2014’s Top Trade Bait
With the Olympic trade freeze just days away, and the ‘real’ March 5th trade deadline firmly on the horizon, General Managers across the NHL are preparing to wheel and deal in a bid to improve their teams lot.
For some this means making a run at the Stanley Cup, for others it is about facilitating a rebuild.
But whose in the mix to be moved before March?
Ryan Callahan – New York Rangers
The Rangers Captain is reportedly looking for somewhere in the region of between $45.5m and $49m over 7 years.
Those numbers have been enough to make the franchise balk at re-signing the Rochester native, leading to increased trade speculation surrounding the hard working winger – with St Louis being repeatedly linked with the 28-year old.
Chris Stewart – St Louis Blues
Stewart is rumoured to be the main component in any offer from St Louis to New York for Callahan. But following a miserable campaign, the big winger may be ‘fair game’ for others to bid for – as the Blues look to secure their first Cup.
The former Colorado forward has two 20+ goal seasons to his name, and can be an effective power forward. He also has 1 year left on his current contract with a cap hit of $4.15m.
Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres
The veteran netminder has confirmed his elite status once again this season, posting strong numbers on a struggling Sabres. The consensus is that he will leave Buffalo one way or another – so it is not unreasonable to expect Sabres GM Tim Murray to at least listen to any offers that might come along.
St Louis has again been reported as a possible destination for the Team USA stopper, with Minnesota also apparently in the frame.
Thomas Vanek – New York Islanders
The Austrian now looks set to leave Long Island, after turning down a ‘substantial’ contract offer from the team yesterday.
Perhaps the most coveted forward amongst those available as we approach the deadline; Los Angeles are rumoured to be interested, whilst St Louis (again), Minnesota and Vancouver have also been mentioned.
Dave Legwand – Nashville Predators
Now 33, Legwand was the Predators first ever draft pick but the franchise is looking for a 1st or 2nd round pick in exchange for the veteran forward, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie
The Detroit native is having one of his best years offensively, with 10 goals and 39 points in 57 games to lead the Tennessee outfit, but has gained wider acclaim for his two way game.
For a club looking to tighten up in their own end ahead of the play-offs, he could prove a solid short term addition.
Andy MacDonald – New York Islanders
The second of two major UFA’s for the Islanders, MacDonald is somewhat unheralded around the NHL – but has a tremendous upside for a contender looking to boost its top 4.
The Canadian is seventh in average time on ice this year, and, despite a rocky start to the 2013/14 season, has been a dependable defenceman for the Islanders.
His miniscual $550k cap hit ensure he is a viable option for pretty much any contender.
Sam Gagner – Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers centre doesn’t see his no trade clause kick in until next season, and whilst Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish initially indicated he would not move Gagner this year another disastrous season may have changed things.
The Oilers look set to get another high pick, leaving MacTavish reluctant to use it as a bargaining chip – something he might have considered a few months ago.
Gagner has endured a tough season, including suffering a badly broken jaw, but is still widely respected around the league. Sportnet’s Jeff Marek speculated that Pittsburgh could be a possible destination for Gagner on a recent edition of the One Puck Short Podcast.
The idea of Gagner and Crosby on a line is flat out scary.