I’ve been watching Hockey consistently for well over three years now, but still feel the need to preface my columns with the notification that I may not really know what I’m talking about.
Theoretical NHL Trades
Now that we’ve crossed the bridge in to 2015, it’s beginning to become clear as to the expectations of most teams in the NHL. For some, we knew what the future held and the only moves they’ve made have been to cement their places in the league; others have over-achieved and changed their perspective. At this stage, what we tend to see are trades that involve bad teams preparing to cash out on this season for future positioning, while contending teams try to lock and load for a healthy dose of Spring Hockey. With that in mind, I’ve decided to list a few trades that might look pretty nice, but will surely never happen.
1) Taylor Hall to Boston
What a mega-move that would be. Taylor Hall, picked up by Edmonton leaving Boston with Tyler Seguin with the 2nd overall pick, only for Seguin to be traded away and then Hall arrives a couple of years later? Almost definitely too good to be true, but the Bruins are in desperate need of a marquee forward with an eye for the goal, something Hall has done with reasonable success during his time with the dismal Oilers. The rumors have floated around of Hall in a trade for Milan Lucic, which is a perfect offset in salary space (a key to any trade involving Boston) but I couldn’t really see Lucic being enough of a bargaining chip to tempt Edmonton. A key need for them would be a center with leadership attributes, so maybe Chris Kelly might be more what they’re looking for, but that doesn’t balance the books sufficiently. I think Taylor Hall & a centerman like Boyd Gordon for Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic could make sense in the world of make-believe, and potentially make both teams better. The question is whether Lucic is considered toxic by the other teams in the league…
2) Phil Kessel to Florida Panthers
I’m of the belief that the Toronto Maple Leafs are willing to part company with pretty much anyone if the price is right, and the Florida Panthers are a team who apparently have ambitions of making the play-off’s this year, and sustaining a long-term challenge in the east with some of their more recent moves. Kessel is a proven goalscorer, and in a market where almost literally nobody gives a damn about any sport, let alone one played on ice, he may just fit the lifestyle pretty well. Bobby Lu in goals is having an MVP-calibre season, and with a 30-40 goalscorer per season ahead of him, I think that would look pretty sweet. In contrast, the Panthers have a lot of young talent they could send back the opposite direction, and wouldn’t really need to give up a whole lot beyond a first rounder pick. Perhaps the most pertinent question is if Florida are willing to drop that dollar amount on another player.
3) Ryan O’Reilly to Toronto
This is another trade that has been kicking around the media for a while, and would be exactly the kind of wild move the Leafs may be inclined to make. Center has been the biggest issue in Toronto for the longest time, and someone like O’Reilly possess the potential to provide a long term boost to that position following a few years of a somewhat rocky relationship. Tyler Bozak, a former graduate of the University of Denver, does not have quite the same reputation but can offer an option as a solid third-liner, and if offer a young defenseman such as Jake Gardiner or maybe Cody Franson, you may see something go down. I would imagine a Kadri/Gardiner ticket could work very well for Denver, and as a Leafs fan I’d hate to see it, but wouldn’t be shocked if it happened.
4) Cam Ward to Anaheim
Cam Ward is a bit of an enigma, but with only one and a half years left on his 6.3 million cap hit deal, and the Ducks not quite ready to hand over the crown to their young goaltenders, Ward may be the perfect bridge guy to help get them to Stanley Cup glory, as well as assist with the race to the bottom for Carolina. Ward is streaky at best these days, but playing behind a far superior team will surely make him feel better about his lot in life. As for a return, I’m sure the Ducks would welcome a first rounder and a prospect at most just to rid them of the big contract. I think it would be worth the risk for the Ducks, they’ve got to make hay.
5) Jonny Oduya to Dallas
It may not be wise of Chicago to assist an ailing rival, but the fact is that Oduya is unlikely to get a new contract once his current one expires based on cap considerations they face next year. Meanwhile, Dallas may be willing to pay a premium with a prospect and/or draft pick in order to try and shore up what has been a difficult season for them keeping the puck out of the net. Seguin, Benn and Spezza are leading the way with the point-scoring for the Stars, but without assistance in the back-end they may struggle to make the playoffs. Probably unlikely the Blackhawkes would help their rivals without significant return, but the shoe fits for Dallas.