Souray, aka Studley Wonderbomb (beautiful by the way, Matt), known for his manly good looks, heavy shot, and of course his babies's Mama, has been unofficially placed on the trading block. Of course, Mr. Souray has a NMC or NTC or whatever other cockblocking contract stipulation so he's not willing to go just anywhere. No, the Alberta native wants no part of the Eastern Conference, in fact he's going so far as to pull the Dany Heatley 'I only want to go to California' card.
(Aside: There's something about Edmonton that makes people want to go to California, or maybe its just a rite of passage in order to get to California, you have to go through Edmonton. Think about it... First, Pronger plays a year in Edmonton, leads the Oil to the Cup, (his wife) demands a trade, ends up in Anaheim. B, Dany Heatley demands a trade out of Ottawa, Tambellini makes a pitch that includes a promotional DVD about why you'd want to come to Oil Country (that runs for less than 3 minutes), says no, ends up in San Jose. Finally, Joffrey Lupul, one of the guys sent to Edmonton for Pronger, gets traded to Philly, and then gets traded again for Pronger, only to end up back in Anaheim. There's a conspiracy here.)
So if that narrows it down to the three teams in the Pacific, and you can probably rule out San Jose, I don't think they'll be tinkering with anything come deadline, and we're down to two. Realistically, he could go to either Anaheim or Los Angeles.
The Kings have the space for his pro-rated number this season, and they'll be pressed the following two seasons with his $5.4mil annually but it can be done. The Kings already have their top 4 defensemen with Doughty, Johnson, Scuderi, and Greene, but Jack has been suspect since he started in the NHL. O'Donnell is due to be put out to pasture, and Drewiske is coming along nicely. With that in mind, and the fact that the Kings will probably looking for more scoring (if anything), probably makes them a much less likely candidate than the Ducks.
Anaheim has been lacking that big physical presence since Pronger left for Philly on Draft Day this past summer. They seem lost without him, and after looking at him objectively, its easy to see why. Of course since the Cup run, the Ducks have also lost Beauchemin (TOR), and lesser role but solid defensemen like 'Sheriff' Shane Hnidy (MIN), and Kent Huskins (SJS). Its very easy to see now why the Pens faithful wanted Whitney out of town. In order to make this work however, Anaheim is going to have send something the other way. Maybe Lupul?
The other monkey in this wrench is that Bob Murray has recently been checking on the availability of current Oiler captain Ethan Moreau. In order to get those two, there's going to have to be a lot of bodies moving, and picks. Murray has collected quite a few conditional picks this season, but whether or not the conditions are right is another story, but he did grab a first rounder for 2010 for sure in the Pronger move. Moreau will most likely will have the same effect that Laperriere adds to Philly, a hard-nosed veteran that's willing to get dirty. But the Ducks are going to need the pull the trigger on something sooner than later considering they're sitting in 11th four points behind the 8th see with Dallas and Detroit ahead of them.
Gillis Crushing on BackesI don't remember this and I don't know why (i.e. too many bonghits), but newly appointed Canucks head honcho Mike Gillis apparently offered David Backes an offer sheet of $7.5mil spread across three years. A pissed off Davidson ponied up the dough and matched the offer to which Backes couldn't put the ink on quick enough. According to this post by Matt Sekeres of the Globe and Mail, the Canucks have obviously grown tired of Pavol Demitra and apparently AV has had enough of Wellwood, and are looking for new centers. The part that sets all the alarms off on this post, the travel plans of the GM's of both teams.
Gillis was supposed to go to the CHL Prospects game in Windsor but instead went to Montreal to watch (Janssen launch into Price) the Blues. While Davidson was in Manitoba to scout the Moose, and apparently Cory Schneider. Ahh, I don't know if I buy the last part, but hey, its all speculation.
The post also talk about the potential of Vancouver looking to replenish their banged up blueline with the likes of aging veteran Darryl Sydor or Carlo Colaiacovo (to give Luongo some ginny company). That almost seems more likely than St. Louis parting with Backes. Nuck thoughts on it all.
