way the Predators ownership runs things, they won’t be able to retain all three. They need to choose who they want to keep now.
Rinne is their franchise goaltender and Weber might be the best defenseman in the NHL. Suter is a great player, but he is the most expendable of the three. Dealing him to the Rangers gets them a player in Girardi that can take Suter’s spot, a high end prospect in Thomas, and 1st round draft pick.
To New Jersey: Jake Allen
To St. Louis: Adam Henrique
New Jersey has had a franchise goaltender in Martin Brodeur that has brought them Stanley Cups, multiple trips to the Stanley Cup finals and has won numerous Vezina trophies himself. The problem is that his performance has slowly dipped over the years and he will most likely retire after this season.
The Devils need to find a replacement, and it probably won’t be coming from their own system. St. Louis might have the player that New Jersey needs. Jake Allen is a prospect that will be held back by Jaroslav Halak and Ben Bishop for more than a few years. If New Jersey were to send Adam Henrique their way, I’m pretty sure that both teams would get something they would like.
To New York: A bag of pucks
To Anyone: Rick Dipietro
Wait, is Rick Dipietro even worth a bag of pucks. I mean they don’t got hurt as much as he does.
To New York: Matt Cooke
To Pittsburgh: Sean Avery
These are two teams that have a problem player that is really a pain in their behinds. Maybe an exchange would do them some good.
To Ottawa: Sean Horcoff
To Edmonton: Filip Kuba and a 3rd round pick in 2012
Ottawa, being at the beginning of a rebuild, is not going to be a big target for free agents for the next few years. They will have to acquire new players by trade. With Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Milan Michalek form a very strong first line but there is basically nothing behind them. They need to acquire some better secondary scoring.
Shawn Horcoff could anchor the second line and provide experience to the young Senators. Edmonton gets a defenseman that they need and another draft pick that Edmonton seems to covet so much.
I think they have done all the trading they need to do for this offseason, don’t you.
To Phoenix: Braden Holtby
To Washington: 1st round pick in 2012 and Ray Whitney
With the loss of Ilya Bryzgalov, the Phoenix Coyotes lost the one thing that kept them in the playoff race. The replacement they brought in leaves a lot to be desired. Mike Smith has never lived up to his potential and Phoenix could be paying for their decision.
Washington has already dealt away one of the three goaltenders it used last year and they could do with dealing away another one. Braden Holtby could fetch them another first round pick to add to their growing collection. Phoenix could sure use him.
To Pittsburgh: Mathieu Perreault
To Washington: 3rd round pick in 2012
With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin suffering major injuries that kept them out most of last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins depth was tested as Jordan Staal was forced into the No. 1 role. That isn’t bad at all, but behind him was not that much. With Crosby still having concussion problems it would be smart to acquire some additional depth.
The arch-enemy Washington Capitals could give them that depth. Mathieu Perreault would give the Penguins some versatility as he can play center and the wing, so he could be very useful.
St. Louis has a quite deceptive roster. They are the team that could very well surprise in the tough Western Conference. Bringing in veterans Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner via free agency will help the Blues young players and give them valuable playoff experience. They have some great youngsters coming down the pipeline, some that will be ready by this season and could give the Blues even more of a boost
To San Jose: Carter Ashton
To Tampa Bay: 1st round pick in 2012 & Thomas Greiss
San Jose traded away two of its biggest offensive contributors in Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. While Martin Havlat will help get back some that production, they may need to get some insurance. They are also dangerously weak at the right wing.
Carter Ashton is ready to make the jump to the NHL, but he might not have a spot on the Tampa Bay Lightning. San Jose could give up a first round pick and their third string goaltender to acquire him and put him on their second line.
To Tampa Bay: Erik Christensen
To New York Rangers: 3rd round pick in 2012
Tampa Bay surprised a lot of people last season by making it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before running into the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Now they have lost two of its most valuable contributors to that push in Simon Gagne and Sean Bergenheim, and they haven’t really replaced them.
Acquiring a player like Erik Christensen from the New York Rangers could replace some of the depth they lost with the losses of players like Bergenheim and other depth players.
To Toronto: Michael Leighton
To Philadelphia: Korbinian Holzer and a 6th round pick in 2012
Going into the season with James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson as their two goaltenders could go either way for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Reimer could be the starter we all hope he is, but if Jonas Gustavsson can’t be a good backup, the Leafs will have a problem. So, they need to do what a lot of fans thought they should do in free agency: acquire a veteran goaltender.
Michael Leighton is currently the third string goaltender behind Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky. He is exactly the type of goalie the Leafs need. A backup who can step into the starter’s role if an injury occurs or because of sub-par performance, Leighton would look really good in a Leafs jersey.
To Vancouver: Calvin de Haan, Casey Cizikas, and first round picks in 2012 & 2013
To New York Islanders: Roberto Luongo
It is quite evident that Cory Schnieder is going to be pushing Roberto Luongo for starts this season. He is just too good to be held in the backup role for much longer. That means that Mike Gillis, general manager of the Vancouver Canucks is going to have to make a decision on who they want to keep as their goaltender.
Rather than take the easy way out and trade Schnieder, I believe he needs to make the hard way and trade Luongo. Maybe it’s just irony, but I think the best deal they could get is from the team that Luongo started his career with, the New York Islanders. Getting two high-end prospects in Calvin de Haan and Casey Cizikas, as well as two first rounders is definitely fair value for Luongo in my opinion, maybe even more.
The Hockey News is predicting that the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup, and I’m sure many other publications are saying that they will be getting close to that step this year. They may have to make a trade at the deadline, but not right now.
The Winnipeg Jets are an enigma of an NHL team. As the Atlanta Thrashers last season, they looked like a really good team for the first half of the season, but after the All-Star break they started to resemble the team they had always been before. The Jets have a roster that is loaded with talent, both young and old. If they were to make a trade that would make that make a difference in their line-up, they would have to give up one of their best players and usually that’s not a way to improve a team. If they let Evander Kane and Alex Burmistrov mature and get better as they get older, they should be contending in two years or so.