NHL Trade Scenarios: 8 Teams That Need a Roster Blow-Up and How They'd Do It
It's hard to say that there are a lot of teams that need to implode their rosters after a quarter of the year, especially considering there are 22 teams with between 20 and 27 points.
However, reality settles in, and there are some teams that should take a good, long look in the mirror and realize that they have some major changes that need to take place.
Some teams might be looking to make cosmetic changes during the year because of injuries, but others are in need of an overhaul.
The following looks at eight teams and proposes a plan of action for those teams to begin/accelerate a rebuilding process.
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How: Trade Miikka Kiprusoff
For: Colby Armstrong, Cody Franson, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and a high (first- or second-round) pick
The Flames are an older team, and most analysts consider them to have one of the weakest systems in the NHL. The roster they have, as it's currently put together, isn't going to win a Stanley Cup, and there isn't a lot of hope within their organization.
Calgary has dealt with Toronto before (Phaneuf), but it got hosed on that deal.
In this deal, the Flames could add some younger players to their NHL roster and add a high pick as well.
The cost—the best netminder in their franchise's history, who is having a fantastic year—would be steep, but it's time for the Flames to begin a rebuild, and they cannot afford to move Jarome Iginla.
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How: Trade Mike Ribeiro
For: Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg and prospect Brian Connelly
Like the Flames, the Stars could use some young bodies coming into the system and...they're in bankruptcy. Cutting a big contract would be a thrill for them.
Connelly, an AHL All-Star last year, is a good young defenseman that could step in with Dallas this year. Bickell and Stalberg are intriguing, young assets that would provide the Stars with more options up front.
Chicago has cap space to play with, and its organizational depth is solid. By adding Ribeiro, the Blackhawks would be able to move Patrick Kane back to wing and would be adding another 55- to 70-point player to their already-scary top six.
Beyond moving Ribeiro for some young, NHL-ready players, the other part of Dallas' implosion would be to let all seven of the unrestricted free agents on its NHL roster walk away this summer. Players like Adam Burish and Jake Dowell are nice, but they're not going to take Dallas to the promised land.
The Stars can take the money they save on those players and make sure Jamie Benn stays in Dallas for a long, long time.
New Jersey Devils
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How: Trade David Clarkson
For: Jiri Hudler
This deal wouldn't be earth-shattering for either side, despite Clarkson getting off to the best start in his career.
Where the deal makes the most sense, however, is the Wings would be able to unload the disappointing Hudler while the Devils would clear the 2012-13 season of Clarkson's deal off their cap.
That will make a huge difference when the Devils start considering Zach Parise's need for new paper.
How: Trade Dainius Zubrus and Bryce Salvador
For: Jason Blake and Kurtis Foster
Once again, this move is about cutting cost off of next year's cap. Blake comes off the books after this year, as does Foster, while Zubrus and Salvador are two of the older players on a Devils roster that isn't going anywhere fast.
The point of both of these deals is to keep the team competing on a similar level to where they have been all year while cutting dead weight off the cap for the summer of 2012 and beyond.
They absolutely must keep Parise, and these two deals would help them accomplish those two goals.
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How: Trade Saku Koivu and Tony Lydman
For: Niklas Hjalmarsson and a prospect/pick
The Ducks have issues with age, especially on their blue line. Lydman would likely be an even swap with Hjalmarsson in terms of play between the two rosters, but he's 10 years older.
Hjalmarsson is signed for one year longer than Lydman, but that isn't a deal breaker for either organization; with the young defensemen like Cam Fowler coming along in Anaheim, he'd be good to have around for two and a half more years.
For Chicago, as we stated before, the Blackhawks might look for a smart second-line center around the deadline, and Koivu would be precisely that.
In the final year of his deal (career?), Koivu would be an outstanding addition for Chicago, which is why they would sacrifice a young defenseman they've been very high on for a couple years in Hjalmarsson to get him.
