Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trade Deadline: 45 Days Away, or so...

Pondering what laxative to try next or what to do with Kovalchuk? Or both?

Here we go, you ready for it?!

We are now officially less than a month and a half away from the trade deadline, and you know what that means... All that bullshit we've been talking about for the past few months finally comes to a head, and we are that much closer to the postseason.

What else does it mean?

Well it means the swill gets to stirring as all the ingredients of trade speculation get into a rolling boil. Yes, strike up the Lecavalier trade rumors (as if they ever cease), plot out what gaping holes in your team's lineup need to be addressed, and scan those impending free agent lists for potential trading pieces, mercenaries, or your new BFF. Luckily, we here at the Grip have worked tirelessly to prepare those FA lists by position for just such an occasion. We'll use those and all the other sinkers and floaters of trade potentials that we'll hear in the next few weeks to analyze their merit, and whether its worth pulling the trigger. As we get closer to the official cutoff date of March 3rd as the Trade Deadline, we'll take a look at the weak spots in, well, not all the teams, but those with even a speck of hope of extending their work schedule.

What makes this year more interesting, and the playoffs in a 'hurry-up-and-get-here-already' mode is the absence of the tedious All-Star break and the incorporation of the Olympics, which won't be handing out gold medals until the final day of February. Since the rumor mill kicked into overdrive today, or so it seems, lets take a look at those.

Kovalchuk or Bust
Now old news, the situation of Kovalchuk and the Thrashers looms with his impending free agency and the ridiculous price tag associated with it. Soon enough, someone is going to start producing 'What Would Waddell Do?' bracelets and make a fortune off it.

Of course the problem is that no one knows the answer, so all the difficult decisions you face in life would be unanswered, unless you accept 'sit on it' as a decision. The Falconer put Ilya on the table and was willing to at least hear what the rest of the SB Nation would offer to get a crack at the Ruskie. The fans of most teams are willing to part with a whole lot of nothing in order to put their arms around Kovy, smarter fans aren't interested, while others put together reasonable trade offers. Doesn't matter anyway, its all just for fun for us, and the man at the top of the page isn't having any fun trying to figure it out.

Turco Gets His Papers Ready
Word out of Dallas is that the Stars are ready to divorce their franchise goaltender Marty Turco, due to be a free agent at the end of the term, and earning $5.7mil this year. The skilled, puck-moving netminder is coming off the second of two disappointing seasons in which the former was blamed on Sean Avery's arrival and subsequent departure and a Stars team devastated by injuries, while it appears that the latter is being placed solely on the shoulders of the other Marty. Brandon Worley's excellent work on Defending Big D over at SB Nation has revealed that the Capitals have had scouts at the Stars practice sessions, while James O'B over at Cycle Like the Sedins has thrown his hat in the ring with a Turco for Giguere trade idea. Mike Heika, the beat writer of the Dallas Morning News for the Stars, has put together a list of who Nieuwendyk and the brass maybe taking a look at...

Jaroslav Halak, MTL
Corey Schneider, VAN
Kari Lehtonen, ATL
Pekka Rinne, NSH
Dan Ellis, NSH
Mike Smith, TBL
Jhonas Enroth, BUF
Leland Irving, CAL
Justin Peters, CAR

None of those names are true number one's to replace a goalie of Turco's stature with the exception of the two Nashville goaltenders (Rinne & Ellis) and maybe Halak, and they would still be a downgrade. But if this is really the list that Dallas is looking at, with all of these young, mostly untested goaltenders, then the Turco to Washington makes the most sense.

Washington's soft spot was thought to be defense but with Alzner's progress, and Schultz's recent +/- numbers, the opinion has now changed to goaltending with Var-LAH-mov out since early December with a groin injury. Michal Neuvirth has played in eleven games this season and five games last season and has been impressive enough for Dallas to consider, of course there's going to have to be a plethora of prospects and/or picks to go along with him. Of course the Stars are going to want Varlamov, but that's the Caps goalie of the future, I don't think they'd be willing to part with him. Then again maybe they would, if the thought is to win now.

Turco is probably too rich for Nashville's blood, unless he's hired as a Merc to get them over that postseason hump they perpetually have. And I don't think the Stars would want Giguere since he's looked worse than Turco lately.

Frankly, I think Turco is a good goaltender and despite his lows this season, I'm surprised the Stars are willing to part with him. Then again maybe all he needs is a fresh start in another town. I hope for his sake he goes to a team with playoff implications, so he can show Dallas what his mettle really is.

The Sky Is Also Falling In...

Columbus, sounds like they're ready to call it a year and start looking to next season. Freddy Modin, newly acquired Milan Jurcina, and even Raffi Torres coming off a two-goal game all look to be on the chopping block without contracts for next year. Maybe Howson should re-think retaining their biggest asset, Ken Hitchcock.

Calgary, after that woodshed beating they just took from the Sharks. Daz is speechless. There will be repercussions.

Philadelphia, when your Captain has had it up to his eyeballs with the local media. After a loss, the Philly media heaped it on Richards who had voiced his thoughts on them in an article in the Hockey News about the partying atmosphere of the young Flyers. It got heated and Laviolette had to step in to seperate Richards and his off-ice dance partner, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer who was, by the sound of it, goading Mike into a fight. By the way, the Flyers are sitting in 11th place in the East behind the Isles, who are sitting in the 8th and final seed ahead by three points, Florida and Montreal who are one point ahead. That might have something to do with it.

We'll give you the latest in trade talk (that never actually happens) every few days until we hit March 3rd, or at least until you get your walking papers.

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