Calgary Looks to Aging VeteransKent W. over at Matchsticks & Gasoline, always on the cutting edge of Flames analysis, put together his list of top 6 forwards on non-playoff teams that Calgary should be targeting. Its kind of sad that these are the type of guys you need to look to in order for the Flames to make some sort of impact. Let's go through them shall we? Quickly.
Paul Kariya doesn't strike me as a Calgary (i.e. Sutter) -type player in any way, shape or form. Not to mention the fact that he hasn't don't shit for the Blues with 9 goals in 42 games considering his past totals.
Keith Tkachuk, (apparently all the Blues are for sale, I guess that was obvious when Payne was hired), is more like hinderance than help on a Calgary team. Besides the Flames already have a hundred of this guy, you know, the medium sized guy in Nintendo Ice Hockey.
Ray Whitney is rumored to go everywhere. I could see this guy making an impact on the Flames but I don't see Daz beating out the other 28 teams looking to grab him, okay top 5.
Colby Armstrong I see as more of an addition defensively rather than offensively which is exactly a Sutter-type player but not what the Flames need at this point. They need scoring, can I get an Amen?
Alexei Ponikarovsky definetely adds offensive touch, but also adds Russian to the equation. Darryl would have to swallow his pride, and trick Burke to get him away from the Leafs. Both highly unlikely, one more than the other. Try to guess which one!
And finally, former Flame Alex Tanguay. When I first saw his name, and the thought of him returning to Calgary I said, 'youfuckincrazy?!' The more I think about it, the more it makes sense, and is certainly the best choice out of this list. Tanguay's been a shell of himself since he left Colorado, and respectively Calgary, but he was injured in Montreal (who's fickle as fuck anyway) and is stuck in purgatory on a team like Tampa. He worked well with Iginla way back when, and the way the Lightning are hemorraging money and faith, it might be the one possible scenario that could actually work.
The Sky is Falling In...
CarolinaJim Rutherford has pretty much put everyone on notice with the exception of their young core including but not limited to, newly appointed captain Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Cam Ward, and Juomo Ruutu. Looking over that roster there are some pretty good veterans that can add some spice to a playoff lineup, and a lot of them own rings from a Championship not too long ago. Ray Whitney is the name most mentioned (as referenced above), not to mention Niklas Wallin, defenseman Joe Corvo, and Rod Brind'Amour will more than likely be put out to pasture.
The changing of the guard has raised some eyebrows around the League, some see it as half a season too late while others look at it as genius, allowing Staal to slowly transition into the leadership role, while giving Rod the opportunity to bow out quietly. To me, the eldest Staal brother has been ready for this role for years now, and was more or less the leader of this team while wearing the A. Sure, Rod 'the Bod' is the elder statesman, but his waning effectiveness has been speaking louder to this team than his words, as referenced in this seasons complete, and utter failure.
Chicago?!When you're built for the run, someone is always going to point out the weakest points of even the strongest team. Goaltending is this issue in Chi-town, or is it? Huet was looking like absolute shit early on this season, but Niemi has been consistently playing well, pushing Cristo to pick up his game, which, to his credit, he has. They are probably the most formidable goaltending tandem in the League right now, but are still taking heat since they are the weakest link of this powerful Hawks team.
Blackhawk alumnus, and League loudmouth (even after retirement) Jeremy Roenick stoked the fire with his recent comments, and now everyone and their Mums has been speculating as to who the Bowmans' should acquire come deadline to sure up that soft spot. Considering how aggressive Chicago has been in acquiring free agents (Campbell, Huet, Hossa, Kopecky, Madden) its logical to think that they would make a move. Names that have been thrown about include soon-to-be Dallas exile Marty Turco, overachieving client Jaroslav Halak, underachieving Conn Smythe winner Jean-Sebastian Giguere, and even Tomas Vokoun. However, the chemistry issue keeps coming up when you talk about that young team and moving any of the pieces before the offseason, and that may be enough to hold off, considering how well Huet and Niemi are playing, and not to mention the fact that Huet was one of those assets that were brought in. They most certainly evaluated him to the point of bring him over for a Cup run, unless it was just that he was the best choice available at that time.