Here we go, the first installment of “The Buzz between the Boards” and for today we will look at some players that may be traded this off-season. From those that need to be traded, to players that have fallen from favor with their team, there are quite a few players that could be moved this off-season. So I hope to address a few of these players today and how likely it is that they are taking the ice in a new sweater come next season.
Tomas Kaberle: The talented blue-liner has been rumored about since before the trade deadline. He can be great in the offensive zone, and still has a few quality years left. He is a 32 year-old player that is a top line defenseman with the ability to put up 40-50 points a season. His contract is not too hefty either. He has one more season at $4.25 million, and his no-trade clause is lifted the first day of the draft. After GM Burke pulled off the blockbuster trade to acquire Phaneuf, many started pondering right away if that could mean the end of Kaberle’s time in Toronto. Although Burke has tried to convince people he is not shopping Kaberle, we know teams are asking about him and I see him as the most likely to be moved once that no-trade clause is out of the way. If he does get moved, look for it to be for forwards or possibly picks after Toronto traded away what became the 2nd overall pick last season.
Evgeni Malkin: Yes I am bringing his name up. Since the Penguins early exit from the playoffs thanks to Montreal, fans immediately started throwing out ideas of trading Malkin or Fluery, or even both. Why would the Pens even consider putting Malkin on the block? With the possible loss of Gonchar and the lack of true top wingers, there are definitely some needs that the Pens have while they currently bolster 3 star quality centers. Along with Corsby and Malkin, Pittsburgh has Staal making $4 million a year as the 3rd line center. Trading Malkin could make room financially too, being that he makes over $8 million a season currently. While he could fetch a high price, such as a top line winger and prospects or picks, I do not see the Pens pulling this trade off right now. Maybe about a 20-30% chance that Evgeni is flying around somewhere else next season.
Sheldon Souray: If you can’t get one defenseman, why not go after another one who might fetch a little less? Sheldon has not been shy about wanting out of Edmonton recently and being that the Oilers are constantly “rebuilding” the team, I can see them moving him. Souray will be 34 at the start of the coming season and has a cap hit of over 5 million for 2 more seasons. While some see him as another talented 2-way defenseman, Souray has dealt with injuries 2 of the last 3 seasons. While he has a big shot and can be a 50 point blueliner when healthy and in the right system, he age and recent history of injuries and missed games may make some front offices less likely to fully pursue him. While he is very likely to be moved, I do not see him fetching as high a price as Kaberle. But the Oilers does have a couple good blueliners and some prospects, and it sounds like they no longer really want Souray in Edmonton either.
Tim Thomas: Along with guys like Turco, Mason, and Theodore set to possibly be moving to new homes this offseason via free agency, the Bruins Tim Thomas is another name that could pop up when teams are looking to add a starting goalie. This last season Rask took the job from the Olympian Thomas with great play and then continued to shine in the playoffs. This leaves Boston with a very high priced back-up. Thomas signed a new deal last year that continues into the 2012-2013 season, paying him $6 million this season, $5 million next year, and $3 million for the final year. What kills Boston is that he is 36 and his contract is 35+ under the current CBA. Which means that even if he retires the Bruins will have to pay him, and he holds a no-trade clause until the final season. So they could try to move him, but I do not think there is a good chance that he is moved this off-season. At some point, maybe. But with a no trade clause and all that money to a journeyman type goalie who put together a couple good seasons, Boston made a bad decision and no may have a hard time finding someone willing to take on that mistake.
Well that wraps it up for this week. Leave your comments below, and feel free to follow me at Twitter.com/Blackoutdallas for my thoughts and ideas/random happenings daily. Next week I will discuss forwards like Mike Ribeiro, Alex Semin, and more to see who may be moved by teams attempting to fill voids and needs. Have a great weekend, and for the Cup: Go Blackhawks!