Hawks and Panthers Get Early Start on Trade Deadline

We don’t know what else the NHL trade deadline will hold for us, but this much we do know.

  • The Blackhawks clearly see a shot at winning the Stanley Cup and are going to do what they can to get there. They’ve already made moves to bolster their forwards, grabbing Andrew Ladd, Thomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.
  • The Panthers, likewise, seem to be ready to make some noise, adding Jiri Hudler, Jakub Kindl and Teddy Purcell.
  • The Penguins are taking the Justin Schultz gamble, which for a single draft pick might be worthwhile, but he could also be a defensive disaster for a team that doesn’t need one of those too.

What else will we see?

I think the Rangers will make a move. Eric Staal is the obvious choice, but the Rangers will not sit this one out, they need another piece if they are going to make a Cup run.

The same could be said for Tampa, Boston, Detroit, and the Islanders, but whether they make a significant move or not is yet to be determined.

In the West, Nashville needs another piece up front, the Stars need some help on defense, and any of the Kings, Ducks, Sharks, etc. will be looking to shore up their lineups.

The bigger question is will there be anyone available that will actually make these teams better? Oh moves will be made, it’s just not clear that any of them will really push these teams over the top, without being a blockbuster type move for a star player, involving current roster players. I feel like there may be one or two of those in the pipeline, but could also see a trade deadline where nothing like that happens.

In the mean time, there are plenty of rumors. Most of which, are complete crap. The joys of trade deadline day!

 

NHL Playoff Preview

Yes, sure, the Islanders aren’t in the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some great hockey and intriguing story lines to follow.

To whit, will the Blue Jackets get their first ever playoff game victory? Will the Pens self destruct again? Are the Blues the team that flirted with the first seed in the West, or the one that lost their last 6 games? Can anyone on the Avs actually grow a beard?

In the East, I think it’s clearly a two team race. The Bruins and Penguins have been far and away the two teams to beat in the East and I don’t see that changing, especially in the first round. Obviously, you never know if Bobrovsky or Howard will catch fire and steal an entire series, but I just don’t see it happening. I do think the Jackets get over the “never won a playoff game” hump, because somewhere in there the Pens will mail in a bomb, like they always do, but if the Pens don’t, it might be another 4 and out for the Jackets. (I’d increase their odds of stealing a couple of games if Nathan Horton were playing, but alas…)

The Rangers-Philly and Montreal-TB series are absolute toss ups to me, but if anything could stop the Pens-Bruins conference final, it would be the Pens having to face the team that is most in their heads, the Flyers, in round two.

Prediction- Boston wins the East. They are just too deep and too steady.

In the West, it’s like the inverse of the East. I think there are at least 5 teams who could win the Cup. In fact, a couple of the first round match ups will eliminate a couple of teams who probably could win it all.

Anaheim should take care of business, as should Colorado. The Kings-Sharks and Blackhawks-Blues series will be ridiculously good. They will be the kind of series that make you wonder if the winner has anything left for round two. They will, so don’t get comfy Ducks and Avs fans.

At the end of the day though, I like the Ducks and the relative ease of their first round will matter in comparison to the bloodbaths the other teams will face.Like Boston, they’ve just been too steady all year long to not pick them, but I could also see the Kings, Blackhawks or Blues as well. They just have one or two more question marks than the Ducks do. The Avs, as young as they are, I suspect they are due for a playoff flame out. One to learn and grow from, like many of the great teams.

Besides, who doesn’t want Teemu playing in the Cup finals this year, and winning the whole thing?

So, who you got?