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How: Trade Scott Gomez and a mid-round (third- or fourth-round) pick
For: Jay Bouwmeester
Montreal's blue line is banged up, and they need bodies desperately. This would be a pure dump of junk by both teams, but the Habs would give Calgary a mid-round pick to say "thank you" for the roughly $1.5 million in cap space they would be afforded for the next two years.
At this point, the Flames just need to add young players to the system, while the Habs need to open their options with both Carey Price and PK Subban looking at needing a new deal this summer.
Beyond unloading Gomez, the rest of the implosion could be accomplished by letting the unrestricted free agents walk away this summer.
Spacek, Gill, Campoli and Gorges represent over $10 million on the blue line alone that the Habs could use to go after free agents or a bigger salary via trade.
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How: Trade Tuomo Ruutu
For: Kyle Quincey
This would be a trade that would be intriguing for both teams. Colorado has three forwards (Stastny, Landeskog and Kobasew) under contract for next year, and Ruutu would be another forward that would need considerations this summer.
At least four of the Avs' top prospects are defensemen, though, so moving Quincey for an impact forward wouldn't be crazy.
Both of these players could make an immediate impact on the other roster and would be candidates for a new deal this summer.
Beyond making this in-season trade, the Canes should entertain offers next summer for Jussi Jokinen and beg someone to take Tomas Kaberle off their books.
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How: Trade Ray Whitney
For: Andrew Brunette, Bryan Bickell/Viktor Stalberg, prospect Brian Connelly
At 39, Whitney is looking for his best chance to win a Cup in what might be his final season. He would be a perfect fit in Chicago, where his expiring contract is consistent with everything GM Stan Bowman did this past summer.
For Phoenix, getting younger would be preferred, as they are presumably shopping for a new home next summer. So, adding one of Bickell or Stalberg (both of whom have another year on their respective contracts) and a good young defenseman would be good value.
How: Trade Shane Doan
For: Guillaume Latendresse, prospect Charlie Coyle and a high (second- or third-round) pick
The Wild made some major moves this summer (thanks, San Jose), and they're paying off as they're at the top of the NHL right now.
Minnesota is going for broke, and adding a stud like Doan in a walk year could be the pickup that puts it into the mix for a deep run into the postseason.
Latendresse has shown flashes of great ability for the Wild, but he can't stay healthy. Coyle and the pick are the keys to the deal for Phoenix.
Columbus Blue Jackets
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How: Trade Rick Nash
For: Alex Hemsky, Sam Gagner and two first-round picks
For Columbus, this season has become a nightmare before Thanksgiving (US). It snapped a 17-game winless streak against Nashville on Saturday night, but it appears to be going nowhere fast.
Making dramatic moves for Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski this summer haven't improved the organization, and it isn't making money as an organization, either.
Nash has been the consummate professional, never complaining about being an underappreciated superstar on a terrible team for years. It might be time for the Jackets to cut their losses—and his—and look to add depth to their roster in exchange for their best player.
A deal with Edmonton, a young team that could use Nash's ability and leadership, could bring over two good, young players in Hemsky and Gagner and a couple picks in the middle of the first round. Those picks, coupled with the Jackets' own top-five picks, is how a rebuild gets accelerated.
How: Trade Derick Brassard
For: Scott Clemmensen, Marcel Goc and a mid-round (third or fourth) pick
Clemmensen would provide the Jackets with a rental in net, thereby keeping Steve Mason out of the net and improving their chances of winning most nights. Goc would take a couple million off their books the next two years, but he would bring a forward pack in the deal.
For Florida, unloading Clemmensen would allow them to keep Markstrom in the NHL for good. Brassard is young and is already under contract for a couple more years.
Beyond these two deals, they should take any/all offers for Prospal while he's hot and Pahlsson while he's alive. Anyone that's going to be a free agent this summer should be considered available on this roster, because what Columbus has in place clearly isn't working.